Tag: Android

Listen To The Music, Ladies

Picture of Samsung Galaxy Note
Samsung Galaxy Note

This article is for my lady blogger friends who have yet to enter the twenty-first century, which is a great mystery to me. You see, these outstanding network nannies (Leticia, and Z) do not have smart phones, iPods, or even a cheap MP3 music player.

So, ladies, here’s my pitch for your technological redemption and explanation of what smart phones are all about.

Let’s take a look at what happens with my smart phone. It can do almost anything my computer can do.

1. Address Rolodex – All my email and phone contacts are in my Google mail (gmail) account, and I have my phone sync to gmail for phone contacts, email addresses, and Google calendar. Most smart phones will sync up with Microsoft Outlook, too. The smart phone is your portable address book, calendar, and birthday list if you wish. I have Google calendar send me a short text message to remind me of every appointment, prior to the appointment. This is the ultimate cool for forgetful old men, like me.

2. Music – My entire collection of music CD’s have been transferred to Apple iTunes, and from there to the iPhone. Since I got rid of my iPhone I have transferred all the music to my  new Android phone. All my music is with me, where ever I go, and I can listen to it anytime I want.

3. Books – My entire library of Kindle edition books (e-books) is available on my smart phone. I take my library with me, everywhere, and can read my current book anytime, anywhere. Not only do I have print books, but I also carry my Audible.com books, listening to them while I drive, and before I go to sleep.

4. Important Notes – With the note taking function in my smart phone, I have made list of my prescription medications. Also, I have my extensive list of pin numbers, passwords and usernames for my countless internet accounts. I have password protected my smart phone to keep busy fingers away from this information.

5. Google – Yes. I take Google with me. I can even talk to Google, and it will understand my search. Several times I have been lost, or could not find an address, and would speak that address into the Google search application. The result would be links and map references. Cool, huh? Now, us guys don’t need directions. They are always in our pockets.

6. Bank  – I use my Bank of America application to check my bank balance, move funds, and to find an ATM or bank branch. Everybody needs this one. There is probably an app for your bank, too.

7. Movies – I can stream movies over the internet to my smart phone. The small screen is not very satisfying, but if I really feel the need to see the Magnificent Seven, again, it can happen.

8. Text Messaging – You might think that texting is just for teenagers. Not true, girls. I used my smart phone last night to cast my American Idol votes for Skylar Lane a couple of dozen times. I voted for two others, also, many times. With a smart phone, you have a tiny little virtual keyboard that is touch sensitive, and you can actually get used to using it.

9. Camera – With my smart phone, I have a good camera with me all the time. My Samsung Galaxy Smartphone has two cameras built-in, one in front, and one in back. The eight megapixel camera in back is almost as good as my Nikon Koolpix camera for which I paid over $100. The pictures are about as good, and I can upload them to my computer via USB connection.

10. Picture Gallery – I have my grand children’s pictures on my smart phone. I do not carry pictures in my wallet. Pictures can be taken by the smart phone itself, or just downloaded from my computer.

11. Cell Phone – I take my telephone with me, everywhere. This feature was saved for the last because I wanted to enumerate many of other features, first.

There are two main types of smart phones, the Apple iPhone, and the Google Android phones. Several major manufacturers make the Android phones including Motorola, Samsung, LG, HTC, and many others. Android phones have been selling faster than iPhones, and they all do about the same things. Neither has an advantage over the other.

Microsoft Windows is late to the smart phone lineup. The first Windows Phones were recently introduced, and there are only a couple of manufacturers signed up to make them. Even at that, AT&T sells the Nokia Lumia series of Windows Phone, and has found it to be a great sales success. The Windows Phone does not offer any advantage over any other smart phone.

You can see that the primary benefit of a smart phone is that it is an all-in-one entertainment device. I always have something to do while waiting, driving, or walking, or even in bed before sleeping. Last night, I listened to one of my Audible books until I went to sleep.

If the features listed above don’t sell you on smart phones, I can’t help you. Maybe you are dead, and haven’t realized it, yet.

The Windows Smart Phone Is Here!

I bought one. Yep! I bought the Nokia Lumia 900 smart phone, one of the first new Windows Phones from Nokia.

Picture of the Noki Lumia 900 Windows Phone
Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone

You remember Nokia, don’ t you ? At one time Nokia had the very best cell phones on the market. Their fall from smart phone grace had to do with bad management decisions, and staying with the Symbian cell phone operating system, which never took hold in the US. Nokia’s new CEO, Stephen Elop , a former Microsoft Executive, decided to pitch Nokia’s future with the new Microsoft Windows Phone system. It looks like it may work.

The Nokia Lumia 900 is a great phone. I decided to replace my iPhone 4 with the new Windows phone because I didn’t see any real progress from Apple in their product. Nokia has done their normal great design job with the phone with the buttons in the right places.

In my opinion the Lumia 900 is easier to learn to use than the Apple iPhone. The Windows phone uses tiles to run an application instead of icons. The system is reliable, and the screen is fantastic, using a technology called AMOLED, active-matrix organic light emitting diode. The screen resolution is not as much as some other phones, but AMOLED gives you a bright, colorful, and easy to read display. The Lumia 900 has a large 4.3 inch diagonal screen as opposed to Apple’s 3.5 inch screen.

The smart phone world is light years ahead of last year at this time. Apple is fading on sales of the iPhone in the market, while Android phone sales are really heating up. And, they should. Pretty much all the Android phones have larger screens than the current iPhone, and you are not held hostage by Apple’s iTunes.

There aren’t as many apps for the Windows Phones as for iPhone and Android. That will change. There is one app I really like for the iPhone and Android phones, and that is the Audible.com book application. There is not one in the Windows Phone library, but one is under development at the present. Applications are being added to the Microsoft Windows Phone library at a high rate.

I could have bought an Android phone, and there were lots of great Android phones on the market. But, I wanted to take the chance to try something  new. So far, I do not regret my decision.

Why Get An iPad?

We waited, breathlessly, for our new iPad to be delivered. The iPad was a gift for my wife who is retiring from her public school teaching career this year. Our daughter has an iPad, and my wife really loves to play with it.

picture of ipad
New iPad

Around six o’clock on March 16, a big, brown truck pulled up in front of the house. Our iPad had arrived. Strangely, the delivery man was not our regular guy. Did UPS reorganize their fleet to handle the millions of iPad’s they would have to deliver on March 16?

When I opened the box, I had the same feeling I get every time I pick up an iPad.

Disappointment.

I have been an iPhone user for about four years, and the iPad screen is EXACTLY like the iPhone screen, only bigger. However, the iPad doesn’t have a cell phone built-in. The iPad doesn’t have a keyboard, either. So, why should anybody spend upwards of a thousand dollars to buy a computer that is missing essential components?

Oh, wait. There is a wireless keyboard for the iPad that costs $69.00. Plus, you can get a dock for the iPad for #$29.00 to keep the iPad upright while banging away on the keyboard. Hmmm… That’s OK. It is beautiful thing that you don’t have to use a mouse. The touchscreen is wonderful for navigation.

Including the 4G cellular coverage feature, the new iPad weighs in at 1.46 pounds (662 g). Nice! It is about half the weight of one of those ultra-light laptop computers.

When using the iPad to read my books, it is OK. In our  house we have two Amazon Kindle’s, one of which is the new Kindle Fire. The Fire has a 7 inch diagonal screen as compared to the iPad’s more than 10 inches. However, the Kindle Fire does as good a job as the iPad when it comes to reading a book. It costs less than half as much, and weighs about half as much as the iPad.

picture of Kindle Fire
Kindle Fire

When working means using a computer, I would rather have a regular PC with my 24 inch screen and full-sized keyboard. For reading books, I prefer the Amazon Kindle format. For entertainment, the iPad takes the prize for streaming video, playing games, and just plain leisure surfing.

There is more to come in the computer world. Much maligned Microsoft has improved their operating systems greatly since the VISTA disaster. Indeed, Microsoft 7 is a real winner, and has done lots to repair a damaged Microsoft reputation.

Windows 8 will be a game changer in the computing world. Operating systems are evolving into more usable interfaces between people and machines. Windows 8 makes use of touch screen technology, and extends the use of mouse and stylus interfaces. Laptops and desktops will be particularly blessed, and Windows 8 will drive the market for traditional computers for a long time.

picture of Windows 8 start menu
Windows 8

Look for some really decent laptops competing feature for feature with the Apple Macbook Air, and tablet computers running Windows 8. The new Microsoft system is more powerful than IOS5 which Apple uses for iPhones and iPads. Microsoft is not dead.

This gives us three viable systems for tablet computers and smart phones. The Google Android system is fantastic, and Apple has done a credible job with IOS5. Windows 8 will drive prices down, and feature content up.

We live in exciting times.

If you decide to get an iPad, you are not making a mistake. You will get a useful, high quality piece of hardware and software. If you cannot afford an iPad, there are plenty other devices out there, and in the future the device world just gets richer.