Tag Archives: Android Apps

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.

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

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

Favorite Android Tablet PC Apps

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Android Tablet PC Apps

If you peruse through Google’s Android Market Top Apps, most of them are games.  Even 3 of the top 5 Grossing Apps are games.  It kinda makes me wonder if tablet PCs exist primarily for the purpose of playing games?   I examined what I primarily use my tablet for and here is what I came up with.Motorola Xoom

If I rate the apps on my tablet based on importance, and not on how much time I spend using them, then I would rank them in this order:

    •  GMail – Keeping up on my email is very important so I can respond quickly to questions and comments from website users.
      • GMail app downloaded from the Android Market (Free)
    • Web browser – keeping up on the market, reading the top news, checking web analytics, etc.
      • Google Browser – pre-installed
      • USA Today – Android Market (Free)
      • Fox News Now – Android Market (~$1.00)
      • Schwab App, Talk to Chuck – Downloaded from Schwab.com (must have an account)
      • Clicky Web analytics – Downloaded from Clicky.com (must have an account)
      • Managing Passwords – eWallet Go! app from Android Market (~$1.50).  The regular eWallet app does not work on tablets, so you must use the eWallet Go! app.  There is a Windows PC version that will sync with the app on the tablet.  The sync process uses your Google Docs account to pass the file through.  Easy app to use, plus it helps me keep track of the hundreds of userids and passwords that I use.
    • Reading books and magazines
      • Nook for PC (Android Market – Free) is great for both books and magazines.  I subscribe to a few magazines through Barnes and Nobel, and they are delivered automatically each month to my tablet.  No more stacks of magazines laying around the house!  I also use the Nook app for reading books, which Barnes and Noble has a great selection of.
      • Google Books app (Android Market – Free) is also good for reading books, however, Google doesn’t have magazines.  Plus the latest Nook for PC app has more features than the Google Books app. sometimes the Google bookstore has a book that I want that Barnes and Noble does not have in a digital format.
    • Entertainment
      • MX Video PlayerFor watching movies, I use MX Video Player (Android Market – Free).  This app will play video and movies in most formats including avi, mp4, xvid,  etc. Plus it is optimized to use both processors on a dual-core tablet for optimum video performance.
      • Madden NFL 12 (Android Market – $5.00) The newest version works on Android tablets and is very fun to play.
      • Angry Birds (Android Market – Free) I admit that I will occasionally sling a bird in an attempt to knock out a pig.
      • Air Attack HD (Android Market – ~$2.00) Very fun air combat game
      • Pool Break Pro (Android Market – $3.00) This pool game is done very well and give you many options including Pool, Snooker, Billiards, Carrom & Crokinole – all in 3D.
    • Other stuff
      • Paper Camera (Android Market – Free) is very fun to take pictures which are automatically converted into a water painted, or pastel, or pencil drawing, etc.Paper Camera
      • Facebook app
      • Skype app
      • File Manager HD – great for finding files on your tablet

There you have it, my personal favorites which I use the most and have deemed most valuable.

Why buy an Android Tablet PC?

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Why buy an Android tablet PC instead of an iPad?

Android Tablet PCs

Over the last several months, we have seen several new Android tablet PCs released by several well known companies such as Motorola, Samsung, Toshiba, Viewsonic, Sony, etc. All these companies are also known for releasing quality products. However, the Apple iPad still remains the leader in sales among tablet PC devices.

So, why buy an Android tablet PC instead of an iPad?

Remember when the iPhone was the leader, by a long shot, in the smart phone business?  Now the Android smart phones are outselling the iPhone, with even the Samsung Android phones alone are outselling the iPhone.  This will soon be the case with tablet PCs.  Here is why…..

The only reason the iPad is doing so well is because they were out of the gate over a year before the Android tablets hit the market.  Now the term “iPad” generically refers to any tablet PC.  Just like “Jello” became the generic term for all gelatins regardless of maker.  I have heard a friend say, “I need my iPad”, when he knows he has a Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Also, because iPad was first, they have the largest library of software.  This will be short lived since I have spoken to many developers who like building software for Android a lot more than creating iPad software.  They say they have much more flexibility and have more options for design and development.

Why are users migrating away from Apple products to Android?

The biggest reason is they want more flexibility.  When you own an Apple product, you must also move to the island of Apple.  You are limited to their App Store, their music store, their video store, their cloud service, Apple this, Apple that.  Which is why Apple can sell their products at a price under the competition since for every new Apple user they get, they also are getting a locked in customer of all their other stores and products.

An Android tablet PC is highly customizable with multiple home screens, widgets, and custom software.  You can buy Apps from any store, music from any store, videos from anywhere including your PC, use any cloud service, and easily sync with a Windows PC.

Most of the Android tablets have higher resolution, more memory, better input/output port options, etc.

Apple gives you one iPad model to choose from, and they come out with a new one once a year, or so.  Android tablets are changing every couple of months with new models coming from several manufacturers featuring several different configurations.

Flexibility, more options, variety, use a tablet PC the way you want to instead of how Apple wants you to use it.

 

Essential Business Apps for Android Tablets

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Business Apps for Business Use

Android Market

There are a few common questions I get about using a tablet PC for business.  Here are a few links to our Android Tablet PC Support site that gives some great information:

There are a few apps that everyone that is using an Android tablet PC for business needs to have.  Here are a few that I am recommending:

Google Docs: This app allows you to connect to your Google Docs account where you can create, edit, delete Documents, Presentations, Spreadsheets, Forms, etc.
Google Docs
GMail: This app syncs all your email from your GMail account. Send, Receive, Draft emails from your tablet PC
GMail
GTask: Sync your Tasks between your GMail account, and your Chrome Task manager. Keep your to-do list up to date, add, delete, modify any task from your tablet PC.
GTasks
USA Today: The latest news, scores, weather, stocks and photos you’ve come to expect from USA TODAY and now available in a beautiful new way, on the Android Tablet. Staying informed has never been this quick, easy or enjoyable.
USA Today
WIFI Manager: An easy way to manage Wifi connections. Includes beautiful widgets.
Find, connect, manage WiFi networks. Improve connection quality with a graphical channel radar.
WIFI Manager
Google Maps: Get directions, visit someplace before you get there, find restaurants, hotels, etc.
Google Maps
Documents To Go: View, edit, create, etc MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint, PDF, etc.
Documents to go
Cloud Print: Use Google’s Cloud print app to print from your tablet PC to any printer, anywhere, that is connected to a networked PC that is also running Google’s Could Print.
Cloud Print
File Manager for Honeycomb: Keep your files organized.
File Manager
My Lock: Quick unlock for the honeycomb platform. Avoid having to swipe your finger across the screen everytime your tablet locks.
myLock

Amazon Android App Store – Now Open

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Amazon has opened an App Store for Android devices.

Amazon AppStore

Many of the apps available will work on the Android tablet PCs, however, you should read the reviews from users to see if there is an issue.

Amazon has added a few nice features to their Appstore:

  • One Free paid app each day.  There are many free apps in the store, however, each day, Amazon chooses an app that normally carries a price and makes it available for free.
  • Test Drive an app before you buy it.  You can test an app on a simulated Android device to see how it works before you buy it.
  • Amazon provides a free app for your Android device that accesses the Appstore directly for purchasing directly from your device.
  • When you sign into your Amazon account, you can tell Amazon which Android device(s) you have.  Then when you click on an app, there is a message on the right sidebar telling you if the app is compatible with your device.

Some Restrictions:

  • AT&T customers cannot download apps from the Amazon Appstore yet.
  • Amazon Appstore apps are only available to customers located in the United States.
  • Some apps will only work on an Android device that has root-level permissions. You should only download these apps if you are certain your device is rooted. Amazon.com does not encourage you to root your phone.

Those of us who have Android tablets have the freedom to choose where we buy apps, MP3 files, etc.  We are not controlled by the manufacturer of our device and limited to only buy from them (like Apple).

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