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Wrong smartphone would be dumb move
Make sure you get the right smartphone

 The Apple iPhone 5 soon will have an app to fix its Apple Maps problem.
ERIC RISBERG/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Visit the Photo Place
Date published: 11/24/2012

SMARTPHONES can make great holiday gifts, as long as they're not a surprise. Springing a smartphone on someone without knowing what they want is not smart.

Giving someone the wrong phone is pretty much like giving a Redskins fan a Cowboys shirt, except about 100 times as expensive a blunder, including the contract.

You're all excited, thinking you're going to see your son/daughter/wife/husband/mom's face light up when you give them an iPhone 5, complete with data plan. This is going to be the best Christmas ever!

Then you hear them mutter under their breath: "What the #@*?! It's not a Samsung Galaxy S III?! Lame!" You especially don't want to hear that if it's Mom. Then they say: "Thanks! This is just what I wanted! Did you get a gift receipt?"

A friend has wanted an iPhone 5 for months. I asked him last week if he'd gotten it yet and he said, "No I have to wait till Christmas." He wasn't pouting, though. He was being a good boy.

It could be a blessing that he had to wait.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Google has just about finished a native iOS 6 maps app that will fix the biggest problem with the iPhone 5.

When Apple pushed out iOS 6 to coincide with the iPhone 5 launch, it dumped Google Maps in favor of its own. If my friend took a shortcut over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house depending on Apple Maps, it could result in his being found in the woods weeks later after the snow drifts melted.

The iPhone 5 starts at $199.

If you've been thinking about the wildly popular Galaxy S III as a holiday gift, there are a couple of things to consider.

As reported by TechCrunch, an unlocked version of the new Galaxy S III mini is now on sale on a limited basis on Amazon starting at $410, which is a pretty good deal considering that you're not locked into a two-year contract with a carrier that's subsidizing it. It can be used on either the AT&T or T-Mobile network. There were nine left Friday.

The Samsung Galaxy S III mini has a 4-inch Super AMOLED display with a WVGA resolution of 800-by-480 pixels. Its operating system is Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and it has a dual-core 1GHz chip. It's not 4G LTE capable.

There's also this: Samsung is expected to unveil the Galaxy S IV in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with a bigger, 5-inch screen with higher resolution. The Galaxy S IV may be on sale as soon as February.

That's another kind of gift surprise you really don't want.

Michael Zitz: 540/846-5163
Email: mikez@freelancestar.com