This Holiday season, Android and iOS device activations were quite impressive. Over 17 million devices were apparently gifted and opened on Christmas day for both operating systems, making for record numbers and surpassing 2011 by a few leaps and bounds.
Personally, my family and friends aren’t the most tech-aware people so they can’t be trusted with gadget gifting — don’t tell them I said that! That’s why I usually prefer to get some money to buy the gadgets that I actually need. Having a Galaxy S3, Optimus 4X and 7″ Iconia A100, I knew I shouldn’t indulge in new phones or tablets this Christmas. But being a big Android geek, there was another category of Android devices that I really wanted to add to my arsenal — TV sticks or boxes!
After much research on similarly cheap and featured products, I eventually landed on the iMito MX1, a 4.1 Jelly Bean unit, with 1.6GHz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM and 8GB internal storage, WiFi and Bluetooth. The iMito MX1 offers direct HDMI output, a microSD card slot, a full USB port and some more connectivity options. I’ve been using it for a couple of days and, as my Twitter followers would testify, I have been very satisfied with the purchase. A very Merry Christmas indeed.
It’s Christmas morning today which means that a lot of you have woken up to some awesome gifts under the tree. If you’ve been good throughout the year, we hope you got some nice Android gear to finish 2012 and start 2013 in style. Whether it’s a new phone or tablet, or maybe even an Android TV stick — I bought one but it hasn’t been delivered yet! — you’re most likely looking at your new gadget and wondering where to start and how to get its true potential.
That’s why we decided to give you an easy-to-check summary of our best articles of 2012. So grab your shiny new gadget and follow us down this wonderfully geeky journey. A fair warning though: you might end up neglecting the family time and drowning in a sea of apps and games!
As we approach the Holiday season even more, one question has been recurring on my mind more frequently – should I get my Kodak camera out of its hiding place in my drawer and charge it up for the next few weeks, or do I simply keep taking photos with my phones like I have been for the past year?
See, my dilemma stems from the fact that I carry on a daily basis two really good cameraphones, a Samsung Galaxy SIII and an Optimus 4x HD, both with 8MP cameras, longer battery life and simple microUSB charging, HDR mode, always on availability, plenty of options, bigger screen, and most importantly easy bluetooth transfers, editing and internet uploads. The only two advantages my Kodak camera has are the Xenon flash for better pictures indoors at night, and optical zoom.
And I shouldn’t be alone in my dilemma. Cameraphones have gotten so much better over the last few years that we no longer question using them in everyday situations. But holidays and family gatherings remain a special event, and would normally demand better memory-keeping equipment. The question though is whether cameraphones have gotten to a point where they can replace a standalone camera even in the important moments of life.
The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced I’ll stick with my phones. For one, I can’t be bothered with another gadget to carry and charge, and for two the phones offer a lot more convenience. What about you?
It’s been exactly one year since I bought an Android tablet and throughout this year, I have enjoyed setting it up, using it, evangelizing the 7″ form factor and watching Android tablets rise in popularity with Google’s official endorsement of the Nexus 7 and the Nexus 10 later on. The iPad had dominated the tablet market for quite some time, but it seems as though Android tablets are finally getting the credit, spotlight and market share that they deserve.
However, once users get past the purchase, Android tablets are still facing the same problem they had one year ago: tablet-optimized apps curation and discovery. Google has done absolutely zero effort to remedy the situation, despite the availability — and dare I say abundance — of quality tablet apps. Personally, I have spent countless days looking for them and crying over the many quality apps that never get more than a few hundred downloads because no one can really find them in the Play Store. I have also done my best, ever since I took charge of the editorial duties at Android.Appstorm to cover more tablet apps roundups and help readers find these hidden gems.
And I have been trying to stay positive about the situation, but last week, I saw the straw that broke the camel’s back: Etsy — a non-tablet app by any definition — was featured on my tablet’s Store! As someone who has made it a personal mission to improve recognition and discovery of tablet apps, this came as a low blow – Google simply can not be bothered, and there’s only so much one person can do. Following is a desperate cry for the Android team to get their heads together and fix this situation as soon as possible.
We know this time of the year can get a bit stressful with trips, family gatherings, gifts, many to-dos before the year ends, kids to cheer up and meals to cook, and so on. That’s why, during this week, we used our love of Android to help you simplify all of that from the comfort of your phone or tablet.
Our Holiday-themed posts were aimed to help you buy a last-minute gift, manage everything you need to get done, dress your phone up for the Holidays, host and cook, keep the kids entertained and send your greetings all over the world. Here is a list of our reviews and round-ups.
- Apps for last-minute Holiday shopping
- How to stay sane with your Holiday to-dos
- 30+ Christmas and Holidays Wallpapers and Ringtones
- Inspire yourself in the kitchen with BBC Good Food Recipes
- Embrace the Christmas spirit with Santa’s Village
- Send Holiday cheer with these greeting cards apps
Now is your turn to let us know whether you’ll be using your Android device to help you get through the next few weeks or whether you like to keep the traditional ways of sending cards, browsing stores for gifts and flipping through recipes in the family cookbook.
It’s Holidays Week here at Android.Appstorm! We will dedicate our time this week to bring you the best apps for the year-end festivities. From gift shopping to games, cooking and hosting, managing your to-dos, decorating your phone, it will all be about spreading the cheer and reducing the stress of the Holidays season.
The end of the year holidays are always a chance for everyone to reflect on the year that passed and get in touch with friends and family members that live far away. Greeting Cards have long been a tradition of this period, with many people sharing wishes, greetings, along with personal or ready-made photos.
Below, you will find four apps that will let you personalize greeting cards from the comfort of your Android device and send them via postal service to all of your loved ones.
Earlier this week, we shared with you a collection of more than 30 beautiful and Holo-designed apps. Had Connor set out to write this round-up a year ago, or even six months ago, he would have had trouble coming up with decent apps. Yet nowadays, most developers seem to have adopted — and adapted — the Google design language in their apps.
This, in turn, has been superb for us users. Apps that are still plagued with the Froyo/Gingerbread dark grey tabs on top are becoming rare and irrelevant in the face of fierce competition from newcomers that not only value functionality but also esthetics.
Looking at my own usage, I know that I was a lot more forgiving a year ago. I placed features above design, and picked my apps based on that. However, I have the privilege of using an ecosystem that offers choice and variety. Whatever functionality I need, there are probably more than five apps in the Play Store that offer it, if not ten or more.
So now I simply can’t forgive an app developer who’s stuck a few years behind their times. I want apps that I can enjoy looking at as well as using. As a matter of fact, the only relic I have on my phone is SafeWallet, a password and personal data vault that I have invested in and that works with my other phones and computers.
What about you? Is design becoming more and more important in your app decision process? Or are you still OK with yesteryear looks as long as the app does what you need it to?
Tablet-optimized apps on Android are akin to some rare pearls. Everyone assumes they exist but don’t know where, not many are persistent enough to go look for them, and if you do decide to search, you have to brace yourself for a lot disappointment. The Play Store, which could solve this discoverability problem, lacks a tablet-dedicated section and Google seems stubborn on keeping it this way which remains unsettling for new and old tablet owners alike.
After all, why do they need a tablet section when all Android apps scale usually very well between different sizes of screens on phones and tablets? And why risk the ridicule of a small number of apps if they ever create such a section and only few developers submit apps to it?
I do understand those points, but personally, I think the goal of a tablet is to provide more screen estate and more options to get things done faster. If I just see 2 more rows in an app on my 7″ tablet compared to my 4.8″ phone, and if I have to keep clicking Back and Options, then there’s no point in me having a tablet, is there?
That’s why, over the past year, I’ve made it my personal goal to mine and find as many tablet-optimized apps as I could. We’ve started covering these more frequently on Android.Appstorm with this handly link for the best apps for your Nexus 7, 10 and other Android tablet, and I personally maintain several Playboard channels with all of my recommendations for tablet apps in different categories.
What about you? Are you as focused on getting the best for your tablet as I am, or do you use whatever app does the job well, whether it’s optimized or not for the additional screen estate?
Today is Thanksgiving day in the United States, a holiday normally geared towards celebrating and appreciating all that we have been granted in this life. But given our passion for mobile technology, we decided to focus on that and share with you the apps we are most thankful for.
Since this is a very personal choice, I didn’t want this roundup to be limited to the regular culprits of Evernote, Kindle, Dropbox, and the likes — of course we are thankful for these services and the amount of effort that goes into making them available on Android! Instead, I asked our writers to share the little gems they have found, local or niche apps, that normally wouldn’t make it into a full review on Android.Appstorm, but that have made a difference to their everyday life.
Google has been pushing its official Android tablets quite a lot recently, with the Nexus 7 and 10 offering a nice feature set at a competitive price. Still, one big Achille’s heel stands in the way of these tablets’ success and usability: tablet-optimized apps. There’s no decent directory or easy way to search for them on the Play Store, so any new or potential owner is left confused and unsatisfied.
However, once you dig deep into the store, there’s no shortage of great apps for Android tablets — not the stretched phone version, but the full multiple-columns fragment-designed version. That’s why our team on Android.Appstorm has been using its expertise in unearthing these gems to offer you a selection of the best tablet apps in several categories.
Below, you will find links to all the tablet-related roundups we have already made available, and we will continue updating this post in the future when we publish new roundups, so make sure you keep it in your bookmarks!
- 40 News Apps For Android Tablets
- Replacement Browsers for Android Tablets
- 10 Tablet Optimized Apps for Students
- 10 Gorgeous Personal Finance Apps for Tablets
Fun and Lifestyle
- Five Cookery Apps for Your Android Tablet
- Ten Social Apps for Android Tablets
- 10 Multimedia Apps For Android Tablets
- The Best Galleries and Photo Browsers for Tablets
- The Best Photo Editors for Android Tablets
- Bonus: 50 Awesome Wallpapers for Your Nexus 7
Also, don’t forget that you can easily click to our “tablet” tag for all of our Android tablet related articles — news, reviews, roundups, editorials and more.