How to get the most out of your Android phone

I’ve been using an Android phone since April, and it took me a while to get used to Google’s OS. I’d had two Symbian devices before getting the HTC Desire, and as it turns out, I made a few mistakes in getting used to my new phone that ended up keeping me from fully enjoying my new phone. I found myself needing to unlearn old habits in order to use Android as it was intended. Here’s what I learned.
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HTC Desire car pack review

Google recently switched on full navigation for Android devices here in the Netherlands. Suddenly, my HTC desire doubled as a PND (Personal Navigation Device). The maps on my TomTom were starting to get old, and updating them costs about as much as a new unit, so Google’s timing was perfect. All I needed was a holder to affix my phone to my car’s windscreen. Luckily, MobileFun offered to send me a review unit of their “HTC Desire car kit“.
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Another legit hosting comparison website

I’ve blogged in the past about how hard it is to find decent hosting. Many of the companies that friends have recommended have failed miserably for me, and to make things worse, 99% of web hosting review websites can’t be trusted. HostMonk seemed like a good initiative when it was launched, but it still doesn’t have a quality metric. In comes’s hosting review feature.
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Is Google’s little android moonlighting on kids TV?

A little while ago, Nickelodeon started airing a new kids TV show called “Team Umizoomi“. It features a team that consists of two humans and a robot… which looks a lot like the green little mechanical man that Google uses as part of the logo for their Android mobile operating system.

On the show, Team Umizoomi solves problems using each member’s unique skills. Milli is great at pattern recognition, Geo has a thing for shapes, while Bot excels at math and has a large display. I see some parallels with the Android OS here too. Things QR codes and Google Goggles are all about shapes and patterns, and modern Android phones have speedy processors and large screens.

But then again, I may be reading way too much into this… 🙂

Does Chrome OS still make sense?

I’ve been following the development of Google’s Chrome OS for a while now, and have played around with some of the early builds that have been floating around online. It’s well on its way to becoming a stable and usable operating system, but I’ve been getting the feeling recently that it may have been been surpassed by that other Google OS, Android. Especially since Android comes with a very good browser.
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ChromeOS gets more mature with Flow

It’s been a while since I blogged about Chrome OS. Things have been pretty quiet around the Google-supported operating system for netbooks and tablets. But Hexxeh, a 17(!) year old developer who’s been supplying pre-built versions of the OS for a while now, released an new version yesterday, and it’s a lot more polished than earlier builds. It boots in seconds and runs pretty smoothly for a pre-alpha OS. If you’re curious about Chrome OS, this is the perfect opportunity to give it a try.

Not only is the ‘Flow‘ build very easy to use, there are complete setup instructions as well. The OS is installed on a USB stick or an SD card (provided your target computer has a card reader it can boot from). It runs off of that drive, so nothing is left behind on the computer’s hard drive. Simply take out the SD card and boot up to get back to Windows or whatever you were using before.

Was Google’s Nexus One switched at birth?

If you’ve not been living under a rock these last few days (or weeks, even), you’ll know that Google has just announced (and released) its first ever mobile phone. Called the Nexus One, it represents Google’s vision of what an Android phone should be. And I’m pretty sure the sotfware is OK. It’s just that I find myself not liking the phone exterior design. I know I’ve dismissed Apple products as ‘style over substance’ in the past, but this thing looks like the HTC Touch from 2007. It might look a little better in real life, but the official stills look decidedly unexciting to me.

At the same time, HTC, who make the Nexus One, have a phone in their portfolio that looks a lot more like what I’d expect from a Google Phone. Its HD2 is a very sexy device that coincidentally has pretty much identical specs compared to the Nexus. It looks nothing like HTC’s other phones, yet runs boring old Windows Mobile. I’m telling you, these two devices were switched a birth. Somewhere deep inside HTC’s Taiwan development labs, a very sexy, top secret new Google Phone was designed, but delivered to the wrong software department. Meanwhile, the next boring Windows device was handed to the Android people.

Despite its bland looks, I’ll probably still get a Nexus One. I’ve been putting off getting an Android phone for way too long, and this is the new king of hill. But I’ll probably regret the terrible mixup for as long as I have it…

So, are you an Apple, Microsoft or Google fan?

There are three corporate giants that dominate tech news. All of them have recently made headlines with innovative new products, and all of them have a dedicated following among tech fans, and are hated intensely by just as many. Time to gather pros and cons for Google, Microsoft and Apple and decide who truly deserves your devotion. Please feel free to add yours in the comments.
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Does Chrome Frame have a target audience?

Google ChromeGoogle launched Chrome Frame yesterday. It’s a browser plugin for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser that, if the website you’re visiting prefers so, turns it into Chrome. At first glance, this looked to me like a great solution and a well-deserved slap in the face for Microsoft, but then it hit me. Nobody will use this.
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Google’s quirky Chrome TV ad

I love Google’s general tone of voice in things like this. They’re not saying Chrome is better than other browsers (which it is in many ways), nor do they list any benefits. You should just try it. And they’re telling you with a wonderfully quirky commercial that is nothing like what their competitors are doing. In fact it wasn’t originally intended for TV. Completely down to earth. Well done.