Android Apps for Beginners

13 10 2010

Ah the magic and beauty of the Android OS.  Thanks in part to big name phone makers such as HTC, Motorola, and Samsung all hopping on the bandwagon we have this iPhone.  As hardware potential climbs, the sheer beauty of the things you can accomplish with this software are becoming more and more apparent in our everyday lives.  The apps available for download in the Android Marketplace, most of them free, some paid, are a testament to just how far we can go with this relatively new technology, and show that the sky is the limit with quality services to be offered, aka Google Sky Map.

To the beginner, Android, or even a touch screen phone for that matter, can seem like somewhat of a daunting task to take on.  But once you get your feet wet, and start having some fun, pulling your fingers away from the screen will get harder and harder.  One of the largest appeals for these new phones is the availability, and usefulness, of Applications.  There is a vast sea of apps out there for you to dabble in within just about every genre you can imagine.  Finding these apps is made possible by the Android Marketplace.  A preexisting app that comes with your Android phone.

Due to the sheer amount of apps out there, it is hard to differentiate which ones will be the most useful for most people, so we will just go ahead and focus on a few of the most fun.

1. Google Sky Map

Google Sky Map is an innovative App that utilizes your GPS positioning, and the camera on your phone to view stars, planets and constellations in our immediate galaxy.  The sheer scope of this app is impressive, but its simplicity is what makes it fun for all ages.  Using your screen as a viewfinder you can point the camera on your phone is any direction and get an accurate mapping of the stars, constellations and planets.  A really fascinating and fun way to look at our world, and learn.

2. Layar

Layar is in essence, very similar to Google Sky Map.  One major difference is, it focuses on our planet. More so, on your immediate surroundings.  Again utilizing your camera, and global positioning, you can use your phone as a viewfinder, and look around your immediate area to find shops, restaurants, stores, or landmarks.  Say you’re in downtown Chicago, and you want to find a nearby pizza place.  Launch Layar, specify pizza, and just look through your phone.  If you rotate in a circle Layar will show you precisely whereeach establishment is, correlating rather efficiently with your local surroundings, And offering reviews to help you decide which place is best to have lunch.

 

3. Pandora

For those of you who don’t know, Pandora is an online radio that thinks.  It learns what you like to listen to, and then plays music, new or old, that fit into your interests.  Having this app on the go, especially when you are tired of your iPod library, can be super useful, and fun.

 

 

4. Radar Now

Radar Now is a live streaming app of your local weather radar.  When you launch the App it zeros in on your general location, and will display a live feed of the Doppler radar within about a 500 mile radius.  This app comes in super handy, especially if your an outdoorsy person.

 

 

 

5.  Shop Savvy

Shop Savvy is another app that utilizes the camera and viewfinder on your Android powered phone.  It turns your phone into an effective bar code scanner.  Just point the camera, wait for the scan, and see all of the products and reviews that this app will bring up.  Maybe not very essential in the grocery store, but if you find yourself at Best Buy searching for a new digital camera of LCD TV, this app will help find reviews and pricing info on the fly.  In essence,

making you the most educated shopper you can be.

This is just scratching the surface of valuable resources available in the Android Marketplace.  Once you start exploring, its hard to stop.  My suggestion is, get out from under that rock, invest in a new phone, and find out just what the fuss is all about.

Advertisements




Thoughts on GoogleTV

8 10 2010

Google TV looks to be yet another great product of integration by Google, so let us all begin our sacrificial practices to the Google Gods, and give thanks.  After taking some time to browse the tour site that Google has so gracefully laid out for us enthusiasts over at Google.com/tv, I must say my pulse has quickened, and my heart-rate, well… my pulse has quickened.  As a side note, I have been living completely without Cable television for almost six months now, and I must say that I will never go back to paying outrageous amounts of money to be forced to watch mindless crap ever again.  Thanks to Netflix, Hulu, Blockbuster Online, and my HDMI out on my laptop, I enjoy plenty of rich, streaming entertainment which may still be crap, but its my crap.

With that said the onset of the new innovation dubbed ‘creatively’ Google TV looks like the Mecca on my newfound journey towards better quality entertainment.  I finally have a product to sling to all of my friends whom I am consistently bragging to just how entertained I am for about $20.00 a month.  Now, allow me to burst my own bubble.  The specifications on Logitech’s website for their Revue, the hardware that you can purchase to add Google TV to any existing TV’s you already own, requires a Cable or Satellite Set Top Box with HDMI out. *PoP*  For the time being, fingers-crossed that there will be an internet only version available as well.

Regardless of whether or not this will require an active cable or DirectTV membership with compatible set top box, the few screens and demonstrations us low level consumers get are enough to make me salivate at the thought of tinkering for hours with this new UI.  Imagine, Google Chrome launching on your 48″ Sony Bravia HDTV with a Pandora app running in the background, and rich, handpicked content there for you to explore.  The customization will surely be impressive, and as the program responds to consumers behaviors, I’m more than positive it will start to suggest some rather accurate viewing content for the regular users.

Imagine, rather than scrolling down that same old vertical TV guide we have become so used too, you get to Google it, and find when and where the shows you want to watch.  Not to mention a standard DVR method that works with all providers, Dish Network, DriectTV, AT&T, etc.  Although we are not too sure the amount of storage, I am sure it will get the job done effectively.  Also, just like the pocketBLU app for all you blu ray freaks, which lets you control your Blu-Ray players with your Android or iPhone smartphones, there will be an app to allow your phone to thus act as the remote for your new television experience.  It will fully control all functions; yet so will the keyboard you receive with the Revue.  Although you can only imagine the Sony TV’s will be shipping with them as well.  Sony is releasing its full line of TV’s and details on October 12, 2010.

All in all, this is the direction that technology is taking us in, and Google has clearly one-upped Apple, again, by offering us a quality product that is both intuitive, user friendly, and way more customizable than Apple will ever let its customers ever get a hold of.  As for me, I will keep looking for my perfect viewing scenario, but at least for the rest, this seems to be a pretty sweet ride.