In the past year I’ve had the opportunity to use a lot of different cell phones due to being on-call much of the time. The company I was working with swapped phones around a lot and I’ve had a couple Blackberries and an iPhone and am now using a Droid Incredible by HTC. Of all these, the Android OS is my favorite platform. I love that it’s Linux-based, highly customizable and it’s designed to work with Google services I use, like Gmail.
My Droid Incredible has evolved into an extremely valuable tool for tracking and scheduling storage auctions. I manage my contacts, calendar and email all from my computer, and everything syncs seamlessly with my phone. Gmail allows you to manage multiple calendars through the same account, and I have one dedicated to storage auctions. At the start of each month I enter all the upcoming storage auction info I have into my Gmail calendar. For each auction I enter the date, time, address and phone numbers for both the storage facility and the auctioneer.
Throughout the month I can pretty effortlessly schedule my days around the auctions with a quick look at my phone. On days I’m interested in attending I can easily contact the storage facility to confirm the auction or inquire about the number of units available. It’s just another click to bring up their location on my phone using Google Maps or use full navigation with driving directions.
One cool function of the Gmail calendar is the ability to create customizable alerts that will display on your phone. You can opt to have an email sent to you prior to an event or have a simple popup reminder at a specified time.
I have to mention a feature of Android phones that, in my opinion, is reason enough to get one. The Google Maps application with traffic update layer. Google pulls data from other smartphones that are in moving vehicles to provide a real time view of traffic conditions all around you. This is usually quite accurate, and I’ve side-stepped many traffic jams by using it.
I also use an app named IP Cam Viewer that’s configured to display my choice of traffic cameras from around the area. Coupled with the Google Maps live traffic data, these two systems sometimes give me an incredible edge when traveling.
Of course, some or all of these features are available on other smartphone platforms, especially the iPhone. Most of my experience has been with the Android platform though, and that’s what I’ll be using in the future.
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