Cellphones are quickly becoming a thing of the past, as smartphones are becoming cheaper and more accessible to millions of people around the world. It’s no longer enough for a phone to be able to call someone or send them a text—consumers expect them to do just about anything you can think of and more. The explosive popularity of apps in the past few years have helped the smartphone become the must-have tech device of our generation. The smartphone is a cellphone, but it’s also so much more than that.
So what exactly can you do with a smartphone other than call and text your friends? Let’s take a look.
1 Conversation starter
This is probably my personal favorite use of the smartphone. Whenever I’m having a conversation with someone, we’ll invariably come upon a topic or a question that neither of us knows much about. Instead of arguing about what the answers could be, I turn to my iPhone for some help. Wikipedia and Google can work wonders, especially when you’re looking for something to talk about in a crowd.
Smartphones are also amazing financial planning tools, with countless apps available to help you manage your money and maximize your savings. Apps like Mint and various bank-sponsored mobile services can make banking and money management so easy that you’ll rarely have to set foot in an actual bank to handle your finances. The best part is that these apps are secure and trustworthy, so you can manage money on the go with confidence.
Tumblr, WordPress, and Blogspot all have mobile apps meant to help a blogger get things done on the go on their smartphones. You can draft blog posts on any major blogging platform from the palm of your hand, so you don’t have to let your work suffer when you’re away from the computer. Some of the best microblogging services out there are literally designed with the smartphone in mind, so you know smartphone blogging is a smart option.
4. Photo sharing on the go
One of the standard features of a smartphone is the camera (now typically found on the front and back of the device). There are all sorts of apps that allow you to manipulate and edit your photos as you take them, so you can put a funny backdrop on a group photo or give a landscape picture a nice sepia finish. More importantly there are apps like Instagram that help you reach other photographs with whom you can share and exchange photos, regardless of where you are in the world. Welcome to the 21st century!
5. Restaurant critiquing
Anyone with a smartphone is a critic, whether they’re reviewing products on electronics sites or tweeting about how much they like or don’t like some new social media tool. I’ve found that many people use their smartphones to comment on restaurants, either in their city or while visiting another on vacation. Apps like Yelp and Urbanspoon make it easier than ever for someone to write up a quick review about a restaurant, turning them into a causal food critic.
I couldn’t even begin to estimate how many games are available for smartphones. There are addicting word games like Words With Friends, puzzle games like Bejewled, action games, fighting games, strategy games, learning games, and much more. Even classic arcade games like Pac Man and Space Invaders are available for smartphones. There’s a game for every taste and every generation, and I’ll bet you that every smartphone user has at least one that they play from time to time.
Smartphones have created as many amateur film directors as they have photographers. Apps like Clash Video Editor have completely changed the way that people can edit and polish video taken from a mere phone. It used to be the case that cellphone videos were a grainy mess that didn’t look like much of anything, but now they’re approaching professional-grade quality. I think it’s only a matter of time before some enterprising college film student or amateur director makes a great film solely with their phone. Here’s hoping!
8. Finding new music
You can also use your smartphone as a net with which to catch new tunes. There are apps that identify songs for you as you hear them playing on the radio or in a club (Shazam and SoundHound come to mind), as well as apps that help you find new music based on your tastes (Pandora, Spotify, and Grooveshark). If you really invest some time in these apps, you’ll find yourself discovering new bands, artists, and sounds like you never have before. Go on, expand your musical horizons with your smartphone.
Of course there’s online shopping to consider, too. Just about any online retailer has a mobile app to help you find easy access to their products while you’re on the phone. Amazon, eBay, and Newegg are just a few of the bigger retailers that offer intuitive mobile shopping apps, but there are so many more that specifically cater to just about any niche. Clothing, books, tech, kitchenware, movies and videogames are among the many general categories available to the ambitious online shopper. If you do shop from your smartphone, be sure to check your banking app to make sure you have the money for your purchases!
10. Learning new things
If anything, smartphones are designed to help you learn new things and become a more informed person. There are a ton of apps out there to help facilitate your mobile learning experience, from instructional apps that read like a college textbook (with just as many diagrams and loaded with educational videos) to those that offer stimulating daily facts in an easily digestible format. It doesn’t matter if you’re in college or if you haven’t cracked open a textbook in thirty years; there’s something for everybody in the vast body of educational smartphone apps, and that’s something worth celebrating.
This is a guest post by Mariana Ashley, a prolific blogger who provides web content to a number of blogs and websites. She’s most interested in providing guidance to prospective college students who wish to attend online colleges in Montana. When she’s not writing or researching online education trends, she enjoys riding her horse, George, and spending quality time with her four nieces. Mariana welcomes your questions and comments at mariana.ashley031(At)gmail(dot)com