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What more should a smart phone do?

There are times technogeeks just bore me. For example, about a month ago Yahoo retooled its photo site Flickr and offers a full terabyte of storage space for free. That's the ability to store pretty much every photo you can take in a lifetime and if you're selective at all you'll still have room left over.

Response from long-time Flickr users? "Who changed my website? Why did they have to do that?" Same happens whenever Facebook tries to innovate -f irst thing you get is a lot of complaints from users about the new interface. Yeesh, we all got used to the timeline, change happens.

Now comes Apple - the true innovator in the smart phone business - with a new operating system for its phone. I know a lot of farmer readers like their iPhones and they may be worried. And the technogeeks online had their field day acting as if Apple was just catching up with Android, which is ludicrous since without Apple, would there have been an Android?

We deal with new tech every day here at Farm Industry News from hybrid-changing planting technology that could really open your eyes to new ideas, to fledgling tech ideas from student engineers who will be designing tomorrow's tractors, to battles over biofuels and their use - that's our job. And our challenge is to open our eyes to the potential for this tech and help you make the most of it.

As for that Apple update - which we'll see this fall - there was a curious statistic released during Apple's World Wide Developer's Conference: turns out that 90% of Apple iPhone users have updated their devices to the newest operating system. Among Android users that number is more like 30% - so technogeeks is a hot new tech that good if the user can't keep it up to date?

Yes I have an iPhone - it's a 4s. My smart phone buying plan is to upgrade every two years and I'm on a cycle that gives me the iPhone that's the upgrade from the first-gen of the tech. For example, I didn’t buy the iPhone 3 when it was first rolled out, I got the iPhone 3GS; when the iPhone 4 came out I was ready to upgrade when the 4S was launched. And this fall when the next iPhone 5 comes out, it'll be time for me to upgrade.

In essence I'm trying to be innovative, but not bleeding edge - let someone with more time figure out if the tech fails or not. It's a strategy that has worked so far…knock on wood.

The interesting question from all this is what more should a smart phone do? They already allow us to keep in touch constantly in ways we never dreamed of five years ago. And we're never far from the answer to the tough question making every one of us a Cliff-like bar know-it-all (remember Cheers?). You can download software to track growing degree days, you track field information for later connectivity to office software and I expect more of that type of tech coming too.

If you have an idea for what a smart phone could do for your operation - or your personal life - that comment section is always open…really. Or, you can always send me an email at

What's your tech upgrade path? Raven's Viper 4 announcement this week will have current Viper owners looking at the tech. And those of you considering that kind of technology, but you haven't opened your wallet yet may want to consider it as well. Something to think about.

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