Earlier this year eMarketer predicted that there would be 1.75 billion smartphone users worldwide in 2014*. And in my job, if there’s new tech out there, from the latest mobile phone to wearable tech that helps you get in shape, I’m raring to try it out.
And so, after I’d sat her down with a slice of cake and a cup of coffee, I gave her my five top reasons to love a smartphone…
Gone are the days of having to carry a camera around with you. Now you simply pull out your phone and snap that shot. What’s more, camera phone technology is really amazing, with more megapixels than ever and things like image stabilisation (to banish the blur from your photos) – and you can upload them to social media instantly. But that’s not all. The latest smartphones capture multiple shots when you hit the button, which means you get moving pictures and even sound. Suddenly the ‘living photographs’ in Harry Potter don’t seem so far-fetched.
Best photo apps:
Polagram, free on iOS and Android. Allows you to upload photos from your phone and order Polaroid-style prints for just 29p each.
Touchnote, free on iOS and Android. Turns your photos into postcards. Add a message, put in an address and Touchnote will post it anywhere in the world – for just £1.49.
Want a taxi? Hungry for a takeaway? Doing your Tesco shop? There are apps for all these and more. When it comes to organisation, a smartphone will help even the most scatterbrained of people. There are packing apps for holidays, list apps for erm, lists and, if you really are that forgetful, there are even brain trainer apps.
Best apps I’ve recently downloaded:
AppyParking, free on iOS and Android. Tells you the parking restrictions of your location, including everything from parking prices to bank holiday times.
Journey Pro, free on iOS, Android and Windows Phones. Journey Pro is a great guide, covers London Underground and buses, River Services, National Rail, Birmingham Tram, Glasgow Subway, domestic flights and more.
If someone had told me five years ago that I’d be able to download TV programmes onto the iPlayer app on my phone and watch them during my morning commute, I’d have raise a sceptical eyebrow. But that’s exactly the kind of entertainment smartphones now give you. From movies to music, you can get it all on your phone, anytime, anywhere.
Best entertainment apps:
Amazon Music, free on iOS and Android. Listen to every CD you’ve bought on Amazon, on your phone. On wi-fi stream songs, or download so you can listen offline.
While nothing beats a good face-to-face catch up, smartphones have given us great ways to stay in touch. FaceTime and Skype are both free (used on wi-fi) ways to catch up with people anywhere in the world, while WhatsApp is perfect for quick messages.
Best social apps:
Glympse, free on iOS, Android, Windows Phones and included in BBM for BlackBerry. Lets you share your location for a set amount of time via a text or email link; ideal if you’re out with friends and get separated, or for that late-night walk back from the station.
Snapchat, free on iOS and Android. A picture says a thousand words – Snapchat lets you send pictures to friends that only last up to 10 seconds. New features include a chat function.
Smartphones offer workout apps, running apps with audible coaching options, as well as a wide range of healthy eating apps. Wearable wrist tech that talks to your smartphone is now available, too. So you can get a complete picture of your sleep, diet and fitness.
Best health apps:
Fitocracy, free on iOS and Android. Turns exercise into a game – you earn points from workouts and compare progress with friends and family. Also gives access to advice from fitness and nutrition experts.
The Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout, free on iOS and Android. No more ‘I don’t have time to exercise’ excuses – there’s a 7-minute workout to match your physical ability. All you need is a chair and a little bit of motivation.
Honestly, I left my friend looking slightly overwhelmed that day, but a few days later she WhatsApp’d me to say she’d got a new smartphone. She then Snapchatted a selfie of her and the new phone, taken in the mirror. The photo showed she was wearing sports kit, having discovered the 7-minute workout app I love so much…
…my work here was done.
Molly Haynes is an Editor on O2 Magazine at Cedar