Skip navigation

Five things you didn’t know your smartphone could do

Smartphones have now evolved to a point where they can complete unique tasks and function as an “all-in-one” gadget. There’s an endless number of awesome things your pocket-sized computer can do, so why not try out something new?

Instead of going about your daily activities of browsing the web, uploading Vines, watching GIFs or getting that perfect filter, check out five things you probably didn’t know your smartphone could do:


1. Remotely control your electronics

Whether you want to start your morning coffee from the comfort of your bed, or turn off your lights after you’ve left for work, the Belkin WeMo switch is one of the most useful gadgets around for smartphones today. After purchasing the WeMo switch for $50, all you gotta do is download the WeMo app (for Android 4.0 and higher), connect your switch to WiFi (or a mobile hotspot), plug your electronic device into the switch and you’re good to go!

You can turn it on or off from anywhere your smartphone has internet access, along with setting a schedule to complete these tasks automatically.


2.  Scan high-quality documents

Did you know you can use your smartphone as a scanner? With CamScanner, you can take a picture of any document and instantly convert it to a high-quality JPEG, PDF or whatever file format you’d prefer. You can directly send this file to Google Docs and other cloud storage programs, as well as attach it to an email! Make sure to try out the free version before purchasing the paid one for 5 bucks!

As an extra tip, you can download a sweet app called WorldCard Mobile to scan business cards with your smartphone. Once scanned, the app will automatically retrieve the card info, create contact details for the individual, and place it in the correct fields. Keep in mind that there’s a free and paid version available.


3. Play laser tag

AppTag has designed a cool product which uses your phone and an external accessory to play laser tag with friends! The Laser Blaster holds your smartphone in place and is your weapon of choice. The AppTag App uses Augmented Reality to add to your First Person Shooter experience by including medkits, armour, weapons, ammo packs, and even enemy monsters! Check out the multiplayer promo video below. While we can’t guarantee your experience will be this intense, it definitely looks like a ton of fun!


4. Use Bluetooth and a “smart beacon” to connect your device to the world around you


These smart beacons, called tōd, interact with your smartphone in three different ways: in range, out of range, and scheduled. Using Bluetooth 4.0, these beacons can trigger the tōd app to perform different tasks depending on where you (and the beacon) are located. The app can be customized to do a variety of things:

  • It can track the location of your child, pet, etc.
  • You can schedule a message to automatically send your boss if you’re running late for work.
  • It will instantly switch your smartphone to hands-free mode when you enter your vehicle.

Tōd is also great for businesses, as it is much more useful than the currently-popular NFC tags. For example, music festival organizers could auto-send set times and other event info to their guests upon entering the smart beacon range (which would likely be the concert gates). While Android is not yet supported by tōd, they’ve announced that an App is coming this fall!


5. Measure the speed of a moving object

Speed Gun is a nifty tool that uses your camera to measure the speed of a moving object.

Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 5.51.29 PM

Make sure you manually input the distance from your object (or person) or it won’t show any readings. This can easily be done with apps such as Smart Measure (or a normal measuring tape). If you notice that your readings are inaccurate, use the Speed Calibration option in Settings for a quick fix!


Know of any other unique things a smartphone can do? Let us know in the comments!