Category Archives: Android Apps

Adobe Flash for Android Tablets

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Adobe Flash for Android TabletsAdobe Flash for Android Tablets

Adobe Flash For Android Tablets

When Android tablets were first released, they used Adobe Flash for Android to allow users to view Flash content.  Then the technology is moving away from Flash in favor of HTML 5.  Beginning with Android 4.1 Adobe Flash was no longer included or supported.  However, there is still a lot of content that required Adobe Flash. So, how do you get Adobe Flash on Android tablets with Android 4.1 or greater?

All devices running Android versions between 2.2 and 4.0, inclusive, are compatible with Adobe Flash 11.  Devices with Android 3.0 will benefit from enhanced browser handling of websites containing both Flash, HTML, and images.  Each component will be rendered quickly and maintain their separate positions.  Devices using Android 2.2, 2.3, or 2.4 will not benefit from this enhanced browser feature and still may see some overlapping of components.

Apple has banned the Adobe Flash product from all its devices, including the iPad.  This is more than an annoyance to users since many websites and applications use Flash for at least a portion of their development.  Some websites contain a significant amount of Flash, which results in a blank display on devices not supporting Flash.

Here is how to install Adobe Flash on Android tablets with Android 4.1 or greater:

  • Make sure your Android device is connected to the Internet.
  • Open the Settings menu.
  • Select Security (or Applications, on older Android OSs).
  • Place a checkmark next to the “Unknown sources” check box.
  • Tap OK to confirm your selection.
  • Close Settings.
  • Launch the browser.
  • Search for “flash player archive page” or navigate directly to http://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/archived-flash-player-versions.html
  • On the Archive page, scroll down to “Flash Player for Android archives”
  • Select a version of Flash Player that is compatible with your Android operating system.
  • Tap the link to download the Flash Player installer. Download begins automatically.
  • When download completes, close the browser.
  • Open Notifications.
  • Tap “install_flash_player.apk”
  • When prompted, tap Install.
  • When installation is finished, tap Done.

Free eMagazines for your Tablet PC – Google Play Newsstand

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Free eMagazines from Google Play NewsstandFree eMagazines from Google Play Newsstand

This is really a nice service offered by Google, plus it is free!!!  Google Newsstand is an Android app that allows you to view editions of various magazines on your Android tablet PC for free.  Plus, you have an option to download the text and images to your tablet to read and view offline.

Originally, Google Currents, Google Play Newsstand is a branch of the Google Play Store. Download the app, select which magazines, news sources, and blogs you want to receive from.

Discover a better way to enjoy all the news you love with Google Play Newsstand now. Find articles recommended just for you in Read Now, topics to follow, and premier news partners like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The Guardian, and more.

Several publishers are participating in this product including:

  • Publisher editions – Publishers such as Forbes, Techcrunch, Saveur, Popular Science, PC World, Good, 500px, Fast Company and more have produced hundreds of editions including in-depth articles, videos, fine photography, slide shows, live-maps, and social streams.
  • Google trending editions – Google Newsstand uses Google search technology to hourly build a set of editions tracking the five most recent trending stories in categories such as world, entertainment, sports, science, and more. Each story is presented through a fresh edition of articles, videos, and pictures.

 

Business Use for Android Tablets

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Business Use for Android Tablets

Business Apps for Tablet PCs

Business Use for Android TabletsMany businesses have realized the business use for Android tablets and are adopting tablets into the everyday work patterns.  The convenience of carrying a tablet into meetings instead of a notebook is obvious.

Many analysts are predicting that by 2015, 30% of the population will own a tablet PC, and by 2016, the Android tablet will dominate sales.  There has been a lot of discussion about the fun usages of a tablet PC, but what about using a tablet PC for business?  Is it practical?  Do applications exist to make it even feasible?  Here is a list of business related functions that you can do with an Android tablet PC:

  • Word, Excel, PowerPoint: There are a couple of good apps that will allow you to create, view and/or edit Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents.  Make last minute changes to your Powerpoint presentation, display the presentation on your Tablet PC, or better yet, connect your Tablet to a High Definition TV via the HDMI port for a larger than life presentation.  You can also access Google Docs to create, view, or edit any document.
  • Email: Connect to your GMail account, and / or your companies email servers to manage your email from anywhere.  Open attachments that are easily viewable on the larger Tablet display, save them locally, or to your cloud storage.
  • Calendar:  View your appointment schedule, make updates or add new appointments all from your Tablet PC.
  • Remote Access to your PC:  Use Android based applications to remotely connect to your PC at work or home and operate is just as if your were sitting in front of it.  Run programs, update files, manage your email and calendar, perform those functions that you cannot do yet on your Tablet.
  • Print:  Use the Google Cloud Print application to print from your Tablet PC to any printer connected to a PC that you are authorized to use.
  • Scan Documents or Photos: Install an app that uses the camera on the Tablet to scan any document or photo and save it as a JPG or PDF file.
  • Contact Management: There are a number of applications that allow you to store information about your contacts including photos, personal details, follow-up reminders, notes about conversations, call dates and logs, etc.
  • Financial Uses:  There are a variety of financial related applications available including:
    • Financial Calculators: Calculate loans, payoffs, mortgages, amortizations, savings goals, etc.
    • Stocks, Bonds, Mutual funds: Most of the brokerages have Android based software available to monitor your investments including watching prices, trades, place trades, view reports, display charts, etc.  There are also Forex applications for monitoring and trading currencies.
    • Banking:  Access your bank accounts to view balances, transfer funds, pay bills
    • Exchange Rates: Monitor changes to currency exchange rates to help manage finances while traveling
  • Video Conferencing: Using the front camera, and the video chat software included with your Android device, you can have a face to face meeting with anyone else who is also using either an Android based video chat, or the Google Talk software on a PC.  Both of these applications are free and easily installed and used.
    • WebEx for Android is an application that allows the user of any Android device to connect to a WebEx conference and view the presentation being displayed to the group.  View content shared from any computer, including: documents, applications, or screen-sharing with live annotations. Zoom and scan the content by pinching the screen.
    • Fuze Meeting is another online meeting software available for Android that can be used to host, attend, and start any clould-based online meetings with multi-party HD video conferencing.
  • Social Media Apps: Keep your Facebook and Twitter accounts current, plus stay on top of tweets and comments.
  • Travel Apps:  When your business requires you to travel, here are some nice applications to help make the trip go smoother.
    • Translation Apps: When traveling to other countries, easily translate your words into the local language
    • Google Earth: Before you arrive on your trip, log into Google Earth and zoom into specific areas to preview the surrounding area.  Check out buildings, streets, restaurants, tourist hot spots, etc.  Be already familiar with where you are going, before you get there, so there are no surprises.
    • Google Places:  Use Google Places to check out what is near your hotel.  Find restaurants, bars, entertainment, parking, etc.
    • Airline Guides: Load up a airline guide to keep track of your flights, check the status of your flight, or make changes to your itinerary from anywhere.
    • Expense Tracking: There are many expense tracking apps that let you easily and quickly log your reimbursable expenses.  Make that expense report come together easily.
    • Driving Directions: Use Google Maps to give you turn-by-turn directions to where ever you need to go
  • Track Billable Hours:  If your charge your clients by the hour, easily input and track your time and which client to bill to.
  • Track Packages:  Are you waiting for that important package to show up from UPS or FedEx?  Keep track of it delivery progress on your Tablet PC.
  • Real Estate:  Access MLS listings, search for property, track your clients, show photos of houses from the larger sized Tablet PC display to cut down on driving and showing property.\

These are just the major type of business use for a Android tablet PC.  There are many more applications for more detailed and that solve vertical needs.  Stop lugging around that bulky laptop computer, and go with a ultra mobile computing device like a Android tablet PC that weights less than 1.5 pounds.

eBooks on Android Tablets

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eBooks on Android Tablets

Reading eBooks on Android tablets is easy and a natural use for tablets.  In addition to ebooks, you can also get emagazines and enewspapers.

What is an eBook?  It is a digital version of a book.  It is loaded onto your tablet PC or desktop or laptop PC and is read just like a real book.  Except, when it is on a tablet, it is easier to use, read, and carry around. All eReader apps have animation showing the page turning when you slide our finger on the page.  They all keep track of the page you left off last, and opens the book directly to the page.  You can search the book for key phrases, create bookmarks to places you want to return to later, etc.

eBooks on Android Tablets Reference books are great to use in digital form since searching is so much easier.  Plus, on a tablet PC, you can carry your entire library around with you all the time. eBooks on Android TabletseMagazines are also very handy on a tablet PC.  You can subscribe to eMagazines or even eNewspapers and they will be delivered directly to your tablet when each issue is published.  Imagine how many trees you can save by receiving these in a digital format.   Google eBookseBooks on Android Tablets has a great selection of ebooks, however, they do not have newspapers or magazines.  The biggest advantage of using Google eBooks is that I can read on my tablet, then go to my desktop and open the book and continue to read from where I left off on the tablet.  You also have the option of downloading the eBook directly to the tablet so you can be independent of a network connection. Another great option includes the Android app for Amazon Kindle eBooks, who have a great selection of ebooks, however, several of their ebooks, emagazines, and enewspapers will not work on the Android version of the Kindle app.  I’m a fan of Amazon, but I ran into too many limitations when looking for digital publications for my Android Kindle app. The Android Nook app from Barnes and Noble has the best options for magazines and newspapers as well as a full line of ebooks.  This is the app that I use most of the time when reading digital material.  Another great benefit of the Nook app is that is allows for side loading of eBook files.  Which means, if you find an ePub file from a source other than Barnes and Noble, you can download it to the Nook\My Files folder of your tablet and read it using the Nook app.  I automatically receive monthly magazine downloads for a few magazines, and keep a few books that I have not read yet in the Active folder.  The Nook app also syncs with the B&N cloud keeping your PC Nook app and Android Nook app in sync. There are thousands of books in every category and topic available to purchase.  Plus, in most cases, the price of the book is less than the paper version at the book store.  There is also a decent selection of free eBooks, many of them classic novels such as Moby Dick, Sherlock Holmes, and the Tale of Two Cities.  How exciting is an evening with a great bottle of wine, and a free eBook “Pride and Prejudice” to while away the time. I’m personally a Robert Ludlum fan having read many of his books, and, of course, watched the movies. Be careful when traveling internationally.  Be sure you purchase enough reading material before you leave since you cannot buy eBooks outside of the US.  I ran into this during my last trip to Taiwan, where I finished a book ahead of schedule, but could not buy another book until I got home. If you set up your emagazine subscriptions while in the US to automatically charge your credit card every month, then you can download the each month’s volume anywhere in the world.  It seems to be just the purchasing process that limits you to being in the same country as your billing address.

Download Movies to Android Tablets

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Download Movies to Android Tablets

The Digital Movie Craze

Download Movies to Android tabletsDownload movies to Android tablets from many sources

Unlimited Downloads

Don’t have the time or money to go to the movies?  There is a solution.  One that is convenient, unlimited, and suited to your lifestyle.  Thanks to the evolution of technology, digital movie downloads are fast becoming the preferred means that movie lovers watch their movies-from the comforts of their homes, when and how they wish.  All you need is a computer or a tv, and a quality movie download site to get your movies from; and then, presto, you have a home theater!

The Perfect Home Theater

So, what makes for the perfect home movie theater?  Think you need red velvet seats and a large movie screen?  Nah!  You can have just as much enjoyment-more than a theater experience-with much less expense.  Aside from ample comfortable seating, the family pet curled up beside you, and pausing for bathroom and snack breaks-this is what the perfect home theater can look like.  Be sure to connect your tablet PC to your TV via the HDMI connector to display the movie on your HD big screen TV. (Click here to see how to connect your tablet PC to a TV)

Rent Movies and Stream to your Tablet PC

There are a few options for watching rented movies on your tablet PC.  These services offer rented new releases, TV shows, free movies, concerts, etc.  All these services require that you download an app, but the apps are free and easily installed.  Additionally, they all require that you pay a subscription fee, which in all cases is nominal.

  • The Google Movies feature in the Android Market is a great choice.  They offer new releases, old movies, post season TV shows, etc. Google Movies is not a monthly subscription service.  You pay for the movies individually as you rent them.  If you don’t rent, you don’t pay.  You must have a Google account and have a credit card on file in your Google Wallet.  Check out this post for more information about Google Movies –> Google Movies.
  • Netflix has a new app which works well on an Android tablet, but you first need to subscribe and pay the monthly fee.  Netflix offers pretty much the same set of movies and post-season TV shows as Google Movies, however, they have a much broader selection.  With Netflix, you pay a monthly fee for unlimited movies.  But if you don’t watch, you still pay.  Fortunately, you can suspend your account with Netflix if you will be traveling, or will not be watching any movies for several weeks.  Check out their movie selection and subscription options here –> Netflix Website then Click here to get the Netflix app from Google Play –> Netflix App
  • Another movie subscription service is Crackle, which is affiliated with Sony pictures.  Crackles offers a feature that most other paid services don’t offer – free movies!!  Of course these are not going to be new releases, but you watch some of the good oldies for free along with your paid subscription.  Plus, they offer a full line-up of TV programming in a channel format.  You can watch some old TV shows as well as the current stuff.  Check out their website here –> Crackle.com  and if you like it, you can download the Android App here –> Crackle App
  • If you just want to watch music videos or concerts, then QUELLO is a good option.  You pay for a concert to watch, then you have 30 days to watch the video as many times as you like.  The fee is $4.99, and the videos are all in a HD format.  So connect your tablet to some external speakers, and enjoy the show and great music.  Get the QUELLO app here –> QUELLO App
  • For streaming TV shows, both from the current season and classic programs, Hulu Plus is now available for Android tablet PCs.  For a monthly fee, you have have unlimted streaming of TV shows.  Download the app here –> Hulu Plus

Netflix for Android tablets

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Netflix for Android tablets

Netflix

Netflix for Android tablets has released a new version of their Android app that makes streaming movies and TV shows available to most Android tablet PCs.  This app supports Android 2.2, 2.3, 3.x, and 4.x in the USA, Canada, and Latin America.

Improvements to the app include a better screen for searching for movies and shows displaying larger graphics and a better organized display.

The redesigned Netflix experience is much more immersive and provides more focus on the growing Netflix catalog by displaying twice as many titles than the previous interface. In addition, through optimization for touch-enabled tablets, Netflix members can swipe through multiple rows of titles with larger artwork. As a result, it is now much easier to discover and instantly watch movies and TV shows on Android tablets.

How does Netflix work?
• Netflix membership gives you access to unlimited TV shows and movies for one low monthly price.
• With the Netflix app you can instantly watch as many TV episodes & movies as you want, as often as you want, anytime you want.
• You can Browse a growing selection of thousands of titles, and new episodes that are added regularly.
• Search for titles and watch immediately on your phone or on an ever expanding list of supported devices.
• Rate your favorite shows and movies and tell us what you like so Netflix can help suggest the best titles for you.
• Start watching on one device, and resume watching on another. Check out netflix.com for all the TVs, game consoles, tablets, phones, Blu-ray players and set top boxes on which you can watch Netflix.

You can download the app for free from the Android Market here –>Netflix

Google Cloud Drive vs. Others

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Google DriveAfter all the rumors, Google finally announced their cloud storage option called the Google Drive. Here is some data on how the new Google Drive compares to the other cloud storage options.

First, you may be asking, what is a cloud drive?  A cloud drive, along with other cloud related services, is like having your own personal hard drive, but it is only accessible via the internet.

The advantages are that whatever data you are storing on the cloud drive is being backed up and protected by the provider.  Plus, the provider is usually storing your data on some sort of an array of drives to minimize the risk of loss.  Additionally, it is very easy to share your files, just provide access to others whom you need to share with.

The disadvantage of a cloud drive is that it is only accessible over the internet, which means you need an internet connection anytime you need to access your files.

I like the cloud drive concept for doing backups, and sharing.  I cannot avail myself to storing files solely on a cloud drive.   However, it is much easier to post a file to the cloud drive to share with someone than to email it to them.  Especially large files, and even more importantly, files which need more security that what email can provide.

With the introduction of Google Drive, some of the competition will need to step up to the plate as far as pricing and sharing options are concerned.  I have been a Dropbox user for a couple of years and have referred enough people to have a nice free storage space.  But they can get pricey if I had to pay for it.  Box needs to re-evaluate their pricing and sharing services.  The Microsoft Skydrive has the best pricing options, and they include some nice features for photos and music files.  But, you have to use a 3rd party Android app to gain access.  Microsoft is all about the Windows PC and Office files for the Skydrive.

The others have provided Android apps on Google Play for free.  Amazon seems to be more about MP3 files, but you can also store other types of files.  And, don’t forget, GMail users also get 25GB of storage for free with their email account, but that space is only for storing emails.

Here is a simple chart comparing cloud drive services and prices:

 
Google Drive
Dropbox
Amazon Cloud Drive
Box
Skydrive
Google Drive
Dropbox
Amazon Cloud Drive
Box
Microsoft Skydrive
Free Storage
5GB
2GB + 500MB for each referral up to 18GB
5GB + Unlimited for music purchased from Amazon
5GB for only 1 user (no sharing)
7GB
Easy File Sharing
Yes
Yes
Yes
Only on Pro Plans
Yes
Photo Storage
Yes, use Picassa for slide shows and organizing features
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes, including slide shows, etc.
20GB
25GB $2.49/Month
$20/Year
25GB $9.99/Month
$10/Year
50GB
n/a
$9.99/Month + 1GB per referral up to 32GB
$50/Year
$19.99/Month
$25/Year
100GB
$4.99/Month
$19.99/Month + 1GB per referral up to 32GB
$100/Year
n/a
$50/Year
1TB
$49.99/Month
$66.25/Month for 5 users
$1,000/Year
$45/Month for 3 users

Hulu Plus Now Available for Android Tablet PCs

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Hulu Plus – Unlimited Instant Streaming

Hulu PlusWe have been waiting for a while for Hulu to release an app for Android tablet PCs, and now, here it is. For $7.99 a month, you can have unlimited streaming of TV shows. And new subscribers can try it for Free!

Hulu offers streaming of the full current season of popular shows including Modern Family, The Office, Family Guy and many others; as well as classic series including Lost and Battlestar Galactica.

You can interrupt watching a program, then come back to it later and start where you left off.

Currently, Hulu is not available for all Android tablet PCs, but the compatibility list is growing.  The following tablets currently will support Hulu Plus:

  • Asus Eee Pad Transformer
  • Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime
  • Motorola Xoom
  • Motorola XYBoard 10.1
  • Toshiba Thrive
  • Acer Iconia
  • LG G-Slate
  • HTC Flyer
  • Vizio 8″ Tablet

Hulu Plus is available for download from Google Play –> Hulu Plus

Run Android Apps on a Windows PC

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Run Android Apps on a Windows PC

BlueStacks

Here is a new Windows application that allows you to run Android Apps on a Windows PC. It seems to work with Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7. It is just a beta version and can be downloaded free from their website www.Bluestacks.com.

The interesting thing is that the Android OS and Android Apps are designed and built to run on devices with ARM processors. Windows, however, runs on an x86 processor.  Built on the company’s patent pending “Layercake” technology, Bluestacks brings over 450,000 Android apps to the PC.

With the upcoming release of Windows 8 Metro optimized for tablet PCs,  this App Player will allow those tablets to also run Android apps.  This beta version also includes a Cloud Connect App to allow Android devices to sync apps to the App Player.  So you can either connect to the Android Market via the App Player, or you can pull in apps from your Android phone or tablet.

On a regular PC, using a keyboard and a mouse as a substitute to a touch screen doesn’t work too well, but is a passable experience.  If you happen to have a tablet PC running Windows, then your experience will be much better running the App Player.

Google is building Android 5 (Jelly Bean) to co-exist with Windows on the same tablet PC.  This is a solid strategy to keep Android in the ring as Windows 8 is release and quickly dominates the market.  However, with the Bluestacks App Player, it may not be necessary to also have the Android OS running on the tablet.  I’m sure Google is not to happy about this development.Bluestacks and Angry Birds

Developers also may not be too happy since many of the apps that have both an Android version and a Windows version are free for the Android app, but consumers must buy the Windows version.  For instance, Angry Birds is free on Android, but you must pay $5.95 for the Windows version.

Here is a video introducing the App Player:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffFxnnGqFLk

Google Music and Movies on Android Tablets

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Google Music and Movies on Android Tablets

Use the Google Music and Movies service to listen to a large variety of music and watch movies.

Before you can do anything with Google Music or Movies, you need a Google account, and set up your Google Wallet.  The Google Wallet is required to charge your purchases or rentals to.  You can create a new Google account here –> Google Accounts

Google has released a couple of nice apps that allow users of Android tablets to play their favorite music, or watch a rented movie – anywhere. I say “anywhere” because both services are not internet dependent. You can download the music you want to listen to, and/or movies you want to watch, to your tablet while connected to the internet, then disconnect and enjoy later.

Google Music

This is a new service offered by Google, which was in beta for a few months, and just recently released to all android tablet owners.  Currently, there is no cost, and the limit is 20,000 music files (barely enough for my music library).

To use Google Music, you will need to download the Google Music (Free) app to your tablet,  click here to download –> Google Music.  When you go to Google’s Android Market, you will see tabs across for Apps, Music, Books, Movies, and My Library (see below)

Google Music and Movies on Android Tablets

Once you access the website and  sign in, you can upload your music library, plus Google gives you the option to also include several free tracks from their free music library.  The website allows you to sort, tag, create playlists, create instant mixes based on a single track, and even play the music.

Google Music and Movies on Android Tablets

This is working very well for me and I can gain access to my music from any PC, android tablet, and my android phone.

You can buy music and/or upload your own.  It is nice since I can upload all my music, and then play it anywhere.  I don’t have to worry about licences, rights, etc.  The new Apple music cloud app limits you to music you purchased through iTunes and also sells music.  They are all about the money, to be sure.

Google Movies

This is a very cool service available to all Android devices.  You access the Android Market and click on the Movies tab. Movies from major Hollywood film studios, including new releases, are available to rent.  You can either stream the movies on your computer or tablet, or you can download the movie to your tablet to watch anytime.  Movie rentals range from $1.99 for older movies to $3.99 for new releases.

After you download the movie to your tablet, you have 30 days from the time of purchase to start watching it.  Once you start watching it, you have 24 hours to finish watching it, or you can watch it again and again before the 24 hours are up.  There are some exceptions to these rules on a movie by movie basis, so be sure to read each movie’s rental policy before you rent it.

You need a Google account, Google Checkout account, and a valid credit card.  You also need Adobe Flash Player 10.1 or greater on your computer to stream the movies (sorry Apple users).

Another cool feature about watching on your tablet, is if you have an HDMI out port, you can connect to a HDTV using an HDMI cable and watch the movie on the big screen.

Google Music and Movies on Android Tablets

 

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