Feature: Page (1) of 1 - 10/08/16

Best New Devices to Maximize your Business

By David Ryan for America's Backbone Weekly

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These days, taking advantage of technology is essential for success. Cell phones and tablets are playing an increasing role in the world of small business and wearable devices like smartwatches are carving out a niche of their own. Whether you're looking to make upgrades or just stay on top of the latest trends, here are some top-tier gadgets that are getting attention in the tech world.

Phones

iPhone 7: Apple's latest phone isn't the game-changer some were hoping for. It's only a modest departure from the 6S and the main thing people seem to be talking about is the lack of a headphone jack. The design is essentially the same and there are only modest improvements in the screen and camera. However, the iPhone 7 models offer increased storage, with 32GB, 128GB and 256GB options. That's a significant increase and a welcome one for business owners who run a lot of apps or otherwise need more room for data. Overall, the iPhone 7 is a polished product. If you're already running an iPhone 6 you don't really need to upgrade, but if you're running an iPhone 4 or 5 the new handset could be a welcomed addition to your business. Average price from U.S. Cellular: $28.28-$42.42/month on installment, $798.99 prepaid.

Samsung Galaxy S7: The S7 is simply a great phone. With a stunning HD display, 4GB of RAM, a lightning-fast processor and a phenomenal camera, it's hard to top this Android device. It has storage options of 32 or 64GB, which can be expanded to 256GB with the purchase of a microSD card. The Galaxy S7 is one of the best smartphones on the market. Average price from U.S. Cellular: $22.40-$33.60 on installment, $619.99 prepaid. For a step up, the Galaxy S7 Edge gives you a slightly bigger screen (.4 inches bigger), better battery life and edge panels that provide quick access to features and apps. Average price from U.S. Cellular: $26.00-$39.00 on installment, $729.99 prepaid.

Tablets

iPad Pro: There are two sizes in Apple's most current tablet lineup: 9.7 and 12.9 inches. The 12.9-inch version is a beast of a tablet, featuring 2,048 x 2,732 screen resolution, 4GB of RAM and a 2.26GHz dual-core processor. With those specs, it can be combined with a keyboard to rival traditional laptops. The 9.7-inch version has a screen resolution of 1,536 x 2,408, runs a dual-core 2.16GHz processor and has 2GB of RAM. Both tablets have storage options of 32, 128, and 256GB. Which machine is best for small business? It depends. The larger version has more horsepower and can potentially rival a laptop as noted, but it's also heavier and bulkier. The 9.7-inch version may be more appealing to those who want a small, light device to take home or out into the field, and who aren't trying to replace their main computers. Average price from U.S. Cellular: 9.7 inch = $20.92-$26.15 on installment, $729.00 2yr contract. Average price from U.S. Cellular: 12.9 inch = $32.60-$40.75 on installment, $979.00 2yr contract.


Samsung Galaxy Tab S2: The S2 is an amazing tablet for business. It has a gorgeous display for viewing app dashboards at 2,048 x 1,536 resolution, and has a split screen feature that allows you to run and view multiple apps simultaneously. Its multi-user mode allows you to create up to 8 user profiles which can be really handy for sharing with employees. It has a 2.3GHz quad-core processor and 3GB of RAM. Storage-wise it holds 16GB of data, but this can be expanded to 128GB with a microSD card. Since the Tab S2 is cheaper than the iPad Pro models, it definitely merits consideration. Average price from U.S. Cellular: $22.00-$27.50 on installment, $560.00 2yr contract.

Smartwatches

Samsung Gear S3: The Gear S3 is actually a series of two watches, the Gear S3 Classic and the Gear S3 Frontier. Both run on the Tizen operating system which is Android compatible (version 4.4 and up). The Frontier is a little more rugged and has more functionality. With 3G/LTE cellular capability it allows you to make phone calls. Both watches have 1.0 GHz processors, 4GB of storage and 768GB of RAM. They are great devices for emailing, texting, scheduling and accessing apps in the cloud. Average price from U.S. Cellular: pending.

Apple Watch Series 2: Along with the iPhone 7, Apple unveiled its newest series of watches in September. Series 2 offers some improvements over previous models, including onboard GPS and waterproofing. They run on Watch OS 3 and a new, dual-core S2 processor. They have improved texting features such as the double-tap system which allows you to quickly respond to texts with a double tap. Overall the new Series offers a healthy staple of improvements over earlier Apple watches. Average price from U.S. Cellular: pending.

Can mobile devices really help your business?

If you haven't adopted mobile devices into your business model it's time to think about doing so. As business owners they give you the ability to stay connected with clients and staff from anywhere. Thanks to cellular connectivity, smartphones will allow you to stay connected to the internet even if your land-based network goes down. Smartphones, tablets and even watches are increasingly being used as access portals for cloud-based software platforms. Cloud-based software can be accessed from anywhere, which means smartphones and tablets may be all you need to view and edit documents or run the applications that are essential for your business. You and your staff will be able to work from home or on the road. Combined with U.S. Cellular's internet and data packages, today's mobile devices can help turn your small business into a powerhouse.



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David Ryan has many years of experience as a freelance writer and is active covering science and technology stories in the United States. He also enjoys writing short stories and traveling. 


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