Cell phone users increasingly rely on their mobile devices for more than calling and text messaging. And even beyond calculators, games and GPS, there are hundreds of smart, practical and fun applications that are worth a try.
Here’s a variety of applications that can make your smart phone even smarter.
Turn Your Phone Into a Radio
Not happy with your local radio stations? Build your own on your cell phone with Pandora Mobile. Just like on Pandora’s web site, you can pick the name of your favorite artist or song to create a “station,” and Pandora will play music that it thinks you’ll like based on an extensive database on trends in melody, harmony, instrumentation, rhythm, vocals and lyrics. And you can refine your preferences with a thumbs-up or thumbs-down rating on each song.
With Pandora on your phone, you can listen to all the stations you created on the web and create new ones that will appear online the next time you're back at a computer.
Available on: Research in Motion Blackberry devices via Blackberry App World (though it’s not yet available on the Blackberry Storm) (Stock Quote: RIMM) or through Pandora’s web site, your Apple iPhone through the iPhone App Store (Stock Quote: AAPL) or on Microsoft Windows Mobile phones (Stock Quote: MSFT) through Pandora.com.
Do a Price Check
Before you buy anything at a physical store, it’s always a good idea to check how prices compare online, and the Amazon Mobile application for the iPhone makes it easy (Stock quote: AMZN).
You can search Amazon.com, scroll through and refine search results, view product details and see editorial and customer reviews. You can save to your shopping cart, view your wish list and view, track and change orders. And although it may not be a good idea for compulsive shoppers, Amazon Mobile even has the web site’s one-click ordering feature, which you can set up by entering a default shipping address and payment method and use the “Buy Now with 1-Click” button at the bottom of the product detail page.
Amazon Mobile also has an experimental feature called Amazon Remembers that lets you to use the camera on your iPhone to create a visual list of things to remember and stores them both on the Amazon Mobile app and Amazon's website or searches for a product similar to your photo that’s for sale on the web.
Available on: iPhone or iPod Touch through the iPhone App Store or by tapping the App Store icon on your iPhone or iPod touch.
Be a Walking Wine Guide
Pair your meals out with the perfect bottle of wine using Wine Enthusiast Guide ratings and reviews on your iPhone. The guide contains 68,000 reviews written by wine experts at Wine Enthusiast Magazine and adds about 1,000 new reviews each month. The guide also provides definitions for more than 1,400 terms that cover all aspects of wine appreciation.
Available on: iPhone and iPod Touch through the Apple App Store.
Listen to Your Heart
Using a blue-tooth enabled cell phone and AT&T Wireless service (Stock Quote: T), your cardiologist will soon be able to remotely monitor your heart using proprietary software from Mednet Healthcare Technologies. Electrodes are attached to the body to monitor the heart, and the data transmits by guide wire to a pager-sized device that communicates via Bluetooth to the phone which sends the data to a central monitoring center. Doctors can access and review the data at the monitoring center, and can call the patient if there’s any cause for concern.
Available on: Samsung Blackjack II phones ordered directly through MedNet in one of more than 13,000 cities covered by AT&T's 3G and EDGE network starting April 21.
Price: About $2,000 for a week to 30 days of monitoring, but most insurance plans will cover it if it’s prescribed by a cardiologist.
Work Your Social Network
Keeping up with social networks has become a vital part of both work and play. Luckily, Facebook and MySpace (Stock Quote: NWS) have cell phone apps to keep you in the loop with all your contacts.
Facebook Mobile works on any phone with text messaging or internet access. If you have an iPhone, you can use the Facebook for iPhone application available free at the iTunes App store and if you have a Blackberry, you can download the app on Facebook’s site.
From any other phone, you can text Facebook to update your status, upload photos to Facebook by emailing multimedia messages (MMS), and receive text notifications when you get a message, poke or wall post.
You can use MySpace Mobile on any phone with mobile internet access to send and receive messages and comments, browse photo albums, view profiles and read and post blogs. Or you can download the MySpace for Blackberry app.
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