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80,258 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.

Use your smartphone to sync files among PCs

You know that you can play music on your smartphone, or even on many generic handsets. But did you know that if a phone has a storage area for music, you can likely use that memory to stow PC files too? If your phone has a microSD slot -included on nearly all music-playing devices - and a mini-USB port, this trick should work.

First, install a flash-memory microSD card; the slot may be hidden behind the battery or in another hard-to-access place. Then connect the phone to a PC with a mini-USB cable.

The phone might prompt you to enter the USB disk mode; approve that prompt, and the memory card will show up on the PC as a new drive. Some devices, such as RIM BlackBerry phones with built-in memory, will mount as two drives if such a card is installed; otherwise the device memory will mount as the only drive.

Just copy over your files to the new drive. Unplug the phone, and when you get to work or to another PC, repeat the connection process to move your files to the destination.

Play internet radio on a BlackBerry, three different ways

Apple iPhones don't need to have all the fun. Your RIM BlackBerry can tune in to many sources of Internet radio, giving you the perfect background music - or talk programs - for a commute or some R&R at the airport. Just be sure you have an unlimited data plan before indulging in any of these four streamers.

Pandora Radio
The free version of Pandora for BlackBerry gently introduces you to unfamiliar music with similarities to your favorite songs. You can rate favorites and skip disappointing picks to help the service fine-tune its recommendations. When you find an unknown band that becomes your new favorite, bookmark it in the service to return later. Sadly it's currently available only to US residents.

The wide range of music genres and talk stations on the free FlyCast for BlackBerry echo what you'd get with a regular radio - if your radio could tune in to stations from around the world. Internet-streaming genres, such as 1980s and club hits, complete the vast selection.

Slacker Portable Radio App
A hybrid of streaming and caching, the free Slacker Portable Radio app, in addition to streaming tunes, let you save gigabytes of music to a microSD card in your BlackBerry. Slacker allows you to store favourite stations on the card so that you still have music in areas where a network connection is limited or nonexistent, such as on airplanes or in tunnels. Enter a favourite musician or song, and the app will select a personal station based on your preferences.

NEXT PAGE: Make free calls from an iPod Touch

  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

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