We get it, mobile phones are pretty awesome. It might seem that there's little that your phone can't do these days, from TV watching to messaging, game playing to music recognition. You can even have a semi-decent chat with your digital assistant on most new mobiles. But there are some things that your phone can do that you really might not know about at all. We're here to tell you the unexpected, so prepare to be mindblown!
Digitizing Your Photos
Got a bunch of photos lying around and don't know what to do with them? You could pay a hefty amount of cash to get them digitized and put on a disc. But why bother when your phone can do the job for you? Google's new PhotoScan app is a quick and cheap way of getting those photos online. Oh, and it's easy too.
All you have to do is download the app and follow the very simple instructions. And the results are surprisingly good. Okay, it's probably better to have an expensive scanner and all the right tech gear, but for a cheap option, PhotoScan really does do the job better than you'd believe. You'll be spending a little time doing all this (from experience, it takes about three minutes or so per photo), but PhotoScan is certainly worth a shot…
Help Cure Diseases…
No, we're dead serious here, really. Your phone can help in the fight against cancer and other terminal diseases. How? By donating the computing power of your mobile whilst you're not using it. The basic idea is that researchers need immense amounts of computational power to go through data, so some phone manufacturers allow their mobiles to “donate” power when the hand set isn't being used (like when you're asleep).
Nobody will be able to access your data, and all you need to do is get the right app and then leave your phone plugged in to charge as you doze the night away. Right now if you've got a Samsung you can download the Samsung Power Sleep app, and if you've got an HTC you can get the Power to Give App. Register, and then donate your extra power to the cause. Every little bit helps!
Send a Fax
Um, what? Yeah, faxes are so 1985, and yet there are still places that will only accept faxes rather than email attachments. So what are you to do? Easy: grab yourself a decent fax app and get to work sending those faxes direct from your phone. After all, no one wants to go hunt down a decrepit fax machine, right? Some government departments and certain privacy-conscious companies tend to be the ones that want faxes, which means you'll likely be faxing personal info. This means that it's important that you choose a solid and trustworthy app.
Some apps are going to let you send a few pages for free before charging for more, which is good if you just need to send one fax. MyFax is one of these, as is eFax, so these are both good choices for the occasional user. If you're someone who needs lots of faxes (weirdly, German companies tend to depend on faxes, so maybe you're working with Deutsche Bank or something), then go for RingCentral Fax and their affordable monthly plans.
Help Fix Your Car
OBD, or On Board Diagnostics, is pretty standard on modern cars. This means that you can take your car to a garage, the mechanic plugs in a diagnostic computer and the computer spits out any problems that your vehicle has. It's smart, easy and convenient. But what about when you want to fix your car yourself?
Investing in a cheap OBD dongle that plugs into your car (really, these are £20 or less!), and then grabbing the right app for your phone means that your phone will be able to tell you everything that's wrong with your car. Simple. So grab yourself a dongle (which isn't as dirty as it sounds…), and then download an app like Torque Pro to get started. You can even have these apps log data to your phone so that you get a record of your car's performance. Sweet.
And the Extras…
There are also some more specialised things that your mobile can do, though these generally require some (possibly pricey) accessories. These options aren't for everyone, but some people might find them worth it. What are we talking about? Just check out these options…
The Flir One Add-On is a small thermal imaging camera that clicks into the charging port of your phone. It's not cheap, but with the Flir One you can take thermal pics. These are more than just a fun new photography trick, since thermal imaging lets you do things like take pics of your windows to find out where air is leaking in. This in turn lets you seal windows properly and therefore save money on your electric bills.
There are also some great health and fitness related add ons. The Kardia Heart Health Monitor lets you perform EKG's on your mobile, so you can check your heart health (good if you might be at risk). The Skulpt Scanner lets you measure muscle mass and density (a better indicator of fitness than simple weight). And the Hidrate Spark is a mobile connected water bottle that tracks your water consumption and makes sure you're drinking enough. More of a laid back guy than a sportsman? Then check out the iBobber, a fishfinder that connects to your mobile and let's you know where those pesky fishes are hanging out so you can catch dinner…
And there's so much more! The Smartscope turns your mobile into a microscope, the BACtrack breathalyzer lets you know if you've had too many beers to get in the driver's seat. The options are incredible!
Your smartphone is certainly smart, but it's probably a lot smarter than you give it credit for. If calling and messaging just isn't enough, then try some of the above. There's an app and accessory for everyone!