This is based on a recent conversation I had with someone from India. On an Indian festival day this person bought an Android based Samsung Galaxy 3 phone. She wasn’t exactly sure how the smart phone works, just wanted it because others have it :). I don’t know the various data plan options in India but in the US, it’s possible to pay a flat $30 or so (in addition to the voice plan) and get unlimited data plan. While it started off as unlimited, with the explosion of mobile devices the telecom companies are introducing caps, but still the limits are reasonably large for casual users.
Anyway, so it seems this Andriod phone came with an app to access Gmail and this person set up the Gmail account. It seems the Gmail app didn’t have a logout option and her concern was that it might be using the internet 24/7 which would cost a lot. Seems even after searching the Internet found that many people had the same problem without any solution. So, she reset the device and now doesn’t use the Gmail app. So much for the smart phone :).
Then I asked a simple question. Have you tried accessing your Gmail from the browser? Oops … was the answer. So, for those who don’t have a data plan and pay for each usage of the internet, the best way is to access some of the services via the browser if possible and close the browser when not needed.
With iPhone 4S released with the hope of getting even more users, hopefully the non-tech-savvy users who switch to Smart Phones understand what they are getting into and it’s something that is within their monthly budget. It’s not just a one time cost.