A smartphone makes a great gift for yourself or for someone else. But receiving a smartphone is a bit like buying a pet: the fun parts also come with some work and some adjustments.
Downloading apps that make life easier and incorporate local information is like training a puppy. It results in less hassle and more fun.
The major difference between a smartphone and your computer is that it’s tough to see the whole Internet on that little screen. Apps are simply ways of displaying something you usually do on your computer’s web browser, but in a simpler and more elegant way that makes sense on a little screen.
Each app is represented by a small square icon that you touch once to launch its features and functions, whether it be GPS navigation, local business listings, your to-do list, or your favorite game.
One thing that makes apps even better than your desktop computer is that you can find some tailored to your location.
- UrbanSpoon and Yelp have apps for iPhones, Droids and Windows phones that are great for finding a local restaurant in a hurry, based on your location.
- MapMyRide and MapMyRun offer apps for fitness enthusiasts looking for a new route in their neighborhood.
- Most smartphones have a built-in app for local weather, but you may find it worth experimenting with the Weather Channel’s app, as well as other competitors.
- The Google+ Local app will show you search results similar to what you are used to seeing on the map listings part of Google Search on your computer.
- The GasBuddy app will help you figure out which of your local gas stations has the best price.
-And, of course you can't forget the Patch app! Ferndale Patch for iPhone keeps you connected to the latest community news, weather, local business listings and events happening around your block. Patch’s app lets you stay engaged and mobile by delivering 24/7 coverage of your neighborhood. Patch Places is the go-to directory of local businesses in 900+ Patch towns. Select any Patch community or use your location to connect to a mobile directory of every place near you with Patch Places for Android.
A little secret many smartphone users don’t know is that you can make any of your favorite websites look like an app on your phone. If you are frustrated by using your phone’s browser and typing in the web URL, tell your phone’s web browser to “Add to Home Screen.” The resulting button will look like an app, but the button will take you to your favorite website instead of launching an app.