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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

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5 really smart things to do with your phone
Gagandeep Singh Sapra, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, July 08, 2014
First Published: 10:11 IST(8/7/2014)
Last Updated: 17:36 IST(8/7/2014)

Imagine a world without smartphones! Until some years ago, the main functions of mobile phones were just to call and send messages. Today, smartphones have become an extension of our lives with their Internet access, high resolution camera, Bluetooth and a wide array of installable apps that  make life cool. But there’s more to be discovered if you haven’t already. So, here’s a list of five unique things that you can do with your smartphone and how you can do them.

1 Get Fit

Feeling breathless or want to check your pulse? Apps such as Instant Heart Rate available for Android and iOS will get your pulse rate immediately. No you do not need the latest sensors on your smartphone, the camera with an accuracy of +/- 5 beats per minute will be able to report this for you. With apps such as Runtastic and Endomondo available for free on most of the smartphone platforms, you can also monitor your walking, jogging and cycling and check whether you met your daily goal.

The apps also let you compete with others. They do not replace a dedicated wearable health device, but since your smartphone has to be in your pocket anyway, this is a good place to start. And then most wearables including Samsung Galaxy Gear and the Sony Smartband have two major issues — you need to charge them and you need to wear them.  Smartphones are simpler.

2 Read Signs in a Foreign Language

Your smartphone has maps and travel applications, but considering that in many remote places there is no one to ask around, you really may not know every possible language to interpret the street signs. And this is where the Word Lens comes in handy. Available for free only on Android and iOS, the app let’s you translate from most of the foreign languages including French, Russian, Spanish, Italian, German and Portugese.

All you need to do is launch the app and take a picture of the sign, it will translate the sign for you. The best thing is, it works offline as well. Though the number of languages are limited and more work needs to be done, for now, Word Lens can be your able interpreter.

3 Make Time Lapse Videos

Always wanted to shoot time-lapse videos of clouds rushing bye and the sun rising but did not have the means to purchase the expensive gear? Your smartphone has the answer. All you will need is the time-lapse app, Lapse It, which is available for both Android and iOS. Simple to use, Lapse It sets up your frame rate and the number of shots you want to take so you can sit back with your phone stable, preferably using a tripod.

Shoot for 30 to 60 minutes and then the application will render it into a stabilised video. The app can shoot and save high definition videos also, but it may require an in-app purchase for some of the features. The results though may leave you wanting for more.
 
4 What is the song that’s playing?

Listening to a soundtrack over a cup of coffee but cannot name the music that’s playing? You have heard it before, but can’t put a name to the track. You don’t know who sang it but want the song. Use an App such as Shazam or SoundHound, available for free on iOS and Android, let it listen to the music, and it will find you the track with all its details. What’s more, you can purchase the song right from within the app or save the details.
 
5 Never Forget Anything

Having problems remembering things? Get Evernote. The app is free and so is the subscription, though there are various premium levels available. You can now use this app to store your documents, pictures, scans and even emails. Want to remember where you parked your car? Take a picture and save it in Evernote. Want to carry a scanned copy of your driving licence everywhere? Take a picture and save it in the app.

You can also share your notes with others. Evernote allows you to store your notes both online (on the cloud) and offline, and with a computer application for Mac and Windows you get increased accessibility. The built-in optical character recognition allows you to search information on visiting cards and text inside pictures as well.


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