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How To Get The Most Out Of Your Smartphone

Introduction: What Smartphones Do Is More

The whole point of smartphones is that you can do so much with them - you get a slew of applications regardless of which smartphone OS you pick, and there are plenty more applications to install. (That's what makes it a smartphone in the first place!) But it's easy just to sync your contacts, read your email, do a bit of Web browsing and never fully exploit the potential of that device in your pocket. Here's how to get the most out of a smartphone, whether you've got a BlackBerry, a Symbian or a Windows Mobile Smartphone.

Sony Ericsson boasts the Walkman brand, but there are other smartphone media players with plenty of features.

If you're hanging on for some of the new smartphones announced at 3GSM this year, you may have a longer wait for the Windows Mobile devices; anything coming out with Windows Mobile 6 won't be here until the second half of the year. That includes the Toshiba Portégé smartphone with fingerprint scanner, HP's iPAQ Voice Messenger, the HTC S710 smartphone with slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and the Motorola Q9 - the successor to the Q with built-in GPS. But that still leaves a range of new Windows Mobile devices: from the RAZR-like iMate SmartFlip, to the BlackBerry-style Samsung i320, to the HTC Advantage slate with magnetic keyboard (soon to be available as the T-Mobile Ameo), all available now or very soon. There's a new business BlackBerry, the 8800, which scales the Pearl up to a full QWERTY keyboard, and a similar model with a camera is expected soon. And there are plenty of new Symbian phones, from Samsung's HSDPA i520 to the Nokia e90 Communicator. Even Motorola is back with Symbian, with the MOTORIZR Z8.

Beyond the built-in software, there are hundreds of utilities, applications and games you can install on all three smartphone platforms; you can get weather information, speak into your smartphone and have it translated, or browse your Flickr photos.

This guide covers the most useful and entertaining add-ons, but is still just a fraction of what's available. If you plan to install a lot of applications, you should invest in a memory card to store them on.

If you use a Treo or a Windows Mobile Pocket PC Phone, you can still run all the apps that work on any Palm or Pocket PC. There are new tools that use the phone and data functionality, but don't forget the wealth of that PDA heritage. Windows Mobile Smartphone edition is a different version of the OS: it comes with slightly different applications, and when you install extra software you'll need apps that specifically support it. This is because it uses soft keys to control the menus rather than having a touchscreen where you can tap menus directly. The security model is different too, and depending on how your cellular network sets up Windows Mobile smartphones when it sells them, you might have to stick with approved applications or do a little unlocking.

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