Can your smartphone replace your PC as your go-to device. In Part one of this article, we discussed the apps that can make your phone productive for creating documents, reading e-mail and setting your schedule. In part 2, let’s look at the apps that can handle your leisure time.
Like a tablet, a smartphone is really just another Internet appliance. Your phone will come with a built-in browser. It’s easy to spot on Android because it looks like a little globe. On your iPhone, you’ll see a little compass indicating Safari.
You can also download other browser apps like Google Chrome and Firefox for your phone. You’ll find these apps work pretty much the same way they do on a PC. You can save bookmarks and clicking on a link in an article or e-mail will open up your default browser to view it. Most sites have mobile versions specifically designed to display on your device and sometimes you may be prompted to download an app for a particular site like a television station or newspaper that is optimized to work on mobile.
I have to confess to being something of a social media junkie. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter… I’m there. I have these social media apps installed and sitting front and center on my homescreen. I have Facebook Messenger installed as a separate app and that allows me to receive Facebook messages in the same way I get text messages without having the Facebook app running.
If you’re a person who enjoys Facebook games, don’t try to play the games using a browser. The game likely uses Flashplayer which is not compatible with your phone. Instead, head to the app store for your phone and find an app that has been optimized for your phone. Which brings me to our next topic…
We like to play video games at my house. But since we acquired our smartphones, the Xbox has gotten a lot less use. There are apps for popular games like Candy Crush, Farmville and my personal addiction Words With Friends. My husband especially enjoy slots and Monopoly. If there’s a type of game you enjoy, there is likely an app available to play it. Although it can be a little bit dangerous to carry an addictive game in your pocket. That’s why I’ve avoided downloading The Sims. I have visions of myself hiding in the bathroom at work playing the game.
A Smartphone with a good WiFi connection is a pretty good place to view videos as long as you are comfortable with the smaller screen. I’d save the video streaming for when the phone is connected to WiFi as not to eat up your data plan. You can find apps for YouTube, NetFlix, Hulu Plus and premium services like HBO to Go.
Netflix and other services will require a subscription just like they do on your computer. But movies and TV shows can be right there at your fingertips.
When it comes to playing music, your phone is more of a replacement for an iPod or MP3 player and perhaps your car stereo. I have a micro SD storage card in my phone that stores more than 1,000 songs that I can listen to at any time. I can also plug my phone into the car and use it to listen to my music library or into speakers at home.
You can also access streaming services like Pandora or Spotify. Though I’d save the streaming for when you have a WiFi connection.
I’m a big fan of eBooks (and physical books as well. I actually love them both). Both your Android and iPhone will come with a reader that allows you to read books purchased from their respective app stores and you can also download either Kindle or Nook apps for free to access your books from those content libraries.
And speaking of libraries, your local library likely has access to an app that allows you to check out and read books, movies and music. OverDrive and Hoopla are two great free apps to check out.
Like to Skpe? As long as your phone comes with a front-facing camera you can use it for video chatting with apps like Skype and Face Time. I’m old enough to still be pretty amazed by the concept of the video chat, but the idea that you can do it with the computer in your pocket. That’s something I like to call BTST (Better Than Star Trek).
While the smartphone is still a ways away from replacing a home computer for most people, it has become the primary device for many, especially young people. I am certainly not young, but I am most certainly game when it comes to smartphones.
The biggest downside – it’s a smaller display and the lack of a physical keyboard. When you need to see more or do a lot of typing, you may want to turn to your PC.