Tuesday, May 6, 2014

How smart are you with your phone?

All phones are now smart. If someone wants to buy one, and there are quite a few less expensive not-so-smart phones available, most people willy-nilly choose an expensive smart one. Nothing wrong in it.

But I wonder, how many people really make use of the smart features in their phone.

Everyone may not know all the interesting features a phone offers. So, if you have got yourself a smart phone, explore the device, and start making use of the smart features.
Most of the phones may be Android, but Nokia's Lumia series phones are equally good providing a slew of smrat features. The photo shows Nokia's executive vice president of smart devices Jo Harlow posing with the new Lumia 925 at its launch in London May 14, 2013. -- Photo credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor
Let's take a common example, of Google Search in Android phone.

In phones that run on Android 4.1 (released in June 2012) and above, Google Search is integrated with Google Now.

What is Google Now?

It's a personal digital assistant -- the Android counterpart of Apple's Siri. It helps you with a lot of information, by quietly doing a search in the background. For example, it gets you the weather, it reminds you of appointments, it will tell you how long you will take to reach your office etc.

If you enable the Google Now function, then these information show up in the form of cards. Information becomes more and more accurate as you continue to use it.

But the best part is you can search Google by just speaking into the phone. Look for the "Voice Search" icon in the menu of apps. Just tap it, and ask Google whatever you want to know.

The process is so simple and the results are amazingly accurate as well.

Ask questions like:

  • What is the weather in Bangalore?
  • Who is the prime minister of Australia?
  • How much is 478 dollars in Rupees?
  • What is the height of Barack Obama?

Google will tell aloud the answers to all these questions.

You can also get the phone to do some functions too. Like, set the alarm. make a call. Just tell Google, "Set alarm for 7am tomorrow." Or, "Call Ravi Kumar".

Or even "Take a selfie". Google won't click the camera, it will just open up the camera, for you to pose, and then you can click yourself when you are ready.

There are many other smart features a phone possesses. For example:

Getting directions using Google Maps. There is no need to ask anyone the direction. And using a very simple function called MapMaker, you and I can enrich the map contents by adding landmarks, or even suggesting changes. In fact much of all that you see in the Maps has been added by users.

Maximize the use of apps. There are definitely many apps that suit your interest. Just check them out.

On a Lumia phone of Nokia, there is a Kid's Corner function which I like a lot. You can activate that function when you give your phone to children to play. You can include in that feature only those functions of the phone that you think the child should have access to. It's great feature in these times when children play a lot with elders' phones. They sometimes accidentally call others, or even wander into unsafe areas of Internet or download unnecessary files.

You can do pretty much everything with your phone. One of my friends got herself a "very basic" phone, that will just let her make calls, text, take photos, and listen to the radio. But the phone was smart. So, she has ended up discovering many interesting features, she never thought she would ever use in her life.

So, get smart with your phone.


  1. Thanks for the info, Pradeep. I like the idea of voice search, I will use it and also check out the other functions you mentioned. At this point I am not very smart with my phone. But with your help I will get smart :)

    1. Yes, Rachna, voice search works so well. If you find the response not so accurate, keep using, it will get better as you use.