Imagine a future where nearly everyone owns a small computer that serves as a video camera, a camera, an alarm clock, a GPS and just about everything else you want in a handheld.
Well guess what -- the future is here. The smartphone technology for creating videos has become so popular that Cisco is closing down its FLIP video camera division.
The price tag on these wonder devices can be steep, but with a huge number of features, smartphones are making other tech gadgets obsolete. These are just a few of the ways you can use your smartphone to save some money.
Replace the Gadgets
1. Digital Camera The idea of the smartphone camera replacing the point-and-shoot camera probably makes photography purists cringe. Camera-phone technology has come a long way and, in many cases, the picture quality is keeping up with digital cameras.
There are several factors that weigh into the decline of the traditional camera. For one, the convenience of a smarthphone camera can't be beat. Instead of uploading pictures to the computer from a regular camera, we now can share them with friends and family immediately after taking them. Also, smartphone cameras allow users to download photo apps that create a range of picture possibilities not available on the point-and-shoot camera.
According to the New York Times, the Apple iPhone is the most commonly used camera on the photo sharing website Flickr. In fact, a standard digital camera didn't even crack the top five.
2. Video Camera The video camera is newer to the cell phone scene than the camera, but it's making some big strides: So much so that some of the toughest competitors are backing down, including the aforementioned Cisco.
With some smartphone video cameras capable of shooting in HD, handheld camcorders are becoming obsolete. Even if the quality isn't ready for national TV, a smartphone video camera works well enough to capture the kids blowing out their birthday candles.
3. Alarm Clock An alarm clock probably isn't the item on this list that's breaking your budget. Still, using the alarm clock on a smartphone cuts down on the number of gadgets you need around the house.
The portability also is helpful beyond waking up in the morning as you can use the alarm to remind you of appointments, when it's time to take a pill, etc.
4. GPS Good luck finding excuses for being late now that many smartphones have free GPS apps. There are expensive GPS apps like TomTom that can cost up to $100, but most phones already come equipped with a free Google Maps navigation app. This can provide up-to-date directions for driving, walking, biking and even public transportation.
5. The Junk in Your Purse This is a somewhat broad category. Smartphones clearly aren't replacing mascara, Chapstick, tissues, gum, sunglasses or whatever else might be in your purse or murse. They can, however, get rid of calculators, planners, address books and calendars. We no longer have to remember each individual birthday, address or phone number. Smartphones have the capability to operate as a glorified tip calculator or full-on business planner, depending on your needs.
Download Some Savings
6. Coupon Apps There are a growing number of coupon apps that let users download coupons and even use the coupons directly from your smartphone. The Coupon Sherpa app not only provides mobile coupons, but does so based on your location. If you decide on a spur-of-the-moment lunch at a new restaurant, you can now figure out which ones have the best coupons. It also lets you compile lists of your favorite stores, so you only get the coupons you want.
7. GasBuddy New smartphone apps are created every day. Many can be used to save money from your phone, including the popular Gas Buddy. This free app finds gas stations in your area and lists their current gas prices.
8. Barcode Scanner Apps Use this app and you'll draw a crowd. Barcode Scanner apps let you scan any barcode to get more information about the product, other places you can buy it, and what kind of prices competitors are offering. These apps really take the legwork out of bargain hunting.