Different pieces of technology have different purposes. If you want to work on a spreadsheet, you need a computer. If you want to make a call, you need a phone. Right?
It might once have been true, but not anymore.
Technology has evolved to the point where your different devices don’t each have individual purposes in your technological ecosystem. With a smartphone and the right app (a Nokia Lumia and Microsoft Office, say) you can create, edit and share that spreadsheet on your phone. With Skype, you can make phone calls from your desktop.
Always-on, available-everywhere Internet, the ubiquity of apps and the pervasiveness of the Cloud mean that a smartphone is far more than the mobile phone of old: now it’s a portable workstation, a games console, a camera, a notebook, a scrapbook, your whole music collection, a map and compass, and a lot more besides.
In our Mobile Mastery ebook we argue that one of the keys to using tech like a pro is purpose.
In the past, you had to work around the purpose your device was intended for. Your computer sat in one place on your desk, with a cable to connect it to the internet, so that was where you worked. (Read ‘The revolution and evolution of the office’ for more on this.)
Now, you can think about your purpose, and customise your device to fit. When you start to explore the idea of your purpose, and what it is that you really want to achieve, rather than what your device will allow you to do, you can start to make huge gains in terms of productivity.
If you’ve got a task that needs total focus and no interruptions, then is your office desktop really the best place to do it? Master technology, and you can work just as effectively from home, from a library, cafe or park bench.
Sometimes you might need to take you work completely offline too. (Remember our article ‘Is it time to switch off?‘) If you’ve been brainstorming on a whiteboard or sketching out ideas on paper, your phone can come back into play later, taking photos to document your work.
And if you’re travelling for a meeting, who says you need to lug a laptop along with you? You can edit your PowerPoint right on your phone, and share it with your audience rather than connecting to a projector.
Here are a few apps that we think will help you use your device for any purpose:
SkyDrive is a place to store your files so you can access them from different devices, making it easy to manage and share files.
With Evernote, you can make notes, to-do lists, set reminders, clip articles, make voice recordings and have them sync seamlessly between your different devices.
If you already have a Microsoft Lync account, this app will let you view shared meeting content during a conference, invite additional participants to an existing conversation or conference, mute or remove conference attendees, transfer your calls to another phone number or another contact and more.
Handyscan (free and paid)
Use Handyscan bring the work you do offline online. It scans documents or objects (a hand-drawn sketch for example) and uploads it to SkyDrive. You can zoom, crop, make collages, add text, and even electronically sign documents. With the paid version, you can email your scans and convert them to PDFs.
Splashtop (free with subscription)
Splashtop gives you remote access to your PC or Mac from your Windows Phone. It lets you access apps, games, multimedia content, and files over LAN, Wi-Fi, and 3G/4G.
Sketch Board (free)
Sketch Board lets you create drawings and diagrams on your phone – great for capturing creative ideas on the go. You can draw on top of, or add photos, erase, use layers and change the opacity of the photo.
Do you agree that your phone can do most of the work of a computer? What are your must-have apps for making your phone work harder?
This article is part of Nokia’s Smarter Everyday programme, which aims to inspire you with the latest ideas on productivity, collaboration and technology adoption.