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All posts tagged "google"


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!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Google Currents 1.1 Translates and has Off-Line Reading

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

http://www.engadget.com/2012/04/11/...upport-offline/

"Google has today rolled out version 1.1 of [Currents] for Android and iOS, which makes the service available worldwide with support for 44 languages, and adds a number of other improvements including the ability to select which editions have images for offline reading, instant online sync, translation for 38 languages and a promised 7X performance boost."

I haven't used Google Currents but it looks like a great app. I may have to try it out! The fact that it does translation is cool and off-line reading could be just what some WiFi tablet owners are looking for! It's free on the Play Store and supports phone or tablet form factors.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Google Renames Android Market to Play Store

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 11:30 AM

http://www.androidcentral.com/googl...books-and-video

"Google's content portal for Android apps, music, books and video content has been consolidated under a new name -- Google Play."

If you haven't gotten the update you probably will very soon. Google is pushing out a new version of the Market called the Play Store. They are also replacing your current Books, Music, and Movies apps with Play Books, Play Music, and Play Movies. I think this move makes a lot of sense rather than educating people that they can use the Android Market on the web with their Windows PC to buy books, music, and video. It's a good time to check for deals too. There are apps for $0.49 and lots of other discounts as well.

Here is one thing to watch out for if you have a Motorola device. This update will cause your Market link at the top right of your app drawer to stop working. Hopefully Motorola will fix this soon on many of their devices. It's not a huge deal since you can still launch the new store using the Play Store icon but it's annoying.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Open Files Off-Line With The New Google Docs

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

http://lifehacker.com/5881349/googl...-offline-access

"Google has released a pretty useful update for their Android version of Google Docs, providing offline access for your files and a better overall experience for tablet users by providing high-resolution versions of your documents."

This was a much needed update! To not have access to files when you have no network is just dumb. Large collections of media or things you don't need often, maybe that can stay in the cloud, but small text files, documentation, or notes, I want available all the time. It sounds like the synchronization is done well also. I played with it a bit and it's easy enough to save a file locally as shown in the screen shot above. Improving the app for tablet owners was a very smart idea as well. Really, I think that should have been done when the first Xoom was released but better late than never.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Google Docs Gets Tablet Enhancement

Posted by Jon Westfall in "Android Slates/Tablets & Accessories" @ 07:30 AM

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Offi...erience-on.html

"Earlier this year, we introduced the Google Docs app for Android. Since then, many users have downloaded the app and enjoyed the benefits of being able to access, edit and share docs on the go."

Google's at it again, this time with a major update for the Tablet version of Google Docs!

Tags: google, docs

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Will a Google-Motorola Merger be a Disaster?

Posted by Jake Ludington in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 10:00 PM

http://www.businessinsider.com/goog...disaster-2011-8

Integrating the software engineering culture of Google with the hardware manufacturing business of Motorola Mobility will certainly face some challenges, but will it go down in history as one of the biggest merger disasters of all time? Henry Blodget seems to think so when he says, "But if Larry plans to keep Motorola and operate it as a stand-alone business, as Google said on the conference call yesterday, look out. This deal could easily end up in the same Hall of Shame that enshrines AOL Time Warner and many more of the worst mergers in history."

Patents may be the only part of this deal Google cares about. If it's about patents, there's really nothing interesting to talk about and a disaster is highly unlikely.

From an Android OS perspective, Google owning Motorola won't change much. While Google may insist on a more specific Android experience on Motorola hardware, it still needs HTC and Samsung to make sexy devices or the market for Android phones won't grow. Maybe Google will subsidize Xoom sales to grow the Android tablet market. The biggest problem facing every Android tablet I've tried so far is that it feels unfinished, which is partly due to the fragmentation. Having Google dictate a software release schedule for a set of tablets would push the other tablet makers to keep pace with adding Android features. I'm guessing here, but none of that sounds like a disaster.

The Motorola set-top box business looks like a bigger opportunity than phones. Google hired away some of the people who built Microsoft's Mediaroom IPTV product back while I was consulting for Microsoft IPTV. If Google can provide a mature enough TV experience with in-house set-top boxes, they may be able to steal some business from Microsoft, assuming Google has patience for the lengthy sales cycle. The cable companies all buy either Motorola or Tatung set-top boxes, so Google has a great in to offer their own complementary software. Or maybe we need to imagine an Adwords business that offers more direct television ad buying where Google cuts the cable providers in for a slice of the action. Again, nothing that sounds like disaster.

Blodget may be right that the Motorola culture won't mix with Google. But if Google isn't trying to mix culture, there is opportunity for Google software business units to work directly with Motorola hardware business units. What do you think? Will buying Motorola break Google?


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Google and Microsoft to Offer MS Office on Android?

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

http://www.datamation.com/mobile-wi...o-the-ipad.html

"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?


Monday, May 16, 2011

Ed Bott's Five Reasons Why Google's New Chromebook Isn't a Windows Killer

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Laptop Thoughts Articles & Resources" @ 03:00 PM

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/five...ows-killer/3290

"At Google's I/O conference this week, the audience erupted into cheers when they heard the news that they were getting a free notebook powered by the Chrome OS. It's too bad that the audience was filled with developers instead of the IT pros who Google is counting on to actually buy these things. Something tells me that the latter audience would have been sitting on their hands for most of the session, and they wouldn't have been swayed by that Oprah moment."

Ed Bott comes out guns-a-blazin' against Google's Chromebook - and he has some very legitimate points. If you're an enterprise, the last thing you want is a product that gets updated immediately before you have a chance to test what impact the upgrade has on the tools your employees use. The pricing is also a big question mark - $28 a month over three years is $1008. For a consumer, that makes no sense. For a business...it depends if they can save other costs around software licensing (anti-virus, Microsoft Office), hardware replacements, and IT labour re-imaging systems that get borked. The thin-client computing dream has been around for a long time, just like the tablet dream has, but as we've seen with raging success of the iPad, when the technology reaches a certain inflection point, things can take off. Is thin-client computing at that stage now? I guess we'll see!


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Take a Tour of Honeycomb

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

"Google gave us a glimpse of Android 3.0 Honeycomb earlier this year, but today they released more details on the upcoming OS. Here's a look through what we can expect. Spoiler alert: It's awesome, and it fixes many of Android's biggest annoyances."

This is a screen-shot tour through some of what's new in Android 3.0 Honeycomb, Google's version of Android that's specifically designed for tablets. So far, I like everything I see! It seems like Google has really done their homework and gone out of their way to produce an excellent operating system for tablet. I look forward to playing with it on a production tablet to see if it's really as good as it seems. What are your thoughts? Does this screen-shot tour make you want an Android tablet?

Update: Don't miss the Honeycomb event on Feb. 2 at 1:00 Eastern here: www.youtube.com/android.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Chrome OS: From the Cloud to the Desktop

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Laptops & Netbooks" @ 01:00 AM

http://gdgt.com/discuss/what-does-c...tm_medium=email

"What does Chrome OS -- or any cloud OS -- need to do to go mainstream? I was a little surprised when a Cr-48 -- that new Chrome OS laptop Google has been sending people to test -- showed up on my doorstep last week. I honestly wasn't expecting to get one -- Ryan got gdgt's review unit -- I just applied for one online like everyone else and kept my fingers crossed. I've spent a decent amount of time with it over the past few days (I'm writing this newsletter on it), and so far have some things I like (how easy it is to get setup, how quickly it boots up) and few things I don't like (the horrible trackpad and how awful fonts look)."

An interesting perspective on where Google may be going with this whole Chrome OS (CR-48) thing. Is it really intended for enterprises, or are consumers the target audience? With 60,000 or more CR-48s heading to various places and people, we should soon start seeing more and more reviews. The gdgt article lists some of the things that will be needed for the platform to succeed: price (lower than a netbook); battery life (eight hours would be nice); speed (faster than a netbook); simplicity (easier); support (less hassle please!); connectivity (cheap and ubiquitous). For me personally it won't replace the 'big iron' (or rather, 'big aluminum'), but it'll be a great in-between device for light duty. Imagine one of these in each room ... I can.


Friday, December 17, 2010

A Detailed Look at Google's Cr-48 Chrome OS Notebook

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Other Laptops & Netbooks" @ 05:00 PM

http://www.gottabemobile.com/2010/1...box-experience/

"Last night FedEx dropped off Google's first Chrome OS notebook. The Cr-48 isn't going to be sold to consumers, but the story here is software, not hardware. Manufacturers like Acer will likely mix things up in 2011, but for now we have a pretty straight forward device in terms of hardware and software. This is the first part of a multi-part Cr-48 review series."

My friend Xavier did a great job tackling every part of the Cr-48 - the hardware, the software, the overall experience, and some of the challenges that Google has to overcome with selling a product like this. We'll see if the hardware designs by Google's OEM partners are sexy enough to go up against the Windows netbooks on the market - but the biggest hurdle is the whole "cloud" aspect. I know we're moving in that direction, but is the market ready for a device like this? Would you buy one if it was netbook-priced?


Thursday, December 9, 2010

What You Can Do When You Go Chrome

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 11:00 AM

"Chrome OS has always planned to offer "an experience that is nothing but the web," and that makes for some easy setup. In today's demo, Google showed how you can set up a Chrome OS notebook in just four steps. You log in to Google, set up your web connection, take a picture of yourself (or not), and get started."

WebBooks, thin clients, whatever you want to call it, have been tried many times before, but it looks like they may succeed this time. Actually, they have already succeeded. They are called smartphones and to a lesser extent, tablets. Still, it is hard to break from the installed application legacy; just look at how important the app store and Android market are to their respective phones. The Chrome OS seems to straddle the line, though instead of traditional Apps, meaning installed applications that are compiled for that OS, you are looking at web based Apps.

The release of the Chrome notebook also shows how pervasive we expect Internet connections to be. With Wi-Fi for urban areas and 3G/4G for everywhere else, it seems as if we almost would be aghast if we were somewhere without Internet access. I only shudder to think of how much our collective phone bills will cost.

I am in a situation where I still need traditional applications, and do find myself with spotty or impractical Internet access once in a while, so a computer that makes the assumption of always being connected does not make sense to me, but I am sure there are many out there where it does make sense. Is that you? Would you be tempted by a Chrome notebook, or would something like an iPad or netbook be of more interest?


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Deep Dive on the Concept of Chrome OS

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Laptop Thoughts Software" @ 05:39 PM

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4055/...les-chrome-os/1

"Microsoft needed to provide a lightweight OS optimized for the netbook experience a couple of years ago. It didn't. So Google is. The selling point behind a netbook is that it's small, cheap and fast enough for browsing the web. The problem is a netbook isn't fast enough for running the OS that you need to run in order to get access to the web. Microsoft refused to revamp the OS, so Google decided to put forth an OS based around a web browser. It's called the Chrome OS and it's built off of Intel's Moblin distribution of Linux. There's no conventional desktop, you turn on your Chrome notebook and meet a login window followed by an instance of the Chrome web browser."

If you're living your computing life in the cloud, then a device like this may be exactly what you've been waiting for. The speed, security, and stability may be the ticket for blissful computing - but only if you can put up with the limitations of course. What do you say Laptop Thoughts readers: is a Chrome notebook in your future? Personally, I'd be more interested in a Chrome tablet...


Welcome to the Chrome Cr-48 Laptop

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Laptops & Netbooks" @ 12:00 AM

http://www.engadget.com/2010/12/07/...rome-os-laptop/

"We've had plenty of pre-knowledge on this, but surprisingly this is our first actual glimpse of Google's new unbranded "Cr-48," the very first Chrome OS laptop. Google will distribute the laptop through its Chrome OS Pilot Program, in a sort of public beta. You actually have to apply to join the program, and there are going to be a limited number of the laptops available -- retail Chrome OS models from Acer and Samsung will be available in the middle of 2011 for the masses."

With a name and looks resembling a no frills cold war-era laptop knockoff from East Germany, the Cr-48 (named after an isotope of chromium) will be available soon in limited quantities to developers and testers. Pretty generic specifications: 12.1-inch screen; full-sized (slightly odd) keyboard; large clickpad; 3G chip; Dual-band WiFi; Webcam; 8 hours or more of use; 8 days or more standby; and flash storage only (bye bye spinning hard drive). I also read that the plan right now is to give 100MB/month of free Verizon (other carriers elsewhere) data transfer for 24 months as part of the package, to ensure that data in the cloud is always available even when disconnected from WiFi. Why 24 months? Is this the average time that a typical user keeps a computer? I like the concept, and the plan to provide persistent connectivity outside of WiFi is a great idea! Anyone have any predictions of what a device like this will cost, if it arrives as anticipated in mid-2011?


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Be Prepared To Welcome Your Android Overlords

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Android News" @ 03:30 PM

http://www.talkandroid.com/17348-an...s,+and+Updates)

"Apple seems pretty confident that they are going to keep the iPad at the top of the tablet market well into 2011. We know otherwise, but so does Gene Munster who is a Senior Research Analyst with Piper Jaffray."

Let us gaze into the Mystical Silica Ball and guess what the future holds in store. Hearing estimates and predictions from industry experts has always been entertaining. The interview did produce one nugget of information that I would apply to the whole tablet market, and that estimates can be hit or miss, not just for Asian production lines, but for estimates in the technology industry. Apple has certainly brought attention and revived the previously stagnant tablet market and in doing so, has turned everyone's focus on slates. Android certainly seems the next most suitable OS and will likely sellore units. I am not sure if that can be considered dominance though. Whether slates have fundamentally changed the PC market, well, those words were also said about netbooks and then smartphones. Technology is certainly moving fast, but I have doubts as to whether consumers are able to keep up with the pace that manufacturers want us to move. Do we really need to buy a new computing device every year or two?


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Please Welcome Android Thoughts to the Thoughts Media Network

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Thoughts Media Status Updates" @ 02:30 PM

http://www.androidthoughts.com

I'm thrilled to announce the newest member of the Thoughts Media family: Android Thoughts. As you can guess, this site will be covering Android in all it's forms - phones, slates, etc. The site is being led by none other than our very own Jon Westfall; he'll be handling all editorial duties on the site, similar to how Apple Thoughts works. Android has exploded in popularity over the past 12 months, surpassing even the mighty iPhone in terms of daily activations according to some. It made sense to cover Android as part of what we do here at Thoughts Media, but I wanted to find someone who was passionate and interested in all things Android...and that person is Jon Westfall. Please go read his welcome message on the site to find out how Android Thoughts was born - and subscribe to the RSS feed and Twitter stream. And, above all, if you're interested in Android as a platform, contribute, share, comment, and become a part of that new community.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Google's Pac Man Logo Games Causes Hilarious Support Call

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Thoughts Media Off Topic" @ 03:00 PM

http://mashable.com/2010/06/09/goog...n-tech-support/

"Google probably thought it was doing the world a favor when it released its Pac-Man logo that doubled as a playable version of the game. But alas, web users are not as sophisticated as Google anticipated. A legion of Firefox users were perplexed by the design decision and headed over to support to learn how they could fix the "problem." Now we have possible audio evidence - in the form of a tech support call uploaded by YouTube user Mrcoolbrad - highlighting just how confusing this was for parts of the online population."

The video (which is just an audio recording) says it all - very funny stuff. Have a great weekend everyone!


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