- Get your #baseball cap on! MLB Extra Innings is on free preview until May 5th. ^eo
Smartphones have gone mainstream. Need proof? More than 174-million were sold last year worldwide, up 15 per cent from 2008. They’re now in the hands of everyone from gadget lovers to newbies buying their first mobile device.
What makes a smartphone so smart?
It’s what’s under the hood. They’re mini computers in your hand, powerful enough to run software, take pictures and organize your life. Oh, and they make phone calls too.
So, you’ve taken it out of the box and powered it up. Now what? Here, in no particular order, are eight must-dos to make your smartphone that much smarter:
- Download apps: You’ve surely heard the phrase: “there’s an app for that” – referring to the thousands of applications available to iPhone users through the Apple App Store. From maps to games to diet trackers to document editors, there really is an app for almost everything. Costs range from free to more than $20. But apps aren’t just for the iPhone. There’s BlackBerry’s App World, the Android Market, Windows Marketplace and Nokia’s Ovi. You can also grab apps through the Rogers mobile site, which lets you charge apps right to your phone bill.
- Use IM: Most smartphones come with instant messaging (IM) applications built right in so continuing a G-Talk conversation away from your laptop is as easy as tapping the screen. For BlackBerry, its newest messenger program allows you to add a friend to your contact list by simply scanning a barcode generated on that person’s device. Click, scan, chat!
- Get voicemail to text: Dialing into a voice mail box is so 2000. With voicemail to text you get a transcription of the message sent to you right away so you don’t have to run out of a meeting to learn that your kid now needs to be picked up at 6:30, not 7.
- Pop on a headset: In many provinces, it’s now illegal to drive and hold a handset up to your ear. Using a Bluetooth headset takes only a few seconds and allows you to make a call during gridlock without getting a ticket.
- Send an MMS: The M stands for mucho-fast. Ok, it really stands for multimedia messaging service and it’s one of the fastest ways to share pics, vids and audio clips. Snap a pic, click on it, follow the options screen to send as MMS, type in a phone number and an accompanying message and then voila – it’s sent.
- Click shortcuts: Looking to quickly find the last number that called, send an SMS without manoevering through menus, or go to the first message in your inbox? Many smartphones have pre-programmed shortcut keys built right in to save time. Check the device manual or search online for a more robust list. Just think – all those seconds add up to minutes, which add up to hours, which add up to…
- Save battery life: There’s nothing worse than running out of juice. Some of the best ways to maximize your battery charge include: disable Bluetooth when you’re not near your headset; turn off Wi-Fi scanning; shutdown apps that may be running in the background (big drainers: streaming media players and games); turn down the screen’s backlight brightness to 60 or 70% – odds are you won’t even notice, but your battery will.
- Grab the MyAccount app: If you can measure it, you can manage it. Get real-time updates on your account balance, make payments, check talking time as well as messaging and data usage. Now available for iPhone, but if you’ve got another device you can access full account details via your mobile browser.
What did we miss? Let us know your smartphone must-dos by posting a comment below.
Richard Bloom is a regular contributor to RedBoard.