Smartphones are spreading like wildfire in the market with around 40-45% of all mobile users choosing an internet connected device over a featured phone.

With many new manufacturers switching their product like to more smartphone oriented devices, the age old question arises: Is it time to upgrade to a smartphone?

There are several factors to weigh before making the upgrade, and if you finally do decide to make a smartphone your next device, which one do you choose?

Before deciding whether or not to upgrade to a smartphone, the first thing to consider is your budget.? Adding a smartphone to a mobile plan can raise it anywhere from $15-$30/month.? AT&T offers tiered data plans for $15/month which gives you a smaller amount of data which is fine for most users, and a $25/month for those data hungry users.? Verizon toyed with the idea of a tiered plan but now offers just the $29.99/month unlimited data plan.? There are rumors that they will be making the move back to cheaper tiered data plans, but we cannot confirm any pricing or data allowance rates.

To some that number can be quite daunting but it can be broken down to 50 cents or a dollar a day.? Imagine what else you are spending your money on; coffee, newspapers, magazines…many of which can be downloaded for free on your smartphone or read online from your internet connected phone.

Next is the time you will spend on your phone and the life integrations you can change with your phone.? If you upgrade to a smartphone, make sure you plan to use it for all the features it allows you.? Smartphones today are mini computers and can be your greatest weapon to manage your life.? Pay bills, check bank accounts, read your emails, make reservations, automate your house and watch your favorite shows straight from your mobile device.? It sounds scary, but this phone can become your third hand and help you deal with a lot of tasks while you are on the go.? Some like to argue that a smartphone is a huge time waster, but I say those people are not efficiently using their phone and will procrastinate and waste time no matter what they are doing!

If you are looking at a smartphone for anyone over the age of 18+, I support the upgrade so long as it will not financially cripple you.? It can absolutely help anyone become a more organized and available individual.? I would suggest shying away from upgrading anyone under the age of 18+ to a smartphone because that can become a distraction and a deterrent from more important priorities.

If you decide to make the upgrade to a smartphone, you have three main choices to choose from for your phone upgrade: iPhone, Android and Blackberry.? While there are Windows Mobile devices or other European devices, I will only touch on the big three as they still hold the largest market share.

Blackberry- Also nicknamed ‘crackberry’ for the addictive users who are glued to these devices due to their email ability.? This is the phone of choice for workaholics or employees who have time sensitive emails as Blackberry is the undisputed king of handling emails to be delivered instantly to their devices, and supports the best battery life of all the phones due to the lack of big fancy bells and whistles (mainly a large screen or support for battery intensive apps such as games).

Android: The up and coming phone operating system is Google’s Android platform.? There are numbers of devices to choose from that support the Android operating system.? While it is still behind Apple’s app store in terms of sheer volume of apps, it does offer a larger selection of free applications and is rapidly growing to overtake Apple and Blackberry’s title as the most wide spread choice for phone upgrades.? Android allows the most customization for their users and has incredible integration with Google email, maps, calendars…etc.? Phones that support Android have impressive hardware schemes, and Google’s frequent improvement to the OS make this a great choice for budget friendly smartphones who may rely on their Google products heavily.? This is a great phone for geeks and tech junkies, especially since Google is a much more freely spirited company then its competitors.

iPhone: The KING of all smartphones is still the Apple iPhone.? Whether it is the Apple logo or cult like fan base, the Apple iPhone has the largest app store with the most integration with other products such as cars, homes, speakers, televisions and other electronics.? The iPhone is a perfect balance between work and play for those users who are not glued to their emails and don’t mind up to a 15 minute delay for emails to hit their phones (unless you update it manually if expecting something).? With hardware that is still competitive with the newest Android devices, Apple allows for tight integration for Mac and Windows users and the beloved and widespread iTunes software.? The music support allows users to combined two devices into one (their iPod and phone) with a browser and finger gestures that is still second to none.? I like to recommend this to users who are looking for a no nonsense and easy setup device with large support and a wide range of apps from productivity to fun.

Give it some thought when upgrading to a smartphone.? If you trust yourself to become a more productive individual, a smartphone can help simplify and organize your lifestyle.? If you do decide to make the upgrade, make sure you hop into a mobile retailer and try out all three devices.? I would make a list of the most important priorities you look for in your phone.? Battery life and email support go hands down to the Blackberry but those looking for more fun and app supported devices should turn to an Android device or an iPhone.