Smartphones are so useful for one primary reason: Their versatility. When most people first get a smartphone, they tend to focus on the included apps or try out a few games they’ve heard of. However, many don’t realize just how much they can really do with there phones. In this post, we outline a few ways your smartphone is more useful than you probably imagined.
Alternative Communication Options
Standard phone calls and text messages remain popular on smartphones. However, those who haven’t yet explored video chatting might want to give it a shot, as seeing the person you’re talking to can make a conversation more engaging. Included voice chat apps on smartphones can be useful, but also consider using Skype or other third-party apps that might include features not found on default apps. Google Hangouts and other problems also enable easier multi-party communication, which can make planning with multiple people far more convenient. Audio messages and various drawing-based communication apps can also serve as fun additions to your smartphone.
Make sure to check out pricing options, as third-party apps might, in some cases, be more expensive than integrated communication tools. Also, be aware of the difference between WiFi data and mobile data. In some cases, apps, especially those that rely on video, can consume a significant amount of mobile data, potentially leading to overage charges.
Gaming With Friends
The versatility of smartphones enables a new way to make the most of your device: Combining gaming and communication. Words With Friends is perhaps the most popular example of this phenomenon, and the laid-back nature of the game can make it easier to bond with friends and family even if you’re located across the country. Try out a broad range of games, as you never know which one will click with your contacts.
One of the best parts of mobile gaming is its accessibility. Although an older relative might not be interested in modern video games, many are likely familiar with classic board and card games. If you have a relative who enjoys rummy, chess, or nearly any other traditional game, there’s almost certainly a smartphone app that allows you to connect and play.
When it comes to learning, flashcards have long been a cornerstone. Learning some topics requires rote learning, and flashcards are a proven tool for ensuring you know the basic facts you need to succeed in class and in the real world. Fortunately, various flashcard apps provide a convenient way to spend some time learning across a range of fields. During our daily lives, we often find ourselves waiting, and smartphone flashcard apps offer a convenient way to make the most of free time.
Flashcard apps often provide online storage capabilities, so you can access your flashcards anywhere you have internet connectivity and share them across multiple devices. Furthermore, many programs also let you select flashcards other users have created, letting you explore various topics and learn new subjects. Applications can also track your progress, and some space out how often cards are displayed to maximize the user’s ability to retain this information.
It can sometimes feel like life is a constant battle to stay organized, and our lives are only becoming more complex as time passes. Although using a notepad can help create to-do lists and other organizational tools, smartphones provide a simple and convenient interface. It’s worth taking time to explore various options before settling on an organizational tool; Evernote, for example, offers a wide range of features, but some users might prefer a simpler tool.
Whatever you choose, however, being able to access your to-do information regardless of where you are can help you remember important tasks and avoid feeling overwhelmed. If you also use your computer for staying organized, look for apps that integrate with your existing programs. Integration with calendar tools, in particular, can serve as powerful combination for planning your day. Automatically setting alarms can also help you avoid missing out on important deadlines.
Smartphone keyboards are great for writing text messages, but they tend to fall short when it comes to typing longer documents. However, simple Bluetooth keyboards can be used on all popular smartphones, and they bring the speed and comfort of keyboard typing to smart devices both large and small. Portable keyboard are easy to carry in a backpack or purse and take up less space than even the smallest laptops available, and they typically offer excellent battery life. Furthermore, smartphones offer mobile connectivity, letting you connect to cloud-enabled office suites regardless of your location.
Although laptops are still useful for many people, consider keeping a Bluetooth keyboard for impromptu typing sessions. When comparing keyboards, look for one that feels comfortable for your hands; a keyboard that’s too small might not be much better than using an on-screen keyboard. Many apps allow you to use a keyboard, but this support isn’t universal. Ensure your target apps can be used with a keyboard.
Most people know that popular streaming apps, including Netflix and YouTube, are available on smartphones, but many don’t know that their devices can also stream content to televisions. Some devices can be connected directly to a television through specialized cables, providing easy access to gaming and watching video on a large screen. More popular, however, are devices such as Chromecast, which let you select a video and send it wirelessly to a screen. These devices are cheap and are each to connect with televisions that have an available HDMI port.
When away from home, smartphones and tablets can also work well as entertainment hubs. Consider trying out cases or stands that let you prop a device up so you don’t have to hold it, and consider investing in a pair of headphones so you can comfortably watch video while in public places. Remember, however, to keep an eye on mobile data usage if there isn’t a WiFi connection available.
No smartphone can match the fidelity of a high-quality modern digital camera, but modern devices provide shockingly good resolution and offer a distinct advantage: You’ll almost always have your mobile device on hand when you want to take a picture. Furthermore, the fundamentals of photography are the same regardless of what device you’re using to take pictures, so reading up on the art of photography can help you take excellent photos for yourself or to share with others.
When picking out a phone, learn about what cameras your devices offer. A growing number of phones now use multiple lenses for creating pictures, but they often use these lenses for different purposes. In addition, note that offering a higher-resolution image doesn’t necessarily mean that the phone will provide better pictures, so make sure to do a comparison. Fortunately, nearly all higher-end devices and most mid-tier devices offer excellent cameras, as do many lower-cost phones.
Whether you consider yourself an experienced artist or if you’re just curious about doodling, your smartphone’s artistic capabilities likely exceed your expectations. Touchscreens on modern devices offer far better accuracy than earlier smartphones, especially on devices that support a stylus. Studies have consistently shown that expressing yourself artistically has a number of benefits, and being able to pull out your phone or tablet whenever you have a few free moments can help you relax and explore your creative side.
Again, it’s worth exploring various apps for your phone, as some people are better served by simpler apps while others might prefer more complex features. It’s also worth thinking about artistic ambitions when shopping for a phone, as a higher resolution can help you create more detailed images. In particular, consider stepping up to a device that comes with a stylus, as the greater accuracy they can provide can enable you to try out new artistic styles.
Standalone e-readers are popular devices, but all popular online bookstores offer apps on smart devices, letting you access your books wherever you’re located. These books can typically be stored on your device, letting you access them even when mobile connectivity is not available. Smartphones all have backlit screens, so you can read even if it’s dark outside, and touch screens make it easy to change pages.
Take your time when exploring various shops for buying online books. Not all bookstores offer the same books, so make sure the types of material you’re interested in are available. Find out if you can copy books to other devices, as you may want to switch to an e-reader at some point in the future. Also, take time to explore various app features, as knowing how bookmarking works can change how you read and identify information you want to recall in the future.
Many people rely on radio for entertaining while driving to and from work, and talk radio is especially popular. Smartphones provide a great alternative: Podcasts. Few people have to opportunity to get into radio, as there simply aren’t enough stations available. Podcasts require only a microphone and simple sound editing software, so there are countless podcasts available. No matter what topic you’re interested in, there’s likely a podcast available. Although nonfiction podcasts are more common, check out various fictional podcasts, many of which bring back the long-forgotten radio dramas and radio plays of the past.
Most podcasts have websites with download links. However, podcast managers offer excellent convenience, as they make searching for new podcasts easier. They also let you automatically download episodes, so you can listen to downloaded content even when you don’t have an internet connection available. Although many podcasts run short ads, almost none have as many as typical radio stations. Speaking of radio stations, your favorite shows might be available in podcast form, letting you catch up on content you couldn’t listen to at first.
More and more offices are now relying on the concept of the cloud, and many popular cloud platforms have interfaces available for mobile devices. The modern office is increasingly requiring workers to perform certain tasks while away from the office, and smartphone apps might provide a means to log in and perform work without having to pull out a laptop or head home.
Additionally, cloud-based platforms often offer web-based interfaces, letting you connect with any device that runs a web browser. For people who work with clients outside of an office setting, being able to load and enter information in a browser can lead to more efficient work. Many of these tools are great for small businesses, so if you own or work for one, explore options to see if a cloud platform can give you an edge on your competitors.
Interact With Connected Devices
The Internet of Things has skyrocketed in popularity, and a growing number of devices can now be controlled over networks or even the internet. If you’re looking to upgrade part of your home, check out if there are connected options available. Digital doorbells, in particular, have gained some popularity, as they let you view a video feed if someone is outside of your home, and they provide a way to talk to people delivering packages.
Another option to consider is home automation tools. Programmable heating and cooling systems let you lower your bills, and connected options let you make changes no matter where you are. If you’re stuck at work, for example, you can change the time your heating or cooling comes on so your home is comfortable when you arrive. Being able to control your home’s lighting can be useful as well, as setting your lights to come on at certain times can discourage would-be burglars from targeting your house.
Smartphones are nearly ubiquitous now, and studies show that the number of people who don’t use them will continue to fall in the coming years. However, their ability to run powerful software sometimes goes unrecognized and nearly all users will likely be surprised to find out just how much they can do with their devices. Fortunately, most these advantages are available for devices at all price points, so load up your app market and check out how your phone can improve your day-to-day life, spur your creativity, or help you connect with others.
If you need some help, visit your nearest Telstra Shop in Melbourne to learn more about what your smartphone can do.
TelcoWorld Corp. – Known as Beltz's Mobile Phones & Repairs Moorabbin