Android Thoughts - Opinions, News, Advice & Reviews on Android Devices

Subscribe to Us Using RSS - Really Simple, Really Awesome


Apple Thoughts

Loading feed...

Laptop Thoughts

Loading feed...

Digital Home Thoughts

Loading feed...





All posts tagged "software"


Monday, July 23, 2012

Notes from an iOS User: My Week with a Google Nexus 7

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Android Slates/Tablets & Accessories" @ 01:30 PM

"My first Android experience has been very, very positive, thanks to Google's Nexus 7 and Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). I received my tablet a week ago, and also received a $25 Google Play credit as an early purchaser. My initial thoughts were that I'd use the tablet primarily as a reader - but it's much more than a Kindle (Fire) replacement."

As a longtime iOS device user, and like most modern device users, I have my biases, and have kept them firmly in mind when using an Android device for the first time. But, maintaining objectivity has been easy with this tablet. I'm guessing that skipping the earlier Android releases have saved me from some amount of frustration, just as skipping earlier iOS versions would have in the iDevice world. The bottom line is that so far I'm not finding much missing from Android.

I have several "must haves," including Banking, Browsing, Calendaring, Contacts, Dropbox, Email, Facebook, Foursquare, Kindle reader, LinkedIn, MS Office-type apps, PDF reader, Search, Skype, Text editing, and Travel apps. All present, and arguably equal to the iOS versions. Not as many app choices from Google Play, but all I need is one of each.

Things that I like so far, in no particular order: Android 4.1.1 - already one patch automatically downloaded to Jelly Bean; Battery life is very good; Customization is as simple as the iPad - the home screen is easy to configure; the display is very, very good - not quite up to the new iPad, but excellent for much less money; Sound quality is good; Security is good - face recognition login authentication can be configured to require a blink, making security stronger; Performance is excellent - I haven't noticed anything crapping out or any lags in performance, at the app or UI level; Shutting down running apps is a breeze, much simpler than iOS; Removing apps is easy; Reading is a breeze on this form factor - no more carpal tunnel holding and reading an iPad. Comfortable to hold and use. Many pros to this device!

Things that are less than stellar (and I admit freely that maybe I just don't know enough about Android yet): Apps on the home screen cannot be ordered or arranged for a whole screen - must be dragged and bumped individually; Setup options are not as rich as iOS; iCloud mail is handled a bit better in iOS, as one would expect; Google Play Store doesn't seem to have an easy way of selecting "tablet-only apps," aside from Staff Picks for Tablets. A pretty short list of cons.

Overall, a very positive experience so far, and, while I'm not dumping my iPad, my Nexus 7 is already getting more use than my earlier small tablets, a Nook tablet and a Kindle Fire, both of which were too restrictive for me, and were sold pretty quickly. For the money (I got the 16GB model), this is a superb tablet, and the Android experience is a pleasure. I like the fact that it is not "carrier specific," so it has none of the bloatware associated with subsidized devices. The Nexus 7 is a keeper!


Friday, July 6, 2012

The ASUS Google Nexus 7: A Performance Beast

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 09:00 AM

http://www.wired.com/reviews/2012/0...y-number-7/all/

"Note to all tablet makers not named Asus: This is how you make a 7-inch tablet.

The Nexus 7, the first tablet to wear Google's Nexus brand, sets a new standard for smaller slates, proving that just because it isn't as big as Apple's iPad doesn't mean it can't be just as useful, as fast, or as fun. If you've been on the fence about Android, or tablets in general, this is the tablet you've been waiting for."

Most of the initial hands-on reviews for the wifi-only Nexus 7 are positive, and this one is no exception. The biggest complaint so far has been the lack of tablet applications for Android, so, for example, the user can be "stuck" with up-sized phone apps for popular apps like Facebook and Twitter. The near-IPS quality 1280x800 screen, at about 216ppi, is superb, and the quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 coupled with 1GB of RAM and either 8GB or 16GB of storage, is, as the author puts it, a beast. The first Android 4.1 Jelly Bean tablet screams, with none of the earlier OS hiccups, and the price is right, at $199 for 8GB, and $249 for 16GB. Out of the box, the tablet is obviously Google-centric, but can be tweaked, and the full Google Play store is available. Early purchasers (I was one) receive a $25 credit for the store, so I'll be able to add my obligatory "MS Office" equivalent. Shipping is scheduled for mid-July 2012 (I hope) so check back here as we review more real world experiences with the Google Nexus 7 from ASUS.


ARCHOS ELEMENTS 97 carbon Tablet Announced

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 12:00 AM

"ARCHOS, an award-winning innovator in consumer electronics, is pleased to introduce the ARCHOS 97 carbon, the first of its new tablet range called "ELEMENTS", an entry-level line up of 7, 8, and 9.7 inch tablets that combine ARCHOS design and engineering with full access to Google PlayTM and a full suite of Google apps at an affordable price."

Interesting to see the new tablets coming to market at consumer-friendly prices. This 9.7-inch tablet sports an IPS screen, plays 1080p HD video, weighs 21.8-ounces, and is 0.45-inches thick. With a 1-GHz processor (no further processor details were available), 1GB RAM, and 16GB storage, the Carbon 97 is running Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) 4.0 and is set to debut this July (2012) with a price of $249.99 or less. Interesting to also note that the carbon 97 supports expandable memory via SDHC cards up to 32GB and (or?) USB flash drives from a full-sized USB port. It'll be interesting to see if ARCHOS can crash the tablet party, and give the bigger players some competition at this price point.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Mobile Office Suite for Android Announced: Office Mobile 2012

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Android Software" @ 09:30 AM

http://www.softmaker.com/english/index_en.htm

"German software vendor SoftMaker today announced the immediate launch of the public beta test of its new mobile office suite SoftMaker Office Mobile 2012 for Android. Boasting impeccable compatibility with Microsoft Office, it is poised to become an excellent choice for demanding users of Android phones and tablets."

A (free-to-try) beta has been announced by SoftMaker, and includes TextMaker word processor, PlanMaker spreadsheet, and SoftMaker Presentations. The suite promises Office 2010 compatibility (docx, pptx and xlsx formats) and will be sold and priced individually, at about 10 Euros (or equivalent dollars) per app. Highlights include: direct PDF export/save; syncing with Dropbox, Evernote and eventually Google Docs; multi-language spell checking that underlines errors in red; supports track changes in a format familiar to MSO users; plays presentations with full transitions and animations; and supports adding TrueType and/or OpenType typefaces. Sounds promising!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

ARCHOS 70b Internet Tablet for $199 in January 2012

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Archos Tablets" @ 09:30 PM

"DENVER, CO – (December 20, 2011) – ARCHOS, an award-winning innovator in consumer electronics, announced today the upcoming availability of the first android 3.2 ‘’Honeycomb’’ tablet under $200, the ARCHOS 70b internet tablet. The new ARCHOS 70b IT is an enhanced version of the ARCHOS 70 IT Gen 8 that features an upgraded capacitive touch screen and a powerful processor at 1.2 GHz."

With Android 3.2 (Honeycomb), 8GB storage, full access to the Android Market, 1024x600 capacitive LCD, and a fair complement of ports, this may be a good buy for those that don't like (or want) the Kindle Fire's training wheels (UI). With "only" 512MB RAM, I don't expect lightning performance, and the lack of details as to the nature of their "powerful processor" is a bit puzzling. I've seen ARCHOS products in retail stores, but haven't had the desire to test one, but the 70b may change my mind. I had a Kindle Fire, but wasn't impressed, and sold it, maybe this will be a better (or real) introduction to Android. Anyone have experience with ARCHOS products?


Thursday, December 15, 2011

HTC Flyer Gets Android Honeycomb (3.2) Update

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 08:00 PM

http://www.netbooknews.com/41485/ht...b-review-video/

"Great news if you’re an HTC Flyer user: the Taiwanese smartphone giant has released the Android 3.2 update for its 7-inch tablet. The update weighs in at 210MB and bumps the version of Android from 2.3 Gingerbread up to the proper 3.2 Honeycomb for tablets."

This has been long-awaited, but it's finally here! The Flyer has been a good performer with Android Gingerbread, and should be quite impressive with a true tablet OS. Aside from the enhanced dedicated stylus button, the other buttons become inactive. It'll be interesting to see if the 7-inch form factor catches on after the success of the Kindle Fire.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus: A Worthy Update

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 10:00 PM

http://www.gottabemobile.com/2011/1...-0-plus-review/

"The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus retains its seven-inch display from the first generation Galaxy Tab. Now, upgraded with a dual-core Exynos processor, Android 3.2 Honeycomb operating system, and a number of enhancements thanks to the TouchWiz user interface and some preloaded apps, the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus refines on the experience that the Galaxy Tab 7 had promised."

Samsung has taken good 7-inch tablet and made it even better: Light; improved but sometimes laggy performance; excellent 1024x600 display that works indoors and outdoors; expandable storage (up to an additional 32GB SDHC); reasonably good cameras that record VGA or 720p HD video; updated Android OS that is actually designed for tablets; and enhanced TouchWiz. Negatives reported are less than stellar battery life, some performance lags in some apps, and slightly confusing design decisions by Samsung. Some bundled apps and some enhancements made by Samsung make for a better user experience. No pricing or availability information was provided, with T-Mobile expected to offer a Wifi + 4G version.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Android Has Fixed Fragmentation! Well, Perhaps Not...

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad)" @ 01:00 PM

http://www.insignificantthoughts.co...ed-think-again/

"Google recently announced it was going to put an 18 month upgrade requirement on any handset that wants to be Google-certified, meaning if you buy a handset today, you're guaranteed OS updates for 18 months."

A different philosophy indeed! I understand why the hardware manufacturers don't want to push out updates so that people will buy new phones to get the new goodies, but that certainly isn't a very good model if you want to retain customers. Apple is in the hardware business too, but they don't have a problem getting out updates that work on their older handsets, as evidenced by the chart above. Who do you think has the customer's best interests in mind? I know who my money is on, but what are your thoughts?


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Panasonic Toughpad A1 Coming in Spring 2012

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 12:00 AM

http://blog.laptopmag.com/steak-sau...ntent=LaptopMag

"The Kindle Fire can bring the heat. But the Toughpad can handle flamethrowers. Panasonic is extending its line of weather-resistant, hard-shelled mobile devices to include Android tablets. Announced today, the Toughpad A1 will sport a 10.1-inch XGA capacative screen and a 1.2-GHz Marvell dual-core processor running Android 2.3 Honeycomb, and will be released in Spring 2012."

I've always been intrigued by Panasonic's series of hardened devices, and the Toughpad A1 is no exception. MIL-STD-810G compliance means that this tablet will be able to withstand drops, water, dust, and extreme temperatures. While very rugged, these devices seem to be always somewhat behind the technology curve, maybe due to the intensive and time-consuming hardening requirements.

The A1 tablet will run Android Honeycomb (not Ice Cream Sandwich), but will have a bundle of high-end features, like a daylight-viewable anti-glare, anti-reflective screen, battery life rated at 10-hours, and additional layers of security. Definitely a niche product, the Toughpad A1 will weigh 2.3-pounds and will be .67-inches thick, twice as heavy and twice as thick as the iPad 2. Not cheap at $1299, but if you need ruggedness, security and durability, this is your tablet.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet Enters the Fray

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 11:00 PM

http://www.engadget.com/2011/11/03/...6th-and-weve-g/

"Sitting down? Good. Come November 16th, Amazon's Kindle Fire will have company. We've wrapped our paws around a stash of documents confirming the impending launch of the first bona fide tablet in the Nook line, and lo and behold, the Nook Tablet will end up being a dead-ringer for the Nook Color that already exists."

Interesting news, and pretty inevitable that B&N would take the training wheels off their Color Nook e-reader, with some bumps and boosts in capacity and performance, and voila, the Nook Tablet. Some advantages over its expected competitor, the Kindle Fire: double the RAM; double the memory, 16GB vs. 8GB; and lighter. But, $50 more right now. Are we seeing the birth of a new class of Android tablet, with a highly customized (and mostly hidden) UI?


Monday, October 31, 2011

New ASUS Tablets (Android and Windows 8) Coming in 2012

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Asus Eee PC Transformer" @ 05:30 PM

http://www.engadget.com/2011/10/31/...vember-9th-two/

"The Transformer Prime, with its quad-core silicon and tasty OS, has rightfully garnered much attention lately. A PowerPoint deck detailing ASUS' Q3 earnings now gives us a peek at its Eee Pad strategy -- confirming the aforementioned Prime's November 9th release date, while also promising two more bot-powered slates in the first quarter of 2012."

Looking at the accompanying information from ASUS, translated into English (somewhere), and then extracted from a German-language site, the news is about an ASUS Transformer Prime, followed by an ASUS PadFone and a variant on the Eee Pad Slider. Two (2) Windows 8 tablets (Eee Slate E121 and the Eee Slate Business B121) are scheduled to be available in the autumn of 2012, giving ASUS two tablet technologies (consumer *and* business) in the marketplace.

The Transformer Prime looks to have NVIDIA's new Tegra 3 quad-core processor, a 10-inch display, 14.5-hour battery run time, and should run Android's newest OS. The current Transformer is a very solid tablet, and these updates should be welcomed by its fans.

ASUS estimates that it will sell roughly 1.8-million tablets in 2011, with an additional estimate of 600K still to be sold/delivered in Q4 2011 in addition to the 1.2-million sold to date. While the news is (and dates are) a bit contradictory in translation, we can expect some new competitors to the iPad from ASUS.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus Coming Soon

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 11:30 AM

http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile...rder-on-amazon/

"The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus tablet with Android 3.2 Honeycomb is available for pre-order on Amazon.Eager customers can now place their pre-orders for Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus on Amazon. The device cost $399 for the 16GB model, and $499 for the 32GB version. Shipping dates have not yet been announced."

I think that Samsung will find it tough going competing against the Kindle Fire, especially for twice the price, even though this Wifi-only tablet sports Android 3.2, a 1024x600 touchscreen, front and rear-facing cameras, a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM. I travel a lot, and regularly perform (admittedly very unscientific) tallies of the types of devices that I see at airports, on airplanes, in coffee shops and restaurants, etc; and I really haven't seen many 7-inch tablets (Kindle readers, yes), so this market segment has room to grow.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Google and Samsung Announce Ice Cream Sandwich and the Galaxy Nexus

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 10:30 AM

http://lifehacker.com/5851162/first...-cream-sandwich

"Google just unveiled their new Nexus phone, the Galaxy Nexus, along with a preview of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, coming to phones next year. Here's a look at the creamy new update to the Android operating system."

Yesterday Google introduced the newest version of Android, version 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich. Along with Google, Samsung was there to unveil the newest Nexus phone, the Galaxy Nexus. Ice Cream Sandwich has been anticipated for quite a while now. It's the first version of Android to combine the phone (under version 3) and tablet (version 3.x) versions of the Android OS back into one version 4.0 for both form factors. In doing that Google has brought a number of features and UI characteristics from the tablet version over for Android phones to use as well. They redesigned a lot of the interface and added tons of new features like Face Unlock and new app level data usage details and controls. Follow the "Read" link to see more of the new features.

I love the look of Ice Cream Sandwich. They say they revamped the UI and while it still looks like Android it does look cleaner and better. I'm glad they brought things like stacks and scrollable widgets over from Honeycomb. I also love their phone implementation of the Honeycomb multitasking interface.

Don't forget to check out the latest Nexus phone - the Galaxy Nexus. It's a high-end phone for sure with 1GB of RAM, a dual-core 1.2GHz CPU, huge 720x1280 4.65" Super AMOLED display, a barometer, NFC, and most everything else you would expect. Some will be disappointed that the rear camera is only 5MP or by the lack of a microSD card slot. The Galaxy Nexus will be available in November.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Check the Buzz Near You with Proximitips

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android Software" @ 11:00 AM

http://www.addictivetips.com/mobile...android-market/

"Proximitips is yet another addition to the long list of aforementioned apps that brings a brand new concept of providing localized social media content to you in the form of a virtual magazine! By localized, we mean accessing only the content shared by people (including you) in your vicinity through said services. With Proximitips, you get maps, tweets, next door stuff (local multimedia sharing), bookings to your favorite venues and more."

Proximitips is a social media aggregator that gets its data from all the major social networks. It tweets, facebook posts, and other information based on your location. You can change the distance from you that it will consider to be near you. You can filter information based on categories like check-ins, events, or music. It also has a feature that lets you make reservations at hotels, restaurants, etc. It looks like a very useful tool if you're traveling and want to find something to do. Check out the source link for more details or download Proximitips from the Android Market and give it a try!


iOS Market Share Still Increasing

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad)" @ 05:00 AM

http://9to5mac.com/2011/10/01/safar...e+Intelligence)

"Net Applications has come out with new numbers showing mobile OS market share."

You can see a little dip there in February of 2011, but iOS is back on the rise, and the only other one on an upward course is Android. While not as steep, a rise just the same. I think the other ones should just give it up. I doubt they are going to be around much longer anyway if this keeps up. What are your thoughts?

Tags: software, android, ios

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Which Smartphone Operating System do You Prefer?

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad)" @ 10:30 AM

http://www.engadget.com/2011/09/01/...ext-smartphone/

"In a recent report from Nielsen, Google snagged 40 percent of the smartphone market, while Apple captured approximately 28 percent -- up just barely .01 percentage point from last year."

The only thing that surprises me about this is that there are so many that desire RIM for their next smartphone operating system. Maybe that and the fact that 30% of the late adopters aren't sure what they want. You would think that with all of the information out there, this percentage wouldn't be as high.


Friday, September 23, 2011

ASUS Eee Pad Slider Review

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 05:30 PM

http://www.laptopmag.com/review/tab...101.aspx?page=3

"While most Android tablets make due with a touch keyboard, for many typists a set of virtual keys just doesn't cut it. It's for these users that ASUS has designed the Eee Pad Slider SL101, the first 10-inch Android tablet with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The $479 Eee Pad Slider also features a bright IPS screen, a full-size USB port (for attaching a storage drive or mouse), and a sleek soft-touch chassis. But do these goodies justify the 2.1-pound weight? And just how good is the typing experience?"

For those that prefer physical keyboards, ASUS has heard you! The Eee Pad Slider is larger and heavier than both the Samsung Galaxy Tab, and the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer (without the keyboard), but add a keyboard and the Slider is lighter. The wide bezel around the glossy IPS screen allows for a larger (but still smaller than a netbook) keyboard, and includes dedicated numeric keys. It is also possible to attach a mouse to better approximate a laptop. One point to note is that there is no palmrest, so support for the wrists is lacking, and no built-in pointing device.

If you do a lot of text entry, this is a good tablet choice, but if not, there are better (lighter, and less expensive) options.


Get a NASA Ringtone for Your Phone, Be It Android or iPhone or ...

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad)" @ 10:00 AM

http://www.businessinsider.com/nasa...+Alley+Insider)

"Space geeks take note -- NASA has just released several audio samples of famous moments in space history for use as ringtones on your smartphone."

Head on over to this site and see the list of all the ringtones available, including sounds from shuttle missions as well as Apollo and Mercury missions. Once you get the one you like, they also offer a handy walk through guide for putting them on your iPhone. If you have an Android, the best way to do it is to get the NASA Android app here.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Manage Your Data Usage With Onavo Lite for Android

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android Software" @ 10:00 AM

http://mashable.com/2011/08/30/onavo-android/

"“We are all addicted to data, but like junkies we don’t stop and count the cost — we just want our hit,” Onavo cofounder and CEO Guy Rosen says. “With capped plans now the norm, we’re here to remove the confusion and baffling small print to make it clear and simple.”"

Onavo Lite for Android is an app that monitors and helps you manage your data usage. It can notify you of a specific app that's using a lot of data or let you know when you're close to your monthly data limit on your plan. If you have you had problems going over you're monthly limit this could be a huge help to you. Even if you haven't it could be cool to see which apps, that you may not expect, are using the most data. Follow the "Read" link for a bunch of screen shots and some more information.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Quick Tip: How to Change the Default Zoom in Your Android Browser

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android Talk" @ 10:30 AM

http://lifehacker.com/5834312/chang...ooms-in-android

"You probably know you can double tap on the screen to zoom in on some text, but if you want to change how far you zoom in, you can tweak the zoom level in your browser's settings."

The default never bothered me but I didn't know it could be changed. If you hit your <Menu> button and then go to "More" and then "Settings" you'll see an option for "Default Zoom". This will control how far your browser will zoom in when you double tap on a web page. The default is "Medium". You can make it "Far" if think the default zooms in too much or "Close" if you don't think it's goes in enough. This works using the built-in browser on my Droid X with Gingerbread (Android 2.3.3). After trying the other two options I think I'm going to go with "Far" for now. Text is still legible but it does fit a lot more of the page on my screen at one time. Let us know what you think!


Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...

News

Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...

News

Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...

News

Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...

News

Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...

News

Loading feed...

Sponsored links