We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

The 11 coolest things smartphones can do

Get the most from your iPhone and BlackBerry

Control five different devices with your Apple iPhone, play internet radio on your RIM BlackBerry... all the cool things your smartphone can do.

When it comes to multiple uses, there's no doubt that you wouldn't want to part with your smartphone. From making calls and sending text messages, to surfing the web, checking emails on the go and even pinpointing your current location, smartphones such as Apple's iPhone and RIM's BlackBerry handsets, do it all. However, they do more with these tips and tricks.

We'll show you how to run five separate devices from your iPhone, how to play internet radio (mostly for free) on your BlackBerry, how to make free phone calls from an iPod touch, and how to revive a dead mobile phone battery (if it's detachable) while you're in winter weather.

Control five different devices from an iPhone

Perhaps you didn't know that your iPhone or iPod touch can act as a Wi-Fi remote for many hardware devices. You simply connect the iPhone through Wi-Fi to the same local network, though in many cases you'll also have to install a PC utility (provided by the app developer) that listens for instructions from your iPhone over the Wi-Fi network. Here are my favourite tools to control PCs and other devices.

TV Plus (£1.79) lets you browse seven days of listings across the 400 plus TV channels offered by Sky. As well as browsing the electronic programme guide and getting a brief synopsis of each of the shows, TV Plus also syncs with your Sky+ box, providing you have set up the free Sky Plus Remote Record account, to ensure you can select programmes to record on your Sky+ box.

i-Clickr PowerPoint Remote, $10, (£6.59) manages presentations, even showing your talking notes or upcoming slides on the iPhone. It's a great counterpoint to the remote available for Apple's Mac-only Keynote tool in iWork.

You can control many music devices, too. Sonos owners should get the free Sonos Controller for iPhone for slick remote functionality. Alternatively, if you have a Logitech Squeezebox device, try running it with the $10 (£6.59) iPeng.

Switching to PC controllers, Air Mouse Pro,$6, (£3.96) acts as a PC keyboard and mouse, so you can control a computer from across the room. Air Mouse Pro's clean design and application-specific functions make it stand out among a crowd of App Store competitors.

The App Store also sells many virtual network computing (VNC) clients, which let your iPhone see the PC screen and control it. Look to those if you already have VNC server software running on your PC. Otherwise, I like the $30 (£19.78) LogMeIn Ignition for its easy setup and interface with LogMeIn remote-access software.

NEXT PAGE: Use your smartphone to sync files among PCs

  1. Get the most out of your iPhone and BlackBerry
  2. Use your smartphone to sync files among PCs
  3. Make free calls from an iPod touch


IDG UK Sites

Apple promises developers better stability, performance for Swift

IDG UK Sites

5 things we hate about MWC: What it's like to be a journalist at a technology trade show

IDG UK Sites

Interview: Lauren Currie aims to help design students bridge skills gap

IDG UK Sites

12in Retina MacBook Air release date rumours: new MacBook Air to have fingerprint ID, could launch...