When you think about how much our phones are capable of in this day and age, calling them "smartphones" seems like it might be a bit of an understatement, "genius phones" or "magic phones" seems like it might be a little more appropriate. And even though it seems like the potential for this tiny electronic rectangle is almost limitless, it can still be quite surprising to learn what random, helpful, and completely bizarre things our smartphones are capable of.
And while there is plenty of stiff competition in the world of smartphones, when it comes to a seemingly never ending supply of apps Android is really the one to beat. With over 3.8 million apps in their marketplace, the Android app selection is still almost twice as much as their closest competitor (which unsurprisingly is Apple, clocking in at around 2 million available apps). So when you're dealing with that kind of selection, it's safe to assume that literally everything you could ever conceive of your phone being used for will have an accompanying Android app, and it's also safe to assume that a whole bunch of things you would never even imagine will have an Android app too. So, out of the literal millions of options for weird and wonderful Android apps, which ones are the most surprising? Which ones are the most impressive, and which ones are so silly or strange that it's hard to even imagine how a developer came up with the idea for it?
25 Learn A Language
Seeing as the basic purpose of a phone is to talk to other people, it's no huge surprise that someone came up with a way to use a smartphone to literally learn how to talk to other people. With apps like Duolingo, Busuu, and Memrise, you can now take a crash course on nearly every language you can imagine, and there are now so many options available that you can even decide on the program that suits you best. And one huge upside to a lot of these apps is that in addition to being educational, most of them are free.
24 Or Just Translate One
Of course, sometimes you might not have the time and energy to put into learning a new language. For those people out there who are in need of a super quick translation system then you need not look any further than your Android phone. There are a multitude of translation apps out there to make your life way easier, and programs like Google Translate and Microsoft Translator are definitely not your average language dictionaries. With today's state of the art translation programs you can translate text, speech, video, and you can even translate handwritten notes or street signs if need be.
23 Read A Book
Of course if you're in the mood to venture into a good book you have technological options like a Kindle or a Nook, and obviously you can always go for a real deal book, but if you're looking for the easiest and most portable option possible (and what's easier than the phone that you're already carrying around all the time anyway?) you probably already have it. With apps like the Kindle app, Aldiko, or EBookDroid you can dive into books, magazines, even comics and graphic novels if that's what tickles your fancy (of course, if they already exist in eBook form).
22 Store Our Passport
It's hard to know whether to be amazed or concerned that you can basically put your passport on to your smartphone and use it to navigate your way through dozens of airports, but Mobile Passport gives you the option at least. The app is currently used exclusively for entry into the United States, and obviously if you have any worries about losing your real life passport then having a backup stored on your mobile phone is definitely a big plus. But that doesn't mean you should leave the country without your passport either. The app is mainly designed to get you through US borders faster.
21 Play Sonic The Hedgehog
Technology has been growing and evolving at lightning speeds for the last few decades, but the fact that we are becoming capable of more with every passing day that doesn't mean that a lot of our classic favorites have lost any of their magic. And that nostalgia definitely doesn't seem to be lost on app developers, since so many of the classic games that we all enjoyed as kids have now become available right on our smartphones. Whether it's Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario, or Mortal Kombat, pretty much every popular Nintendo or Sega game in history now has an Android counterpart.
Today's smartphones seem like they're designed to keep our attention moving at all times and give us access to our every thought and whim as soon as it occurs to us, but for those of you who want to use your smartphone to wind down, relax, and stop worrying so much about the rest of the world, you still have dozens of options. Meditation seems paradoxical to using an Android, but there are dozens of different Droid apps that can offer you a great meditation experience in pretty much every meditation style you can imagine. Considering how fast-paced our world is today, maybe a meditation session is just what the doctor ordered.
19 Prevent Ourselves From Checking Our Phones Every Five Seconds
It definitely might seem counterintuitive, but there are also apps out there in the world that will simply stop you from being on your phone constantly. Actually, it seems like there is an app to stop you from doing practically anything you don't want to be or shouldn't be doing. There are apps to stop you from texting while driving, apps to stop you from dialing anyone when you shouldn't, and of course there are apps that will lock you out and force you to pay attention to something other than your phone for a few minutes out of your day.
18 Catch Up On Game Of Thrones
Watching a TV show on your smartphone, especially an epic show like Game of Thrones, probably isn't the ideal situation for anybody, but if you absolutely cannot wait to catch up on your favorite shows then there is almost certainly an app for that. Unsurprisingly online streaming services like Netflix and Hulu already have apps for your phone, but there are other programs like the HBOGo app and the WatchESPN app that can keep you up to speed on all of your favorite shows or televised events. Given the popularity of smartphones now, pretty much every major media company allows you access on your phone too.
17 Play Fantasy Sports
Fantasy sports leagues are one of the most reliably popular hobbies in the world, and with the advent of fantasy sports apps it's now a hobby that anyone can enjoy at any time they choose. With apps like ESPN Fantasy Sports, Draft Punk - Fantasy Football Drafting Companion, and Yahoo Fantasy Sports, you can make your fantasy league happen on the go or you could even forgo the draft parties and constant bookkeeping completely and keep your league totally online. And while fantasy sports leagues are a great way to have fun with your pals, at least these apps ensure that no one has to miss out on anything.
16 Rock Out To NPR
Considering that NPR is literally National Public Radio, it shouldn't be too much of a shock that they've also made themselves accessible on your smartphone. But what does set NPR's Android app apart from your standard radio app is that you can listen to live broadcasts of radio stations, listen to individual NPR programs, and even create your own playlists to completely customize your experience and get exactly what you want out of it. NPR might have a bit of a reputation as something that's old and out of date, but their integration into the latest technology has kept them way more cutting edge than anyone might expect.
15 Find A Friend
A lot of people complain that everyone seems to be glued to their phones these days instead of engaging with real human beings, but the two sides of that coin can easily blend together when you take into account all of the friend finding apps that are available for your Droid phones today. You could be looking to find a friend who shares your passions and interests, or you could be looking to find a buddy close by who you can actually hang with face to face, but regardless of who you're trying to connect with you'll probably be able to find them via your smartphone.
14 Or Find Something Better
Once upon a time there were people who would actually put personal ads in a magazine or newspaper in the hopes of finding a significant other. Then there was internet dating, which seemed to pretty much overtake the entire dating market. And now there are dating apps for your phone, which allow anyone to swipe through dozens of potential dates to find exactly, or at least almost, what they're looking for. Tinder is clearly king when it comes to Android dating apps, but nearly every major dating business under the sun has tried to cash in on their piece of the smartphone pie.
Honestly, after smartphones really gained some popularity it was only a matter of time before all of the major blogging websites developed apps that would enable their bloggers to post their content on the go whenever they wanted. The major players like WordPress and Tumblr obviously have some pretty popular and successful app counterparts, but for pretty much any blog that you would want to create or that you'd want to read you can easily find an app to make it happen. And given all of the capabilities of today's smartphones, it would be crazy to have no blogging capabilities.
12 Count Our Calories
Tracking your diet and counting your calories can be a pain for even the most dedicated fitness lovers, but thankfully there are now dozens of free Android apps that make keeping track of your intake pretty much as easy as it can possibly be. Obviously it still takes a little legwork on your part. You need to know what you're eating and how much of it, but plenty of apps already have a library of foods and the calories and macronutrients you can find in them. And clearly since most people have their phones with them 24/7, there's really no excuse to not do it.
11 Or Find The Perfect Recipe
Who knows whether or not Julia Child would approve, but there are quite a few awesome recipe apps available in the marketplace of Android's thousands of apps. When it comes to cooking for yourself, there is an app at pretty much every price point and with every specification you could possibly imagine just to find the right foods for you. Whether you're looking for a meal that is within a certain calorie count, that is low carb or high protein or anything in between, or if you're just looking to make something with whatever ingredients you have on hand, your Android can make it happen.
10 Learn Yoga
Learning yoga from your phone doesn't sound like the easiest proposition in the world, but if you're looking for an easy, inexpensive, and convenient way to introduce yourself into the bendier side of working out. Apps like Pocket Yoga can give you a great audio and visual instruction workout as well as tracking your workouts for you, and other apps like 5 Minute Yoga can give you a super short routine that still packs a good exercise punch. And thankfully there is a pretty good variety of yoga apps available on Android that are completely free, which is obviously a price we can all get behind.
9 Manage Our Money
If you want to just track your expenses, pinch your pennies as much as you can, invest your money, or even find an app that will help you get out of debt if need be, Android is pretty much guaranteed to have the right kind of money management app for you. With apps like Mint or You Need a Budget you can keep track of your cash flow and figure out how to get as much bang for your buck as possible, and thankfully (and understandably) many of Droid's most popular money management apps are also completely free to download.
8 And Spend Our Money
Your Android smartphone might give you a way of keeping track of and managing your money, but of course they also give you a whole bunch of ways to spend that money too. Google Pay is unsurprisingly one of the most popular money spending apps on Android, and that is in no small part because of how easy it is to use and how many online and in person merchants make using Google Pay into one of the easiest payment methods out there. It not only allows you to buy stuff with the literal push of a button, but you can even send money to your friends and family with it if you'd like.
7 Travel The World
When it comes to traveling, having a smartphone really can be invaluable. There are hundreds of apps that can be useful when you're taking a trip, and there are even apps that can enable you to take off on a trip using nothing more than your Android. It doesn't matter if you're just looking into the best hotels and flights you can find or if you're actually trying to book your travel accommodations; you can easily do it with your phone. Most major internet travel companies like Travelocity and Expedia have their own apps, and there are plenty of apps solely for your phone to make your vacation happen, or make it even better.
6 Find The Coolest Places To Go
Traveling or even just going for a great night out is something that pretty much everyone in the world likes to do, but if you're in an unfamiliar place or want to try out something new it can be hard to figure out the coolest places to go and the best things to do. Luckily, you can now turn to your trusty cell phone in order to find the coolest stuff anywhere at anytime, and you can always tailor your searches to your specific price range, location, and individual wants and needs. Restaurants, cafes, and even transportation are all at your fingertips.
5 Share Our Stuff
By this point most people who are familiar with Google's many branches of applications will be fully aware of Google Drive, but for those of you who are unfamiliar it's basically a place where you can save whatever work you want and share it with whoever you want. Obviously for people who work on teams and who need to have open communication with one another something like Google Drive is an invaluable workplace tool, but what makes Drive even handier is that now you can access it whenever and wherever you like with the Google Drive app for Android phones.
4 Figure Out Where We Parked Our Car
Of all of the nifty things that our phones can be used for, finding your car when you've lost it on a city street or in a massive parking lot has got to be one of the more ingenious ones. With any car locating app you almost always have to save your location before actually leaving your car behind, but if you take the time to press a few buttons you'll have an interactive map to lead you straight back to wherever your car is, regardless of how lost you've gotten and regardless of how many cars you have to sift through to find yours.
3 Detect Metal
There are definitely some surprising Android apps out there on the market today, but one of the strangest tools available for your smartphone is an actual app for metal detection. Your device has to be equipped with a magnetic sensor already (if your phone has a compass then it almost certainly has a metal detector), but with a variety of different Droid apps you can actually start hunting for metal or even hunting for ghosts if you want. Or if you're looking for some more practical applications, a metal detector on your phone can definitely be a big help if you drop your keys in the dark.
2 Look Into A Magic 8 Ball
Well, if you're the type of person who would use an actual old school Magic 8 Ball to predict your future or make a decision (or just to waste some time) then why not give the smartphone version of a Magic 8 Ball a shot? If you're ever looking for some life tips that you can shake violently out of an inanimate object then one of the many Magic 8 Ball apps might be perfect for you, and if you're just looking for a trip down nostalgia lane then there are quite a few programs that will give you as realistic of a Magic 8 Ball experience as possible.
1 Play With A Lightsaber
There probably isn't a person alive today who hasn't wanted to play with or pretended to play with a lightsaber at some point in their lives. And while a smartphone app obviously can't give you the true experience of wielding a sword made of light, it can definitely give you a nice pretend experience when you feel like pretending. Apps like Saber Simulator and Lightsaber Fighter give you the opportunity to design your own lightsaber and get the entire lightsaber experience when you give your phone a swing (classic Star Wars special effects included, because how could they not be?).