8 smartphone features every user should know about

The success story of the smartphone began a quarter of a century ago. With more and more capabilities, they are increasingly replacing everyday objects. atechbook reveals what your smartphone can do.

From utopia to technology for billions: In the 1960s, communication in the U.S. science fiction series “Star Trek” took place via so-called communicators. Three decades later, a “communicator” of the same name was to usher in the golden era of smartphones. The “Nokia 9000 Communicator” went on sale on August 15, 1996.

25 years ago it was equipped with fax function, calendar and calculator. Today, the devices are suitable for mass use. 89 percent of German citizens have a smartphone, according to management consultants Deloitte.

1. the smartphone as a wallet

When paying, the cell phone is now held over a reader at the checkout. The bill is then paid via Google Pay for Android devices or Apple Pay for iOS phones. The data for the accounts from which the money is deducted is stored there.

NFC (near field communication) is usually the same technology used for contactless payment with a bank card. An NFC chip is standard in newer smartphones. Apple’s iPhone has had the function on board since the Model 6 (2015).

2. the spirit level in your pocket

The picture is crooked? In the past, you had to bring the toolbox, but today there’s an app for that. Android users have to download it first. One of the most popular is the free “Spirit Level Galaxy”. Two tubes with a simulated bubble indicate whether the phone is crooked.

Users of an iPhone do not need an extra download: Since version 7 of the iOS operating system, the function has been on board – first in the compass application, and since iOS 11 as a sub-function of the tape measure app.

3. smart tape measure

Newer iPhones (from model 6s) can scan the environment and measure objects. To do this, the device is held on the object to be measured, just like taking a photo, and then the start and end points of the measurement are defined manually.

Several measurements are possible – such as the height and width of a plant, for example, or special shapes like the square and rectangle of a picture frame. At competitor Google, for example, there is the app “AirMeasure”.

4. dictionary for tens of languages

Just stick a fish in your ear and suddenly understand all languages? It’s not as easy as in Douglas Adams’ cult novel “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. However, the technology is already so advanced that visitors abroad can leave their dictionaries at home.

Those who use Google’s free “Translator” app (Android and iOS) can have the menu translated live using the camera function, for example. According to the manufacturer, this is currently possible for 94 languages.

5. remote control for the TV

The smartphone can even replace the TV remote control. In most cases, this is done via the home WLAN, which must be connected to the TV and cell phone for this purpose. This means that the TV must be a more recent device that is Internet-capable.

Almost every manufacturer offers a solution. Samsung’s app, for example, is called “Smartthings” and can control compatible devices – from tumble dryers to TVs. There are also universal remote controls as an app – such as “SURE Universal Remote” for Android and iOS.

6. vaccination certificate

One consequence of the Corona pandemic is the digital vaccination certificate. Just like the yellow vaccination book, this can provide proof of a complete Corona vaccination and thus exempt you from the test when going to the cinema, for example.

There are apps for this (all Android and iOS): “CovPass” is used exclusively to show the vaccination certificate. Other apps developed for other main tasks can do that, too: The “Corona-Warn” app is designed to help track infection chains. The “Luca” app is used for quick check-in and check-out with one’s own contact data, for example in caf├ęs or restaurants.

7. pedometer for fitness tracking

For a long time, fitness wristbands that count steps were all the rage. But smartphones can do that, too. Google and Apple offer independent solutions for this: For Android smartphones, this activity tracker is called “Google Fit”; for the iPhone, the “Health” app has been on board since iOS 8.

Both count steps, measure and store distances covered while walking or running. If you prefer an external solution, you can also use the extensively equipped “Pacer” app (Android and iOS) for both systems.

Also interesting: 5 smartphone functions that were a mega flop

8. smartphone as heart rate monitor

If you want to take your own pulse, you can do so without an additional device such as a smartwatch. The German health app “Preventicus Heartbeats” (Android and iOS) aims to monitor the heartbeat and detect arrhythmias.

The measurement is made preferably by placing the little finger on the cell phone camera. The manufacturer promises that the pulse curve can be derived from the video signal. “Highly accurate and patented algorithms determine your heart rhythm via this pulse curve,” the website says.

With material from dpa