More people embracing all technology has to offer

Thre are many different factors people consider before purchasing a mobile device, or utilizing modern technology. Some use phones, tablets and computers for entertainment or social reasons, while others choose devices which allow them to perform work related functions. Some select gadgets with little memory, while others upgrade to higher-cost units capable of holding thousands of songs, pictures and videos.

As mobile technology has advanced, so has the selection of devices and features they offer. Some have “cloud” storage capabilities, voice recognition and event fingerprint scanning for security. There are high-resolution screens and cameras, as well as different sizes and colors to fit anyone’s taste.

Catie Schultz-Fitzpatrick, merchandising sirector at Verizon Wireless in Alpena, is in charge of inventory, display and offers her expertise at other Verizon stores in Michigan. She said mobile technology is surpassing home computers. She said when a customer purchases a smartphone they do it for many reasons, least of which is to talk on it.

“I believe most people don’t use their cell phone to talk on anymore. It is for everything else.” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s for texting, checking the weather, reading email and social networking. I don’t think a lot of people even have computers or use computers anymore. Laptops and desk computers are sort of on their way out. Now it’s smartphones, tablets and phablets.”

Fitzpatrick said people of all ages are using the touch screen technology and very few are using the old flip phones. She said most customers upgrade their devices early when a new and improved model is released. Fitzpatrick said many customers are knowledgeable about what features they want in a device before they make a purchase, but some still need to be educated about what each device offers. She said the store’s staff is trained to assist customers on the phones,as well as tablets and there is media available to help compare products.

Walmart Floor Manager-Electronics Melissa Rondeau has worked at the store in Alpena for almost 16 years. She said she is taken aback at how far technology has come over that time. She said now children and especially senior citizens are purchasing gadgets to use for a variety of reasons.

“Mobile electronic with older people is a huge trend right now. In all my years I never seen that coming,” Rondeau said. “Especially with the tablets because they are easy to hold and carry and take anywhere. They are easy to use and also convenient for them as well.”

Rondeau said most customers aren’t focusing on price when they come in to make a purchase from the electronic’s department. She said they are more concerned about the components and size of the device.

“They are looking at the features first,” Rondeau said. “They are looking for front and back cameras, how much storage and is it expandable. They want to know what type of processor it has. They are looking into these things, and they worry about the price.”

In today’s mobile world having the necessary Internet and data systems widely available are important in order to be able to utilize gadgets to their fullest degree. Most restaurants now offer WiFi so customers can use their devices while eating and many retailers have created apps that allow them to promote sales, locations and contact information.

The Alpena County Library has done a lot on recent years to accommodate visitors who rely on technology of their own, as well as provides computers and networking systems to assist those who may not own an Internet device. Library Director Eric Magness-Eubank said the library is always looking for ways to incorporate technology and make library use simple, enjoyable and efficient. He said there will be some changes in technology in the coming years.

“There are always a lot of people using computers and there are cords stretched all over, so we are going to upgrade and have power plugs installed in tables,” he said. “We are also going to continue to update and utilize our apps and ebooks. We have updated our website to make it more compatible with mobile devises and I think you will see a change in ebooks in how they are presented. I think they will be much more interactive for the reader, with things like sound effects, or charts. I also believe those books will be in individual apps.”

Monday:?Pitfalls of being too connected

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at www.thealpenanews.com.