QuickOffice now free on Android & iOS – Includes 10GB additional free storage on Google Drive

quickoffice google drive android tablet phone documents spreadsheets free somegadgetguyJust a quick heads up!

Google recently bought out QuickOffice, and it looks like they’re ready to start bringing it into the proper stable of other Google Apps. QuickOffice can integrate with Google Drive, and it provides much better tools for document and spreadsheet editing (IMO) than the stock Drive app. Not the least of which is the ability to create a new document while offline…

QuickOffice has become my go-to solution for writing while traveling on my little Nexus 7, and now it’s completely free! That should be enough for you to at least give it a whirl, but Google is going to sweeten the pot a little more. If you install by September 26, you’ll also receive an additional 10GB of cloud storage through Google Drive.

Hit the Google Drive Blog for more info, or go directly to Google Play to install QuickOffice!

Pick Your Poison: OS Fragmentation or Feature Fragmentation?

One of the most impressive aspects of owning an Apple phone or tablet is how good Apple is at rolling out OS updates. With very few meltdowns, MILLIONS of devices are updated on launch day, and the entire ecosystem moves forward very quickly. Early estimates point to almost 30% of iOS users are now on iOS7. By controlling the hardware and software environment, Apple has created a process Google will probably never be able to approximate.

TheAppleLounge iOS-7-Comparison-ChartWhile even older devices will get these OS updates, iDevices like the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 wont be getting all of the new features of the OS. This makes sense as it’s older, under-powered hardware, and Apple is ruthless about protecting the user experience. However, as what we get excited about during an OS update are new features, claiming the iPhone 4 “also gets iOS7” is a very small touch disingenuous. It does get iOS7, just not ALL of it.

The Apple Lounge built this great graphic detailing which devices would be getting new features, and which would be left out. On the whole Apple has done a terrific job of moving things like Control Center and Multi-tasking forward, but some lost features might be a touch frustrating.Things like panorama photos and in-camera filters might be kind of a bummer for folks who prized the iPhone’s camera. Also, for as frustrating as it can be to transfer files on and off iDevices, the lack of AirDrop on older hardware might be frustrating for some.

This also brings up weird splits in product lines. The iPad Mini is largely the same internal hardware as the iPad 2, but the iPad 2 will not be receiving Air Drop support while the iPad Mini will. Ditto the “iPad with Retina Display”. If you have the iPad 3, no Air Drop for you, but the iPad 4 is good to go. Definitely a bummer as we would imagine the hardware in the iPad 3 is probably more robust than in the iPad Mini.

Contrast that with the scattered OS update path on Android, and Apple still has the cleaner process, but Google is taking steps to improve the Android ecosystem. They wont be able to corral all of the various manufacturers, they’ve been trying to do that for a while now, but they can go around them to a degree. Over the last several months we’ve been watching Google slice pieces off of Android and putting those pieces up as stand alone apps. While it might seem like a small thing, it shouldn’t require a full new OS update to install a small improvement to something like the keyboard, and now Android users can install the stock Nexus keyboard as a separate app.

google settings app screenshot somegadgetguyTaking that idea a step further, the new Google Settings app shows up in your app drawer now and gives you a lot of control over gaming, Google+, and remote device management (like tracking your phone if it gets stolen). Google Play Services is also updated through the Google Play app store. Rather than waiting out full OS updates, all of the peripheral services and controls, things that developers interact with for instance, can all be updated independently of the OS.

While most services like G+, Play Music, and Maps have always been this way, and people are somewhat used to them being one part hardware and one part cloud, I hope this idea extends soon to other features on our phones like the camera. Taking a cue from the Nexus Keyboard app, it would be a nice way to unify the camera experience on Android handsets, that there would be one simple Android camera experience if people want something simple and familiar. Ditto the photo Gallery, as it can be jarring moving to a new phone and having a completely different experience for organizing and sharing photos and videos.

This solution isn’t perfect either, as some improvements will still require that full OS iteration, and things like hardware controls have to be buttoned down (hello Bluetooth funkiness), but as Google implements more individual component updates, fewer and fewer Android users will be left out in the cold as app developers and services move forward.

I’ve come to the opinion that there really isn’t a “best” phone, tablet, or ecosystem anymore. For a couple years now, the question you have to ask yourself is: What compromises are you willing to live with? As even low end phones now can be surprisingly capable, I think service and support will become even more meaningful to the end user.

So pick your poison. What kinds of updates work better for you?

Samsung’s Galaxy SIII Mini avaiable for pre-order on AT&T Sept. 19

galaxy s 3 mini att preorder size comparison somegadgetguy

Better late than never I suppose?

If you’ve been looking for a nice mid-range Android experience in a smaller form factor than the 4.5″ and larger screened premier handsets, the GS3 Mini could be one to check out. Happily, we know that Google is looking towards improving Android efficiency, and app developers will likely be supporting dual-core handsets for some time yet as phones like The Moto X offer a premier experience with lower power internals.

This 4″ screen is powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz processor and 1GB of RAM. Expect all of the Samsung favorites like TouchWiz, S-Beam, S-Voice, Smart Stay eye tracking, a Super AMOLED screen, and a 5MP camera. All this in a form factor which should be easier to use one-handed.

And while the GS3 Mini is still a perfectly reasonable solution for a smaller form factor Android, it strikes me as more than a little odd that AT&T is making this play with a phone released last November. Especially as they currently sport the very nice HTC One Mini, which was released a little less than a month ago.

Thankfully, I think AT&T has absolutely nailed the pricing, as the GS3 Mini will come in at 99 cents with a two year contract. The slightly older hardware is a little easier to understand when you’ll get a mid-range experience for practically free on contract.

Check out all the deets on AT&T’s GS3 Mini site!

NVIDIA shows off new $199 Tegra Note, 7″ Android Tablet

nvidia tegra note tablet kai 199 somegadgetguyIt’s kind of exciting watching a company like NVIDIA take a little more control over their hardware destiny. First with the Shield gaming handheld which I really liked from this year’s E3, and now with Tegra Note.

Tegra Note is an evolution of their Kai reference design. Last year NVIDIA led the industry with a design to simplify and lower costs for producing smaller tablets. They’re proud to claim the original Nexus 7 as having been inspired by this groundwork. I’m sure NVIDIA learned a lot about tablets by putting Kai out there and seeing how other manufacturers adopted and changed it.

Now Kai is evolving into the Tegra Note, a 7″ tablet featuring NVIDIA’s Tegra 4 chipset. The list of features is formidable:

Processor Tegra 4 mobile processor with quad-core Cortex-A15 CPU and 72-core GeForce GPU
Display 7-inch HD IPS LCD display (1280 x 800)
Camera Rear 5MP and front VGA webcam
Storage 16GB storage with microSD expandable up to an additional 32GB
Audio Front-facing “HD Audio” stereo speakers with a unique bass-reflex port
Stylus Chisel and Brush tips for natural writing and broad strokes
Peripherals Micro HDMI connector to drive big screen TV videos and gaming
OS 100% Android with latest version of the OS
Software Updates Over-the-air software updates directly from NVIDIA
Battery Life 10 hours HD video playback

If it’s built anything like Shield it should be some quality hardware, and it’ll launch with a magnetic flip cover which can prop it up like a stand. Plus NVIDIA is promising timely OS updates, which is becoming an important selling point for Android customers.

Alongside this specific tablet, NVIDIA’s partners are also working on tablets which follow this reference model, so expect to see more competition around the $200 price point soon from HP, Asus, Toshiba, Xiaomi, and Kobo with Tegra 4 parts.

I find the name interesting however. The badge “Note” is a proper branding for Samsung phones and tablets. NVIDIA is also rocking a proper stylus, but I’m left wondering if they couldn’t find any other name to describe what this tablet could do. I dunno, maybe something like Tegra Style? Or Tegra Design? Yeah, both of those names suck… Nevermind…

(via NVIDIA blog)

So long Google Nexus 4, and thanks for all the fish…

nexus 4 out of stock on google play somegadgetguyThe King is dead. Long live the king.

The market disrupting Nexus 4 is no longer in stock for either the 8GB or 16GB flavors on Google Play. LG’s first attempt at a pure Google handset was a controversial entry into our list of Nexii. Some loved the glass back, some loathed. Some people felt the camera under performed, and heavy users wished for more battery life.

What no one complained about however was the price. Starting at $199 OFF contract, Google found a brilliant price to shake up the mid-range and high-end markets. In sharing the Nexus 4 with friends and family, telling them it was a $200 phone, few realized I meant $200 out the door, not $200 on contract.

But all good things must come to an end. Google isn’t known for being sentimental. You wont see the Nexus 4 stick around as a lower cost alternative. Now we play the waiting game for the Next Nexus. It’s been teased and leaked, and we know LG is behind this next one as well, most likely a cousin to LG’s G2 like the Nexus 4 was to the Optimus G.

Fingers crossed Google can keep disrupting smartphone pricing…

PSA: AT&T now taking pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch

29 gearWe’re you hoping to be the first cool kid on your block to rock some Dick Tracy style smartphone wrist action?

AT&T is now taking pre-orders for the Galaxy Gear, so you best get while the getting’s good. I don’t know exactly what that last sentence means, but continuing to read this is wasting precious time better spent on setting up your pre-order.

Expect to drop $299 on Galaxy Gear, and it should arrive sometime in October… Probably around the time the Note 3 drops… Because synergy. Yeah!

(via AT&T)

Review: The Kingston Digital MobileLite Wireless Flash Reader

kingson mobilelite wireless flash reader SD card somegadgetguySometimes the cloud isn’t enough.

While I find it fantastically helpful to have a couple gigs up in the cloud, there are still times I need to have access to files locally. I might need files which are too large to wait for a download, or I might need to easily share files with a couple users around me. I might just be in poor coverage without access to WiFi. For as good as our cloud solutions have gotten, I find I often still resort to “sneaker-net” to move files back and forth between different computers.

This gets even more complicated when I want to interact with a file on a mobile device, especially those pesky iOS devices which lack proper file managers. You can’t just load up a movie file on an iPhone while out and about for example. Plugging your iPhone or iPad into a proper computer and dragging a file over without iTunes means that file wont show up in any of the apps on your iDevice. Sure, there are other workarounds, funnily enough using iCloud for instance, but none have the simplicity of a point to point transfer.

kingson mobilelite wireless flash reader next to HTC One somegadgetguyKingston was kind enough to send over a MobileLite Wireless Flash Reader for me to play with. The dream of the MobileLite is to create a local wireless storage solution for multiple devices to utilize. Specifically up to three devices can log in and share the info on either an SDXC Memory Card or USB Flash Memory Drive.

MobileLite is a small grey/black brick about the size of two iPhone 5’s stacked on top of each other. It’s fairly light at 98 grams, and it comes with a USB cable to charge MobileLite using a computer or AC Adapter. Kingston also includes a MicroSD card adapter for those of you which pull Micro cards out of your phones, cameras, tablets, etc…

Continue reading “Review: The Kingston Digital MobileLite Wireless Flash Reader”

Apple’s Crisis of Confidence: Consumer Perception and Stock Market Response

tim cook apple logoBefore I dive into this, I need to make it clear that I don’t hate Apple. I used to be an Apple product specialist working a JIT contract for DOE facilities in New Mexico. This was during the dual socket days of the PowerMac G5. It was a glorious machine, and I used to adore Apple. As Apple walked away from markets and product lines that I cared about, that adoration became a loving competition. The recent glory days of the company provided me a terrific nemesis as I moved over to Windows 7 computers and Android Phones.

Following Tuesday’s unveiling of the iPhone 5C & 5S, I came to an unsettling realization: I’m worried about Apple.

See, my world as a tech enthusiast and writer just doesn’t make sense without a powerful Apple, and the company which was on display during this last keynote was anything but powerful.  Continue reading “Apple’s Crisis of Confidence: Consumer Perception and Stock Market Response”