Smartphones. What can you do with them?

So you have a smartphone.  Be it Android, Apple or Windows Phone 7.  Or some other platform.  Now what?

Smartphones are becoming more and more popular, as they become cheaper to produce and more popular, and people are following their friends and buying something similar to them.  Now, this isn’t a post about the differences between the platforms, I’m not even remotely going there as I believe in each to their own.  I am writing this as an Android enthusiast however.

So now you have your shiny new bit of tech, what can you do with it?  Some people like just to text and call, some treat it as an extension of a PC.  Well, I hope here to explain some of the ways you can use your new bit of technical wizardry?

The basics:  Yes, you can make calls.  And you can send texts.  But don’t think for a moment that you are stuck with the apps that came with your phone.  You can get different diallers for calls that arrange your contacts in a different way.  For texting, you can go with GoSms, Chomp, Handcent… find what works for you!

Internet:  Yes you CAN browse the net on your phone.  I do it all the time, in fact, I use my phone more than my laptop as I don’t have to fire the phone up, and sometimes its just a quick bit of info that I’m after.  Also, you really, really don’t have to stick with the browser that comes with your handset.  To name but a few, Firefox, Opera mini and mobile, Skyfire, Dolphin.. all bring a different twist and different features.  And some,  and whisper this quietly in case Google are listening, have bookmark folders…

Apps:  I’m sure you have all heard of the sensation that are apps.  They are everywhere, from the rude, to the fun, to informative, to extremely geeky.  You can also access them through your laptop or pc too at the various appstores (or marketplaces or whatever the manufacturers like to call them). So stock up on them, try them, play with them and see what you like!

Internet content:  So your handset comes with facebook.  Have you ever thought that there can be other ways to access your facebook feed?  Or are you a twitter user (a lot of CoolSmartPhone guys are on there!).  Have a look at Tweetdeck, Foursquare, Tweetcaster, Seesmic etc etc… go on, give them a twirl!

Music: Yes you get a music player with your handset.  Its ok, but again, ther are other options.  Doubletwist, Poweramp, Winamp…  and there are music streaming options.  Ever though of Spotify?  For a tenner a month (or free on certain 3 plans) you can download all the music you want.  And they have a free option.  Moreover, there is Amazon music, and Google music coming soon.  Physically owning music?  Soooo last century…

Maps.  at a recent stag night, I counted half a dozen Android phones and an iPhone.  And only one of us knew how to use Sat Nav on them.  Google Maps is incredibly powerful and comes with free navigation!  who needs a TomTom?

Radio:  Like radio?  like listening to various stations? Or do you have rubbish reception where you live?  I use TuneIn radio, but there are many others.  Great sound and great choice!

Games:  From time wasters, to big in depth playfests,from free to paid – gaming is something that is getting better and better on all platforms.  Ever heard of Angry birds?  No?  soon you will regret that you have…

Book readers: From Aldiko, to Moonreader and many more, you can read books on your handset.  Kindle?  Nook?  why?!?!

Pretty stuff: So you look at your phone and it looks pretty.  Lots of eye candy.  Ever wondered of you can change it?  Well you can.  Your phone comes with a launcher, whether its HTC’s Sense, or Motorolas Motoblur (or whatever your manufacturer provides).  But have a look in the market and you will find such pleasures as ADW launcer, WP7, Launcherpro, Regina and PB shell.  More and more are coming.  And you can change these in ways that you never even originally though of!

Your software:  Have a look on CoolSmartPhone for the excellent post about ROMs.  You can change your software, you can get rid of all the wonderful software that the networks have decided you need (commonly known as bloatware… and that is being polite), you can use your handset in the way you want.  But research carefully, it doesn’t come without risks!

So, have a look at forums, articles, blogs, try new apps, have a poke around.  You will find that your money has bought you a device that is very powerful, flexible and adaptable!  Have fun…