Android


Great Biking App - MapMyRide

Great Biking App - MapMyRideI recently started biking again. Last time I biked regularly, I used a little bike computer that recorded my speed, length of trip, etc.. This time, I'm using an app for my Android phone called MapMyRide.

I'm really digging this free app, and thought I'd share the love. It uses the GPS on my phone to auto-map my route, appreciates the elevation and lets me know how far I went, how long it took, my average speed, calories burned and other cool stats like that.

mapmyride

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So if you're biking, you've got to try this app. If you know of any other good biking apps, leave a comment.

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Samsung Kies Won't Recognize My Galaxy S

phoneI own a Samsung Galaxy S II running Android and up to now I've been as happy with it as a pig in shit. Following years of using a Blackberry, it's been a wonderful experience to use a smart phone that's indeed smart.

Wanting to get away from Blackberry, I always knew I'd pick Android over the iPhone. I don't like the closed Apple way, and I hate iTunes. I went with the Galaxy S II because friends I trust recommended it and until now I haven't had a single complaint.

But this complaint is a biggie. It's making me appreciate iTunes in a way I never thought possible, and it's got me thinking my next phone shouldn't be a Samsung. You see, as far as I can tell, the only way for me to update my phone's firmware, and do a proper backup, is via USB using a piece of software called Samsung Kies.

I don't like the idea Samsung forces me to use their software, software that doesn't run in my preferred O/S (Linux), but that's not what has me frustrated as all hell. I'm pissed off at Samsung and their bloody Kies because it simply won't recognize my Samsung Galaxy S II phone.

Yes, I tried uninstalling and reinstalling the software. Did it in Windows and on my Mac, too. Used different USB cables, turned off the USB debugging, removed my external SD and SIM card, and finally, when I was at my wit's end, returned the phone to factory settings. Nothing worked.

My kingdom for an alternative to Kies and the true freedom from proprietary applications the spirit of Android promises. And if anyone has any idea how I can update my firmware from 2.3.3 without using Kies, I'd appreciate it.

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iPhone vs. Android vs. Blackberry

phoneOn the heels of our great discussion about computer operating systems, I want to know what OS is running on your smart phone. I have a Samsung Galaxy S II running Android. I've had it for about six months after years of using a Blackberry.

I love my Android, but I know people who literally make out with their iPhones. I've never made out with my Android.

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Which smart phone do you own? You can let me know in the comments if it was forced on you by work or whether you chose it voluntarily. I'm very interested to know if anyone is using a Windows phone voluntarily... I've yet to see one in the wild.

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Leaving My Blackberry Behind (Or How I learnt to Leave BBM and Love the Web)

phoneMcNulty is a regular commenter on this blog, and I think he's been participating for at least five years now. McNulty once lent me his DVD collection of The Wire, earning him a special place in my heart for all eternity.

On McNulty's blog, he wrote an entry on why he stopped using his Blackberry.

Then the internet was on the phones. I realised that surfing the internet on my Blackberry was slow and pathetic. I grew tired of it pretty quick and I didn’t even bother. It was weak and sad. I saw a friend with an iPhone viewing YouTube videos and surfing the internet and my Blackberry seemed like that old Nokia flip phone that I gave to the boys to smash in the street. As time went on and I learned about apps and other benefits of the iPhone, I began to hate my Blackberry.

Like McNulty, I loved my Blackberry four years ago, but in 2011 it seemed more than a step behind. iPhone and Android phone users were doing all this cool stuff like watching YouTube videos, and using cool apps and surfing the web without delay or issue. Those smart phones seemed a great deal smarter than my Blackberry.

Three months ago, I switched to a Samsung Galaxy S II. I missed BBM for about six hours, then moved on to enjoy a phone that never needed its battery removed to reboot it, accessed the web like a speedy tablet, and had great mission-critical apps like Skype that truly made it a smart phone. I understand iPhone users feel the same way.

I'll leave the last word to McNulty.

I will make one final comparison. If you liked a local restaurant and served great food and the service was great, you would keep going back to that restaurant. However, if the food became a little dull, the service was weak you make question returning. And then a new place opened up that was a little further but the food was better, they gave you more for your money and the service was fantastic. Where would you eat? Keep going to the place that gave sub-par food and service or the new place that wanted your business and made great food?

I've left Blackberry behind and don't miss it in the least. Are there any other former Blackberry users out there with a story to tell? Any regrets?

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My New Phone

phoneI mentioned I needed a new phone. You guys had some great suggestions, with some lobbying hard for iPhone and others making a great case for Android. One guy, my bud BlackBerry Ry, even tried to get me to remain in the BlackBerry game.

I ended up getting a Samsung Galaxy Android phone. I absolutely love it. I use it so differently than I used my old BlackBerry. I use my Android phone like a tablet, with fantastic apps that make it so much more than a phone.

And no, I don't miss BBM or a tactile keyboard. I love this thing the way you're supposed to love your smart phone. It's a beautiful thing.

samsung

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Motorola XOOM Review

xoomI've been enjoying Motorola's Xoom tablet running Android 3.1 Honeycomb since August. I'm trying to play with as many iPad challengers as possible in my little Tablet Talent Show. So far I've reviewed a Touchpad from HP, a Playbook from RIM and now a XOOM from Motorola.

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First things first... where's the power button? Here it is, by the rear camera. Not the ideal place, but better than where RIM stuck it on the PlayBook.

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Because size matters in the tablet world, it's important to note that the XOOM is 9.8 inches wide by 6.6 inches tall. It looked great in landscape, lousy in portrait and felt a little big after playing with the PlayBook for a while. That damn PlayBook got me digging the 7-inch tablets, but that damn PlayBook didn't run Android.

Android looked and felt great on this device. The browser snapped open in a flash (no pun intended) and felt awfully Chrome-ish. Aw heck, that pun was intended. It's great visiting Google Analytics and other sites that display Flash and actually seeing the content.

On this Android device, my Google login acted as a passport of sorts, automatically customizing everything for me. My calendar was populated by Google Calendar, my Gmail was there, looking great, and Talk and YouTube were ready to go. And yes, I quickly found and installed a Google+ app to complete the collection.

Comparing the XOOM to the PlayBook might be as simple as comparing your link to Google to your link to your Blackberry. If your Blackberry acts as the heartbeat of your virtual world, the PlayBook is your tablet. If you're a Google bigot, an Android device is the way to go, and I'm told there's no better Android tablet on the market than the XOOM.

Although it's sold separately, Motorola sent along a great docking station for video chats and great audio. My daughter loved blasting Adele on this Speaker HD Dock.

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When I close an application on an iPad, it disappears from whence it came until I call it once more. On the XOOM, my active apps are lined up and ready for recall - as they are on the TouchPad and PlayBook. I don't understand why the iPad doesn't do something similar as I find it very convenient.

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There were plenty of amazing apps for Android, both free and paid, and installing them was simple.

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I don't really have any major criticisms of the XOOM. It felt a bit big when compared to the PlayBook, but it felt sleek when compared to the almighty iPad. Its Google integration is awesome, its ability to play Flash in the browser is convenient and the audio and video was great. I had this thing since August and not once did the battery run down to a point where I was warned to charge it. I wish I could say the same thing about the TouchPad.

Xoom

Right now at Best Buy Canada I see the Motorola 32GB XOOM with Wi-Fi Tablet is going for $499.99. A 32GB iPad 2 will cost you $619.99. When you factor in the fact the XOOM has a microSD Card Slot, runs Honeycomb and has a kick-ass battery, I'd go with the XOOM.

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Android TO Conference

android toI work with a very persistent young lady who really, really wants me to promote the Android TO conference. Sorry... I've just been told it's actually the AndroidTO conference. My bad.

Coincidentally, I'm days away from reviewing the Motorola Xoom, a tablet running Android. The Xoom is my first foray into the world of Android, and if I were to become an Android bigot, I very well might be interested in this AndroidTO conference taking place in Toronto on October 26.

This was sent to me by Farah.

Celebrate Everything Android at the Second Annual AndroidTO Conference:

Smart phones are an asset in our lives. Almost half of internet users are now accessing the internet through their mobile phones. Amongst the usual suspects in the smartphone market, a recent report by Cansalys stated that the Android smartphone is leading this change. Worldwide smartphone shipments grew 73% year over year, but Android grew much faster – 379% year over year. The analysis firm tracked smartphones in 56 countries and Android was the most distributed in 35 of them. For the last quarter, Android reached 48% global market share.

Canada has lagged behind in adoption of Android-based handsets with March 2011's ComScore results indicating Android only has 12.2% penetration in the smart phone market. However, with the availability of better handsets at lower price point – this is expected to drastically increase over the next two to five years.

To encourage consumer, developer and marketer adoption in Canada, the second annual AndroidTO conference is back on October 26th, 2011 – the only conference in Canada that celebrates everything Android to the fullest. This one day event is dedicated to Android enthusiasts and developers who will learn about the Android platform and the opportunities surrounding it.

LEARN from the Best

AndroidTO offers a diverse line up of workshops and panels presented by Canadian and international mobile industry leaders. Learn in depth about the latest mobile technology trends and how you can leverage these effectively in your businesses.

CONNECT with the Right People

Learn about the world of Android from industry leading developers, hardware manufacturers and thought-leaders. Make contacts and share best practices with like-minded individuals in the community!

EVOLVE your Qualifications

Take an accelerated path to the skills you need to advance your career path and increase your professional value. Be the Android expert.

Leave with ACTIONABLE Knowledge

Prepare to add new value back in the real world, with an extended skill set you can put to use immediately. Gain insight from Android users to see what they have to say about your new Android projects.

A Few Conference Highlights

• Melody Adhami, COO at Plastic Mobile and crowned the "Queen of Apps" by Globe and Mail will be introducing Joomo - an automated platform that enables anyone to create high-quality native mobile applications across all mobile devices.

• Joe Lallouz, New York resident and lead Android developer at Hashable will be revealing the results of his unofficial poll amongst the top NYC Android app developers (Foursquare, GroupMe, Hashable). Find out what they wish they knew about Android development that wasn't in the Android Google docs.

• Andy Smith, Production Manager at Get Set Games (makers of the wildly popular Mega Jump) will present how the company is finding ways to make Mega Jump Android stand out, engage and monetize players, and the Android specific issues they have run into while trying to make Android a viable platform for a small company.

For more information, please visit: www.androidto.com.

Android

This Android conference promises to be the most Android Android conference in this most Android of Android cities. Happy Android to y'all.

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Motorola Xoom Arrives - Early Thoughts on the Xoom

xoomI'm trying to play with as many iPad challengers as possible in my little Tablet Talent Show. So far I've got a Touchpad from HP, a Playbook from RIM and now a Xoom from Motorola. The Xoom just arrived yesterday.

Xoom

The Xoom arrived running Android 3.2 Honeycomb, which makes it the first Android device I've ever had the opportunity to test drive. Right away, it wanted my Google account info so it could fully integrate with the Google services I already use.

Because I'm a Google bigot, who swears by Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Reader, etc, I welcomed this. We were off and flying in seconds flat, and my Google Account even gave me access to the impressive Market of Apps available for an Android. I quickly installed apps for Google+, Twitter, Facebook, IMDB and other staples of my web life.

Both the Playbook and Xoom reigned supreme over the now unsupported Touchpad when it came to apps, and all three seem to handle multiple concurrent activities better than the iPad.

I'm happy to try other iPad competitors during this Tablet Talent Show, so drop me a line if you can hook me up with a Transformer, Galaxy or whatever else is out there. There's room for more.

xoom 004

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