I play in the Android World mostly, because I’ve almost always played in the Windows World. I had the opportunity to try out an HTC Hero (Android) smartphone, for a few months, and really like it. Although, I am looking to try an EVO as a step up.
I got the loaner “Hero” from Blackboard in order to test out their Blackboard Mobile Learn app. I had been asked by one of our faculty, Chet Dilday, who was overseeing a iPad Project, if we could get the Mobile Learn building block. It was while going through the process of registering and having the building block installed on our “hosted” Blackboard System, that I saw I had the opportunity to either get an iPad or an Android device for testing from Blackboard. Since Dr. Dilday had already let me know I could try one of the iPads from the project so that I could test out the Mobile Learn App, I asked Blackboard for an Android device.
Here are two reasons that I like the Android phone better than the iPad. First, the phone has 3G connectivity and the iPad only has WIFI. There are many apps that are useless unless you’re almost always connected. A second reason that I like the Android, is that “at least” they are attempting to incorporate Flash into their interfaces. If Steve Jobs wants to fight Flash, I can look elsewhere.
The iPad is a great little flat screen TV. But even though it is much larger than the Android phone I have, the pop-up keyboard still requires me to “hunt and peck”. That’s why I am trying out a Bluetooth (wireless) keyboard for both systems. Unfortunately, the first Bluetooth keyboard I have tried is the Menotek Flexible Keyboard. It’s not the flexibility that I’m knocking. It’s that often hitting the keys either produces a double character, or the obverse, a character isn’t entered. Frustrating to the point of, “do not use the keyboard!”
The Menotek keyboard paired & connected with the iPad easily. The exact opposite was the case with the HTC Hero phone. After several hours and many emails in both directions, and a couple of driver updates, the keyboard will still not “connect” successfully. *Actually, I’m thinking that this may be an app “registration” problem, and not that the driver doesn’t actually work.
Once I have a working wireless keyboard, I will be able to fly through emails on both the Android and iPad.
I’ve found an app called “HIFICORDER” for the Android phone that aids me in recording great audio and then the application will compress the file into MPEG format. It takes a while, but once compressed, I can “share”, in this case by emailing the MP3 file, along with maybe an attached photo, some text, and/or a Google Maps embedded location code, and sending that all to my WordPress blog via email.
Sometimes the size of the audio file hinders the email upload, but several times, while dining in a restaurant, or on the top of a mountain in one of our State Parks, I have been able to post a blog and have it available on the Internet before I leave.
Another “slick” thing about the phone is that I’ve installed a free app from USTREAM that allows me to broadcast “live” video from wherever the phone has 3G access. The HTC Hero does not produce great quality video, but it is close enough that I know the possibility is just around the corner (maybe even with 4G and the EVO).
Another advantage of the camera on the phone is that I have installed a couple of barcode reading apps, one called Google Goggles and the other Barcode Reader. I actually like Barcode Reader for it’s simplicity. It will read a QR Code image and depending upon what data is included, easily allow me to add all the Contact Info or the Calendar Event info in one button press. *Maybe most other phones can’t read these codes this easily. I would imagine that the iPhone can, and between both of these, QR Code usage in the U.S. should jump through the roof eventually. Using the codes in some slick ways, would probably increase smartphone sales. Hmmm… why don’t I suggest that Burger King or McDonald’s team up with Sprint or AT&T (maybe pair them off against each other), and have QR Code image madness. Put them on the bottom of cups, or other marketing paraphernalia and have at it… friends scanning each other’s cups as they are drinking.
I also like the GPS functionality on the phone.
Okay to recap:
- Gotta have 3G/4G in addition to WIFI for whichever device you use (always connected)
- Should be easily connected to a full-sized keyboard so that the device is actually useful for answering emails via text, or creating Word documents.
- Gotta have a camera that allows for creating photos, videos and scanning images & barcodes
- Gotta be easy to create audio podcasts from either device.
- Shouldn’t fight Flash, Prezi, Flickr slideshow, etc.