So far my efforts to blossom from techno-dunce to techno-whizz have been rather cautious. First of all I made a personalised photo book, then I got hooked on music site Spotify, so every day could be a desk disco. But now I'm ramping up to the big stuff, technology-wise. And T-Mobile have stepped in to help, by letting me borrow one of their Pulse phones.
I do have a mobile phone - I'm not quite of the generation that looks at mobiles in horror and says, "Why would I turn it on? I'm not expecting a call". But it's very much secondary to the landline. Sometimes I receive texts from other parents, setting up playdates. I usually wait until I see the person to reply the old-fashioned way, via a conversation. I gather this makes me something of a dinosaur.
But T-Mobile reckon that they've got all the apps a parent could need to make life easier. So what happened when smartphone met dumb mum?
When the phone arrived, it was clear that T-Mobile had underestimated my ability to turn into a sausage-fingered idiot when faced with technology. I'm almost ashamed to admit this, but at first I couldn't even get the box open. Then my nine-year-old whipped it out of my hands and within seconds had extracted the phone, connected it to the internet and was happily using it to surf the CBBC website.
I wasn't going to be beaten by a nine-year-old. After staring at the Pulse for quite some time and randomly stroking various buttons, I managed to make a few calls, send texts, access the internet (not CBBC!), take a picture and email it. I know this is probably quite normal stuff to many of you, but to a technophobe like me it was revolutionary.
The apps for mums look like they'd be most of use to anyone planning to get pregnant. There are several you can choose from to track your periods and likely ovulation dates, and there are even little boxes to tick on days you've had sex. Do people really do that nowadays? Make appointments to get jiggy with it via their mobile phones? Crikey, conception has changed.
So as well as the Ovulation Tracker, which helps you work out when you're ovulating, there's also a Pregnancy Widget, which you can use to save pregnancy data. Then following on from that is the Baby ESP app, which enables you to record when your baby eats, sleeps and poops (ESP, y'see). This, I think, would be incredibly useful for those anxious first days with a new baby when these are the only signs you get about how things are going. For more data on feeding, there's the NursingLog, which helps you track when your baby feeds and for how long.
Another app which my children enjoyed is Doodle Kids, which would be a good way to keep them amused by drawing patterns on the screen. I can't say I'd be altogether comfortable giving a young child a mobile phone as a plaything, but this could come in very handy for those days when you're out and about and have forgotten to bring any toys. There's also StoryTime Kids Books, which plays narrated storybooks to children on the phone. And I liked the look of Cardio Trainer, which provides options for recording workouts and tracking fitness goals.
Shallow fool that I am, I also liked that the apps are downloaded from an Android Market (very Star Wars), and that the Pulse had nice curvy edges and a big clear, 3.5 inch screen. I found the keypad buttons a little small and would have liked a tippety tappy pen. But then, if my sausage fingers can work this phone, the sky's the limit for those of you with more advanced tech-savvy.
The T-Mobile Pulse is available here on both monthly and pay-as-you-go options.
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