Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Four Tools to Replace Common Items with Your Smartphone or Tablet

50% of Americans own smartphones and 20% have tablets. While most, if not all, of the smart-phoners are the tablet owners as well, any way you look at it, that’s a lot portable technology.

Given that so many people have these devices, why not exploit them to their full potential? Beyond obtuse apps for blueprint design and augmented reality games, there are a number of apps that turn your smartphone or tablet into common household items, saving space and money. Here are a few:

  1. Scanner. After our post the other day about essential items, a couple commentors suggested using an app for scanning rather than a clunky machine. Camscanner and Scanner Pro allow you to take photos or screenshots on your smartphone/tablet and turn them into jpgs or PDF files (Scanner Pro is iOS only).
  2. Books. No matter where your eBook collection is (Kindle, Nook, iBooks), there is an app that allows you to read your from any smartphone or tablet. While the idea of reading on your phone’s tiny screen might seem strange at first, it’s quite easy to get used to and the convenience of always having a book on hand can’t be beat.
  3. Universal remote control. For $60 or so, products like UnityRemote by Gear4 (iOS) or Beacon by Griffith Technology (Android and iOS) will turn your smartphone and tablet into a universal remote for your entertainment system. Beyond consolidating devices, the more intuitive interfaces of smartphones and tablets make set up and use simpler than standard universal remotes. The one downside is you probably want to keep one of those devices by your entertainment system at all times. This might argue for having your device as a supplemental remote or having a dedicated device such as an old iPhone or iPod Touch; this is also a good place to send media from for Airplay-enabled stereo systems.
  4. Flashlight. Most of us keep one of these around for the odd hurricane. Then we look for the flashlight when that emergency arrives and find its batteries are dead. Since most of us have our phones on us and charged at all times, they make perfect flashlights for emergencies and occasional use. There are a number of flashlight apps for iOS and Android that use the screen and/or camera flash as a flashlight. Most include strobe lights for side-of-the-road breakdowns or impromptu discos.

What other apps replace common household items? Let us know in the comments section.