How to use your smartphone camera in a smart way!

Mobile phone cameras can now be used for a lot more than just clicking images and recording videos. Let’s see what all you can do with your smartphone camera

Note Taker:

While writing down information is always handy, there are occasions when one simply does not have the time to do so.

At such times, simply open a handy application, such as Evernote, take a photograph of whatever you wanted to write about-a presentation slide, a document, a building-and just add a little note to it. Evernote automatically uploads your snapshots to the Evernote server, creating a useful archive.

Apps to try: Evernote (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows phone) and Spingpad (iPhone, Android)

Card Scanner:

A business meeting inevitably leads to the exchange of a number of business cards. However, we rarely take the effort to save all these contact details in our phones. But now, you can input the details of a visiting card into your phone by simply taking a picture of it, thanks to some apps.

So, if you have a smart phone, you will never need to type in contact details again.

Apps to try: WorldCard Mobile (iPhone and Android) and Business Card Reader (BlackBerry)

Information Gatherer:

Imagine being a stranger in a new city or country and not knowing what the building in front of you is called or wanting to find out the nearest cafe. Well, GPS and maps on your handset can help you find a way but in most cases, cannot identify something that is in front of you.

But if you have an augmented reality browser installed on your phone, all you need to do is point your phone’s camera at a place to get information about it.

You can get it identified and even read reviews, if any, of it. Social-networking obsessed people can even find out who is using Twitter and tweeting what in the vicinity.

Apps to try: Wikitude (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Symbian, Windows phone) and Layar (iPhone, Android, Symbian, BlackBerry)

Document Scanner:

If you have a decent camera on your phone, you can even use it as a document scanner and generate PDF copies of documents that you do not have the time to scan conventionally or cannot carry around.You are unlikely to get as crisp and clear results as from a specialised scanner but if all you need is clear, legible text, the results will, in most cases, be more than sufficient.

App to try: DocScanner (iPhone, Android, Symbian)

Shopping Assistant:

Do you need more information about a product beyond the spiel printed on the cover? You could just take out your camera and scan its bar code to access more details about prices and even reviews. You could also take a picture of the item to get information about it as well as search results on the Web.However, there are certain limitations with these apps. They work best with branded products and will need a good Internet connection (3G or Wi-Fi broadband) to get quick results.

But nothing beats clicking on the signboard of a restaurant to get reviews about it or scanning a book’s barcode to get pricing details and, depending on the app you use, even the nearest location from where you can grab a copy.

Apps to try: ShopSavvy (iPhone) and Google Goggles (iPhone, Android)

Contact Manager:

This is one feature that most mobile phones claim to be an expert at. Almost all smartphones these days come with their own contact applications.However, as the number of contacts increases in your phone, it becomes difficult to put faces to names.

This is where your phone’s camera can come to your rescue. There are applications that let you take pictures of contacts and automatically record the location where you met them to help you better remember people, adding places and faces to names. Sounds tricky? Yes, it will take some getting used to, but take our word for it, it is very handy.

There are not too many apps in this category right now, but given its utility, we are sure it will catch on soon.

Apps to try: Evernote Hello (iPhone)