Although smartphones are popular, not everyone has made the switch, and many people still use traditional flip phones and other mobile devices. Those who still aren’t using smartphones, however, are missing out, and rapid smartphone development means they stand to miss out even more. Learning how to use a smartphone is becoming increasingly important in many fields, including business and education. By making the upgrade, you can ensure that you stay on top of these important developments. Here are a few of the things smartphones can do besides making calls and a few reasons why it’s time to make the jump.
GPS systems are ubiquitous on smartphones, and these tools help you locate where you are with a few simple taps. If you’re a fan of hiking or spending time outdoors, smartphones can serve as valuable safety tools, ensuring you can find your way if you become lost. Drivers can also take advantage of GPS navigation tools to spend less time looking at maps or searching for road signs and more time focusing on the road and staying safe. Bicyclists can similarly use navigational aids to avoid getting lost or distracted while en route.
Mapping programs also help you determine the best way to arrive at your location, and interactive maps help you find out how long it will take to arrive at a destination. Load up a map while on the bus, train, or airplane to find out how close you are to your destination and to look for upcoming landmarks. If you’re traveling in areas where internet connectivity isn’t available, several programs also offer map downloads, letting you take full advantage of your GPS capabilities while in remote locations.
These navigation tools are especially useful for travelers. When you arrive at an unfamiliar destination, you can quickly locate nearby restaurants and other important locations. Find the best way to get to your hotel when you arrive at a transportation terminal, and consider using taxi-like services to book a ride to your destination in seconds. Getting lost in an unfamiliar city can be unnerving, but navigation capabilities ensure you feel safe.
Stay in Touch
Although flip phones and other older phones enable voice calling and text messaging, they provide a more limited interface. Emoji, both included on smartphones and via third-party apps, are ubiquitous in text messaging, and those without smartphones risk missing out. Furthermore, smartphones provide virtual keyboards that make entering messages quick and easy. Smartphones even provide voice-to-text functionality, letting you compose messages without using the on-screen keyboard. For times when your eyes are otherwise occupied, you can have your phone read your messages to you using text-to-voice functions. Hands-free calling and answering also provides convenience by letting you avoid manually navigating through your contacts directory.
Smartphones are also great tools for taking advantage of social media. Log on to Facebook to keep up to date with your friends and family members, and use the platform’s search functionality to meet up with people you’ve lost contact with in the past. To keep up with news and online trends, consider making a Twitter account to browse information when you have a free moment. Tumblr, Pinterest, and other popular platforms also provide robust apps, making them easy to load when you don’t have access to your desktop or laptop.
You can also use internet-based phone programs that save your minutes or let you communicate internationally without looking up country-based phone rates. These systems can provide high-fidelity communication across long distances, and some programs even offer video chatting capabilities. While voice communication is great for keeping in touch, being able to see the face of the person you’re talking with can make you feel even closer.
Better Productivity at Work
Communication is key to nearly all jobs, and smartphones offer an unprecedented way of staying on top of your communication. Voice-to-text voicemail lets you read messages without listening through your inbox, saving you time. Smartphones also provide sophisticated apps for multi-party voice communication, letting you interact with conference calls without having to use a third-party service. You can even disable certain calls during certain hours, letting you turn off incoming business calls when you’re finished for the day.
Email runs many industries, and your smartphone allows you to keep up with email at all times. Search for past messages to locate information, and set up work folders to keep your inbox better organized. Virtual keyboards let you send responses quickly, helping you stay on top of communication even if you’re away from home or the office. For writing longer emails, consider using a Bluetooth keyboard, which offers the convenience of desktops and laptops.
Increasingly, businesses are turning to cloud-based providers. These platforms ease intra-office communication, and they allow for better collaboration. Many of these platforms use browser-based interfaces, making them easy to access using any device with modern browser support. When you have a smartphone, you can use these platforms, letting you access information and get work done regardless of your location. Make sure you’re able to keep up with the modern office by arming yourself with a smartphone.
Almost everyone has some down time, and smartphones provide convenient access to virtually limitless entertainment options. If you’re a fan of reading, your smartphone can serve as an e-reader, letting you read through a large library without having to carry around books. Use browsers to access news and entertainment, or load sports apps to keep up with recent scores and to catch some video highlights.
Smartphones are also great for those who love television, movies, and the burgeoning field of online video. Transform your time on public transit into a time for relaxing by using popular video streaming services and headphones, or find channels that cater to your interests on YouTube. You can even sync your smartphone to your television, letting you watch videos on your home monitor or television using an adapter cable or by sending information across your network. Some services even let you save videos for offline playback, making long treks through remote areas a bit more entertaining.
Even if you don’t think of yourself as a gamer, you might find games on your smartphone to be a great way to unwind. If you’re a fan of solitaire, explore the many solitaire apps to play a game when you don’t have space available. Most board games, including chess and other traditional games, have many apps to choose from, letting you play against a virtual opponent. You can even play against human opponents, letting you enjoy a game against a friend or against others from around the world. Don’t be afraid to try out modern smartphone games as well; you might be surprised at what you like.
Photography and Video
Smartphones come with high-quality cameras built in, and these cameras ensure you can always take a photograph when you want. If you come across a particularly beautiful sunset, for example, having a smartphone ensures you’re able to capture it forever. Smartphones also let you capture text-based content with a few taps, ensuring you can make an impromptu copy of important documents if needed. If you’re out shopping and want to ask a contact about a particular product, snap a picture and send it.
Photography is an art, and having a smartphone lets you try out your artistic side. Thanks to their internal memory, smartphones let you take hundreds or thousands of pictures without having to purchase new film. Sync your favorite photos to your computer or to online services to preserve them, and consider trying out online photo-sharing sites to share your photographs with friends or with the world. Even if you own a high-quality camera, having a camera with you at all times is tremendously convenient.
You aren’t limited to static images with smartphones, as modern devices feature robust video capabilities as well. Document important events permanently by loading your video app, and enjoy the small size of smartphones, which makes them easy to point and shoot for extended periods of time. Use the front-facing camera on your smartphone to shoot a video blog, or purchase a simple tripod for steady shots. Specialized apps even provide even more versatility. Use time-lapse photography to capture lengthy weather events and other phenomena.
Smartphones function as powerful devices on their own, but they can also work in conjunction with other devices to do even more. Home automation is becoming popular, and for good reason: Automation helps you save on electricity, and it gives you the peace of mind of knowing you’re always in contact with your home. Turn off the lights when you’re away from home using your smartphone by installing smart wiring, or control the heating and cooling to ensure you’re not using your system when it’s not needed.
Home security systems often provide smart interfaces as well, giving you instant alerts if your security system sends out a warning. Modern systems often let you access cameras in real time, letting you check on your children when you’re away. You can even lock or unlock your doors remotely; check your camera if someone rings your doorbell and unlock your door if you recognize who it is.
In addition to providing real-time interaction, smart home systems often let you configure them using a smartphone app. Set your heating and cooling schedule using your smartphone, or set your cooling system to kick in at a particular time to keep your home comfortable when you arrive from work. You can even schedule your coffee maker to turn on at a specific time, ensuring you have a fresh pot ready when you wake up.
While many people focus on the entertainment and communication aspects of smartphones, they’re also great tools for learning. Download tutorial programs to learn new information or skills, or use flashcard-based programs to make memorizing information simple. Download instructional manuals to make your smartphone a valuable reference tool, and use domain-specific applications to search for and retrieve information instantly.
Online educational opportunities are also making it easier to use smartphones to learn than ever before. Video lectures, for example, can replicate the in-class experience and let you view information when it’s most convenient for you. Rewind if you’re having trouble understanding a particular part of the lecture, or set the playback speed to a higher setting to quickly review lectures while studying. Online schools often offer forums and other internet-based tools to help students study, and smartphones give you access to these portals.
Insight doesn’t always strike when you’re on a computer or have access to a pen and paper. When you have a smartphone, you can always jot down a note. Use the microphone to create a voice memo, or even create a quick video if visual information is important. Audio recording also helps you create notes when talking with someone, and many instructors let their students take audio recordings of their lectures, so students don’t have to take thorough notes while listening.
Exploring Virtual Reality
Virtual reality has captured a lot of attention lately, and for good reason: Technology is finally arriving and making the 80s vision of virtual reality possible. However, standalone virtual reality devices are expensive and require powerful computers to function. Because smartphones offer such high resolutions, they can provide an immersive experience by attaching a simple headset with appropriate lenses. These devices are fairly cheap and are easy to set up. The 3D effects these tools provide can give you a compelling sense of movement, and they provide methods of visualization not possible with standard monitors and smartphone screens.
Smartphones can also provide augmented reality. These programs use the phone’s camera to view images and augment them with other information. When touring a new area, augmented reality lets you know the names of buildings and other landmarks as you explore. Furthermore, augmented reality can create new types of games, and they can augment your workout to make it more engaging while tracking how far you’ve traveled.
While virtual reality is still new, it’s found its way into many fields. Filmmakers are exploring ways of making their movies more engrossing, and game developers are using it to provide a unique experience. Educational entities are particularly interested in what virtual reality has to offer, as the interactive nature of virtual reality can make information easier to learn and more exciting. When you have a virtual reality-capable smartphone, you can stay at the forefront of these developments and enjoy finding out how companies are using this new technology.
Enjoy Web Programs
Increasingly, companies are moving their software online. While using a graphical design program or office software used to entail installing a standalone program, users today can use any modern browser to access powerful tools. Although much of the focus on these programs has been on desktops and laptops, smartphones offer the same functionality, letting users run these programs while on the go. By upgrading your flip phone to a smartphone, you can take advantage of these programs.
In addition to offering powerful features, online programs also let you store information on the provider’s servers, so you can retrieve it on all of your devices. Even if you plan to do most of your work on a laptop or desktop, being able to retrieve and modify this information using your smartphone provides unprecedented convenience.
Your smartphone isn’t limited to its screen size and input methods. Using wireless technology, you can connect a keyboard and mouse. Furthermore, there are various methods of attaching your smartphone to a television screen or computer monitor. Because of this, you can take full advantage of web programs. If you travel frequently, web programs might allow you to leave your laptop at home and simply bring along a few portable tools to transform your hotel television set into a powerful workstation.
Smartphones represent a significant change from older mobile phone technologies, and some people are reluctant to move past devices that have served them so well in the past. However, the power and convenience of smartphones make them valuable devices for everyone, and it’s becoming increasingly important to know how to use a smartphone to keep up at work or school. Fortunately, smartphones are designed to be easy to use, and the transition from flip phones to smartphones isn’t as frightening as many imagine. With so many models available, there has never been a better time to make the switch. Visit one of your local Telstra Shops in Melbourne today.
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