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All posts tagged "software"

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Do Androids Like Firefox

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 04:00 PM

"When I interviewed the head of Mozilla’s mobile division, I asked why there wasn’t yet a Firefox Honeycomb-tablet version. Thomas Arend assured me that it would arrive eventually, but noted that the company was making Firefox as fast and light as possible. He then added that the larger screen size and version advancements would allow Mozilla to “do some special things in our next version.”"

Firefox helped keep the browser wars alive and push browser technology further. However, web browsers are still a hot industry and standing still is not something any browser can really afford. While Android provides a competent browser, there is still plenty of room for competitors. While there may be some good reasons to switch from Android's default browser, I wonder if it will really be enough to drive people to change. I have seen the power of default choices and I suspect that without a good deal of marketing, Firefox faces a pretty tough uphill battle in gaining popularity.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Better Apps for a Better Device

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

"Android lets you customize just about every aspect of your device through the use of apps, and we've got a great list of apps to strengthen the weak points that come with an unadulterated version of Android."

This is a great list of apps you can use to enhance your Android experience. From that list, two of my favorites are Dolphin Browser HD and HandyCalc. Dolphin HD is a great browser with fast and accurate rendering and it's especially cool that Flash works in it. HandyCalc is a sort of weird but very cool and very powerful calculator. It has a lot of logic to guess what you're trying to do and help you along the way. It works in pages and lets you go back to previous ones which is helpful. A swipe of the keypad will give you a qwerty keyboard with useful punctuation on screen as well.

For me, one favorite app that I would recommend is actually a Widget. It's called "No Screen Off" and it's by Etienne de Closmadeuc. As the name would suggest it's a toggle to keep your screen from turning off. It's great because when it's on it puts an item in the notification bar that you can use to toggle the lock off. For me it's perfect if I'm reading slowly, transcribing off the screen to something else, or using an app that should keep the screen from going off but doesn't. Do you have an Android App you can't live without? What are some of your favorites?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mozilla Has Another Option (They Hope) For You App Fans

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad)" @ 03:00 AM

"Apple and Google are clearly the two front-runners competing for market share in the mobile world, which is why it's no surprise we think of iOS and Android when we think of apps. With the growth of the smartphone industry also came the resurgence of native apps (thanks largely in part to Apple's App Store which still dominates the space). However, Mozilla hopes that web apps will soon mature to provide a comparable experience for end users and an even better alternative for developers."

It's no secret that some are switching to web-based versus app based access due to what they deem restrictive guidelines in the Apple App store. This would make this move by Mozilla a pretty astute one, and since it is across all platforms it would appear to be a benefit regardless of your phones operating system. The plans are for the APIs to interact with your phones address book, contacts etc so you would have the same functionality as if you were using a native app. The only difference is that it would be in your browser and would work the same on an iPhone, Android or Windows phone platform. I really don't have a preference per se, since I use very few apps that work with Internet access anyway, so if I'm using a browser or an app, as long as it functions the same why would I care? The only reason I can think of would be one of security or stability, since the apps on the iPhone go through approval process. What are your preferences? Or does it matter to you? If it does matter, I'm curious why.

iOS Versus Droid

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad)" @ 02:00 AM

"The topic of smartphone operating systems can be as divisive as politics or the Mac vs. PC debate. (Just add snide comments about dropped calls.) We delved into our Teach Hunch About You (THAY) questions to figure out what we can learn about Android vs. iPhone users, and our friends at Column Five Media performed some of their infographic magic on the resulting data."

I know, I know, the graphic says Droid vs. iOS, but I am kind of biased the other way, which makes sense since iOS owners are 39% more likely to be high maintenance. At least according to this latest Teach Hunch survey. I prefer to think of it as leading the way, which also makes sense since iOS owners are 27% more likely to lead. I found this an interesting read, entertaining if nothing else.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ilium Software Offering eWallet GO! for 99 Cents/Free

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone Software" @ 03:03 PM

"Do you have too much info to remember? Do you wish you could take all your passwords, credit cards, account information and logins with you - so they're handy when you want them? But keep them safe - so you don't have to worry about intruders finding them? You need eWallet GO!TM If you want secure, easy, mobile storage for all your info, just grab eWallet GO! and take your passwords with you everywhere you GO!"

Well's a good deal! Effective now and running until the 21st of this month, you can get eWallet GO! for a mere 99 cents on Windows Phone 7, Android, and iPhone/iPod Touch devices. On Windows and Mac versions, the software is free. Sweet! Jump here to find the version you need. The OS X version is in the Mac App store, and the Windows version requires registration for the free download. On iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 7, you'll find it in their respective app stores.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hands-on with the Speedy Galaxy Tab 10.1 4G from Verizon

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 10:00 AM

"By now, you should be familiar with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. We've done countless hands-ons with the super-svelte Honeycomb slate, and even reviewed it... twice! Now it's back, again, and this time its packing an LTE radio tuned to the frequencies of a little company known as Verizon. Outside of a few tiny cosmetic changes -- the brushed, gray plastic back and the rumored Micro SIM slot up top, nothing else has changed."

It appears, based on preliminary testing with this tablet, that Verizon's 4G is indeed super fast, with an average (repeatable) testing speed of 28+ Mbps downstream, and nearly 8Mbps upstream. Thunderbolt testing produced repeatable results of 44+ Mbps downstream, and 9+ Mbps upstream. Did I mention that this is fast?

If a compelling reason is needed to jettison existing hardware, software and carrier-relationship, this may be one! Now if only those pesky usage caps would disappear, or become more realistic.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Google and Microsoft to Offer MS Office on Android?

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 10:30 PM

"Google and Microsoft have a problem -- and to sum it up, that problem is Apple. Google has tablets but they aren’t selling well against the far more complete iPad offering. Microsoft won’t have an iPad competitor until well into 2012. Google is having an issue with relevancy on tablets and Microsoft loses not only a Windows footprint but an Office footprint with every iPad sold. What if the two partnered? Ironically it isn’t as hard as it sounds. You could actually see how this could work today. So let’s explore Microsoft Office on Android this week."

Interesting idea, as the iPad sometimes can be a viable lightweight replacement for (the Big Three of) Windows, Office and IE. Microsoft doesn't seem to be able to come up with a competitor for the iPad, so maybe teaming-up with Google is a step in the right direction, getting their flagship application running on Android devices. Needing Excel and Word on a regular basis for work, this concept is intriguing, without waiting for Windows 8, and would make Android tablets more desirable, in my opinion of course. The author's recommendation is to try Windows Live on a Honeycomb tablet using Opera for Android. But, since Microsoft is one of Apple's largest developers, any guesses as to when MS Office will appear for iOS?

Android Getting Windows Live

Posted by Nurhisham Hussein in "Windows Phone Software" @ 08:00 PM

"According to a post on the Windows Team Blog, Microsoft has given developers the tools for Windows Live integration across all major mobile platforms, including our beloved Android. The team in Redmond is giving you a use for that Hotmail account you made in the 90s, and they are bringing Messenger and SkyDrive along with it."

Never mind the snarky tone of the article - this is good stuff for both Windows Live, Android and Windows Phone 7 (kinda). I'm reminded of Microsoft's 1990s move to port Office to the Mac. This widened the user base, but also helped make the user transition between Mac OS and Windows easier. Did MS lose users on the OS side? Certainly, but I'd bet they more than made up for it in sales of Office. Same thing here, mostly. Android's currently the bigger and more popular platform, so offering Live integration makes a lot of sense from a narrow business viewpoint. Would this impact adoption of WP7? As the late-comer I don't think so - Windows Live integration isn't that much of a differentiator for WP7, so the main effect would be to make the transition between WP7 and Android easier. But hey, I could just be blowing smoke here - what do you guys think?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Contacts in Your Phonebook Come Alive: Application Announcement LiveContacts for iOS, Android, Windows Mobile and Symbian OS

Posted by Darren Blade in "Windows Phone Software" @ 10:07 AM

"Appfortel, the Russian developer of mobile applications is proud to announce the release of a unique Beta-version service for organizing your contacts – LiveContacts – in mid-summer 2011. The LiveContacts application will contain a number of functions aimed at livening up your address directories and supporting the contacts in your phonebook in an actual and “animated” way. Today, from hundreds to thousands of contacts are stored in phonebooks of large megacities’ representatives. Many of them quickly become outdated – time has an impact on all kinds of information. Changes can be observed in surnames, workplaces, addresses, jobs and positions, telephone numbers, and other contact data."

A new way in presenting your contacts (Livening them up!) is on its way to you from "Appfortel" LLC, a Russian start-up who wants to breathe life into the staid contact apps on a number of handset platforms, namely Windows Mobile, Android, iOS & Symbian. I contacted Denis Pushkar to confirm whether their Press Release was correct with Windows Mobile, and it is. It looks like the Appfortel code warriors are giving some love back to the Windows Mobile device users; Windows Phone 7, at this point, is not getting the App. The service and respective platform apps are due to start appearing around the end of July.

I still have my Omnia II hiding in the paper tray on my desk. I may just, get a chance, to Liven it up with LiveContacts when released. The scant details hint that a web service is used, and pulling contact details like contact linking on WP7. More details when Appfortel's website goes "Live" soon, here and here.

The remainder of the press release is after the break. Read more...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Android Losing Developer Share to iOS

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad)" @ 08:58 PM

"The second-generation Apple tablet and the arrival of a CDMA version of iPhone 4 on the Verizon Wireless network together worked like magic to re-new interest in the iOS platform."

So even though there are reports of unhappy developers, iOS continues to be the platform that developers are using. Android lost about 8% in developer support from Q1 to Q2, dropping from 36% to 28% according to the survey. Interesting that we are seeing these developments after the Verizon iPhone arrival, so perhaps the huge numbers that Android was able to achieve prior were just because no one wanted to go to AT&T and would rather go Android. Now that they have a choice, they appear to be moving to iOS, at least the developers are seeming to move that way. What are your thoughts?

Sony Style Comes to the S1 and S2 Tablets

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

"Now that Sony has spilled the carrier-exclusive beans on at least one of its tablets, the S2 clamshell, the company kindly gave us a chance to get some long-awaited hands-on time with both it and its sibling, the S1 slate. And at time when it feels like we handle a new Honeycomb Android tablet every other day, these at least usher in some pretty unusual form factors. On the one hand, you've got the S1, a 9.4-inch number whose rounded wedge profile was designed to mimic a folded magazine. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there's the S2, which opens to reveal twin 5.5-inch displays -- all the more of a novelty since we've barely seen Android 3.0 running on devices that don't have 10-inch displays."

Sony Style is alive and well in the tablet space! The S1 is a 'standard' tablet, with rounded edges and a wedge shape, making it ergonomically efficient, as well as easy to hold. Results indoors were very good, and the 1280x768 display was great for viewing a movie, even from the side and at an angle. Results outdoors are unknown, as this was a very short hands-on.

The S2 is a clamshell form-factor, with two 5.5-inch screens. According to the review, when closed, it looks like a large case for eyeglasses. When open, there is a bezel separating the bright screens, making for a less than optimal viewing experience. No other details are available at this time.

Nothing reported on software other than to mention that Honeycomb (Android 3+) is there, and Sony has done some work at the UI layer to make the user experience "better." Speed of the S1 and S2 seemed similar to other Android tablets, described as "pretty zippy," and both devices are both PlayStation Certified (hello games!). I like this clamshell idea, so it'll be interesting to see how apps perform with two small screens available - or is it logically one screen with a chunk of plastic bezel in the middle?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New York City Mobile App Contest

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (OS X)" @ 02:15 PM

"The past two years, New York City has hosted contests for mobile apps that use city data. Now New York State's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is launching a similar contest of its own."

According to the contest page, it is pretty much open to any application in any language that will run on laptops, desktops, mobile devices, etc. The prizes are nothing to sneeze at, with $5,000.00 USD as the top prize (along with some Apple gear so they might be biased a bit towards iOS). So if you want to get in on it, head over to the contest page and enter.

Tags: software, contest, mta

Friday, June 24, 2011

Acer Iconia A500 Review: Better Alternatives Available

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Acer Iconia" @ 10:30 AM

"Next in our series of Honeycomb tablet reviews is the Acer Iconia Tab A500. The A500 was the second Honeycomb tablet to go on sale, and is one of four on the market at present, all of which are very similar. They share basic specs—10.1” 1280x800 displays, NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 underhood, 1GB LPDDR2 RAM, 16-64GB onboard NAND, front and rear facing cameras with HD video capture, basic wireless connectivity options, and stock versions of Android 3.0/3.1 Honeycomb (albeit with different preloaded software packages)."

A telling comment is that the reviewer liked the A500 better when he read about it than when he actually had one in his hands to review. Cheaply designed and cheaply manufactured, the A500 is good for a bargain price of $379 (where it has sometimes sold at MacMall's eBay store), but the alternatives are better. His recommendation is to wait for the next generation of hardware to appear, or, if you can't wait, to look for an ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, if you can find one.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Is Android Failing as a Tablet Platform?

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 10:30 AM

"I like Android. I own both a tablet and a smartphone running Android, and I find them both to be great mobile devices. I have tested and reviewed dozens of phones and tablets running some form of Android, and for the most part I have liked them all. My personal preference for Android aside, I have to be honest and state that Android is failing as a tablet platform compared to the competition."

Failing? Not really, but, I look at Android for tablets somewhat like I look at Linux for desktops and laptops, it works, but there is currently no compelling reason for me to switch. Like Linux, Android for tablets come in a variety of flavors, layered atop Honeycomb, just as the various Linux distros are layered upon a Linux kernel. Slight differences. The author makes a good point, that no one company is stepping up and driving the platform forward, not even Google. An example would be the Xoom's lack of support for the SD hardware onboard, even though this was touted as an advantage over the competition. A fix is rumored to be soon available outside North America, according to Motorola Europe. What about us? Until someone (Amazon, for example?) steps up and drives (unifies, extends) Android for tablets forward, it'll continue to be second in the race, and we all know that almost nobody remembers a second place finisher in a competition.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Spb Wallet 2.0 comes to Android!

Posted by Don Tolson in "Android Software" @ 09:00 AM

Product Category: Digital Wallet
Manufacturer: Spb Software House
Where to Buy: Android Market
Price: $7USD
System Requirements: Android 2.1 and above; only 'official' ROMS from vendors are supported.
Specifications: Takes approximately 12.5 Mb on the device. Over 60 predefined templates, icons and graphics, access to an online template gallery of over 25,000 different cards. The software will handle an unlimited number of cards and folders, limited only by the amount of available storage.


  • Familiar, card-based look and feel;
  • Thousands of existing templates available;
  • Wallet contents are encrypted and password protected.


  • Can only sync with existing gmail account;
  • No way to convert (that I could find) existing wallets from other platforms.

Summary: We've reviewed this product on Thoughts Media twice before. Once for the non-touch screen 'Smartphone' platform (remember that?) and then on the Apple iPhone . Readers who have seen those reviews or have used Spb Wallet on the Windows Mobile platform (where it has been available for years) will find this version very familiar and comfortable. The user interface is basically the same, but this version takes advantage of Android-specific capabilities where appropriate. For those who may not have tried Spb Wallet, let's take a look inside. Read more...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Head To Head Comparo Of The Big Five Of Cloud Storage/Music Service

Posted by Richard Chao in "Digital Home Software" @ 11:46 PM

"It’s been a busy time for cloud storage and music services and Apple’s launch onto the scene with Apple iCloud has officially declared it global war. The lines have begun to blur as to what you own, where you own it and just how much you have to pay for the privilege to do so and one could be forgiven for doing a little head scratching on the matter."

In these last few months we've seen a few big players jump into the cloud storage/music service arena. The latest being Apple with iCloud. Apple joins Google Music Beta, Amazon Cloud Drive, Dropbox and Microsoft SkyDrive. Each of these services have pro and cons over their competitors. To help sort it out, Pocket-lint has written up a comparison of all of these services.

Personally, I use a combination of these clients. Amazon Cloud Drive for my music. Dropbox for my files. Microsoft SkyDrive for my Windows Phone 7 camera roll backup. Apple iCloud for my iPhone 4 backup. I'd probably use Google Music Beta too if I had an invite. And this is pretty similar to Pocket-lint's conclusion. How about you? Do you use one of these services exclusively or are you like me? Is there another service you'd recommend over these?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Verizon Expands LTE Wireless Network

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "The Competition" @ 11:16 AM

"Verizon Wireless announced 19 more cities that will get its faster LTE wireless network service starting Thursday, bringing the total to 74 metropolitan areas."

19 new locations across the country, including Sacramento, CA, Hartford, Conn, Boise, ID and many more. You can get the full list here in case you are wondering if your city made the cut. This just adds fuel to the competitive fires so to speak as AT&T is going to launch their own LTE 4G network this summer in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas Houston and San Antonio, while Sprint is rumored to be in the planning process to add LTE to it's 4G network. This can't come soon enough for me, with data speeds up to 10 Mbps it certainly will leave 3G in the dust.

WWDC Survey from Piper Jaffray and the Results Are Interesting to Say the Least

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad)" @ 06:00 AM

"A new survey of attendees at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference found that nearly half of iOS developers attending the conference support Android, while just 7 percent write applications for the Mac."

Interesting survey to say the least, done by Piper Jaffray at the WWDC last week and released Monday. 45 developers were polled about a variety of topics. One interesting tidbit, while 47% of them also write for the Android platform, they prefer the monetization and ease of development via the Apple way versus how Google handles it. This comes on the heels of another survey that shows of all developers, 67% write for Android while 59% write for iOS. Both are up over last years survey by roughly 10%. That is a lot of growth, and while Android is outpacing iOS, they also found that iOS users are more likely to purchase apps.

Granted, these are developers that all develop for iOS, but 51% of them also said that they saw greater potential for growth from iOS than Android. If you were to ask the 47% who write for Android however, 66% of them say Android has the higher potential. These are all just opinions of course, but educated ones from people that have been in the application business so you can't just write off what they say. I think the biggest point of all of this is that only 7% actually are writing for Mac. What do you think that is saying for the Mac platform?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Apple to Amazon Appstore for Android: Find Another Name!

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Apple News" @ 09:30 PM

"Apple this week called Amazon’s Appstore for Android “inferior” as it urged a federal court to block the online retailer from using the term “appstore,” court documents show. In the same filing, Apple also cited Android security problems, including one last week where Google was forced to pull more than 30 malicious apps from its own Android Market."

Interesting that while Apple is still facing opposition from Microsoft in their efforts (starting in 2008) to trademark "App Store," they're trying to get Amazon to not use "appstore." Apple asserts that Amazon's content delivery is "inferior" (not the Android OS), and that Amazon's hosting of arguably insecure apps tarnishes Apple's brand (mark), in part by allowing apps for "rooted" (or jailbroken in Apple's parlance) systems to be hosted at Amazon. I wonder if this is a bit of retribution for Amazon opening its "Mac Software Downloads" store to compete directly with Apple. Somebody being vindictive in Cupertino?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"Spilling Ink" on the HTC Flyer Tablet

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

"As an ink blogger, the feature I’ve been most enthusiastic about testing on the HTC Flyer is ink. The Flyer is designed for pen input in a way unlike other pen tablets before it. What I’ve found is the experience breaks out into quantity vs. quality. It’s easy to spill a lot of ink, but it ain’t always pretty."

"Spilling Ink" is the author's term for writing in digital ink, or writing and drawing with a digital pen on a screen. An early gotcha is reported, in that the stylus can only write or draw, and not be used to click or drag, or manipulate the tablet's UI. A pen is a pen in this case, and not a finger substitute.

The bottom line is that this is a good start, but there is plenty of room for improvements.

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