Posted on November 7th, 2012 1 comment
I’ve been using the Nexus 7 (manufactured by ASUS, but marketed as Google) tablet for a couple months now. This is not my first or second foray into Android tablets, I’ve extensively used many for the past 1+ years. So, what do I think of the Nexus 7? Read on…
Size: This 7″ tablet is just what the doctor ordered. I’ve used a bunch of the 10.1″ tablets before, and they are all just too awkward to hold. I love to read books on tablets (on planes, in bed, wherever), and the 7″ size is comfortable in one hand, while being large enough to feel like the size of a paperback. The width of the Nexus 7 is fine. Not too thick, not too thin. Just feels right.
Weight: To carry on with the size comments, the Nexus 7 is the perfect weight for holding it for hours while reading a book. I happily put down the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Acer Iconia A500 for this lightweight and good sized device.
Experience: It’s pure Android Jelly Bean. What does that mean? It is running the software as Google anticipated it to run. No extra skins, no unnecessary manufacturer apps, and the absolute latest version of Android. Jelly Bean (aka Android 4.1) is the best thing that has happened to Android tablets. Prior to this release (aka Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 and Honeycomb 3.0), all Android tablets ran slowly, the swiping had delays, the typing was gittery, and as a comparison to iPad, Android could not compete in the performance category. Now with Jelly Bean, the Nexus 7 is smooth, screens flow as you’d expect, navigating around works fluidly and comfortably. It is the first excellent experience on an Android tablet. If you like the way Ice Cream Sandwich works on your Android phone, you will feel right at home with Jelly Bean on the Nexus 7.
Build: As mentioned before, this is manufactured by ASUS. It’s a black rectangular slab, as expected. The weight feels just right and well distributed. Not too heavy, not too light, not awkward to hold. Solid glass on the front, with no physical buttons. Has a front facing camera, which is low res and not impressive for any type of photo taking. The bezel on the front is just wide enough to hold on any four corners without accidentally touching the screen. The sides are rounded, with no sharp edges. The back is lightly rubberized and pleasantly sticks to the hand when holding, or stays in place when set down. There is no removable battery, so the back cover is permanent. There is no removable SD card either.
On the right side, are the power and volume rocker buttons. Having them on one side is great for using cases and stands. On the bottom is the headphone jack and micro USB port (for charging/data transfer). The bottom is also a great location for cases and stands. The back contains a speaker on lower portion, which has decent sound for its size. And the screen. It’s a high-resolution screen, think iPhone 4 (and newer) or iPad 3 (and newer). Simply, it’s beautiful. No needs to talk technical details. It is the best looking Android tablet screen to date. Nice and clean, easy on the eyes.
Things I don’t love about the build. No rear-facing camera. I’m not one of those weido’s who take photos with a tablet, but I do scan QR codes quite a bit. Most QR code apps do not support front-facing camera. Those that do support it, make me quickly realize how awkward it is to line up a QR code without being able to see it on screen. Not having removable SD card isn’t the end of the world, having the Nexus in 16GB. I just historically, like to take my SD card out of my phone and pop it into my tablet at different times.
Overall, I’m quite happy with the build on the Nexus 7.
Apps: As a Google device, you get all the Google Apps you can shake a stick at, right on the home screen. If you love Gmail, Google Maps, Google Search, Google+, and on and on, you will have them ready to go right out of the box. As for Google Play (Android Market) apps and Amazon Android App Store apps, most apps run, but not all. Apps requiring a rear camera, will not install. At launch, few other apps wouldn’t install, but all seem to be working now (with an update to Android 4.1.2). Being a Google branded device, there are no manufacturer or carrier specific apps; translated — no crap apps. You can add all the crap on if you’d like, but it’s your choice.
Price: Starting at $199 for 16GB (just reduced from $249). Just added are two 32GB models, with and without a cellular plan, priced at $249 and $299 respectively. The price can’t be beat, be it iPad, Kindle Fire, Nook, or other Android tablets.
Wrap It Up: As a long time Android user, and having used several Android tablets before, I have to say the Nexus 7 leaves all others in the dust. Sure the screen size is 3 inches smaller than the big boys, but the size, weight, and screen make this THE Android tablet to get. If you have an Android phone and would like a tablet to run your apps on, get the Nexus 7. Don’t waste time looking elsewhere.
Posted on January 28th, 2012 No comments
Welcome to our new feature app-a-day. It’s pretty simple, we pick an app (chosen either by you or our editors) and walk through its details. You might get a mobile app, console app, browser app, or something else. We will work on making this a regular feature, based on traffic to the site and feedback in comments. If you like this feature, or hate it, let us know.
To start things off, read on…
NAME: Airport Mania 2: Wild Trips HD for Tablets
PUBLISHER: Reflexive Entertainment
PLATFORM: Android (also available on Windows and Mac)
GENRE: Casual Game
PRICE: $1.99 Android tablets, 99¢ Android phones
BUY IT: http://amzn.to/wrVIiI
WHAT IT DOES: Basically, you act as air traffic controller and lands planes. But, there is more to it. You guide planes to terminals for unloading/loading, you direct them the the garage for repairs, fueling, etc. So, you are the eye in the sky. It gets frantic quickly with many planes looking to land/take-off with limited runways and terminals. You also earn money to upgrade your airport. There are plenty of “achievements” and in-game mini-games, like popping ballons in between slinging jets around.
DO I WANT IT: The graphics and audio are very nice, looks great on a 10″ tablet. The game is very fluid, and well developed. You can play this game on a phone, but the touch screen gestures make it difficult to tap the right spot accurately. (For phones, I suggest going with the 99 cent non-HD version). The developer is also regularly adding updates and levels to the game.
This game is addictingly fun, and the challenge grows at a good level. So, yes I want this game. It’s worth the two bucks.
“I’m not very good at these time/task management types of games, but I found this one to have a pretty good difficulty curve. It was relatively simple in the first few stages, then slowly started to get more hectic and difficult. However, the “minimum score” to pass the level has generally been pretty low, so I think even people who are worse at these types of games than I am could still have fun and progress!!”
“this game surprises, it’s a feel good kind of game,something you can play for 5 minutes or hours. the concept is simple but the game itself can be challenging. you wont regreat buying this game.“
Posted on January 26th, 2012 No comments
Months have gone by, many months. No Rock Band news or rants. No updates on my gadget obsessions. No shameless plugs for online deals to support our sponsors. Nuthin! So what gives?
Our first four years were very active (2007-2010), with multiple writers and sometimes many articles per day. (Remember, we run this site pro bono, make gilch, for free). Well not entirely true. It cost us money to keep it running. We do on a very rare occasion make a coin or two if you check out our sponsor links or buy from one of our Amazon links.
2011 had a turn (not for the worse, no one died or anything), just a turn. Shawn started a side-project in the smartphone security space (of course MyGGGo was already a side-project). He also started another side-project developing technical training courses. And finally started another side-project playing drums in a couple bands. Oops…I think that’s 3 too many side-projects.
Where are all the other writers from MyGGGo? They have faded into their lives, and we haven’t worked at replacing them. Our bad.
MyGGGo has suffered. I can’t say 2012 will return us to previous levels, but here’s a first ditch effort. Coming this week, will be our new feature, known as App-A-Day.
Since we have literally hundreds of apps (from business to games to time wasters) for many platforms, We are bringing (sexy) back all three G’s to MyGGGo (Gadget, Game, and Gizmo Obsession) with this new feature. We will have a standard format for App-A-Day and will walk through the details of an app, the good, the bad, the malicious, the free, the ridiculously expensive.
Get ready for stuff from the Android Market, iOS App Store, Mac App Store, Chrome Apps, Xbox 360 games, Xbox 360 Dashboard apps, BlackBerry apps, Wii games. We will go all over the map. Why the whole map, well we actually use them all.
Join us later this week for the first real blast-o-news for 2012 with App-A-Day. If you have any preference of platform, type of app, or a specific app you’d like us to highlight on App-A-Day, drop us a line below.
Posted on March 24th, 2011 No comments
They confirmed the Java VM on the PlayBook will be the same that’s on Android devices allowing Android apps to somewhat natively run on one PlayBook. I wonder if this will create a patch war like Apple and Palm had when the Palm WebOS had native iTunes support and Apple continually updated iTunes to break the support.
The PlayBook will also have native C/C++, HTML5, Flash, and AIR dev environments.
The dev potentials are quite large. I’m interested to see how it competes in the crowded tablet market.
Posted on January 6th, 2011 No comments
My favorite online streaming music service is Slacker Radio. If you are unaware of Slacker, think of Pandora or Last.FM. I believe the Slacker offering has the best user interface, a great selection of music, nice free (and relatively cheap paid) offerings, and was the first to offer on-device mobile applications with caching of music for offline use. I have my custom Rock Band Radio station over there too.
Today, at CES, the folks at Slacker announced the next generation of their web-based and mobile applications. Most of it has been expected for a while, but good to see that they are pushing the marketing on it. Let’s get into the announcement.
This has been quietly announced on Slacker.com for many months. This is a paid offering allowing users to select any song in the Slacker library on-demand for immediate listening. I have heard that this paid offering will cost users a scary $9.99 per month, which is an extremely expensive cost in my opinion. This new offering will compete immediately with Zune Pass, Rhapsody, Napster, and similar services. It could also compete with iTunes and Amazon’s download services.
Posted on October 28th, 2010 No comments
Now, as my interest in mobile technology is increasing, I’m getting my programming skills sharpened and focusing first on iPhone development. This is a very new space for me, since iPhone development takes place on a Mac (I’m a Windows purist), and is written in a language called Objective-C, which is heavily based on the C programming language (see my background above to identify the discrepancy). That said, my iPhone skills are getting sharper each day, and I have some projects to work on (which I will announce at a future date).
I may also work on apps for the other devices, including Android, Palm, and BlackBerry. Though, that would take me in a very different technical direction, so don’t expect it soon.
To keep up with my mobile development activities, for now you can follow me @JavaDevelop on Twitter. Sometime in the future, I will revive the website with all that I’m working on.
If you have any app suggestions with the platform you’d like to see an app on, let me know. Maybe I will take community suggestions for future direction.
Posted on February 10th, 2010 No comments
I’m just learning what Google Buzz is all about today. I like to keep things short and simple here. Think of Gmail mixed with all the social aspects of Facebook and Twitter. Photo sharing, status updates, posts/blogging, geolocation, etc. All this in the simplistic Google interface.
Who doesn’t have a Gmail account? Just about no one. Who doesn’t use Twitter and/or Facebook? Just about no one.
Google Buzz is rolling out today to Gmail users. The coolest part, is it’s not only rolling out for desktop users, but also smartphone users. At first rollout, a bunch of dekstop (Windows, Mac, etc) users already have the Buzz features enabled, plus iPhone and Android users have access just by navigating to http://buzz.google.com from the browser. No word yet on BlackBerry or WebOS support.
Knowing that Gmail already has a huge install base, would you give Buzz a try? I know I will.
Posted on November 9th, 2009 1 comment
First off this is NOT a review of any kind. I am in no way responsible for anything stupid you may do as a result of the information below (i.e. get thrown out of a Verizon store for being an unruly nerd customer). 😉
My girlfriend and her mother both purchased this phone on Saturday. Of course I went with them to make sure they did not get suckered into any extra services or accessories and because I also am very interested in buying it, but am not eligible for an upgrade yet.
The process was fairly smooth, but obviously something interesting happened or I would not be writing this to Shawn’s blog right? As usual, the sales rep synced their old contacts to their new Droid phones and then promptly asked for their email address and password. Obviously this raised my attention, and after a short ‘discussion’, I was informed that he (the sales rep) is ‘not allowed’ to let any Droid device leave the store without a synced email account on the phone due to “how the data plan works”. Clearly, he has no clue what is going on and management has told him to do something, so he does it.
If it was me purchasing the phone, he would have been dealing with a PITA engineer for a customer. Luckily my girlfriend and her mother don’t use their email for anything important, so they handed over their credentials and let the sales rep go out back and sync the devices. No issues have occurred as a result.
So when it comes time for me to purchase, I plan on:
1)Claim I don’t have an email account and see what happens…
2)Create a dummy gmail account to sync with the phone, change it myself as I see fit after I leave the store.
3)Change my email’s password to a temporary password, change it back when I leave the store
4)Attempt to swindle the device out of the sales rep’s hands in order to configure the device myself (This is the best case, and what I will try first).
This was at my local Verizon store, mileage may vary elsewhere.
Take it for what you will…
Posted on January 27th, 2009 No comments
I think there is a simple recipe to call something an iPhone competitor, or as many like to call “the iPhone killer”. After using the BlackBerry Storm for more than two months, and analyzing the mobile device market, I can say the Storm is not an iPhone killer.
The simple determination is about how RIM designed the software for the device. They adapted the tried and true BlackBerry OS for touchscreen and keyboard-less environments. That in itself makes the Storm out of contention for the iPhone killer title. To be a real iPhone competitor, a software/OS developer has to do what Apple did. They need to start from scratch and build an OS for the device. Apple did it, RIM did not. It doesn’t make the Storm bad, it just does not make it an iPhone competitor.
Now, Palm’s upcoming webOS (on the Palm Pre) as well as Google’s Android (on the G1) have the potential of being iPhone competitors. Simply, because Google and Palm did what Apple did, they built a mobile OS from scratch focusing on new hardware and new touchscreen capabilities.
As of now, the G1 still has a way to go, but has potential. Palm’s webOS is not yet in the hands of the public, but looks to be a direct rip-off of Apple’s iPhone OS.
This story will continue, but we can close the door on the iPhone OS and the Storm OS being competitors. There is no competition here. iPhone OS was built for capacitive touchscreens and other newer hardware. The Storm’s OS is adapted for the same types of technologies, but is not a rewrite. Case closed.
Posted on September 10th, 2008 No comments
Ok, so the Android phone doesn’t get much love here on the 3G, but I did run across this article at ComputerWorld. Google has announced the top 10 apps for the Android platforms, which is a big deal because they were handing out a huge chunk of cash to the winners.
Anyway, as I was looking through the list of apps, a few really caught me eye.
Here’s the list. Are there any you’re gonna want a version of on your smartphone? Personally, I want numbers 2, 8, and 10.
1. Cab4me – Using Android’s Google Maps application, cab4me lets a user call a cab to her location with a single click. By using GPS capabilities to locate not only the user’s current location, but also the location of the nearest cab company, the application can initiate a call to the cab company with a mere click on the map. The application was developed by Konrad Huebner and Henning Boerger.
2. Locale – Ever get embarrassed at a company meeting when your cell phone unexpectedly goes off? With Locale, you can make sure your device knows to switch to vibrate mode the minute you step into your office. With Android’s GPS capabilities, Locale adjusts your phone’s settings to wherever you are. Thus, your phone will forward calls to different numbers based on whether you’re at work or home, or it will send out a status message on Twitter letting people know where you’re located. This application was developed by Carter Jernigan, Clare Bayley, Jasper Lin and Christina Wright, with additional contributions from Jennifer Shu.
3. PicSay – Essentially a drop-and-drag picture editor for your mobile phone, PicSay lets users spruce up their pictures with color correction, highlighting, word bubbles and distortion effects. It also can be used to create event invitations or holiday greeting cards that can be sent out to friends, family and associates. This application was developed by Eric Wijngaard.
4. Softrace – This application actually lets you set up real, live races with your friends and track their progress in real time while the race is going on. Whether the racers are on foot, bicycles or skis, Softrace uses Google Maps’ location application programming interface to track each user’s progress, and it can store statistics of the race on Android’s SQLite database. This application was developed by Staffan Kjellberg and Thomas Kjellberg.
5. TuneWiki – An open-source music-based social network, TuneWiki lets users share what they’re listening to with one another. They can also use Google Maps to find what users around the world are listening to. TuneWiki also plays audio and video for songs while scrolling synchronized lyrics as they play. The application creates a virtual library of songs that connects to the Internet and suggests similar-sounding songs or artists. This application was developed by TuneWiki, with additional help from Rani Cohen, Chad Kouse, Zach Jobbs, Jared Fleener and Amnon Sarig.
6. Wertago – Billing itself as “the mobile application nightlifers have been waiting for,” Wertago is a social networking application that lets users coordinate social events with their friends, rate current hot spots and create personalized social networking profiles for users to share their favorite locations. Like many other Android applications, Wertago uses Google Maps’ API to map out clubs, restaurants and theaters. This application was developed by Kelvin Cheung, Teresa Ko, Peter Ree, Robert Sarvis and Douglas Yeung.
7. Life360 – This is a neighborhood-centric social networking application that keeps users up to date with their families and local communities. Life360 users can send or receive neighborhood emergency alerts. Whether you’re holding a backyard barbecue or looking for help to find a lost pet, Life360 gives you quick access to your neighbors and your family. This application was developed by Chris Hulls Dilpreet Singh, Luis Carvalho, Phuong Nguyen and Steve Potell.
8. GoCart – The goal of GoCart is to help shoppers gather as much information as they need to make smart, informed decisions. Using GPS and Android’s built-in camera to scan bar codes, the application will search both the Web and local stores to compare prices of any product. The application also lets users read other users’ reviews of products and can set up price alerts whenever prices go down. This application was designed by Rylan Barnes, with contributions from Noah Labhart and ZXing Developers.
9. Ecorio – An application destined to warm Al Gore’s heart, Ecorio uses Android’s GPS capabilities to track a user’s carbon footprint while driving. It also gives suggestions for carpooling and public transportation, and it lets users invest in carbon-reduction projects and purchase carbon credits over their phones. This application was developed by Jeff Kao, Gary Pong, Robert Lam and Taneem Talukdar, with additional contributions from Jason Wong
10. Compare Everywhere – This application is very similar to GoCart because it uses Android’s built-in camera to scan bar codes and compare prices for products at different retail outlets. It also lets customers rate products and create shopping lists like those on Amazon.com. This application was created by Jeffrey Sharkey.
My Gadget, Game & Gizmo Obsession …blogging about mobile stuff, gamer stuff, and other stuff since 2007 (MyGGGo.com)