Thursday, January 6, 2011

We Will be at CES 2011 Tomorrow!

I know that we're late to the show (literally), but we're still excited to get our geek on at CES 2011. We've only missed one show in the past 5 years, and we're hoping that this will be the best yet. If you see a couple of guys walking around ogling the booth babes and getting alarmingly aroused by all the new Android phones and tablets around, you've found us (and just about every other guy at CES).

So here are the top three things I'll be looking for at CES 2011:

1. The next generation of Android smartphones

It looks like there have been some very exciting phones announced so far at CES from all of your usual suspects. Motorola announced the Atrix 4G and my potential next phone, the Droid Bionic:

LG, HTC, and Samsung all look like they have some awesome phones in the pipeline for 2011. I'm especially intrigued by the LG Optimus, shown here (although it does resemble the iPhone a bit too much):

2. The first set of Honeycomb Android Tablets

I came close to pulling the trigger on buying one of the recently released Archos Android Tablets, but I decided to be patient to see what 2011 and Honeycomb would bring. I'm glad I did. It looks like there will be quite a few Android Tablets to choose from, including options from Samsung (the already released Galaxy Tab will come out in a Wifi only option), LG, Panasonic, Asus, NEC, Toshiba, Vizio, and of course, Motorola, which just announced the Xoom Tablet yesterday:

I'm still waiting to see the price on these, and I will probably go with the best tablet that comes in Wifi only flavor because I just don't want to pay for another data plan.

3. The new internet TV devices

Although we saw the Boxee Box last year:

We didn't see the new Google TV until it came out just in time for the holiday season last year, and I think we're going to see a lot more options for connecting your TV to the internet. I'm not buying into the whole 3D TV craze because I don't think it will become popular until they can figure out how to provide a 3D experience without the goofy glasses.

We'll try to post a lot of photos from our experience at CES of both the gadgets and the booth babes, so come back to check them out!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Top Twitter Feeds to Follow in 2011 for Android Users

So, you just signed up for Twitter and you're looking to find some cool Twitter feeds to follow for Android news. Well, fortunately for you, I've done my best to sort through the many Android-related Twitter feeds and I've found a few worth recommending. So here's the roundup:

Engadget Mobile (@engadgetmobile) - If you love mobile phone news, you're probably already following Engadget Mobile by now, but I had to include it in here because Engadget is one of the behemoths of the tech/gadget newsblog world. If there's important Android-related news out there, Engadget Mobile probably has a post on it.

Kevin Purdy (@kevinpurdy) - Kevin Purdy often contributes to Lifehacker, and many of the Android-related posts you find on Lifehacker were written by him. On of my favorite Lifehacker articles on Android is the Lifehacker Pack for Android: Our List of the Best Android Apps. It's a must-read for all new Android users. I like to go to the source of the information, which is why I follow Kevin Purdy.

Droid Life (@droid_life) -

P3Droid (@P3Droid) - If you are a Motorola device owner (Droid O.G., Droid X, or Droid 2), you will probably want to follow P3Droid. He is consistently the guy who is able to obtain leaked updates before anybody else. I believe he also runs the MyDroidWorld site (see below).

MyDroidWorld (@MyDroidWorld) -

Cyanogen (@cyanogen) - Cyanogen is the lead developer of what is probably the most popular ROM on rooted Android phones - CyanogenMod. Cyanogen has a team of developers who help him put together a very nice ROM with many functions you can't find in stock Android, which is the reason many of us rooted our phones in the first place, right?  Cyanogen is also very active on Twitter and replies to nearly every mention or DM you send him.

Peter Alfonso (@PeterAlfonso) - Peter Alfonso (aka Pete) is well known in the Droid developer community as the creator of the BuglessBeast ROMs. If you own a Droid and you are rooted, you definitely need to be following Pete.

A great and useful recovery for those rooted users.

Lifehacker (@Lifehacker) - Another site that doesn't tweet about Android very often, but when it does, the posts are often well written and very helpful.

Gizmodo (@Gizmodo) - This is a general technology blog, which you probably already know, but there are times when Gizmodo tweets Android-related news.

Boy Genius Report (@BGR) - Another general phone blog. Boy Genius Report is known for leaking photos and info on unreleased phones.

Android Central (@androidcentral)
A well established blog that frequently posts updates and tips on the Twitter feed.  A lot of it up to the minute.  You won't feel left out of the loop with this feed.

Android Guys (@AndroidGuys)

The Android Project (@Android_Project) - Of course I had to put in a shameless plug for our own Twitter feed! I have taken a vow not to overtweet.

Complete Guides (@icompleteme) - This is a handy feed where quick Android tips are published often.

Google (@google) - This one is pretty self-explanatory. Google created Android = follow @google.


If you have any other suggestions for Android-related Twitter feeds that you follow, let us know in the Comments!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Android Meet-up in Las Vegas for CES 2011!

Are you going to CES 2011 in Las Vegas?  Are you an Androidian?  Need an excuse to come to Vegas?  This post is for you!

So this is still in the planning stages right now, but since The Android Project attends CES every year, we thought it would be cool to plan a get-together with fellow Android enthusiasts. We don't have a  location or a date yet, except that it would happen sometime during (or immediately after) the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.  We know that many of you will already be attending to conferences that weekend, with the Adult Video Network Conference going on in Las Vegas the same time as CES, but you can find the time to hang out with your fellow Androidians, right?

Anyway, this post is just to see if we can get some interest in doing a meet-up.  There has already been some interest on Twitter! If we get enough people, we could even turn it into a yearly event--Could this be the beginning of AndroCon? (Remember, you heard it here first!) So leave us a comment to let us know if you're interested or hit us up on Twitter and if you have any suggestions for day, time, location, or anything else you can think of. Regardless, CES 2011 is going to be awesome!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Companies that should have Apps and don't--How to work around...

Even though Apple leads Android in shear number of devices, there have been a lot of pretty charts and graphs released lately that plot Android as the fastest growing mobile OS out there right now. With many developers jumping in the race to get their App recognized in the Android Market while it's still prepubescent. With the data clear, I am still surprised why many large companies are so late or missing the game completely in getting an app to market. That being said I have found a few obvious omissions of apps and the best 3rd-party work arounds. If I have missed any, blast 'em off in the comments or hit us up on Twitter.
For being a large tech company which neighbors the Googleplex, but also strives to reach and network users, LinkedIn only has an iPhone app available for download. Android is also slowly climbing the corporate ladder, so this could be a useful app if it were released and integrated into the contacts in Android.

Work-Around:So, I have tried three of the most popular LinkedIn Apps on AppBrain that have been developed by 3rd parties. And to put it bluntly, no one is quite there yet. But, the best bet that I have found is ConnectIn. The reason why is because ConnectIn strives to integrate your LinkedIn contacts with your phone contacts like the Facebook or Twitter apps do. It's not quite polished though, as was witnessed many times by the profiles disappearing and then re-appearing after a lengthy contact sync in the app. I also paid $1.99 for this one which is in hopes of more updates coming out soon.

Your Bank
There are only a handful of banks that have apps and even fewer credit unions. By far the best one is the USAA mobile, of which I am not a member. However, a quick glance in the market shows that other banks are coming out with their own, just very slowly.

Mint. When it comes to finances you have be careful whom you trust, especially when it comes to apps. So for now the best alternative besides a dedicated bank app for your finances is Mint, which we have reviewed.

This is another great example of a company with the muscle to push out a decent Android app and hasn't. While claims are being made that an app is on the way, we are still left browsing the market for other solutions.

Luckily there are several and one that has caught our eye is PhoneFlicks-Netflix, which provides you with a pretty close version of what you can do on the real site, except of course streaming. This is a sad time when your Apple buddies have a leg up on you. One of the most popular apps on the market right now, Flixter, also has integrated Netflix support, so you can add recently released DVDs to your Netflix Queue within the app. Neither of these is an adequate replacement for a true Netflix app with streaming capabilities.

And while we are talking about movies, another company that could obviously use its own app is RedBox. Despite having an "optimized" web page, it still struggles. I have purchased the app Redboxer for $1.99, and I've been very impressed with it. If RedBox doesn't come out with its own app, it should just buy up Redboxer from the developer and improve upon it. Please feel free to share any other suggestions or ideas with us so that we can help eachother optimize our devices and experience.

That is all.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Latest Games for Android - Fruit Ninja, Field Goal, iBasket, and Kamikaze Race

It seems like the simplest games are usually the best suited for Android (or maybe it's the other way around). If you take a look at the most popular games in the Android Market, they are almost all strategy-based, or very simple action games. The last four games I have downloaded to my phone are no exception. Here's a preview of each of them:

Fruit Ninja - In this game, you basically use your finger as a sword to slash fruit that floats into the screen by swiping your finger across the screen. You have to slash as much fruit as possible before you either miss three fruits, or slash a bomb. You can unlock different swords or backgrounds by accomplishing different tasks. As I said above, it's fairly simple, and can get very addicting. This is also an OpenFeint game, which is basically a social gaming platform. It's only $0.99 on the Android Market. Check out Fruit Ninja at Appbrain.

Flick Kick Field Goal - This is another OpenFeint game with a simple premise. Basically you use your finger to kick a football through a set of goalposts by flicking your finger across the screen. The game makes you kick from different positions, with different wind speed and direction. Again, a very simple game that becomes very addictive. It's fun if you have a few moments to kill while waiting in line at the DMV. It's $0.99 on the Android Market. Check it out at Appbrain.

iBasket - I guess this game was fairly popular on the iPhone and the developers have decided to port it to Android. It's another simple game where you have to make as many baskets as possible within a 90 second time-frame by selecting the basketball with your finger and swiping it toward the basket. The only gripe I have with this game is that an advertisement sits at the bottom of the court, which can interfere with gameplay. I know that the developer is trying to get more click-throughs on his ads, but this isn't the way to do it. Developers, if you want a good example of advertisements that are well placed and don't interfere with gameplay, check out Fish Food. If you want to try out iBasket, download it for free from Appbrain.

Kamikaze Race - This is probably my favorite game out of the bunch. The title best describes the game - you drive your car at increasing speed with no brakes down a traffic-packed highway. You steer your car by tapping on the left or right side of the screen to try to avoid other cars (the game is currently in beta so there are some bugs - the virtual buttons at the bottom of the screen don't work, but you can tap the screen above them and it works fine). The longer you go without crashing, the higher your score. I can't stop playing this one. It's free and I highly recommend downloading it.

Let us know in the comments if you have any other game recommendations that we should give a try!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Beat the mechanic shops! Use your Android Phone as an OBDII tool

As noted on this blog and others, the Android development scene is blowing up.  While Apple has plenty of great apps, the power of Android is in the developers hands to fully harness the capabilities of the phone and it's hardware.  Here is an example of such app.  This App is called Torque and it requires you have a bluetooth dongle OBDII scanner.  Many of which can be found on Ebay.  I went with the cheap one and have had no problems.

For those who don't what ODB is, it stands for On Board Diagnostic.  It basically spits out all the data that any post-1996 vehicle has on it's computer.  This app is especially useful for when you don't tighten the gas cap completely and the check engine light goes on because a sensor tripped.  This app can allow you to clear those codes or look them up and fix the problem yourself, whether its an O2 sensor, etc.  When you take your car to the shop, the mechanic will charge you to run the diagnostics and then if they so choose can give you a run for your money and you'll believe them.  The capabilities of this kind of depend on what kind of on board PC your car has but the info is really handy.  Plus it's just a cool gadget to show off to any motor heads you may know. 

Here are some pics of my experience. 

Gotta Have it Factor: 5
Price: $2.99
Developer: Ian Hawkins 

Connecting via Bluetooth

Clearing the check engine light.

System diagnostics

Gauges and Dials