Exploring smartphone technology

Posted 5/13/20

Customizing a smartphone with applications, or apps, can make the device a lot more fun to use. In addition, there are many free apps which can help make daily tasks easier. As someone who loves …

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Exploring smartphone technology

Customizing a smartphone with applications, or apps, can make the device a lot more fun to use. In addition, there are many free apps which can help make daily tasks easier. 
As someone who loves exploring new technology, I am surprised by the number of people who do not take the time to search out and add new apps to their phones. 
If someone asks, I am usually happy to learn more about a person’s interests and make app recommendations. There is truly something out there for everyone, whether you are an athlete or an art lover. 
Here are a few recommendations for apps I have liked using. 
This app allows you to read and listen to thousands of eBooks and audiobooks for free. It works in partnership with local libraries like the Cleveland Bradley County Public Library. Register with your local library card number, and you unlock access to all the materials. I love getting to read new release books for free, without ever having to set foot in a library or bookstore. 
Do you love reading news and lifestyle articles but dislike having to go from website to website to find them? This app aggregates articles based on your interests. Whether you want to keep up with national news or read about cooking techniques, relevant articles will show up on your “flipboard.” Though you may still want to follow specific news sources, this can be a great start. 
Many people enjoy taking photos on their phones but do not realize they can also edit photos on their phones. This simple app offers many of the tools you would expect from the full Photoshop program, making it easy to create great photos to post on social media and send to family and friends. You can also get creative with special effects and make photo collages. 
Art lovers who cannot visit art museums right now can explore museum-worthy art with this app. It features the work of a famous artist every day, showcasing a particular piece and providing information about both the artist and work. This app shares works housed in more than 5,000 museums worldwide. You can also create a list of favorites and share the art with friends. 
Do you want to track your fitness as you walk or run but hate figuring out the distances? This app does the work for you.
Using GPS, it creates a map of your route as you walk or run. Details like distance and time are then saved for you to review later. The app also includes access to training plans and motivators, like the “Healthy At Home Challenge” started in light of COVID-19. 
Does your purse or wallet get cluttered with receipts, lists and business cards? This app cuts the clutter. You first take photos of documents with your phone. It then saves the documents as high quality PDF files. It also makes them searchable, so you can always find that one receipt you need. You can also easily add info from business cards to your phone’s contacts. 
Whether you are planning a trip abroad or simply want to communicate with someone who is not fluent in English, this app can be a valuable tool. It translates more than 100 languages using text. It also includes the ability to translate handwriting and translate verbal conversations. Using your phone’s camera, it can also translate things like signs and packaging. 
All of these apps are free and available for both iPhone and Android devices. Download them by searching for them in the Apple or Google Play app stores. 
Because there is truly something out there for every interest, I encourage you to search for other apps which might be useful to you. 
(Christy Armstrong is a staff writer for the Cleveland Daily Banner. Email her at christy.armstrong@clevelandbanner.com.)


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