Today's smartphones can do more than most people realize. They are, for all purposes, mini computers. Consider: The 256MHz processor in the current Verizon BlackBerry Tour is the same size processor used in many desktop computers in 2006. Imagine that!

With the advent of proprietary app stores, your cell phone is essentially a powerful shell, waiting for your individual personality and needs to determine what it can do. Add a modern User Interface and Operating System and chances are you're carrying around a phone way more powerful than you know.

Also, with all these changes, apps and hardware improvements you can now customize your phone in far more meaningful ways than simply picking a ring tone or changing your wallpaper. One simple example of that is being able to put all your "Go-To" application icons right smack on your home screen for quick access, or dedicating convenience keys for otherwise hard to find features, say a camera or address book.

The following five tips will help you get more out of your phone and make it work smarter for you in ways that really matter.

1. Maximize your Address Book

If you like posting videos to YouTube, your blog or website, create an entry for it in your address book.

For example, I enjoy posting some of my close-up magic trick videos to YouTube (under the name WirelessWarrior). To make the process simple, I created a YouTube email entry in my address book, labeled simply as YouTube. This allows me to shoot video with my phone and send it directly to my little place on YouTube. You can do it too. Click here to get your personal YouTube Mobile Email. It's that simple.

If you have roadside protection, add a contact in your address book labeled simply "Roadside Protection". If you run out of gas, get a flat tire, you'll be able to get help without hunting for the phone number.

In fact, I have contact listings in my address book for most of the customer service departments of businesses to whom I pay bills each month. This is incredibly helpful when I have a question about a bill, want to change my service, or just want to talk to that really nice girl at the cable company.

2. Use Your GPS

If your phone has an active GPS transceiver, it can be an enormous help in getting you to an interview or sales call on time. You don't need an expensive, dedicated GPS device.

BlackBerries use their GPS in conjunction with BlackBerry Maps, allowing you to enter "start" and "end" locations which you can update at any point during the trip. iPhones and other devices do the same thing in various ways; some are free apps native to the device while more robust applications can be purchased at iTunes, the BlackBerry App Store, etc.

3. Memory Cleaning

To keep your phone running at its best, clean up misplaced memory on a regular basis. Most smartphones have an option that will do a decent memory cleaning, but you may want to consider a paid application as they clean and optimize your device's performance. On my BlackBerry I used Aerize and it's wonderful; it reclaims wasted memory and optimizes my Tour for best performance.

While on the subject of memory, it's never a bad idea to clean house once in a while. With the iPhone, you simply go into iTunes and change some preferences around, offload some apps you rarely use and presto! You've got more usable memory. Or, with the BlackBerry, if you have or want to delete an app, you can always download it again at a later time without having to purchase it a second time. So no worries. (With BlackBerries, just be sure to keep all activation codes stored somewhere in case you need them again to reactivate the chosen app.)

4. Challenge yourself to find "The Shortcut"

Just like a computer, there are now plenty of shortcuts to get to a selected function, app or feature. It differs from phone to phone so the best way is to join a message board and check out what the pros have to say. You can ask your question right here on For BlackBerry users I recommend Crackberry, and for iPhone users try Apple. I'm on my third BlackBerry and I'm still learning very cool things on a regular basis.

5. Battery Pull

It's never a bad idea to just turn off your phone and pull the battery out, wait 30 seconds, and pop it back in. A battery pull can solve many small issues and at the very least it forces the phone to go through a more elaborate start up process that can clear out your cache, free-up wasted memory, and trouble-shoot simply by the act of forcing the phone to reconnect to the network, identify itself, and all that good stuff.

Try a battery pull every couple of weeks. It does no harm and helps to keep your crazy cool mobile device working at its very best. (Sorry iPhone users...this is not an option for you)


I hope these tips have helped. Feel free to drop your questions below!