10 Uses For Your Phone That Might Make Your Life Easier
Once carried around by the majority for emergency purposes, our smartphones have essentially become small pocket computers that have more processing power than the one that took Neil Armstrong to the moon. Many small business owners can manage their entire company while sitting on the hood of their car using their smartphones.
But these devices are so expensive that it’s hard to justify buying one just so you can browse Facebook when nature calls or flip through Tinder while waiting in the checkout line at Wal-Mart. There are many ways smartphones can enrich our lives that many aren’t even aware of. Here is a list of 10 useful things smartphones can do to make your life feel a bit more sci-fi… or at least a little easier.
Don’t have a scanner available? No problem! There are multiple apps available that allow you to take a picture of your document, convert it into a PDF format, and save or send it. It’s perfect for people who find themselves constantly on the move or in meetings where documents need to be sent on the fly.
Translate Foreign Languages
A handful of years ago, we were at the mercy of translators or Rosetta Stone when visiting other countries. Smartphones have reduced the barrier significantly in recent years. Your phone can help you get your message across by recording your voice and then repeating the phrase in a chosen language. In addition, there are language apps that allow you to take photos of many written languages and immediately offer an interpretation for you to read. We’re not suggesting that learning a foreign language is useless, but you have options.
Control/Monitor your home
Home security has made significant improvements with the advent of the smartphone, not only improving in quality but price. App developers have created ways for you to keep an eye on your home or control many of the functions of your home. For example, several companies have produced light bulbs and light switches that allow you to control the brightness as well as turn them on and off. Phone-controlled thermostats are also becoming more popular, allowing you to adjust the temperature of your home in Florida while you’re visiting family in Colorado (don’t lie… everyone knows why you’re really there). Some systems will even allow you to interact with your pets while away from home, achieving a new level of closeness. Nobody’s judging. We all like our pets better than humans.
I’m sure many of you have seen the Google feature that allows you to search for the source of an image – a couple of clicks and you can identify the source of countless pictures. Your phone has that same capability. Standard apps like Google Goggles can be used to identify artwork and locations, while more specialized apps can focus on a set or collection of things. For example, Leafsnap for iOS will allow you to classify the type of leaf you’re holding, and Color Reader for Android has the ability to identify color and hue.
If you have the money to spare, you can control your car with your phone. High-end companies such as Viper offer equipment that will allow you to engage or turn off alarms, activate locks, or locate your car. Unfortunately, unless the car already comes with appropriate software, it requires an expensive install. There are also apps that can aid you in car diagnostics, for all you wrench-spinners.
Measure Distance and Speed
Ever wondered how far away something was? Wonder no longer! Now you can turn your phone’s camera into a measuring tool, allowing you to find out exactly how far away that wall is or how high that statue stands. It effectively gives you a powerful measuring tape in the palm of your hand – one that allows you to post your findings on Instagram! There are multiple apps that can also track a rate of speed so you can check out how fast your neighbor is driving in your hood.
Determine How Level an Object Is
Smartphones have the ability to sense changes in the way you’re holding it, many rotating their screen to compensate for its current angle. There are several apps that use this function to simulate a leveling tool; many allow the user to lay the phone on a flat surface and level all three dimensions at once, unlike the traditional level. Most of them even use the old-style bubble for the classically trained construction enthusiasts.
Want to know how much juice is left in those batteries? There’s an app for that. Smartphone cameras have the ability to read infrared levels, which is what most remotes use to send signals to televisions. All you have to do is point the remote at the phone’s camera lens and let it read the amount of infrared light displayed. The weaker the batteries, the weaker the infrared signal.
The QR code has been paired with the smartphone to become a standard for advertising, purchasing, and ticketing, but your phone can actually scan the barcodes you find on products you buy in the store. It’s used for several apps that allow you to compare prices with many online stores or you can use it to look over the ingredients and nutritional values for healthier eating.
Consider yourself a photographer? Want to experiment with some interesting shots? Put a drop of water on the lens of your camera and check out what the display has to show you. Examine how gross everything looks under the view of a magnifying glass. Just a drop, mind you. We don’t want a bunch of people blaming us for water damaged phones.
As phones continue to improve, other little hacks and tricks will surface, but these are a few simple ones. If you’re aware of some that may not have been listed, please let us know. We want to make our lives easier just like everyone else.