Finding a Smartphone That Works With Your Computer

These days, people don’t just buy their gadgets in a vacuum anymore. Whatever smartphone you use, you want it to work with the same apps and have all the same personal info you have on your other gadgets, like your computer and tablet.

The trouble is, every manufacturer does things differently. So while you can generally get to the same websites on every gadget, some things — like downloading important software updates — might be harder for you if you don’t pick the right one.

Here’s a look at which smartphones go best with which kinds of computers, and what sort of workarounds you can do if you get a bad match.

Android smartphones: Best with Windows PCs

Smartphones powered by Google’s open-source Android operating system are the most common ones out there. Google’s not on the best of terms with Microsoft, but then, Google doesn’t make Android smartphones; companies like HTC and Samsung do. And they, by and large, design their phones to work with the most common desktop and laptop OS, Microsoft’s Windows.

How so? Their music players are designed to sync with Windows Media Player, and the sync applications made by most Android phone manufacturers only work in Windows. These are used for things like syncing your contacts and such to your phone, and sometimes even for downloading and applying OS version upgrades. When my HTC Aria received an upgrade to Android 2.2 Froyo, for instance, the only way I could upgrade it was through a Windows desktop app.

If you keep all your contacts and music in the cloud (like through Google’s services), and your phone receives over-the-air updates, this may be less of an issue for you. Mac users can also make use of third-party apps, like The Missing Sync. Linux users will have to find workarounds, but anyone can plug their phones in and access most files manually.

iPhones: Best with Macs (and Windows to an extent)

Naturally, Apple devices work best together. Apple has actually done a better job than most Android smartphone manufacturers, though, in getting their smartphones to work with other people’s computers. You’ll need to be using Apple’s iTunes and iCloud software on your Windows PC, which may or may not be what you’d prefer to use. But they do, in fact, run on Windows. (Linux users are out of luck.)

BlackBerries: Only good for BlackBerry fans

What do BlackBerry smartphones work best with? Your hands, if they’re used to holding a BlackBerry keyboard. The Apple and Android worlds have moved on far past where the BlackBerry is, and you should only consider getting one if you’re a BlackBerry addict and none of the alternatives appeal to you.

Note: This was written by Jared Spurbeck, a Yahoo! contributor. Join the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own shopping guides.

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