Mind Grapes

and then things get awesome


Xoom Xoom -OR- How I bet against iPad 2 and won

So, I was one of the people who went out and got the Motorola Xoom on the first day (last week). I’ve kept it quiet till now because I knew I should have waited till after the iPad 2 announcement to make a decision (although there is a 14 day return policy). Now that it is out I’m trying to discern whether my gamble paid off, and I think it did.

I bet against the iPad 2 and I think I won. Now keep in mind that I’m a huge iPhone fan and will get the iPhone 5 in the first few days it comes out, but for a tablet I wanted to take a different route. Below I’m listing the reasons I think I made the right decision… for me. I still think the iPad is the better route for most people. It has zero learning curve if you have an iPhone, and almost zero even if you don’t, not to mention most of us have bought a lot of apps on the iPhone that will work on the iPad (I’ll have to repurchase on the Android). There are definitely a few more things you could put into the “pro” iOS column, but in these [below] other categories the Xoom wins.

iPad 2 specifically? OK, 65,000 apps vs 100… and this cool new cover/case thing… other than that iPad 2 doesn’t have a whole lot going for it right now. This is what I was banking on, only a slight upgrade in features and a decent hardware upgrade. The rumors of iPad 3 launching in the fall is what pushed me over the edge in thinking that the iPad 2 would be a layup.

Reasons I personally like the Xoom over the iPad (1 or 2) in order of significance:

1. Flash – Ok, ok, I know this has been delayed but it works on other Android devices and Adobe says it will be ready for Honeycomb soon. This wouldn’t have been a big deal for me in the past and isn’t an issue on my phone, but I’m using SlideRocket.com more and more so on my tablet I want to be able to edit presentations (for which Flash is required).

2. 4G and tethering – This was actually huge for me and what made me walk into the Verizon store the first day. Again, it won’t come till April or May but the Xoom will have 4G connectivity and allow you to tether other devices. I’ve been wanting a 4G device ever since I tested Clear last spring.

3. Resolution – I love the retina display on my iPhone 4 so much that I now have a hard time going back down. I also want to read more on my tablet. So, I need the highest resolution possible. If I thought iPad 2 would have had the retinal display then I would have gotten it without question, instead I bet it would have the same resolution so went with the Xoom that beats iPad (1 or 2) by 20% of so in this department. Not that much, but my standard is so high now anything helps.

4. Widgets – This gets into the Honeycomb vs iOS debate, but simply put, the “desktop” widgets in Honeycomb are designed for tablets. I get all the info I need using up the right amount of space on my home screen.

5. Width (for typing) – The Xoom is wider in landscape and narrower in portrait than the iPad. I like having a wide landscape for wide movies, but I like the narrower portrait for easier thumb typing.

6. microSD Card – I really like the option of having external memory. I can fill up one card with kid shows and have a separate card for my stuff.

7. Overclocking – Ok, this is a tech nerd thing. I’ve been reading about how people are overclocking (speeding up the processor) for gains of up to 50%. That’s huge and from what I can tell it’s relatively easy and relatively safe. That being said, I will probably wait some time before I try this out of fear of completely destroying Xoomy (that’s what I call him now).

8. Google Integration – I put in my Gmail username and pass at the Verizon store and now everything just works. All my Google life is integrated on the tablet and I think it even backs itself up to Google. This is a big advantage for a heavy Google user such as myself.

9. Google Products – Google has a habit of developing some cool new app and releasing it on the Android first and making everyone else wait. Google Goggles was on Android months before iPhone, Google Sky Map is now on my tablet and came at just the right time (my daughter was learning about constellations in school last week).

10. More file formats – It’s much easier to play almost any kind of video file, any kind of music file or any kind of ebook (and comic book) file than on Apple Products.

11. No button… ok, has a button, but I hardly ever have to use it. I’m always worried I’m going to wear out my home button on the iPhone and have seen other people have issues with the button. On the Xoom you have one on/off button, but the home and task switching are virtual touch buttons on screen.

12. Pattern Lock vs Pin – I like locking down the device since it has important information. It is much easier and only slightly less secure to use the pattern lock vs a pin #.

13. Voice Typing. Built into the keyboard.

14. File management, easier to hack, more open source, blah, blah, blah… all the nerdy open-endedness of the Adroid Platform is attractive because it will allow me to customize the device to my needs. Most users won’t do some of the modifications and such that I will eventually do so this is definitely only a “pro” for tech geeks.

If you are interested in the price debate or Honeycomb vs iOS 4.3 then please let me know in the comments. I could have kept going on those items but am trying to keep this brief.

posted by admin in Can not be contained!,mobile,tech and have Comments (5)

Nook for the win?!

So I have a new mobile device (more on that later) and was looking for ereader solutions. I figured I would end up using the Kindle app since most of my e-books are on our Kindle at home, not to mention that the Kindle has been the leader in the space for a while. I was enticed by the Google Books app, and looked at many third party ereaders but didn’t even think about the Nook till today.

I had only two main criteria for the ereader, assuming it displayed the text properly, 1) the ability to adjust the visuals (change text size, color options, etc.) and 2) its ability to manage the library (file structure, folders, search). I added a third criteria after researching that hadn’t come to mind but is now higher on the list, fast loading pages.

I ran into another issue though, I could not find a way to import any of my ebooks bought outside of the service (Kindle only took Kindle purchases, Google took Google, etc). Even all the third party apps I found either had a hard time with multiple formats, misread some formats, or failed at my first two criteria. I was even willing to convert the books I had to the native format of the reader, still no luck. Then someone on one of the forums pointed me to Nook.

Nook? I’ve always thought of the Nook as the feeble attempt to play catch-up with Kindle, or a poor substitute for the iPad or something. Didn’t even cross my mind to try it out, but I was desperate. Turns out it works pretty well and did what I needed it to do. In hind sight I shouldn’t be so surprised that the #3(?) player in the space would have a decent app. Once I converted my mobi files to epub files and dropped them into the Nook folder it read (and formatted) them correctly. It has good viewing options, file management, and fast loading pages. Not sure if it will be my go to app from now on, but in the short term it is surprisingly (to me) the best solution.

Probably only a matter of time till Kindle and Google Books get upgrades that puts them back on top for me, but for now I guess I’m a Nook guy.

posted by admin in Can not be contained!,mobile and have No Comments

iAd Producer, finally

Apple finally launched software to help individuals and agencies to create rich media iAds. Apple launched iAd earlier in the year around the launch of iOS 4. Until now Apple forced advertisers to use its own services to produce campaign creative, with the launch of iAd Producer things will change. This is, of course, a response to low usage in iAd inventory that they should have done since the beginning. Apple, being Apple, wanted to control the quality of interactive ads that ran on their platform but it would seem likeĀ  actually running ads is more important than quality control at this point in time.

I installed iAd Producer this morning and played around with it a bit. I had an ad developed in less than an hour and was pretty impressed at how easy it was to manipulate the different aspects of the ad. If I flew through the tutorial I probably could have had the ad up in 15 minutes or so.

Opening Screen of iAd Producer

iAd Producer has a nice clean interface that lets you choose your platform from the start. I chose the iPhone just to keep things simple but definitely want to go back and play with the iPad options.

Layout shows all the panels

Here I get to layout all the “pages” of the ad. Simply clicking on each component allows me to go in and edit. Each view in iAd Producer allows you to pull in the appropriate material, from objects, to templates that are built in, to assets you add to your own library.

iAd Producer made it very easy to set up transitions, video and maps. There are a ton of other features to add as well as adding commands that interact with the accelerometer and gyroscope. I just put together the basics to show how easy it is to get up and running with video and maps.

Below is the ad just to show how good the HTML5 animations look, not the graphics I slapped in there…

OK, so mine is not as cool as the one below [Tron iPad iAd] but you can start to see how complex you will be able to get with these:

posted by admin in banner ads,Can not be contained!,mobile,tech and have No Comments

Authorized App Developer – Apple

I’m now officially an Apple AAD. I’m not sure if that’s what WE are called but it’s easier than saying “Authorized App Developer”. I need to submit some apps we developed to the iTunes store so I went through the process of registering and getting vetted for the Apple Development Center*. I’m now authorized to submit iOS apps to the store. Somehow I don’t feel any different.

*I’m probably not using the correct terms, but it’s the iOS Developer Program.

posted by admin in mobile and have No Comments