How to make any phone into a smartphone
We’ve shown you how to get the new Android update on your Google phone already, and even how to turn any smartphone into a smart TV for your living room. But what if you don’t have a smartphone? If you’re rocking an old school candy bar blower you might not need to upgrade just yet: here’s our handy guide to making almost any phone into a smartphone with the web at your fingertips.
Get a better browser
First thing’s first, you need to get a better browser for your phone. That browser is the free Opera Mini, which does an impressive job of turning desktop web pages into readable, surfable pages for your dumb phone. Opera’s servers load up the web pages before sending them to you, so it’s fast and saves data on your end too. You can get it for almost every phone under the sun: just head to m.opera.com to download and install the right version for your model.
Tune into RSS
Opera Mini isn’t just a web browser. You can also use it to stay on top of all the latest posts from your favourite blogs. Just add the feeds you want in the RSS section of the app (Look for the little orange box with white lines through it).
Social networking skills
Facebook has an app not just for every smartphone, but for every phone. Literally. Called Facebook for Every Phone, it’s a free download for even the most bare bones handsets that lets you see other’s updates and pics, post your own and keep in touch. The team that makes the app used to make a great social networking app for all phones that included Twitter too, called Snaptu – before they were acquired by Facebook. If you can find it still, it’s the best way for Twitter addicts to get their fix on the go. Otherwise, m.twitter.com is your best bet.
Turn on notifications
They may have rubbish battery life, but smartphones have a real advantage over Regular Joe phones when it comes to notifications – that little ping you can set up whenever something happens in your favourite app. Luckily, there’s a workaround for some of your favourite social networks: you can set up SMS alerts instead. You can register for Facebook alerts in the Mobile section of your account settings – the same goes for Twitter. Now you’ll always now when someone’s @mentioned you, even if you’re on the bus.
Get instant messaging going
Think chat apps like Google Talk and Windows Live are just for smartphones and PCs? guess again. If you’re using an old school Nokia, first check to see if it’s got any chat apps built in: many do. The popular WhatsApp service also supports some Nokia S40 devices so head over to whatsapp.com to see if yours is supported. If not, no worries: just download the IM+ Java app for instant messaging across several popular services including AOL Instant Messenger and Windows Live. There’s also a Facebook Chat Java app that runs on almost every phone too.
Games on the go
Smartphones are renowned for their gaming back catalogues, but there’s lots of fun to be had with games on any mobile. Even the most basic Nokia phones have access to the Nokia Store so have a cruise of that for some top titles (Some even run Angry Birds – no, really), or otherwise head over to m.getjar.com for all the games your phone can handle. Our pick? The full, original Final Fantasy RPG. That’s hours and hours lost right there.
Location location location
Your phone’s an A-Z of the entire world: you just didn’t know it. New basic Nokia S40 phones have access to Nokia Maps and even directions while they walk, while for everyone else, there’s Google Maps for Mobile, a Java app designed to run on any old phone. You can’t see your exact location, but it can still help you get around wherever you need to go with handy address look up.
Any other tips to turn any mobile into a smartphones? Share them below in the comments!