Turn-by-turn navigation, streaming videos, voice-controlled texting and calling, all of these functions are now common ways we use our smartphones. But do you know all of the many things that device in your hand is capable of doing?
Thanks in part to the integration of advanced apps and smart accessories, here are seven things a smartphone can do that you may not have known about:
- Manage your thermostat
Why walk into a house that is too warm or too cold? With the Nest Learning Thermostat, use the compatible app on your smartphone to adjust the temperature away from home.
Nest also learns and adapts to your schedule and emails you monthly energy reports.
- Control your lights
Replace your standard light switch with a smart version such as the WeMo Light Switch. Sync it to your smartphone, and you can turn your lights on or off if you forgot to after leaving the house.
You can also programme your lights to turn on or off at specific times each day, as well as set up schedules and triggers other actions to turn them on or off. The Philips Hue Personal Wireless Lighting Kit also lets you gradually dim, brighten or even change the colour of your lights.
- Measure speed, height and distance
Have you wanted to get your hands on a radar gun, like the ones used by baseball scouts or the police? With your smartphone, you can measure the speed of people or moving objects with the apps, Speed Gun (Android) and SpeedClock (iOS). Great for sporting events like baseball, football or track and field.
There are also a couple of nifty smartphone apps that will measure the height and distance of objects using your camera lens. Android users can check out Smart Measure Pro, while iOS users can try Dot Measure Pro.
- Identify images
If you’re using an Android device, the Google Goggles app lets you search an image captured with your phone’s camera.
You can identify famous paintings, find information on products or learn more about a historic landmark.
- Share apps, contacts, photos and music by tapping devices
Most smartphones released within the past few years are equipped with the NFC technology. Two NFC-ready devices can be tapped together to share whatever is on their screens.
- Monitor your heart rate
Some newer smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S7, have integrated heart-rate monitors.
But there are also apps compatible with a number of smartphones that allow you to measure your heart rate. That include Instant Heart Rate and Runtastic Heart Rate (both available for Android and iOS), which can take your workout to the next level.
- Show what’s happening at home
Keep an eye on your home from afar in super-clear 1080p HD with Nest Cam. You will get notifications on your smartphone if any motion or sound is detected while you are away. The Wi-Fi video camera features a mic, too, so you can actually talk to whoever is in the room (through the app).
If you need to keep records, you can record and save audio or video for a fee. It’s a great tool for general home security, monitoring your pets or making sure your kids get home on time from school or practice.
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