Smartphone Review: The HTC Incredible Makes Photos More Fun

I love gadgets.  I have had the Samsung Galaxy SIII for a couple months now and absolutely love it.  I love the camera, and the swipe text feature that drove me crazy at first but now has me texting as fast as a 13-year-old! A couple of weeks ago, as part of the Verizon Insider’s team I am on, I received the HTC Incredible to check out.  My first thought was, “…but I just got this amazing Galaxy SIII…what’s a girl to do?” So I walked into the Verizon store and activated a 5th line.  I figured it was time to move to the Share Everything plan and with a few tweaks to our acount, I walked out with the Incredible activated and our monthly bill staying the same.  Now to check it out.

Droid Incredible Review

I love cool features, and loved how you open the Droid Incredible by swiping a ring up and around a red dinosaur eye (my daughter says it is an alien eye) on the screen.  Okay, so I’m easily amused.  As I swiped through the screens I saw many familiar Android apps and features but noticed an app labled “Guided Tours.”  It was a gold mine.  This is the feature all smart phones need to help new users get familiar with their new device.  I went through the Keyboard tour to learn about auto-correct (one of the smartphone features that still gives me the most grief).  The Photos, Videos and Music tour gave helpful information on setting up playlists, ringtones and using a bluetooth device with the phone.  But where I felt like Alice in Wonderland falling down the rabbit hole, was when I discovered the Camera tutorial.  There were treasures that delighted me AND my tech-savvy 16-year-old Schrecklet who totes the iPhone 4s.

Not only did we review the basic features of the 8-megapixel camera, but we learned how you can take awesome group shots by selecting Group Portrait before you snap the photo.  The camera takes several shots and merges them together for the best outcome! No more photos with dad’s eyes half closed.  We learned that when you are ready to take a photo of someone, select Portrait and it has an auto smoothing feature for skin-tone. BRILLIANT!  We then found our favorite feature…Recording Videos in Slow Motion! We spent the next hour taking videos of everyone and everything in motion and laughing hysterically as we watched them back (remember I said, I am easily amused!)

There were lots of other tutorials about how to connect my Droid Incredible to my computer, how to set up the mobile hot-spot (tethering feature), but I  knew how to do all of that…I was off to record another video of the dog shaking water off himself in SLOW MO!

The HTC Droid Incredible is truly incredible.  With its small 4.6″ x 2.3″ size (compared to my Galaxy SIII) and nearly 8 GB of built-in memory, this is a feature-packed smartphone that even has voice-to-text capability and comes with an FM radio app.  Now my biggest challenge will be which phone becomes the back up?  What’s a girl to do?

@GinaSchreck

Tools For Living A Social and Mobile Life

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How does one juggle all the social sites they are on as well as manage to get any other work accomplished?  I know for myself, I could not survive being a mother, wife, business owner and main marketer for our company without being able to work on the go.  I live completely mobile. I can truly work from anywhere–and have held virtual meetings while sitting in my car in parking lots, attended client review calls while at the airport, and I write blog posts and create video pieces from anywhere I can whip out my iPad.  Answering tweets or capturing a great photo and posting immediately to Facebook for our business is a snap with the right mobile tools.

To survive the sheer amount of information we consume and contribute to, we can either chain ourselves to our desks for the next 87 years or we can make sure we have the tools in place to live a joyfully mobile life. So if you ask me, “Which is the most valuable mobile tool you have?” I would want to say my Galaxy S3 phone that allows me to use the mobile hotspot through Verizon and get a team of people on my own network, but then I would have to add my iPad that runs off that mobile hotspot from my car, near or far, in a train and in the rain, in a box with a fox and …okay you get it. I can work from ANYWHERE! I have hundreds of apps on that iPad that allow me to check website analytics in real time, blog to WordPress while sitting on top of a 14 thousand foot peak in Colorado, post tweets, Facebook updates or LinkedIn messages using Hootsuite, or entertain 8 year olds with my favorite game, Max and the Magic Marker. Apps like Dropbox allow me to access my documents, and with Sign-n-Send I can open and sign a contract before sending it back, no printing, scanning or pens needed.

working mobile, social media, living mobile

However, there are some key pieces that allow me to be successfully mobile that don’t get talked about as often. They are the tools that make the magic happen, like SUPER SPEED internet service, phone service that allows me to take calls from home or forwards them to my mobile where ever I am. They are tools that may not seem as sexy to some, but they work seemlessly so you don’t spens your time frustrated with great gadgets that don’t do what you need them to do.

I switched to Verizon Wireless almost a year ago because I needed a service that could provide a family of data-hogs with a plan that made sense while allowing me to work from as many locations as possible.  I needed reliable service for work and home.  I was asked a few months ago to join a cool team of Verizon customers to help evaluate some of the cool products and services coming out, and that is when I discovered the FIOS products that can make any home SMART!  FiOS offers super fast internet, that’s  more reliable (I cannot afford to have my internet down, EVER), crystal clear digital voice service for home and office phones, and amazing digital TV products that not only bring an awesome picture quality but continue to add features that make our televisions more social. Being a tech enthusiast, I love all the new innovative products that are rolling out through Verizon with a big focus on living and working mobile.  With the FiOS app on your iPad or mobile phones you can listen or watch programs on the go, turn on lights in the house while you’re gone.  I need the video monitoring service to check and see if that pesky bear is tearing up my bird houses again, or more practically, if it is the UPS or FedEx delivery truck at the gate before I get up from my desk.  These are just a few of the smart features that allow me to get more work done in an ever shrinking span of time.
mobile business smarthome living mobileSo to live and work successfully mobile, you need a smart phone and/or tablet that allow you to get everything done that you could if you were chained to your desk AND you need a back end system that supports that ALWAYS ON lifestyle.

So if you are struggling with finding the right tools to live the mobile life, or if you have wondered if it’s worth the investment to buy that smartphone or tablet, I would recommend making a list of daily tasks that keep you chained to that desktop and then evaluate which tasks could or could not be performed away from your desk.   The next time you are stuck for 20 minutes waiting for your doctor to call you in, or you are waiting at that soccer practice that was supposed to end half an hour ago, you will realize the value of working wonderfully mobile! A delayed flight is now super productivity time and a cancelled client appointment becomes great quiet time to work at the coffee shop down town.  With the right tools you can stay social everywhere you want to be!

What tools help you live successfully mobile?  What are the things that keep you chained to the desk?

@GinaSchreck

6 Steps To Help Social Start At The Top

SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL BUSINESS

This morning I walked in to meet with the leadership team of a new client, and the President started with, “I don’t even understand all this tweeting and Facebook stuff, so you will have to work with these guys” (pointing to the 2 marketing managers). While this is not uncommon, and it is no easy task to make an organization SOCIAL, it is UNACCEPTABLE to know nothing about the biggest shift in business since the steam engine!  (Click to Tweet) You don’t have to be an expert on e-commerce, to log in to your site and try it out so you understand how the customer experiences your brand. You don’t have to be a professional assistant to know how to type a document or start a spreadsheet and you don’t have to be a social media guru to create a Twitter account and see what all the chatter is about.

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Social Media Has Changed Business

The challenge most businesses have with social media, is they lock it in the marketing department and no one else understands what goes on. (Click to Tweet)  As a matter of fact, most Community Managers (those who manage the daily activities involved with promoting and nurturing the social presence) will tell you that people outside their own team, have no idea what they do and some make comments like, “So you just play on Facebook all day? Wow, it must be nice.” That’s what my own family member think, so I understand!

Every part of the business has to understand social, since every part of the business interacts with customers and potential customers–either on the job or off.  (Click to Tweet)  While that is a subject for another post, it has to start at the top!

Social Service Business Media Marketing Hotel Restaurant

Here are 3 baby steps to “Start Social At the Top”:

  1. Have the leadership team (including executives) create accounts on Twitter. They don’t have to tweet anything–let them be TWATCHERS for awhile-watching and listening to what goes on in your industry and others’.  There are quite a few executives on Twitter to watch and learn from.  (Click to Tweet)
  2. If your business is one that uses geolocation tools such as Foursquare, have your leaders sign on and check in somewhere.  They don’t have to become the Mayor of their local Starbucks, but by “playing” they can see how others use the tools to review a business and share tips. (Click to Tweet)
  3. Does your business receive customer reviews on Yelp or TripAdvisor?  A leader should become familiar with these important sites as well.  Create accounts and actually post a review after dining somewhere or traveling. (Click to Tweet)

Are you ready to take social to that next level?  Here are 3 tips for those more adventurous Social Leaders:

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  1. Become one of the corporate spokespersons. Why not share opinions on current events from behind the iron curtain. Authenticity is attractive.  Who doesn’t enjoy seeing the news coming from the top?  (Click to Tweet) Sure there are dangers with having executives put their thoughts out there for permanent record, but like any media, perhaps some training and a few guidelines are in order. (Click to Tweet)
  2. Be real. It is wonderful when you read that the executive left her briefcase on the roof of the car after dropping kids off and had someone point it out at the light. You can totally relate (okay–so maybe only I relate to that one). Executives can become REAL to the consumers they serve on Twitter. Again, have some guidelines in place to ensure “some sharing” doesn’t become “OMG-She said WHAT”. (Click to Tweet)
  3.  Stay awhile. Tweeting up a storm at a conference and then hibernating for 6 months is not a good social practice.  While tweeting 10-20 times a day is not necessary, a few times a week consistently is a wonderful practice.  (Click to Tweet) 

Do you know a leadership team doing social right?  Do you think social media belongs at the top?  I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas to help social thrive at the top!

@GinaSchreck