Several months ago, I did something for the first time: I ordered pizza online. Ever since then, whenever I’ve ordered from Domino’s, I’ve done it through the web. There are a number of reasons for that, but the main one is that you can order at your own pace and in a convenient location. I’ve had numerous food orders wrongly interpreted at various different outlets (not just Domino’s) when I’ve ordered via speech, but I’ve always been happy with the results of ordering online. This is because, thanks to the way that Domino’s organises its website, every last detail of a pizza can be customised and sent off to the store, with no room for a bad interpretation, because you haven’t spoken to anyone.

I generally order food around lunchtime or in the early evening, and normally when I’m out somewhere. I’m not necessarily next to a PC, which normally leaves two options: go to the store, or call in an order. Neither of these methods have the aforementioned advantages of online ordering – but, fortunately, there’s now a third: mobile apps. (more…)

Ah, the ripple of the net, muddy knees, brutal tackles, managers who only wore tracksuits, positions like ‘inside-left’ and ‘wing-half’, the League Cup was called the ‘Milk Cup’ and Match of the Day highlights were carefully recreated down the park the day after. We’re talking deep-rooted 70s and 80s British nostalgia in rolled down socks and a fistful of Panini stickers. If all this means anything to you, Flick Kick Football is like a delicious shot of yesterday’s best-bits. If however, you’re feeling suddenly alienated and scratching your head at these obscure and nonsensical British idioms, you must allow me to explain. Either way, you really should read on…
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For most people, customizing a desktop or home screen starts with changing the imagery on it – most notably the wallpaper and icons. And although changing the wallpaper on your Android device is the simplest of tasks, changing icons is not as easy. In fact, you simply can’t do it unless you are using a launcher replacement like ADW Launcher, LauncherPro, Go Launcher Ex or any of the dozens of other options available in the Android Market.

So having already discussed how to change icons on the home screen using any of the three aforementioned launchers, let’s take a look at some of the best icons sets out there for your phone. (more…)

Today, a majority of the phone’s functionality is controlled by those tiny icons that are arranged neatly on our home screens, launching apps, games and pretty much anything else that we need to do.

The unfortunate truth with Android apps, though, is that most of these icons are not exactly eye candy. And if you are the type who like your visuals co-ordinated and consistent, that’s pretty much a dream with a typical Android setup and a random selection of apps. Fortunately, changing apps’ icons is pretty easy, and there are a lot of beautiful icon sets available for free to help you make everything look sleek and sexy.

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We’ve all been there: we’re driving, in a meeting, or at a movie, and we get a text or a call. So we get on our phone, much to the dislike of those around us, to let the person on the other end know that we’re busy and we can’t talk right now (though to be honest, I think the point of a text message is to allow the recipient to respond when they can). This distracts the people around us: other drivers, movie goers, or meeting participants – and, quite frankly, it’s rude.

Luckily there are a ton of apps out there to help us with this problem. Today we’ll look at Away Text.

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Like the idea of the ASUS Transformer, but don’t want to splash out on a new netbook? Well, I recently stumbled across an article written by Web.AppStorm editor Matthew Guay on How-To-Geek, describing how to run Android on a Netbook. I was intrigued and tried it out as an experiment. Since it runs off a flash drive, nothing is installed or written to the hard drive. Read on to learn about how you can run Android on your netbook, and how it fares.
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In the ongoing battle for smartphone supremacy, Android and iPhone have come a long way and are very close in terms of style, performance and features. The one standout feature that keeps many users on the Android platform is customization – especially the ability to configure your home screen to have much more than a bunch of icons. To be more precise: widgets.
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Around two months ago I flew out of Gatwick for my holiday in Cyprus. I brought my phone with me, of course. I wasn’t hoping that my phone would provide an abundance of entertainment while I was away, but neither was I intending to leave it in the bottom of my bag. Read on to see how useful your phone can be abroad.
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Google Wallet was launched this week! Just as Gmail is Google’s take on email and Google+ is Google’s latest take on social networking, Google Wallet is Google’s take on paying for stuff. (For more about the technology that powers it, check out this morning’s post, Is NFC Really the Future of Payments?)

The idea is, instead of swiping a card or handing over cash to pay for something in a store, you can tap your phone on a special reader device, which will send the payment from whatever credit card you’ve authorised on your phone.

It’s very early days for this: so far, it’s only been rolled out to Sprint users, in the USA, with a Nexus S 4G (if that’s you, then your latest OTA update will include a new Wallet app), and the only credit card that can be used with it is the Citi MasterCard – though you can use a Google Prepaid Card instead, and top it up with new funds via any other credit card. Plus there are only a handful of places that accept this method of payment for now.

Personally, I’m not overwhelmed with excitement for it as it stands – I’ve no plans to move to the USA and buy a new phone just to try it out. And I’ll admit that, on paper, it doesn’t sound like a big deal: you’re just tapping instead of swiping.

It’s the first stage in a bigger movement, though. If you have a Kindle, you’ve probably seen how convenient Amazon’s 1-Click payment is when you want to buy a new e-book; it’s not that much faster than getting your credit card out and typing in the details, but it’s just that bit easier.

More exciting is the idea of consolidation: a credit card is just a piece of plastic with some basic data stored in it, but an app holds so much more potential. When I go to the supermarket, I swipe my loyalty card and my credit card separately; if I’ve received any loyalty coupons I have to remember to take them with me and swipe them as well. If all that’s stored on my phone, then presumably I’d take care of that with a single tap-to-pay.

I expect that some clever developers will write apps to let you keep track of how much you’re spending, on what, and where – like Mint, but without necessarily knowing everything about the contents of your bank account. This will be great for managing personal finances.

All that is a few years off, though, even assuming that Google are on the money with this one (it wouldn’t be the first time they’d poured a lot of time and research into a new “solution” for some problem that eventually failed).

So, I remain interested, but not too excited for now. What about you?

Google Wallet was released for Android this week. The vision is to aggregate all your payment methods – making up the third generation of payments, according to Google, after coins and paper – into a single app that can be applied to real life commerce. As they put it: “Make your phone your wallet.”

This is achieved through near-field communications, a Bluetooth-like technology that can perform an unpaired data transfer with something in the general vicinity (generally around 4cm away). The term is generally used to refer to a method of commerce between untethered devices. Let’s find out more about it.
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