Have you ever wished your smartphone could do more? Forget about multitasking – what if your smartphone could save humanity?
Those questions are the driving force behind HTC's Power to Give program on its One and Butterfly phones. Power to Give makes your device more than "just a phone" – you can now use your phone's processing power to help cure diseases, map proteins and tackle problems usually left to the most powerful computers in the world. And all it takes is an app.
Once you download the Power to Give app from Google Play, pick the project you want to contribute to, plug your phone in to charge and connect it to Wi-Fi. That's all it takes to get you on the path toward helping all of mankind.
It's not something you can do alone, though. HTC says a million of its One smartphones add up to a single one-petaflop computer. Every bit counts, though, and anyone with an HTC One or HTC Butterfly can take part today.
The app is a great way to selflessly use your phone. Here are some other great apps that also help you give back.
Volunteer Garage is very similar to Power to Give. Volunteer Garage connects you to a volunteer computing grid that lets you donate your computer's processing time (when you are not using it) to a network of volunteer computers. Your computer's processing power is then used to research solutions to a number of different problems: from climate research to cancer research and beyond, Volunteer Garage allows you to harness your rig's power to do more.
When you decide to volunteer for a project, all you need to do is download software (usually an application) that runs in the background of your computer. This software then communicates with the project's server and sends along any data it has processed. That's all it takes – let a program run in the background and go about your business.
UNICEF's 'Tap Project'
Got a minute you're not using your phone? UNICEF will donate a day of clean water from one of its sponsors. Every 60 seconds you keep your hands off your device means 24 hours of clean water in a place that badly needs it.
We've all become a little too attached to our mobile devices. To distance yourself from your device – and to help the world – all you need to do is go to the project website to sign up. Every minute you leave your phone lying flat on the table will translate into a day of clean water.
Don't think you can give up your phone for even a minute? UNICEF is also accepting cash donations, with a one dollar donation providing 40 days of clean water.
What if walking, jogging or biking around your neighborhood did more good than just getting you into shape? What if exercising also helped you raise money for your favorite charity? Downloading the Charity Miles app (in the App Store and on Google Play) can help you do just that.
Download and open the app, choose a charity, then press start. As you exercise, the app tracks your distance and the money you've earned. For every mile you walk or run, you'll earn 25 cents; for every mile you bike, you'll earn 10 cents. After you're done with your workout and accept your sponsorship, the app will send you a note to confirm your good work.
The app is sponsored by companies like Timex Sports, Humana and Lifeway Foods, and aims to do more than just earn money for charity. Charity Miles believes actions speak louder than words, and it wants you to tell your story through those actions.
Whichever app you choose to use, know that you're doing good. Don't just use your phone... use it to help make the world a better place.
Shelly Palmer is Fox 5 New York's On-air Tech Expert (WNYW-TV) and the host of Fox Television's monthly show Shelly Palmer Digital Living. He also hosts United Stations Radio Network's, Shelly Palmer Digital Living Daily, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment. He is Managing Director of Advanced Media Ventures Group, LLC an industry-leading advisory and business development firm and a member of the Executive Committee of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (the organization that bestows the coveted Emmy® Awards). Palmer is the author of Television Disrupted: The Transition from Network to Networked TV 2nd Edition (York House Press, 2008) the seminal book about the technological, economic, and sociological forces that are changing everything, Overcoming The Digital Divide: How to use Social Media and Digital Tools to Reinvent Yourself and Your Career; (York House Press, 2011) and Digital Wisdom: Thought Leadership for a Connected World (York House Press, 2013). For more information, visit shellypalmer.com.
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