I’m so sorry I cheated on you… Nexus

Yes, I’ve done the deed, I have cheated on my Nexus 4.  My lover is none other than my ex, the iphone.  Why, because I’m fickle and I like to play with new things, in this case, apps.  What I have noticed since using my Nexus or Android device is that most companies would first develop an app on the iphone.  Being the bleeding edge person that I am, I can’t help but try these apps, that way I know if it will be a hit before it becomes mainstream and is why my iphone is still getting constant usage.

I can understand why developers would prefer the iphone as a first choice and here’s my reasoning:

1.  Fragmentation  – IOS 7 installed rate have reached over 80% of all ios devices which supports it, as for Android, it is left  to the handset manufacture to decide, of course unless you have a Nexus device or Google play editions of phones.  For a developer, this may become frustrating as it will involve more than coding to cover all versions of Android and screen resolution.

2. Monetisation – I don’t know why but I much prefer to spend money via the Apple App store than using Google Play store, maybe because it’s habit since I started with itunes to buy music for the past 8 or so years therefore I’m so used to the process.  So as a developer, I will pick the platform which can make me the most money.

3. Security – Many might argue this but my point is that Apple have a tighter control over the App store, so as a consumer, I am more trusting to install an IOS app and knowing it will probably be safe. As a developer, this may have an opposite side since Apple have such a grip on the App store, there is a chance the app will get rejected.

So, my trusty iphone 4S is still getting plenty of love and with great new apps like “Paper” from Facebook, I don’t see it getting retired anytime soon.  If the new iphone 6 that is coming out this year sports a bigger screen, I will seriously consider switchingIMG_20140216_131040 back.

 

I’m so sorry I cheated on you… Nexus

Google Glass is here

Google Glass, the wearable internet is finally here.  The first batch of glass have been release to developers and so far they all seem very happy with the device.  For those who do not know, google glass is basically a pair of glasses where a display device is located just above the right eye where information like images, data, text can be shown.  Imagine a window where information is displayed on to it along with the outside world.

googleglass

So how about the specs?  The display has a 640 x 360 resolution with a 5MB camera capable of recording at 720p.  There is 16GB of storage but 4GB is reserved for the OS.  Sound is transmitted via conduction through your bones!!  How cool is that, no need to wear headphones.  there is wifi and bluetooth for connectivity and when you pair the glass to an android phone, you can access it’s GPS and SMS too.  Charging is done via usb and should last about a day.

So far, all the info on the net are mainly people taking videos and pics from the device, sort of like a bird’s eye view of their world.  I am not sure if I want to broadcast my life this way, I am sure it may come in handy to capture special moments or events but this means I will need to wear this thing all the time.  I do see some benefits especially for navigation as what I normally do now is to check my location on google maps constantly when trying to find a place.  It would be great to have this information available all the time without me looking at my phone.

If you are the type that constantly keeps up with notifications, this would also be a great tool, not sure how distracting it may get tho, google have warn users to be careful while driving with glass on.  I can see potential in this device especially in the medical field or any work that requires information to be available in front of you but it could also be a distraction in many ways.  Anyway if you are interested please can check it out here.

Google Glass is here

My take on Facebook Home

If you haven’t heard, Facebook just launched a new home on Android, when I say Home, I meant a new ‘Skin’ that lives on Android phones.  When installed, this ‘skin’ would basically takeover your home screen and functionality and turn it into a Facebook phone!!

So, what is Facebook Home?  This is basically a brand new experience Facebook wants you to take on board with every aspect of using your Android phone.  Why do I keep saying Android phone?  That is because this new Home cannot exist on any Apple IOS products as Apple do not allow for such customisation.

So, a quick breakdown on what Facebook Home is all about:

  • When you first turn on your phone, you no longer get a Home screen, this is now overtaken by what Facebook call it a ‘Cover Feed’, which is basically Facebook status updates with pretty pictures
  • You can flick through these feeds using swipe gestures and double tapping would ‘Like’ the status
  • Comments and messages can be easily access through these feeds
  • A new feature call ‘Chat heads’ is pop-up profile pic of someone who messages you and sits on top of any Apps that you may be using.  Tapping this pic would bring up a comment/message box where you can reply quickly
  • All the usual Android Apps and functionality still works with this skin and can be access through your profile
  • A new Facebook Phone will be launch with Home pre-installed made by HTC and will be named ‘First’, this phone is a mid-range handset, much of the technical specs are still being finalised
  • Note, not all current Android phones will be able to install Facebook Home, so far only selected handsets from Samsung and HTC are on the list, I suppose this list should grow over time.
  • Monthly software updates to be released to keep the Home app as updated as possible

Judging by the hands-on demo from Facebook, this ‘Skin’ really are meant for people who lives and breathe Facebook.  The concept sounds interesting and it definitely looks very pretty and smooth, but my personal experience with facebook feeds are usually fill with Ads, baby photos and motivational pics.  Now, do I really want to turn on my phone and see my friend’s 2 yr old eating Oreos or an Ad to buy shampoo?  Not really.  I’m happy to keep Facebook outside of my usual phone experience but for many others, this could be a game changer for them.  Anyhow, the idea seems great for Facebook, not so much for Google or Apple since it completely takes over the OS user experience.

The Home App will be available for download on the Google play store from April 12 and limited to some handsets only.  More interesting reads can be found here.

My take on Facebook Home

My Nexus 4

Yes folks, I am now an Android user (again), ever since the Nexus One back in 2010 I have been using the Apple iphone from the 3GS to the 4/4S and finally the iphone 5.  No, I’m not a rich bum it’s just that I get to choose a phone for work and when a new iphone comes round I would raise my hand.  So after spending 4 months with the iphone 5, I was bored with it and now really intrigued with the new line up of Nexus devices from Google.  That is when I caught my eye on the Nexus 4, this is the latest (well it’s now about 4 months old since it launch on mid November) Android device running on a smartphone from google.  Made by LG which I must say would not be a choice of company I would normally buy from.

So, why did I switch?  Simple, the screen size and keyboard, I always wanted a bigger screen for my phone as it just gives you so much more real estate and everything looks bigger!!  The new 4″ screen on the iphone 5 was a welcome relieve but after spending some time on it, it still pales when compares with any other smartphone.  Second, the keyboard, Apple does have a decent keyboard but Damn that autocorrect, it just doesn’t cut it for me anymore.  With Android, you get to choose from a hugh variety of keyboards, I have settle with the stock Android 4.2 keyboard with swipe-like gesture for typing.  You know what, I’m loving this swipe thingy, it really makes typing so much quicker and most importantly, it just so cool to use.  It feels like playing a game of Fruit ninja if you know what I’m talking about.

2013-03-27 09.46.11

Well, it is now week 3 with the Nexus 4 and I’m now really getting into the hang of it, the Android may take abit of getting used to as now you can customised to your heart’s content.  So this is my quick run down on the pros and cons considering there are about a billion reviews of this phone out there.

PROS:

  • Speed, this phone is fast, like iphone fast kind of fast, transition is like butter (punt intended) and apps opens quickly.  I’m amazed at how well the phone runs with so many apps opened in the background.
  • Stocked Android OS, this means this phone gets the latest and greatest software updates as soon as Google releases it.  I love it.  With the latest 4.2 release, some of the camera features are really awesome like photo-sphere.
  • Design, I must admit this phone is beautifully built, it has a great fit and finished and feels great in the hand.
  • Customisation, out with the boring icons like pages in the iphone, all Android phones are made to be completely customisable.  Over time, I will try out some of the great Home screen customisation as found on http://www.mycolorscreen.com
  • Google integration, this phone is one of the easiest phone to setup, all you need is your Gmail account and Boom, everything you ever did with Google apps like G+/Picasa/Reader/Gmail/Docs/Maps are all there and setupped once you go pass the login screen.  Well, this may not be a feature if you do not use Gmail or many of the other Google apps.
  • Price, you cant beat an unlocked smartphone with all the tech trimmings at a great price of USD$299 (16GB version).

CONS:

  • Battery life on this phone sucks, although it claims it has a 2100 mAh battery but with constant usage of the phone, you will probably only last 3/4 of the day til it runs flat.  Also, the battery cannot be replaced since the back is sealed.
  • Glass back may become a problem as it can be scratched and break easily (similar to the iphone 4/4S)
  • No memory expansion, if you are like me who likes to try out new apps all the time, you may find the phone filling up rather quickly.  With only 16GB on internal storage, it may become a problem if you have lots of videos or photos on your phone.
  • Camera quality, one thing the iphone has and still beats every other phone is the camera, no other smartphone comes close to the quality of the iphone camera.  Sad to say, the Nexus 4 only have a passible camera, it does not take good low light photos and most of them comes out grainy.

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One of my major concern about using an Android phone was the Apps that I have grown to lived without on the iphone, this is no longer a problem as I was able to find the same App or find a great replacement app in the Google Play store.  All in all, I’m very happy with the switch and so far the transition has been very seamless and smooth, looking forward to all the Android goodness in the coming future.  Checkout the Nexus 4 here.

My Nexus 4

Google reader is dead

Last week Google announce that Google reader will ceased to exist starting July this year.  This is sad news for me, I have been an loyal user of this great app and it is how I check and catch up on all my favorite news and events.

I always liked RSS as it is simple and straight forward to use, Google reader brings all my news feed into one common interface which makes it easy and simple for me.  Sadly I will miss this great tool which I have been using for almost 10 years.

So what are the alternatives to reader, people have been taking about feedly, personally I haven’t tried it but will need to in the coming weeks as I search for a good replacement.  I want something which is not too graphics intensive as I like to read on the go (well not actually reading while on the go but you know what I’m saying).

So until then I would milk as much out of reader as I can, hopefully with the online petition the public can get Google to keep reader alive for awhile longer.

If you are like me and make use of Google reader a lot, please help by signing the petition here.  You can make a difference!

Google reader is dead