Tech – for Everyone

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

Android Adventures – Part 3

Welcome to part 3 of my Android series. (Previously, My First Look At Android, part 1 and Playing with an Android – Part 2.) Yesterday, in part2, I ran long listing the features of my new Android smart phone I am finding most neat-o and useful. So let me continue…

7) “Hands free”/voice search/”Genius button”: Along with my phone, I got one of those Lt. Uhura ear doodads (Bluetooth headset), as Kallyfornyah has a much-ignored “Hands-free” Law. With it (or the ‘genius button’) I can tap a button, and say, “call, Joe Smith, mobile” and – like magic – a woman’s voice confirms that I am calling Joe’s cell. Or, I can say “find pizza” and – like magic – my phone will display results, and a map. I mentioned before that I am a dinosaur: so, I am a bit “weirded out” by voice recognition, but the more I use it the more I like it. I have to confess, too, it’s cool.
(The “genius button” is a dedicated “voice recognition” activator. Those w/o such a shortcut might prefer Vlingo.. from what I understand, it has fewer errors than Google’s app.)

8) “Swype”: Being the old dinosaur that I am, I completely missed the the whole ‘texting’ thing, and never learned to “thumb type” on those little-bitty buttons. While I find “touchscreen” keyboards doable, I also find myself using the backspace button almost every other letter. That is why I LOVE “Swype”, and consider it a must have. Here’s a video demonstration..

9) Clock/timer: I am somewhat like the “absent-minded professor” and get caught up in what I’m doing; which makes me a wee bit forgetful, and the ability to quickly set a timer to chime and remind me that it’s time to move the hose, or check the oven, has proven quite valuable to me.
(I still (usually) wear a wristwatch, but I have set each screen on my phone to have a clock ‘widget’; so a glance there is just as good as a glance at my wrist.. well.. my phone’s clock will tell me the temperature too.)

10) Productivity ‘apps’: I have found that get-myself-organized tools, like To Do Lists and calendared appointments (and reminders) are most useful to me when they are actually in the same place I am: it has proven near useless for me to write myself a note, and then leave that note at my friend’s house, or in my car, or some other location I am not.

It occurred to me that, as a full-blooded Geek, I am never too far away from a computer.. so I decided to start using Google Calendar, Tasks, and Evernote (whose slogan is “Remember everything”). I wanted that same ability on a phone. Android is a Google product, so seamless editing/updating of Calender, Gmail, and Tasks was/is a big “selling point” for me. I really enjoy being able to schedule a follow-up appointment, while I am with my client, by just tapping my phone — and having that appointment appear on my computers at home/office automatically (no ‘multiple entry’).
With Evernote, I can use the phone’s camera to ‘snap’ an image as a note/reminder.. which has come in handy a few times already. And I use it kind of like an ‘everywhere sticky note’.

I am curious what mobile “business productivity” apps folks out there are using, and finding “best”. I hope readers will leave their reco’s as a comment.

11) This last one is just plain .. odd. I downloaded a compass/leveling tool to fiddle with, and dang, if the bubble-leveler didn’t come in handy for some household chores I had to do (picture frame leveling).

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


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March 12, 2011 - Posted by | Android, cellular, gadgets, hardware, Internet, iPhone, mobile | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. …and more interesting features of the Smart Phone…thanks. I enjoyed these reads.
    With everything so compact coming from the “one petite device”… is the device durable and straight forward…uncomplicated… actually EASY to use, or does one have to be “tech inclined” to use and enjoy the Android?
    The SWYPE feature is interesting!

    Gaia

    Like

    Comment by Gaia | March 12, 2011 | Reply

    • Gaia,
      Today’s “smart” phones (and PDA’s) do require some small degree of “tech” experience (you don’t just pick them up and hear a dial tone), but I don’t think the average person would need to take a class, or read a for Dummies book to use one. Mostly it’s a matter of touching the appropriate icon. I do think, though, that the more tech you have been exposed to (or, how “Geeky” you are) the more, um, easier it would be, and you might get more use out of more options. (i.e., my teen-aged nephew, who has literally been raised with tech doodads, could probably show me a thing or twelve with my ‘droid’; while my 80 year-old Luddite neighbor might take several ‘lessons’ just to learn how to place a call..)

      My own “learning curve” has consisted of what I call “fiddling with”; a ‘trial and error” game of what-does-this-button-do? I did have to consult the manual once, when I could not find the option to delete my video recordings.

      As for “durable”, my understanding is they are comparable to other tech devices.. but with a higher likelihood of being lost or stolen (due their small size).

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | March 12, 2011 | Reply


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