Have yourself a mobile little Christmas

5 tips to get your phone ready for the holidays

They say smartphones can do anything, and now they can even help you get ready for Christmas. Whether you’re staying at home for the holidays, or visiting family and friends in another neighborhood or another continent, you can have easy access to everything you need for the festive season – right on your mobile phone.

Opera Software, makers of the Opera browsers for computers, phones and other connected devices, has these tips to turn your smartphone into Santa’s little helper for the holidays:

Shop savvy
Have yourself a mobile little Christmas

Can’t bear the thought of facing another hectic shopping mall to look for last-minute gifts? Beat the crowds by getting your mobile phone ready for shopping online! Make sure you have the latest version of your mobile web browser, for the most recent protections and security updates to ensure you shop safely. Download the Lookout antivirus and security app (Opera Mobile Store, Apple’s App Store and Google Play), for detecting and removing viruses and spyware. Also check out RedLaser (iPhone and Android), which lets you compare prices by scanning barcodes, taking a photo of products or simply text searching.

Roam if you want to

Heading abroad these holidays? When in another country, your phone “roams” onto a local network – which frequently charges higher rates for SMS, calls and web surfing – instead of using your regular operator. Take note of the welcome SMS from the local operator outlining the costs. For surfing, try a cloud-based browser like Opera Mini, which shrinks down the webpages you visit to as little as 10% of their original size. That way your phone has fewer megabytes to load, which saves you money and time, and also makes it easier to use crowded Wi-Fi networks (another great way to reduce roaming costs).

‘Appy holidays

Download some yuletide cheer with the Christmas!! app (iPhone), which features an advent calendar, gift-shopping list, photobooth and more. Need some entertainment on a long journey home, or simply want to escape the noise of new toys on Christmas day? Tune out with the Santa’s Village game, where you build a North Pole village and take quests from different characters (iPhone and Android). Game play can last hours, so you should be done by the time the turkey is ready! Or, if you missed the post, try Red Stamp for free holiday e-cards (iPhone).

Christmas helpers

Opera Mini features a Speed Dial start screen, to put website shortcuts at your fingertips. What must-have sites might you need in a flash these holidays? If you’re traveling, add FlightStats.com for up-to-date flight details, cancellation and delay reports, and airline contact details. Cooking up a storm? Keep Epicurious on your Speed Dial for culinary inspiration, or quick fixes, in case Christmas dinner goes south. If you feel overwhelmed during the holidays, make sure Stress.About.com is just a click away for tips on managing stress, relaxation techniques and stress tests.

Play that funky music

Ahead of the holidays, put together a playlist of your favorite Christmas carols and hits, and download or stream the songs to your mobile phone. It will help you to get in the Christmas spirit, no matter where you are this festive season, and means no holiday party you attend will ever be without tunes. You can even add a yuletide ringtone to your phone, if you’re feeling extra Christmassy. Had your share of Christmas carols? Try an alternative playlist for everything from waiting in line at the mall to the great unwrapping session under the tree. Try some island calypso to remind you that warmer weather will soon return!