Tag Archives: Google

Free eMagazines for your Tablet PC – Google Play Newsstand


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.


eBooks on Android Tablets


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.

Google’s Nexus 7 Tablet – Now Available


Great Little Tablet at a Great Little Price

Google Nexus 7 Tablet PCGoogle’s Nexus 7 tablet PC is now available to purchase from many sources. The $199 8GB version is only available so far from the Google Play website, but the $249 16GB version is available at other sources. Amazon has the 8GB version for sell for $279, seems that they don’t like the $199 competition.

Is this the best tablet so far? No, not really when you look at the ASUS 700T, the Nexus 7 is a toy.  However, as far as 7 inch tablets go, this is the best thing to hit the market.

Amazon shook up the market when they released their $199 Fire tablet, however, it uses a highly customized version of an old version of Android.  So its features and functions are limited.  But that is what Amazon wanted, limit the customer to be only able to use Amazon’s products.  Sell the tablet for under cost, but make up the profit with the selling of Amazon music, videos, Prime, books, etc.  Well, it worked.  This is actually Apple’s business model that they used for the iPad.

Google is taking the same model forward with the Nexus 7, however, they are not putting limitations on the hardware or operating system like Amazon and Apple did.  This is a full featured and fully functional tablet PC that can do everything the Fire and iPad and do, plus much much more.

Of course, Google has pre-installed their apps that make it easy to connect to Google Play so you purchase their products such as movies, books, apps, etc.  But, you can also download and install Amazon’s Android version of their software and have full access to all their products.  But, wait, you can also download and install Barnes and Nobel’s Android app and have full access to all their stuff also.  And Kobo, Netflix, Full Movies, etc. etc. etc.

Amazon is feeling the pressure and there are many rumors about new Amazon tablets to meet the competition, plus, there are also rumors about Apple coming out with a 7 inch product.  But, all of the apps for iPad are built for the larger screen.  So Apple will also need to release a new OS version that will automatically reformat all the apps to fit on the smaller screen.  Google as already done that, so Android is already a step ahead of iOS.

Here you have it, one 7 inch tablet that can do it ALL!!  And it will fit in your purse, or if you don’t carry a purse, maybe a large pocket, or fanny pack, carrier bag, front basket of your bicycle, or something.  It’s small, does lots of stuff, and is much better than a freaking iPad or Fire.

Google Announces Nexus 7 Tablet PC


Google Makes the Nexus 7 Tablet Official

Google Nexus 7 Tablet PC

Google finally made the rumored Nexus 7 tablet PC official with its announcement at the Google I/O conference. The introduction of this tablet will shake up the industry even more than the Amazon Fire release.

When Amazon released their Fire tablet PC for $199, it shook things up since it was the first well supported tablet released at such a low price.  However, it contained limited functionality since it was using Amazon’s trimmed down, and highly customized version of Android for an operating system.

Enter into the market the Google Nexus 7 tablet PC.  This is a fully functional advanced piece of hardware, but is also selling at the low price of $199.  Did you get that? FULLY FUNCTIONAL ADVANCED tablet with Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), Tegra 3 quad-core processor, 8 or 16 GB of internal storage, 1280 x 800 HD Display, with full access to Google Play.

Amazon needs to so some scrambling to compete with this.  No, not just Amazon, all the tablet PC manufacturers need to step-up and do something about competing with this.  Samsung is at least in the same league, with their 7 inch Galaxy Tab 2, but they will have to upgrade to a quad-core, and drop their price more to be in the same ballpark.

Here is a video released by Google talking about this cool new tablet:

Google is going after the same marketing model created by Apple with their island effect – buy an Apple iPad and get all your apps, music, video, etc from Apple.  Amazon did the same thing with their Fire product, now Google is getting into the game by delivering full integration with their Google Play store.  I’m not sure how this is different from the other Android tablets since they all have the apps to access Google Play, Google Music, Google Video, Google Books, etc.

Today, you can pre-order the Nexus 7 from Google Play, time will tell us what other distribution channels will be available.

Google’s 7 inch Tablet PC


More Rumors about Google’s 7 inch Tablet PC

Update 5/30/2012: This rumored Nexus Android tablet is showing up on some benchmarking tests.  When a device access a server, it also sends identifying details about the device.  In this case, the identifying markers are showing up as:

  • OS – Android
  • Model – Nexus 7
  • Hardware – Grouper (which falls in line with Google giving code names of fish for its hardware)
  • Manufacturer – ASUS
  • Device – Grouper
  • Brand – Google
  • Display – user debug 4.1 JRN51B ……
  • Version-SDK – 4.1

Probably the most interesting parts of this is the JRN51B and the 4.1.  These indicate a whole new version of Android.  If this was using an Ice Cream Sandwich OS, the Display code would start with an “I”, but it is starting with a “J”, which means that 4.1 may be Jelly Bean.  Speculation at its best, to be sure.

Other details uncovered, which confirms previous rumors, are showing the tablet using NVIDIA Tegra 3 1.3GHz processor, a NVIDIA GeForce graphics processor, and a screen resolution of 768 x 1280.

Many of these details came from research by the Android Police, many thanks for sharing.

Original Text:

A DigiTimes’ Taipei post is reporting from their contact’s in the upstream hardware manufacturing business that ASUS and Google will be shipping 600,000 7 inch tablet PCs under the Google brand in June with expected delivery to consumers in July.

This low priced 7 inch tablet is expected to have a price tag in the $150 – $200 range.  Previous rumors say it will feature a NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor and Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich).

Amazon began the tablet low price war when they introduced the Amazon Fire for $199.  They sold millions of them.  This woke up other manufactures to the realization that price means more to buyers than features.

Google is planning to offer both with a fully featured 7 inch tablet with a great price.  It is also rumored that Google will be selling this tablet on their Play Store website.  I’m sure more manufacturers will follow with their own 7 inch low priced versions.

Samsung has already joined the low price ranks with their Galaxy Tab 2 7 inch, which features Android 4 and a dual-core processor, and has a price tag of $249.  They will need to drop that price to compete with Google’s quad-core at an anticipated lower price.

Let the battle begin – lower prices, more features – even Amazon is reconsidering their position with the Fire and its limited features.

Google Cloud Drive vs. Others


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

Google Music and Movies on Android Tablets


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


Favorite Android Tablet PC Apps


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.

Android vs. iPad (Updated)


Which one is the best?

The debate continues between the die-hard Apple users and the anti-Apple users.  You either love Apple, or not.  So whoever is writing their version of the debate will slant their comments based on their bias.  So I’ll be upfront here and identify my bias as anti-Apple.  I’ll also attempt to put that aside and be as objective as an anti-fruit-computing person can be.

Thank God for Apple!

How’s that for objectivity?  Seriously though, those of us in the computer industry and hobbiest should be thanking Apple for constantly pushing the envelope of GUI functionality.  Without Apple coming out with their early operating systems, we might still be using DOS.

In the world of mobile computing, I believe it was Microsoft that first came out with an universal GUI operating system for cell phones.  But then the folks at Microsoft went on an extended vacation and while they were sleeping, Apple released the iPhone.  The Android operating system was already in development, however, I’m sure that the features of the iPhone inspired many of the features in Android.  Except, Android was designed and created for a much broader spectrum of computing devices.

The initial version of Android fell short in comparison, however, it did peek the interest of many of us.  I watched the development process and saw the aggressive release schedule of the upcoming versions.  Then 2.2 was released and rocked the world, and after that 3.0 became the leader in tablet functionality.

So, which one is better?

Enough of the history lesson and get back to the original question, eh?

Let’s line up the devices to compare; on the iPad side, we have the 10 inch iPad, that’s it; on the Android side, we have the Samsung Galaxy Tab 1 and 10 inch, Motorola Xoom, Acer, ASUS, Lenovo, Toshiba Thrive, Dell Streak, Viewsonic 7 inch and G 10 inch.  For the purpose of the technical comparison, we’ll just compare the iPad to Android.  Here is a side-by-side comparison of specifications:

Screen Size
9.7 inch LED
7, 8.9 or 10.1 inch LED
Screen Resolution
1024 x 768
1280 x 800
Operating System
iOS 4.1
Android 3.2
1 GHz dual-core Apple A5
1.2GHz Tegra 2
Internal Storage
16GB, 32GB or 64GB
16GB, 32GB or 64GB
Expanded Storage
Up to 32GB
Front and Rear (VGA Quality)
Front and Rear (5MP +)
In 3G model only
Battery Life
10 Hours of video
10 Hours of video
Adobe Flash Support
Nook, Amazon, Readers, Google eBook
AT&T, Verizon
Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile
$500 to $800
$349 to $800

In summary, there are pluses and minus of each one.

  • iPad Advantages:
    • None
  • Android Advantages:
    • Available 7 inch models
    • Front and Rear High Quality 1080P Cameras
    • 3G or 4G included in most models
    • WIFI included in all models
    • More options for eBooks
    • More carriers to choose
    • Unrestricted access to applications (Apple censors or bans many applications from their store)
    • Many stores to choose from for purchasing applications and MP3 files

There is also the usability comparison.  This can only be done on an individual basis.  But the bottom line with this is that the Apple people will like the iPad better because it is more like Apple.  Everyone else will be very happy with an Android Tablet and enjoy the added features.  I think this is a fairly unbiased approach to this comparison, so which one do you like the most?

Android Operating System


About Android

The Android operating system is a creation of Android Inc, who was purchased by Google in 2005.  Android is a modified version of the Linux Kernal. The operating system is used for cell phones and UMPC (Ultra Mobile Personal Computer) devices.  Android was developed in cooperation with the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), and is updated and maintained by that group.

Android has a large developer following with over 100,000 applications to choose from.  Android has made an impressive appearance in the market.  In the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2010, it dominated the market in cell phone purchases.

The most widely current version is 2.2 (Froyo) which was released on May 20, 2010.  The newest version is 2.3 (Gingerbread) was released on December 6, 2010.  As of the date of this posting, there are not any Tablet devices running 2.3 yet.  The next version is code named Honeycomb which will have significant enhancements for Tablet devices and is scheduled to be released in the 1st Quarter of 2011.  Following that is code named Ice Cream, being readied for a mid-2011 release.

Why Android

Until Android became available for a variety of phones and carriers, there was very little commonality between phones and phone manufacturers.  When Microsoft released their first Mobile Windows operating system, it was adopted by a few phone manufacturers and consumers realized the advantage of having a common operating system that could be used across manufactures.  Plus, consumers loved the GUI interface that Windows offered.  Unfortunately, Microsoft did not keep their operating system current, and other developers continued to develop and provide new features based on the demand from the market.

The iPhone was released and quickly overtook the market and left Microsoft in the dust.  Millions of iPhone devices were sold and there was nothing but rumors of what would compete with the great iPhone.  Nothing came about until the release of the Android operating system.

Also remember that consumer confidence in Google is very high.  Almost anything that Google releases will be accepted with open arms among the users who are tired of Microsoft, and who prefer not to use fruit (Apple) to handle their computing needs.

One of Google’s biggest advantages over Apple is the ubiquity of Google’s products.  Android will run on several brands and models of phones sold and serviced by several cellular carriers.  With Apple, you get the iPhone and AT&T.  Due to the open source nature of the operating system, many more developers can create high quality applications for Android devices.

The only other operating system worth considering for a UMPC Tablet device is Windows 7 Restricted.  Read my post on Windows 7.

Please comment on this post, I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts.