June 25, 2013

If You Give A Girl An Android Phone …

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GS4 Image

You should have seen the look on my face when I received (free of cost to me from Verizon Wireless) the Samsung Galaxy S4 phone. It was probably pretty obvious from my stunned look I had no clue what I was really holding. I’m an iPhone user. Look around me and you will find I’m surrounded by Apple tech. CycleGuy had a Blackberry for work but somehow convinced the IT team to test out their wireless security system by giving him an iPhone5, that’s how much of an iOS family we are.

VZWBuzzI was among a group of bloggers invited to the Verizon Wireless headquarters in southern California, and we were all given a Galaxy S4. I sat there holding the Samsung Galaxy box like it was a newborn baby. Several at the table had already exchanged their SIM cards before I could even get “WOW” out of my mouth. As one of the newest members of the Verizon Insider team, I was unaware we’d get anything. I was secretly hoping to get an upgrade to my Verizon MiFi (which I have had for over 10 years), and never imagined I’d walk away with one of the hottest phones on the market.

Mention Android and my mind immediately thinks of those commercials a few years ago where the phone was turned on and said “Droid” in a very robotish voice, and I laughed because they made me think of R2D2 and C3PO.

When I got the phone I knew nothing about Android phones. I had to read the manual to figure out how to turn the thing on (the button is on the right side of the phone compared to the top for iPhones. In my mind they should all be in the same place). If I had been on a deserted island and came across this phone I’d probably still be on the island trying to figure out how to do some of the most basic things.

At dinner I was speaking with one of the women who works at Verizon Wireless and she mentioned I should take a class at the Verizon Wireless store near my house, which happens to be the first new concept store in the western part of the US. Having been in it now, it is pretty cool.

Anyway, she convinced me I should take a Verizon Wireless Workshop. They’re free to the public (and who doesn’t like that?), regardless of your carrier. Sure, they’d like you to be a Verizon Wireless customer but if you’re not they’ll still help you. My iPhone is with a different carrier, but my carrier was not willing to help me figure out my new phone because I did not buy it from them. So I went to the workshop website and found a class.

Signing up for the workshop was easy. I just went online, entered my zip code and chose the workshop that was most convenient for me. I chose the “Getting Started” with Android class. By time I went to the workshop I had been using the phone for about 2 weeks. And by using I mean taking photos and videos, using Instagram and HootSuite, and admiring the large, colorful screen.

Admittedly, I knew very little about my phone. Justin taught the class, and there were 4 of us there at that time. One of the ladies had a phone Verizon does not carry and she said she is with another carrier but her son signed her up. Justin helped her just like he did the rest of us. The class was about the basics, most of which I figured out from reading the manual. However, by the end of the class I knew how to do much more than I when I arrived. Basic things like removing an app, reconfiguring my home screen, and deleting (turning off) apps that are running in the background eating up my battery.

Having figured out the basics, I now had more questions, so I signed up for the “Doing More” with Android workshop for the next day. This time there were only 2 of us and rather than following a set script, Justin (a different one, how confusing is that?) focused on helping us with learning how to use the device the best way to benefit us.

I consider myself tech savvy. I’m often an early adopter of new technology. But when smartphones came out, I went with Apple’s iPhone and never imagined switching. I did envy my friends with the Galaxy S3 because their phones had bigger screens (ugh, being 40-something had sure done a number on my vision), but for the most part I figured the phones were pretty much the same. I’ve learned they are not. And for someone whose only smartphone experience has been an iPhone, I didn’t want to have this super cool phone that everyone oooh’d and ahhhh’d over and only be able to take photos and post them to Instagram.

I often believe I can just watch a few tutorials online and I’ll figure out what I need. With the Verizon Wireless Workshop, I didn’t have to sit through a lot of extraneous talking. In a matter of 3 hours I was able to figure out most things I would use on my new phone. Between the two classes I have learned how to:

1. Use the gestures feature (but I don’t because I look like a dork waving my hand over my phone)

2. Add apps and widgets and configure pages the way I want

3. Use the Notifications pull down screen (which doesn’t exist on iPhone) for easy access to settings and notifications

4. Use the type swype feature. This is very cool but I’m still trying to get used to it since I switch between the GS4 and iPhone.

5. Not get freaked out by Google Now since it’s like stalking yourself.

6. Use the picture-in-picture feature as well as the side by side image capture of using the front and rear cameras at the same time.

Sure, these are all pretty basic things. But for this iPhone gal none of these were very intuitive. The face-to-face learning worked well for me. I was able to ask questions and have someone show me and let me try it. I’ve watched a lot of tutorials and videos about the S4 features but for an Android newbie it’s just not the same.

If you get a new mobile device, sign up for a free workshop at a Verizon Wireless store near you. It will prevent frustration and you’ll feel more comfortable using it to its full potential. There are things I miss from my iPhone (like touching the time at the top of the screen and it automatically scrolling all the way back to the top), but I’m learning it’s not a bad thing. Just different. And different can be good.

Have you taken a workshop to learn how to use your device? Was it helpful? 

Disclosure: As stated above, Verizon Wireless provided me with a Samsung Galaxy S4. I was also provided travel and accommodations to attend a workshop at the Verizon Wireless offices in California. This is not a sponsored post and no compensation was provided for this post. This post reflects my views and opinions and was not reviewed or edited by a third party. I do, however, have a business relationship with Verizon Wireless and thus I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

 

Sara

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