Should I Upgrade to a Smartphone?

Michael C. Jones
Yahoo! Contributor Network

Smartphones have changed the framework of American culture, and to those of us who use them, we can't imagine life without. Simply put, if you don't have one yet, you're missing out on a great deal of productivity and excitement. Here are five reasons to upgrade to a smartphone.

Most people have cell phones. However, so much of everyday life nowadays includes the integration of smartphones. In major metropolitan areas, for example, QR Codes have become part of advertisers' method of getting coupons to the masses. In areas where mass transit is common, schedules and rates are often available on simple apps.

Productivity is another important consideration when looking at how a smartphone can make your life easier. Business professionals rely on them to stay connected on the go - it makes traveling much easier in terms of staying on top of projects, emails and managing logistics. Most devices have a calendar that will allow users to schedule reminders, make to-do lists, and prioritize tasks, much like the most common computer productivity software.

Parents on the go will also appreciate the ability to stay on top of their kids' busy schedules. Many applications also give parents tools to keep track of their children - literally. With GPS integration, smartphones have become very useful at providing solutions for child and teen safety. In terms of driving safety, there are even some applications that can track the speed of a car, which can be a valuable tool for parents of teen drivers.

The entertainment value of these devices is priceless. Gone are the days when waiting in line at the DMV used to be a chore. Now, it can be a time to catch up on a favorite television show, listen to music or even play some innovative games that exist for these devices. Fortunately, the entertainment doesn't stop there. There are applications that haven't been thought of yet that are sure to revolutionize the mobile industry and make them even more entertaining.

Information is perhaps the most powerful advantage of owning a web-enabled device. Being connected to the web on the go means that a world of information is at your fingertips. Whether you're finding a nearby restaurant, learning a fun fact about somewhere you happen to be visiting or simply fact-checking a point that comes up in casual conversation, information is available faster than anyone ever would have thought possible.

These are simple reasons, and I'm certain current users user would agree with each point above. So what is the first step in getting one? First, consider trading your old phone in for credit. Stores like RadioShack provide a great opportunity to jump into the smartphone game at a relatively low cost via trade-in programs. Take the plunge and get one soon - you will be happy you did.