Smartphones are truly amazing devices – that we already know. We had a decade to get to know them, to make them a part of our lives, and we did – we now rely on them in many important areas, like communication, entertainment, payments, and such. Smartphones are versatile tools – and they have some uses you might not have thought of before. Today, we’ll present a few that will be fun to explore.
Use them as a gaming console
Smartphones can be used as retro gaming consoles – they certainly have the hardware, and they also have the software to allow them to function like one. There are individual apps available on both major smartphones operating systems to emulate several pieces of classic gaming gear, allowing you to go take a walk down memory lane – or explore old school gaming – wherever you are. With them, you can not only turn your mobile into a portable casino with the Euro Palace app but into pretty much any desktop or portable console ever, including Nintendo’s GameBoy, Sony’s PlayStation and PSP, Sega’s classic consoles like Genesis and MasterSystem, and even retro computers like Amiga, ZX Spectrum, and Commodore 64.
One of the most versatile emulators for smartphones is RetroArch, a piece of software that can emulate all of the above, and much more, and will even work with Bluetooth game controllers.
Use them as a media player
Many Android smartphones comply with a standard called Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) that allows them to mirror the content of their screen to an external – much larger – one. Many Android-powered smartphones have this function built into them (a complete list can be found here). Through a special adapter cable, MHL-capable phones can be simply used as media player devices – you simply hook them up to a compatible screen (there are more of these than you might think) and you can enjoy watching videos and listening to music on them directly from your smartphone. And even your games – even the retro ones above.
Use them as a personal computer
Smartphones are already pretty decent personal computers with one major shortcoming that makes them less than ideal for work: their size. This feature has intrigued innovators to attempt to turn them into bona fide personal computers – first, it was Microsoft and its Continuum, then it was Samsung and its DeX, but both of these were very specific, and did only work on specific smartphone models (Microsoft’s Lumia 950 and 950 XL and Samsung’s S8 and Note8 series).
But solutions exist for other smartphones, too – they are not quite universal, as they require the phones to support USB-OTG. Huawei’s Mate 10 series comes with Emui Desktop that turns the phone into a desktop computer when connected to an external screen. And for the rest of them, there’s Sentio’s Superbook and Miraxess’ Mirabook, the solutions that can turn pretty much any OTG-capable smartphone into a laptop. They both come with a hardware component that adds not only a bigger screen but a full keyboard, a touchpad, and extra battery power to the mix, and a software component that allows the phone to function as a desktop – or rather a laptop – computer.