A smartphone makes a great gift for yourself or for someone else. But receiving a smartphone is a bit like buying a pet: the fun parts also come with some work and some adjustments.
Downloading apps that make life easier and incorporate local information is like training a puppy. It results in less hassle and more fun.
One thing that makes apps even better than your desktop computer is that you can find some tailored to Dearborn.
- WUMD—the University of Michigan-Dearborn's college radio station—has an app that allows you to listen on your phone.
- Find details about some local businesses, as well as get notifications about upcoming events, with apps. BT's Executive Club and Village Ford both have apps.
- Follow the progress and find the schedule for Maker Faire Detroit, held annually at The Henry Ford, with the event's app.
- Ford Motor Company has a number of apps that let you customize your dream car, get SYNC services on your phone, and other services. In 2013, they'll also launch MyFord Mobile, an app to let electric car owners manage their vehicle from their phone.
- UrbanSpoon and Yelp have apps for iPhones, Droids and Windows phones that are great for finding a local restaurant in a hurry, based on your location.
- MapMyRide and MapMyRun offer apps for fitness enthusiasts looking for a new route in their neighborhood.
- Most smartphones have a built-in app for local weather, but you may find it worth experimenting with the Weather Channel’s app, as well as other competitors.
- The Google+ Local app will show you search results similar to what you are used to seeing on the map listings part of Google Search on your computer.
- The GasBuddy app will help you figure out which of your local gas stations has the best price.
- And, of course you can't forget the Patch app! Patch for iPhone keeps you connected to the latest community news, weather, local business listings and events happening around your block. Plus, you can use the app while traveling to find local places to shop, eat and hang out in whatever town you end up in (as long as said town has Patch).
A little secret many smartphone users don’t know is that you can make any of your favorite websites look like an app on your phone. If you are frustrated by using your phone’s browser and typing in the web URL, tell your phone’s web browser to “Add to Home Screen.” The resulting button will look like an app, but the button will take you to your favorite website instead of launching an app.
Tell us: What is your favorite app to use around town?