My Android Can Work As A TV Remote? And 9 Other Things You Probably Had No Idea It Could Do

Yes, it’s an ongoing battle—iPhones versus Androids. Apple phones are better. No, non-Apple ones are. Who’s in the right?From giving us directions to helping us meditate, we know both types of phones can do all sorts of things with various apps.

But, if you’re like me and prefer a Samsung Galaxy to an iPhone, read on. Bet you didn’t know Androids could do all the below, and more!

1. Name That Tune

Yes, our iPhone friends love to flaunt Shazam, an app that will tell you what song is playing in the room right now. No matter if you’re home or at a bar, it works very well (from what I’ve witnessed). Or, others ask Siri.

So what about us who use Androids? Well, we can go into Google Play and use apps like Shazam, too, or SoundHound. Take that, Apple friends!

2. Google Goggles

I think this may be even cooler than Shazam. Like the above, it can tell you more info about something in the room; instead of music, it will do a background search, of sorts.

For instance, once you download the app, aim your phone camera at the object in question (like a painting) and take a pic. Then, Google Goggles gets to work and does an image search for you online, then tells you all about it. Technology is amazing!

3. Plane Finder (And Other Flight-Tracking Apps)

Similar to the above, there are apps out there to track planes. You can get a real-time flight status (via Flight Tracker) and more than flight info with apps like SeatGuru (flight routes and tracker, airport maps, and seating arrangements). That’s pretty darn cool.

4. Visual Voicemail

It happens to all of us: someone calls from an unrecognizable number, we don’t answer, and we also don’t have time to listen to the message right away. But, what about time to read the message?

With Visual Voicemail (YouMail on my LG, for instance), your phone transcribes the message into a written one, like a text. I love the convenience of this! Check out Google Play and you’ll see how much easier it’ll make your life.

5. Send Someone Straight To Voicemail

Speaking of voicemail, we all have people we don’t want (or shouldn’t) talk to, like that pesky ex who broke our heart. We can send them straight to voicemail instead. Follow these simple steps (though they may vary a bit, Android-to-Android):

  • Find their contact info.
  • Go to “Edit.”
  • Scroll to “Additional Info.”
  • Select “Send straight to voicemail.”

Easy, right? Unwanted calls no more. Hopefully, they’ll get the hint. Note: We cannot guarantee they will stop calling forever.

6. Block Callers

Yes, sometimes it is necessary to block people from reaching us. With Samsung phones, for instance, you have to follow a few steps, but it can be done. There’s Blocking Mode as well as an Auto Reject List you can create. Check them out here.

7. Text From Your PC To A Phone

Back when I used to text, a friend would send me perfectly composed texts (before the days of voice-to-text and stylus pens) and I wondered how he did it. “From my PC,” he said. What?! Yes, even today, it’s still possible to do so. Check out how here, with apps like MightyText and AirDroid. (Apparently, iPhone users cannot do this; finally, we Android users have one-upped them on something!)

8. Use Your Android As A Remote For Your TV (Or Garage Door)

That’s right, just like a TV remote. Certain Android phones come with infrared blasters (like the Samsung Galaxy 4 and the HTC One), which means you can use them as remotes—and not just for TVs!

Technically, they could work on other devices, too, such as your garage gate or thermostat – basically, anything with an infrared signal. But, infrared blasters or not, just check out the Google Play store and find a remote app like the Universal Remote Control TV or Android TV Remote Control.

9. Barcode Scanners (And QR Code Readers)

I know when I was apartment-hunting in L.A., more and more “For Rent” signs had barcodes to scan in order to get more info on a property or to get a rental application. Hence, the codes are becoming more and more popular as a way for us to find out more about a product or service and share data. So download one of the barcode apps in Google Play and you’ll soon start to see opportunities to use it everywhere you go.

10. Set Your Phone To Vibrate In Certain Patterns (Depending On Who’s Calling)

We’ve all been there—“Please turn off all cell phones”—but we’re waiting for our daughter to call us for a ride, or for a work call. Well, if you have an Android 4.3+, you’re in luck. You can actually set up your phone to vibrate in a certain way, with apps like Good Vibrations, so you can differentiate your daughter’s call from your boss’s,without having your phone obnoxiously ring in the process.

Photo by TechStage