The camera on your Android smartphone can be used for a lot more than just taking selfies and making cute videos, to share on social media.

Alcatel suggests the following ingenious ways you can use it in everyday life:

  • A low-cost scanner for documents

There are numerous Android apps that turn your smartphone into a portable document scanner – examples include Handy Scanner Pro and Doc Scanner. Features and quality vary, but the apps typically offer functionality such as scanning  multipage documents and whiteboards, then saving them as images or PDF files. Some let you convert scanned text into an editable Google Docs document. And apps like Expensify lets you scan invoices or receipts, and then transcribe the data.

  • Your guide to the stars in the sky

There are some wonderful Android apps for budding astronomers. SkyView Free, for example, is a beautiful and intuitive stargazing app that uses your camera to precisely spot and identify celestial objects in the sky, day or night. Point your phone at the sky to identify galaxies, stars, constellations, planets, and satellites (including the ISS and Hubble) passing overhead at your location.

  • Magnifying glass

There are dozens of apps that turn your smartphone into a handy magnifying glass. Magnificent Magnifier HD, for example, can zoom into small objects and take pictures of their detail. It can double as reading glasses, and even serves as a pocket microscope on cameras with powerful enough zoom.

  • Import contacts from business cards

Apps like ABBYY Business Card Reader and CamCard let you scan contacts straight from business cards in an instant.

  • Translate foreign text

With the Google Translate app, you can point your smartphone camera at a sign or document to get an instant translation. This feature already supports dozens of languages, making it essential for frequent travellers.

  • Work out complex maths equations    

Learn how to solve mathematical problems or check math homework with the Photomath app. You can instantly scan printed text and handwritten math problems using your device’s camera. Photomath breaks down every math problem into simple, easy-to-understand steps so you can understand how the numbers work.

  • Learn about the world around you

The Google Lens app turns your Android device into a mobile visual search engine. Point your camera at a landmark to learn more about it, identify the breed of the unusual dog you met at the park, scan QR codes or find clothes or furniture similar to something that caught your eye – the options are endless.