7 smartphone disasters that could happen to you

How to use your smartphone safely

Smartphone horror story No. 5: The data disaster

Talk may be cheap, but data sure isn't - at least, not when your company uses capped plans and you shatter the limit.

Blake Bookstaff of CharterJets.com depends on his business's BlackBerry to keep in touch wherever he roams. He's no data hog, though: Bookstaff has only a certain amount of data he can transfer within his company's plan. If he goes over that amount, each additional megabyte costs a pretty penny.

One month, Bookstaff noticed something strange on his smartphone: an icon indicating the device was sending and receiving data far more than it normally did. He didn't think much of it and went about his day-to-day work. Weeks later, he got wind of the month's total bill - and it practically knocked the wind out of him.

"The bill came in, and it was several hundred dollars more [than usual]," Bookstaff says. "Whatever was happening with my BlackBerry went way over my data usage allotment."

Bookstaff figures his phone started syncing data at regular intervals - something he didn't typically allow it to do. As he discovered, one tiny setting can lead to one massive charge on the corporate account.

The moral: Unless your limits are sky-high, keep close tabs on your data and minute usage throughout the month. Whether it's a mistakenly toggled setting or some unexpected international-travel surcharge, it's all too easy to stack up accidental fees and end up with a nasty surprise.

Smartphone horror story No. 6: The sleeping smartphone

Let's face it: Corporate conference calls can be pretty damn dull. So maybe it shouldn't come as a total shock that even our smartphones sometimes fall asleep midsession.

As the president of Wireless Communications Alliance, David T. Witkowski relies on his wireless phone for all of his communication needs. He regularly uses his Motorola Milestone's speakerphone to help an entire room take part in a conversation.

The problem: Occasionally, the Droid fails to wake up after its screen goes dark during a call. And because the phone doesn't have a hard-wired button to end a call, this leaves Witkowski with no easy way to hang up.

"Normally I just wait until the other person drops off, which terminates the call and clears the problem," he says.

One time, that work-around plan didn't work so well. Witkowski was in the room with some clients, chatting with their customers via his Droid. His end of the conversation concluded, and the customers asked him to disconnect so that they could continue speaking privately on their own. Unfortunately, Witkowski's phone had decided to take a little nap.

"So there I am, trying to hang up the call, and the customers are saying, 'Are you still on the line?'" he says. "Very embarrassing, especially given that I'm the president of a 4,000-member wireless industry alliance. Of all people, I shouldn't be struggling with my phone."

The moral: No piece of technology is 100 percent dependable. Sometimes, a good old-fashioned landline - or, if all else fails, a call-ending sledgehammer - can go a long way.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags smartphonesmobile phones

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Shane O'Neill

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?