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


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.

FlyCast
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

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

Make free calls from an iPod Touch

You're now able to make free phone calls via the internet on Apple's iPhone using the new Skype for the iPhone app. But if you own a second-generation iPod touch, you can also make free calls, even though the Touch technically isn't a phone.

Skype's iPhone app will work with any second-gen iPod touch as long as you use headphones with a microphone built into the earphone cord. (Unfortunately, the original iPod touch has no audio-in capability.) On top of that, you'll need just a Wi-Fi network.

The app allows you to make free calls to other Skype users and paid calls to non-Skype users. I like Skype's ubiquity and audio quality, but it has competitors; you might want to try Truphone instead.

Make your dead battery send one last text

Since many ski and snowboard mountains are covered by mobile networks, your phone can be a handy communications tool on the slopes. I especially like sending text messages to coordinate plans with friends unobtrusively. But if you forget to charge your handset and it runs out of juice, you still might be able to revive it and send one last text.

Cold weather reduces a battery's charge. If your phone shuts itself off due to the cold, warm it up. Pop off the battery and put it next to any warm part of your skin (against your head, under your arm). Once the battery is warmer, try powering the phone back up; there's a good chance it'll have just enough juice for you to send a quick text.

  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