You are currently browsing: Mobile
If you haven’t noticed from my last couple of entries, I’m a serious Evernote user. It’s starting to take the place of several services I use personally and professionally.
I was one of the
suckers fanboys enthusiasts with an iPhone 4 who went out and got the iPhone 4S. One of the first things I did was mess around with Siri – the voice assistant that only (and by only I mean legitimately) available on the iPhone 4S.
I will admit that after a while, the Siri craze started to wear off. It’s cool to do voice to text, set reminders and calendar appointments with Siri, but the bulk of my mobile experience is using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. So it was cool to find tips on how to use Siri to send Tweets and Facebook updates using Siri.
Again, I’m a heavy Evernote user, so when I got a tip on how to use Siri to email notes to my account, I immediately tested to see how it works. It’s fairly simple too. Read more »
Do you want to be able to take credit card payments from your smartphone or tablet computer? Having difficulty deciding between the competing options? A great new website takes a look at your average transaction size as well as your monthly volume and calculates whether Square’s or VeriFone’s competing mobile payment platforms will offer you the better deal.
Whereas Square simply charges a flat 2.75%, VeriFone’s fee structure is a bit more complicated. Depending on your particular business, either one could be the better deal. Thankfully, FeeFighter’s calculator helps you decide which options would be more profitable.
Given the success of Apple’s iPad, we all knew that competition was inevitable. Now, the floodgates are starting to open.
Research in Motion Ltd., maker of the business-popular BlackBerry, says that its PlayBook tablet will be available for purchase in North America in the first quarter of next year. The new tablet will sport a price tag under $500, which makes it serious price competitor to the iPad (the least expensive new iPad currently costs $499).
The PlayBook’s 7-inch screen is smaller than the iPad’s screen, but is the same size as the new Android-powered Galaxy from Samsung. In addition to its more hand-friendly size, the PlayBook has some features that the iPad lacks. The most notable feature difference is the ability to pair the device with a BlackBerry handset; after pairing the two devices, the phone’s content can be seen on the tablet’s larger screen.
The PlayBook features two cameras, placed similarly to the iPhone 4’s cameras. The one that faces the user can also be used for video chatting, similar to Apple’s Facetime feature. PlayBook also has a HDMI port, which allows video streaming from the device to a high-definition television. Finally, the tablet has built in flash support, a feature notably absent from iPad.
RIM did not design the PlayBook as an “iPad clone”. Rather, they plan to market the device to large businesses, particularly those in which the IT staff controls buying for large groups of employees . Although we all know that iPad can be useful for business, it has been marketed as a consumer device, leaving RIM a niche to fill in the business world.
RIM has announced that they plan to eventually release 3G versions of the PlayBook. However, they have not yet announced agreements with any phone carriers, nor have they given a time frame for this release.
Design nerds were excited this week to find that Muji mobile apps are now featured on the landing page of their website. Personally, I’m very excited to see what the minimalist Japanese store has come up with.
The apps are clean and stylish, living up to Muji’s reputation as a leader in minimalist aesthetic. For those not familiar with the brand, the name Muji is derived from the first part of Mujirushi Ryōhin, translated as No Brand Quality Goods. Muji’s mission is to achieve simplicity, but a simplicity gained through a complexity of thought and design.
The apps available are Muji Calendar, Muji Notebook and Muji to Go. The Calendar app definitely looks great, but Notebook is my favorite. Muji Notebook provides a simple outlet for creativity with handwriting recognition, sketch tools, and four different page types (ruled, gridded, quadrant, and plain). You can even import photos and PDF files to the app which can be resized and laid out on the pages for editing. The main feature of Notebook above other sketching apps (and the reason that I’m a fan) is its minimalism of design while still offering a bevy of features- it’s deceptively streamlined and yet feature-rich.
Muji Calendar is a fully featured calendar, and makes sense as an extension of Muji’s line of stationery. It includes the option to sync with Google Calendars, but this isn’t necessary if you aren’t a Google Calendar user. It uses familiar gestures like pinch-to-zoom, and organization is presented in rich, muted reds and grays consistent with Muji’s overall brand aesthetic.
Muji To Go might be handy for travelers. It’s basically just a collection of useful tools including world clocks, Forex currency converters, weather reports and a calculator.
There’s a fourth app (also free), but it’s basically a glorified catalog for their clothing line. Interesting to look at, but not a lot of application there.
Sure, we all love our iPads for business stuff- there are some great productivity apps like My Eyes Only, FTP on the Go, and Evernote. If you’re like me, though, you like to mix a little fun in with your work gadgets. And, what’s more fun than Halloween?
For seasonal kicks, there are some cool pumpkin apps like Crazy Pumpkin Lite, an all-in-one digital Jack-o-lantern, scary sound effect machine and a multi-colored flashlight. There’s also Jack O’Lantern, a fun and free pumpkin carving app.
Don’t want to lug that security-grade Mag-Lite around while your kids beg for candy? Illumination is an app that can turn your mobile device into a surprisingly effective flashlight. To kick it up a notch, try the Space Invaders Flashlight which is the same basic idea but tailor-made for classic video games enthusiasts.
No costume yet for the office party? Grab the Halloween Costume Generator, and find some inspiration. If that doesn’t have what you were looking for, try Movie Costume, which lets you mix your own photos with shots from favorite films for some really fun effects (tip:this app is fun even when it’s not Halloween).
Finally, if you have kids you know that Halloween isn’t always just fun and games. Get some peace of mind (or, possibly, freak yourself out completely) with SOS (Sex Offenders Search). This application lets your iPad locate registered sex offenders and sexual predators in your neighborhood and around schools, friends, parks, campgrounds or whatever areas you might check in order to make your candy gathering route a safer one.
Have a fun and safe Halloween!
If you use a domain host for your website (or your client’s site), you need a FTP client to access and manage your website’s files. There are tons of FTP clients for desktops/laptops that give you access when you’re sitting at your desk. FTP On The Go is a FTP client that can gives you access no matter where you are, or what device you have handy.
Let’s face it, there is ALWAYS something you can fix, adjust, tweak, fix, or improve on your site. Either that or you have that insistent client who wants something changed yesterday. If you fit either of those descriptions, why wait until you get back to your office to make those quick website changes? With FTP On The Go, you can use your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad to make that change that would otherwise KILL you if you had to wait until you can login from your desktop/laptop.
Once you login using your credentials, you will have the same access via your iOS device that you would if you were sitting behind your desk. You can browse, download files to edit with the built-in text editor, then upload them back to your server, and see the changes in real-time with the built-in browser…all without leaving FTP On The Go. Here is quick list of just some of features:
- Wirelessly share access to the stored files; connect from a computer (or another iPhone) using either just a web browser, or an FTP client.
- With iPhone OS 3 installed, you have the ability to email any saved file.
- View documents and files right within the app. Word/Excel/Powerpoint/Numbers/Pages/PDF documents; log files; image; watch videos; play sounds/music.
- Upload pictures from your photo library, or take a picture with the camera right within FTP On The Go. Images can be resized when you upload too.
- Upload videos filmed with an iPhone 3GS.
If you are worried about security, FTP On The Go automatically uses FTPS for safe logins if supported by the server and a master password can be set to protect your valuable server login information.
Check out the video on how to browse files with FTP On The Go
If your site is broken or, if you’re like me, and see that small detail you absolutely MUST fix, and can’t get to your computer, why not download FTP On The Go ($6.99 for iPhone/iPod Touch, $9.99 for Pro version for iPad) and have access anytime, anywhere!
Android users can have very different mobile experiences depending on their platform version. Many people haven’t been able to use Android 2.2 (also known as Froyo), since some Android devices don’t support it, or the company that makes their handset doesn’t offer it yet. If you think it’s not important to have the latest and greatest, or that what you have works fine for you, check out this list of new features included with the Froyo upgrade and see if this is the type of thing that you might be interested in.
First, the Bluetooth voice dialing feature. It’s straightforward- just press the button on your Bluetooth earpiece and say the name that you want to call. Reports indicate that Froyo’s Bluetooth dialing has more consistent recognition accuracy than a similar feature on the iPhone.
The cloud-to-device messaging allows you to send applications, video, messages and other files directly to other Android phones. Look for this capability in your business apps, allowing quick sharing of info, in the very near future.
Flash is still not installed by default, but you can go to the Android Market and install Flash from there. Once installed, Flash content performs well in the default browser.
If you’re like me, your phone doesn’t have enough space for all of the applications that you want. Android 2.2 solves this problem by allowing you to install applications directly onto a SD card, which is upgradable and often swappable. Note: not all applications are compatible with these install options, but newer apps increasingly implement this capability.
The search bar has also been given an upgrade. With Froyo, there is now a drop-down that allows you to search from a customized list of dynamic sources. Once configured, you can search for content on Google, in your tweets, in your email or calendar, or practically anywhere else on your phone from one single search box.
“Update All” is a new feature that allows you to update all applications (if there is an update available) at once. This is similar to the popular updating functionality of the iPhone.
Finally, Wi-Fi tethering is built into 2.2. - making your phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot. Not all carriers allow this feature, but it is super cool to be able to have your own network in your pocket in a pinch.
There are also some other updates in this release, including updated camera features and an updated Gmail app. For a full rundown, check out the press release from Android at their developer site .
On Tuesday Microsoft announced the debut of Office 365, which will be a combination of the online versions of Office, SharePoint, Exchange and Lync. The Redmond giant has launched a beta release of the cloud-based Office suite in 13 countries. They’re branding this new product as the “next generation in cloud productivity”.
What does this mean for mobile business? It means the same functionality that has made Microsoft Office the gold standard of business computing without being tethered to our PCs. It’s Office when you are out of the office. New collaboration features allow groups to work on projects in a simple and secure way.
Kurt DelBene, president of the Office Division at Microsoft said:
“Office 365 is the best of everything we know about productivity, all in a single cloud service. With Office 365, your local bakery can get enterprise-caliber software and services for the first time, while a multinational pharmaceutical company can reduce costs and more easily stay current with the latest innovations. People can focus on their business, while we and our partners take care of the technology.”
The Office 365 site went live earlier this week. Those interested can use the site to register to participate in the beta program. Microsoft has not announced the date of the public release of Office 365, although they have said that the suite would be widely available in 40 countries by next year. Full press release here.
Windows has finally announced launch dates for nine new WP7 handsets. Despite the name, the new Windows 7 phones are more than Microsoft’s desktop OS simply jammed onto a handset (an often-stated and apt criticism of the unpopular Windows Mobile). Some models will be available in European and Asian markets by October 21st, and by early November in the US. Established manufacturers like Dell, HTC, LG, and Samsung are producing these handsets, which will be compatible with most carriers world-wide. The handsets produced by these companies will include the latest Snapdragon processors. A full list of the handsets can be viewed over at the blog Engadget.
Microsoft’s slogan for the Windows 7 phone OS, “Glance and Go”, fits with their plan to deliver a product that streamlines everyday tasks. This would be partially accomplished by using WP7′s customizable “Live Tiles”, which is what they call their updated interface. The difference between Windows Phone 7, and competitors is that other platforms are fundamentally app launchers with screens full of icons, WP7 has a set of dynamic tiles which update with changing content from the phone’s apps. The idea is that all that’s relevant to a user is not buried inside apps, but highlighted on the phone’s primary screens.
EA Games has also announced Xbox Live-enabled games for Windows Phone 7 in the fall. Titles include “Need for Speed Undercover”, “Tetris”, “Monopoly” and “The Sims 3.” Xbox Live integration is a feature that I’m excited about, since I (like most tech folks) love video games. Windows also touts Metro, their slick new UI, and integrated support for Microsoft Office Mobile, Zune, Bing, and Windows Live (which includes a free “Find My Phone” service).
Sitting in a meeting today, pen and pad in front of me, I was taking notes as usual. As the meeting wrapped up a co-worker asked, ‘“can someone send out notes from this meeting?” I volunteered, but before I could say the words another co-worker announced “done”. I honestly thought he’d been texting or checking his emails, but apparently he had been taking meeting notes on his iPhone with Evernote.
I went back to my desk and immediately downloaded the app to my phone, and it seemed to work pretty well overall. There are versions for the desktop, mobiles phone and web browser. However, a notable difference exists in the app from platform to platform; the functionality is basically the same cross-platform, but the look-and-feel is different depending on the device used.
While taking notes with Evernote, you can use your phone to automatically upload your snapshots to the app’s server. The most innovative feature is “OCR” (Optical Character Recognition), which allows you to search archived pics by searching for text appearing in the photos. This is great for folks like me that like to write on a whiteboard during meetings, since you can easily snap a picture of the whiteboard and file it away for later use. This feature could also be handy when taking pictures of products or ads for later research. You could even use it to take pictures of people with name tags at conferences. The idea is that it can really easy to ‘remember everything’ (as their slogan goes).
Projects on your phone, computer, or tablet are synchronized automatically to your Evernote web account. Since it synchronizes regularly, reinstalling the application or losing data because of a crash isn’t as big a tragedy as it could be.
For Android: Evernote is offering a preview at the 2.0 release of their Android capture client, and it looks promising. According to their release announcement virtually all aspects of the app have been improved. There’s a more intuitive search function, and capturing new notes is smoother. Read the announcement for the full list of new features and improvements.