While technology will never render pen and paper extinct, smartphones are becoming more prevalent on campus and Georgetown and its students take advantage of all that the latest technology has to offer.

The devices are so versatile that some are using them as laptop replacements for academic work.

“For almost six weeks, when I was between laptops, my Nokia E71 was my main computing device,” said Gaurav Mishra, the 2008-2009 Yahoo! Fellow in Georgetown’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.

Smartphones such as the E71 and the G1 feature physical keyboards that can be used for note-taking in addition to text messaging.

“I used it to read feeds, write posts, listen to podcasts, take notes during talks, manage my super-active social networking presence and even record and upload my YouTube vidcast,” Mishra said.

One of the newest of these gadgets is the T-Mobile G1 smartphone, the first device to use Google’s Android operating software.

The phone, which will launch on Oct. 22, will offer hundreds of downloadable mobile applications. These applications do not need to be approved by the manufacturer, unlike many programs offered for the iPhone.

One such program is Android, which was produced by students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and uses a smartphone’s GPS capabilities to enhance the functionality of a to-do list. For example, a student walking by Vital Vittles might be reminded by an audible alert to pick up some groceries if the location is pre-programmed into the phone.

Because Android is being offered at no cost to phone makers, the software is expected to appear on more phone models and carriers in the next year.

“The beauty and the magic of this Android platform is a very rich tool kit for third parties to write applications and then bring them to market,” said Cole Brodman, chief technology and innovation officer of T-Mobile USA.

Georgetown offers some unique applications just for the smartphones of its students. Last summer, the university’s athletics Web site, www.GUHoyas.com, became available in smartphone-friendly format for mobile Web browsing. The university also signed a license agreement in 2006 with Smartphones Technologies, a company specializing in providing mobile content, to provide downloadable content such as wallpapers for students.

Despite these offerings, some Georgetown students are hesitant to adopt the new gadget.

“While it’s intriguing, I won’t be getting one,” Jackson Dealey (COL ’08) said. “I just keep thinking of how the iPhone improved,” he said. “The cost will go down radically over the next couple of years.”

T-Mobile is selling the G1 phone for $179.99.

The G1, often dubbed the first “Google Phone,” is the latest in a long line of smartphones, devices that are becoming increasingly popular and useful on college campuses.

A nationwide survey of over 28,000 undergraduates conducted in 2007 by the EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research found that over 10 percent owned a smartphone, up from 7.8 percent in 2006.

“Not only do I love my new Nokia E71 smartphone, I am also writing this post on it,” Mishra said in a recent blog entry. “I don’t read the newspaper or watch TV, because what’s the point of reading or watching something you can’t link to?”

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