Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

My First Look At Android, part 1

What?! No Netflix?!

Loyal friends of Tech – for Everyone will know that I generally write about Windows PC’s, specifically, and computers and the Internet, generally. (A ‘special theme’ here being cybercrime and Internet security.)

They will also know that I really have not talked about mobile devices: smart phones, like the iPhone; and tablets, like the Galaxy Tab and iPad. Except maybe to say that pedestrians and bicyclists who have their heads down, and are ‘texting’ instead of looking where they are going really ‘frosts my cookies’. (I won’t tell you what I think about drivers who text.. but maybe you can guess..)

click to see how this image was made in Photoshop (tutorial)

Well this past year, Apple’s iPad caused many folks to label 2010 as the “Year of the Tablet”. And this year’s Consumer Electronics Show was – surprise! – all about new tablets and smart mobile devices (the object formerly known as “cell phone”). And we are bent on moving to the “cloud computing” model. So.. my guess is these units are here to stay.

My exhausting and thorough, in-depth analysis and research (ahem) led me to believe that the main players of the operating systems for these ‘smart’ mobile devices are Apple, Android, RIM Blackberry, and Windows.. kinda in that order.

I won’t bore you with the reasons, but I am avidly not an “Apple guy”. I repair and support them at Aplus Computer Aid, sure. And I give the iPod, iPhone, and iPad due credit for being ‘revolutionary’, sure. (There are plenty of Apple-enthusiast websites out there already.) Short version: when it became time for me to go shopping, I tried really hard to avoid Apple.

I will come back to this subject, but for now, I only have time to say that I am currently putting through its paces an Android 4G smart phone that, it seems to me, has all the bells and whistles. Here are some of my initial impressions of Android. Quickly:

My first “pros”:
* Lots of free “apps” and kewel ‘widgets’.
* Intuitive. Snappy. Easy. (Haven’t had to look at the manual yet.)
* Seems to do everything, and .. if it doesn’t, quick as a blink, I can download “an app for that”.

My first “cons”:
*
For my getting-older eyes, I think I want a larger screen than the smart phones have.. perhaps a 7″ tablet. Unfortunately, my understanding is, the ‘phone tablets’ are not available in the US.
* Netflix ‘streaming’ is not available for Android
(iDevices and Windows 7 Mobile only).

That last was, you may be surprised to learn, a fairly big disappointment to yours truly. I put in a call to Netflix, and was told that I am not the only person on Earth who wants a Netflix app. I was told that because of the difference in the nature of Android, and because of DRM issues, Netflix has work to do, and cannot release a single app, but has in the pipeline – and coming “very soon” – device specific apps. The more popular your phone, the sooner you will get an app.. is the way it sounds to me.

However.. this fact does make the iPhone appear more attractive. At least to Netflix users.

To read Part 2, click here.
And also, Android Adventures – Part 3

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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February 14, 2011 - Posted by | Android, Apple, cellular, computers, gadgets, hardware, Internet, mobile, PC, Portable Computing, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , ,

8 Comments »

  1. I have a droid incredible and love it! The integration w/google chrome is very handy for me as I keep my calendar and contacts on google so it keeps me in sync. Coupled w/dropbox, it’s awesome!

    Like

    Comment by g | February 14, 2011 | Reply

    • g,
      I find the automatic syncing in my Gmail, and Google Calendar very useful indeed.

      And the speech recognition is pretty kewel too.. and particularly handy for me, as I never did learn to type with my thumbs. (I don’t feel silly talking to a phone, like I do a PC…)

      … and I am a little surprised at how quickly an old fogey like took to the touchscreen, and “gestures”.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | February 14, 2011 | Reply

  2. I dumped Sprint ($40 per month voice only plan, no data) and switched to Virgin Mobile ($25 per month unlimited data, 300 voice minutes), got the Samsung Intercept, small, slide out keyboard, and droid! Love it so far. I can add/modify gmail contacts on the web and they’re instantly synced with the phone, tons of apps, no contract and saving a ton of money!

    Like

    Comment by Dave B | February 15, 2011 | Reply

    • Dave B,
      Sounds to me like you have every reason to be pleased, enjoy!

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | February 16, 2011 | Reply

  3. Hey Paul

    I don’t feel a bit silly talking to my computer, but I do have a disability that makes it a necessity or at the least an empowering feature for me. However, even before I actually needed Voice Recognition, I was playing with the MS VR SDK. I have always found it interesting and innovative. Back in those days you had to read numerous pages from several different books before it even came close to understanding what you said. I recall reading the first few pages from The Wizard of Oz, and I have to admit I felt pretty silly at the time.

    Windows 7 has taken VR to a new level. I really like the interface and it’s intuitive ability to quickly learn how you speak… and the more you use it the better it gets at understanding what you say. I hope more applications begin to allow it’s use as the technology grows, particularly on the internet.

    In re: Smart Phones, I’m afraid I’ve missed the bus on this one. In your shoes I would certainly get involved. For me it would just be a luxury item instead of a requirement. I feel a bit more like a dinosaur as each day passes, but I suppose that’s OK…

    Like

    Comment by KsTinMan | February 15, 2011 | Reply

    • KsTinMan,
      I have watched, with no small interest, the development of the “engines” that are known as “speech – to – text”, “text – to – speech”, “Spell Check”, and “AI”.
      (And tonight I watched IBM’s Watson whip the All Time Champ on Jeopardy..)

      We are living in.. interesting times.

      I have long believed that tools – any tool – can be used for good and/or bad.

      In the cases of these tools being used to help those of us with “challenges”, “disabilities”, and “impairments”, some of our progress borders on the wondrous.
      Such as the miraculous help I get with my writing from Spell Check.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | February 16, 2011 | Reply

  4. TechPaul,

    I will be following this series you are putting together on this. We are truly witnessing a change in computing like we never seen before. The masses will be buying into this (already have) big time due to the ease of use.

    Rick

    Like

    Comment by Ramblinrick | February 16, 2011 | Reply

    • Rick,
      I had hoped to have more posted on this by now but, time constraints…

      I will say two things for now: I will write more; and, video chat (when it works) on a phone is pretty kewel.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | February 16, 2011 | Reply


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