Bill Hughes is a veteran marketing strategy executive who has worked for Xerox, Microsoft, IBM, General Electric, Motorola, and US West Cellular. He has led initiatives to develop new products and solutions, and has written articles for several wireless industry trade magazines, as well as for USA Today and Forbes.
Exploring What You Can Do with Your Phone
IN THIS CHAPTER
Reviewing the basic capabilities of just about any mobile phone
Understanding what sets smartphones apart
Mapping out what makes Samsung Galaxy S8 phones so cool
Getting you prepared to enjoy your phone
Whether you want just the basics from a mobile phone (make and take phone calls, customize your ringtone, take some pictures, maybe use a Bluetooth headset) or you want your phone to be always by your side (a tool for multiple uses throughout your day), you can make that happen. In this chapter, I outline all the things your Samsung Galaxy S8 can do - from the basics to what makes Galaxy S8 phones different from the rest.
Discovering the Basics of Your Phone
All mobile phones on the market today include basic functions, and even some entry-level phones are a little more sophisticated. Of course, Samsung includes all basic functions on the Galaxy S8 model. In addition to making and taking calls (see Chapter 3) and sending and receiving texts (see Chapter 4), the Galaxy S8 sports the following basic features:
- 12MP digital camera: This resolution is more than enough for posting good-quality images on the Internet and even having 8 x 10-inch prints made. There is also a front-facing camera with 8MP that is useful for videoconference calls and selfies.
- Ringtones: You can replace the standard ringtone with custom ringtones that you download to your phone. You also can specify different rings for different numbers.
- Bluetooth: The Galaxy S8 phone supports stereo and standard Bluetooth devices. (See Chapter 3 for more on Bluetooth.)
- High-resolution screen: The Galaxy S8 phone offers one of the highest-resolution touchscreens on the market (2,960 x 1,440 pixels).
- Capacitive touchscreen: The Galaxy S8 phone offers a very slick touchscreen that's sensitive enough to allow you to interact with the screen accurately, but not so sensitive that it's hard to manage. In addition, it has an optional setting that steps up the sensitivity for special circumstances, like when you want to use one hand!
Taking Your Phone to the Next Level: The Smartphone Features
In addition to the basic capabilities of any entry-level phone, the Galaxy S8, which is based on the popular Android platform for mobile devices, has capabilities associated with other smartphones, such as the Apple iPhone:
- Internet access: Access websites through a web browser on your phone.
- Photos: The Galaxy S8 comes with a very intelligent camera that has millions of combinations of settings, filters, and resolutions and also has the capability to manage photos.
- Wireless email: Send and receive email from your phone.
- Multimedia: Play music and videos on your phone.
- Contact Manager: The Galaxy S8 lets you take shortcuts that save you from having to enter someone's ten-digit number each time you want to call or text a friend. In fact, the Contact Manager can track all the numbers that an individual might have, store an email address and photo for the person, and synchronize with the program you use for managing contacts on both your personal and work PCs!
- Digital camcorder: The Galaxy S8 comes with a built-in digital camcorder that records live video at a resolution that you can set, including 4K/UHD (ultra-high definition, which is just now available on the newest televisions).
- Mapping and directions: The Galaxy S8 uses GPS (Global Positioning System) along with other complementary positioning systems to tell you where you are, find local services that you need, and give you directions to where you want to go.
- Fitness information: The Galaxy S8 automatically tracks important health information within the phone and with external sensors.
- Business applications: The Galaxy S8 can keep you productive while you're away from the office.
I go into each of these capabilities in greater detail in the following sections.
Until a few years ago, the only way to access the Internet when you were away from a desk was with a laptop. Smartphones are a great alternative to laptops because they're small, convenient, and ready to launch their web browsers right away. Even more important, when you have a smartphone, you can access the Internet wherever you are - whether Wi-Fi is available or not.
The drawback to smartphones, however, is that their screen size is smaller than that of even the most basic laptop. On the Galaxy S8 phone, you can use the standard version of a website if you want. You can pinch and stretch your way to get the information you want. (See Chapter 2 for more information on pinching and stretching. For more information on accessing the Internet from your Galaxy S8 phone, turn to Chapter 7.)
To make things a bit easier, many popular websites offer an easier-to-use app that you can download and install on your phone. This is discussed in detail in Chapter 8. Essentially, the website reformats the information from the site so that it's easier to read and navigate in the mobile environment. Figure 1-1 compares a regular website with the app version of that website.
FIGURE 1-1: A website and the app version of the main site.
The image application on your phone helps you use the digital camera on your Galaxy S8 phone to its full potential. (It would almost make sense to call the Samsung Galaxy S8 a smartcamera with a built-in phone!)
Studies have found that cellphone users tend to snap a bunch of pictures within the first month of phone usage. After that, the photos sit on the phone (instead of being downloaded to a computer), and the picture-taking rate drops dramatically.
The Galaxy S8 image management application is different. You can integrate your camera images into your home photo library, as well as photo-sharing sites such as Google Photos and Flickr, with minimal effort.
For more on how to use the Photo applications, turn to Chapter 9.
On your Galaxy S8 smartphone, you can access your business and personal email accounts, reading and sending email messages on the go. Depending on your email system, you might be able to sync so that when you delete an email on your phone, the email is deleted on your computer at the same time so that you don't have to read the same messages on your phone and your computer.
Chapter 5 covers setting up your business and personal email accounts.
Some smartphones allow you to play music and videos on your phone in place of a dedicated MP3 or video player. On the Galaxy S8, you can use the applications that come with the phone, or you can download applications that offer these capabilities from the Play Store.
Chapter 12 covers how to use the multimedia services with your Galaxy S8 phone.
An intelligent agent
Chapter 14 explores how to use Samsung's intelligent agent called Bixby. You simply ask Bixby to take care of things for you, such as update an appointment or check for prices and Bixby will go off and do it.
Customizing Your Phone with Games and Applications
Application developers - large and small - are working on the Android platform to offer a variety of applications and games for the Galaxy S8 phone. Compared to most of the other smartphone platforms, Google imposes fewer restrictions on application developers regarding what's allowable. This freedom to develop resonates with many developers - resulting in a bonanza of application development on this platform.
As of this writing, almost two million applications are available from Google's Play Store. For more information about downloading games and applications, turn to Chapter 8.
Chapter 10 of this book is for gamers. Although your phone comes with a few general-interest games, you can find a whole wide world of games for every skill and taste. In Chapter 10, I give you all the information you need to set up different gaming experiences. Whether you prefer stand-alone games or multiplayer games, you can set up your Galaxy S8 phone to get what you need.
Your phone comes with some very nice applications, but these might not take you as far as you want to go. You might also have some special interests, such as philately or stargazing, that neither Samsung nor your carrier felt would be of sufficient general interest to include on the phone. (Can you imagine?)
Your phone also comes with preloaded widgets, which are smaller applications that serve particular purposes, such as retrieving particular stock quotes or telling you how your phone's battery is feeling today. Widgets reside on the extended Home screen and are instantly available.
Buying applications allows you to get additional capabilities quickly, easily, and inexpensively. Ultimately, these make your phone, which is already a reflection of who you are, even more personal as you add more capabilities.
What's cool about the Android platform
The Samsung Galaxy S8 is the...