Saturday, May 3, 2008

10 Things Your Mobile Phone can Do that you might not know

10 Things Your Mobile Phone can Do that you might not know

Read on some of the stuff that your cell phones can do and how to utilize them on the future.

Everyone knows you can make calls and send messages with your cell phone, but even the simplest handsets have a variety of uses. You don't need to download extra applications or purchase any accessories to use these features; rather, they exist on your phone from the moment you take it out of the box. While cell phone junkies should see nothing new here, other users may find new ways to use their cell phone that they didn't know before.

Flashlight: Drop your keys in the dark, or perhaps you need to read a map on a rural road? If your camera phone has a flash you should be able to use it as an emergency flashlight. If you can find a "steady" setting in the flash menu, your flash will remain on until you turn it off. If there is no such setting, and your phone has a camcorder option, try activating your flash while recording a video. The flash will remain active for the duration of the shoot, though keep in mind some camera phones cap recording time at just a few seconds.

Voice recorder: Many phones have this feature, but you might be surprised at just how useful it can be. Let's say your short term memory is down to a few seconds. With your voice recorder, also called an audio recorder on some handsets, you can record short notes to yourself and play them back later. It can be a great way to remember an address or a few random facts, or to record a shopping list. What's more, some recorders allow you to save your important notes for posterity.

Camera and notes: Most people know that camera phones can be useful for car accidents or fighting parking tickets, but they also can be great for shopping as well. Say you're shopping for a new gadget and you want to take home a full list of the specs for the models you're considering. Instead of using a pen and paper, you can take a picture of the product's placard and then refer to it later. This method is also useful for remembering rambling or unintuitive product names.

Google search: If you're on a trip in an unfamiliar city and you have a burrito craving, your cell phone can be a much better tool than the Yellow Pages. Google offers a free service that delivers a variety of information through text message. By texting simple queries to 466453 (or "Google" on most devices), you can find the closest Mexican restaurant in addition to things like the current weather forecast or movie show times at local theaters. Texting the name of a restaurant will give you the address and phone number, which you can then call for information or reservations.

Send a voice message: There may be times where you want to send your friend a message that's too long to send by text. Or maybe it's after 11 p.m. and you don't want to disturb him with a phone call. Some phones allow you to send voice mails directly to another phone's voice mail without actually placing a phone call.

Bluetooth file transfers: Everyone knows about Bluetooth headsets, but Bluetooth has a long list of other uses. Previously some manufacturers and carriers restricted how Bluetooth was used on their phones, but most of those limitations no longer exist. Using Bluetooth, you can transfer photos and other files off your camera phone to another Bluetooth device. The process is exceedingly easy, and it's free since you won't have to use your carrier's messaging service.

Record calls: Some handsets allow you to record your conversations. This feature may be buried under an obscure menu, and it may record only for a limited time, but it works much better than trying to use any kind of external recording device. But before you start taking cues from Linda Tripp, it's important to remember that some states require you to notify the person that you're recording the conversation.

Organizer features: Every cell phone on the market has at least a couple of organizer features. The alarm clock is one of the most useful offerings, particularly when you're traveling, and most of the time your phone does not need to be on for the alarm to sound. Other features can include a calendar, a calculator, a notepad, a world clock, a stopwatch, a countdown timer, and applications for converting currencies or units of measurement. But the best feature of all has to be the convenient tip calculator. You can punch in the total bill amount, calculate the tip, and divide the total cost by the number of people down to the last penny. Though it's not available in every cell phone, it can save a lot of drama at group dinners.

POP3 e-mail: If your phone has a Web browser, and the vast majority do, you can access POP3 e-mail accounts like Yahoo or Hotmail. The interface will be different than on a PC, and graphics may not render properly, but if you need to read an important e-mail while on the go, this is the way to do it. After opening your browser, just type in the correct link then enter your login and password as normal.

Ringtone composer: Many phones, particularly Sony Ericsson and Motorola models, allow you to compose your own ringtones. Not only does this allow you to add an extreme level of personalization to your phone, but you can avoid buying new ringtones from your carrier. You don't need to be musically gifted, but it can help.