Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Are you updated or outdated?

Most Android and iPhone users know that the real value of their smartphones lies in the Apps.  The App Stores make a smartphone a handheld computer that also makes phone calls.  Otherwise, the device is a phone that can do some cool things.

Many people, though, don't understand what they are really doing when they download an App.  Many of you can recall when you purchased software that came on a CD (for some of us a floppy disk or even reel tapes, yep, we installed software from tape).  You would load that software on your computer and you used it.  In many cases, you never updated the programs until you bought a new version of it and loaded a new CD.  To get an update often involved a process handled by a technician or another CD. That process is happening now using a download from thin air when you install Apps on your smartphone.

There is a major difference between those old installations and the new ones, besides the obvious "thin air" magic involved.  These applications are connected to the Internet any time your device is connected.  The Internet connection means you are connected to the entire world.  Most people don't envision the device in front of them could, technically, be connected to some kid's bedroom in Siberia or a crime ring network in China.

Applications today must stay up-to-date to handle the constantly changing technology and security requirements.  You may be loading an update that just fixes a bug when you tap a special spot on the screen or you could be loading an update that fixes a security flaw.  Yes, there are some bad updates that get loaded.  But, overall, you are much better off loading updates regularly than not at all.

We find so many smartphones loaded with Apps that never get an update loaded until there is a complete reset or someone like us comes along and takes care of it.  Kardon Tech clients are able to let us take care of keeping their Windows servers and Windows computers applications up to date automatically.  We will eventually be able to do that with your smartphones, but not yet.  Until then, everyone should take the need for updates seriously and update weekly.  If not weekly, how about at least once a month, please.

The update process is different for each OS.  They don't automatically update the apps for you.  There are many discussions on the pros and cons of doing that, but, for now, you have to manually request all your updates.  Here is a good article on running the updates for both iPhone and Android devices.  Windows Phone also has a Marketplace.  You can update the apps you install from there following the instructions here.

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