Lately I’ve been watching Android marketing commercials on YouTube from different parts of the world, and I’ve been amazed by the different ways people in different nations market the Android platform on smartphones and tablets. In many American commercials that feature Android products, the focus is often on robotic technology that seems to be merging with humans. This Droid X commercials from 2010 has an X-Men feel as these soldiers go deep into the earth, and then discover a technology that merges with the human soldier (think Wolverine).
The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.Here’s another Droid one from the same period that focus solely upon an eyeball as the human eye transforms into the eye of a machine.
The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.Now compare these ominous Droid commercials with the following Korean commercials. Instead of the ominous merging of machine with human, the Android mascot is a prankster. He is a mischievous little guy (and girl in some commercials) who can show his teeth when needed and has a lot more power than we might imagine. First, we can see the baby Android being born. This video seems to indicate he is swallowing someone into his work of dance. As the end of the video, he expels wind (is that from the person he ate?). And finally, what a Dagwood sandwich made up of apps. I like these so much, I’m going to keep tracking Android ads from round the world. So keep an eye out as I post more Android ads in the future.
I spent the afternoon tooling around with the Aldiko EBook Reader for Android on my Kindle Fire. Aldiko is Lifehacker’s pick for the best all around Android e-reader. For certain functions, I like it and recommend it as a free, easy to use e-reader.
Let me tell you what I like and don’t like up front.
Like: For downloading ePUB via Gutenberg or other free sites, Aldiko is the bomb. It’s the best I app I’ve used. The integration is smoother and simpler than other ebook readers.
Don’t Like: It only accepts ePUB or PDF personal documents. So sending a web page or personal document direct to Kindle via email is still the best option. (See for more info – Kindle Personal Documents for Android.) With those caveats, there is a lot to like about this app.
Search within a book – The search within a book was blazing fast. Much faster than my Kindle Reader, and I’m using a Kindle Fire for heaven’s sake. Note: it does not search text between books. That would be nice.
Copy and share – While it does not have a highlighting function on the tablet, it does allow you to selection text and then search, copy, dictionary, and share. The share function integrates with all my apps that share. So I can highlight a text and instantly share it on social sites, save to Evernote, email or send elsewhere. Note: The sharing and copying features are limited to non-DRM books. That’s why I think it’s a better reader for free books.
Catalog – You can add your own favorite ereader catalogs by adding the URL in enter new catalog. On the downside, sorting within some of the included catalogs is limited. So I couldn’t find way to sort from lowest to highest price.
Download – In addition to the simplicity of downloading from sites like Gutenberg, Aldiko recognizes active download links within a book. I was reading a Chesterton book, and clicked on a list of other Chesterton books. The app immediately opened the download link and downloaded that book into Aldiko.
The ability to give and receive payment with your smartphone is getting easier than ever before. Last week, PayPal introduced it’s new mobile credit card PayPal Here. PayPal is now competing in the smartphone market directly with Square and Inuit products designed for receiving payments.
PayPal, Square and Intuit are not alone. Eventbrite announced an “at the door” card reader that works like a mobile box office. More mobile payment systems have been announced and are in development like PayWare and Swiff.
Right now, it’s hard to know if consumers will gravitate toward one or two providers who will then set the standard in payment collection systems. But PayPal’s system has some advantages that may play a key role in its future success.
The key word is infrastructure. PayPal was slower to move into the smartphone payment collection market than Square, but it has not been sitting still. For the last several years, PayPal has laid an international infrastructure of relations with merchants and banking systems. CNNMoney highlights PayPal’s commitment to building a long-term and worldwide base:
No company has been working longer at this goal than PayPal. Back when people spoke less of the cloud and more about grid computing, and when mobile phones were too big to fit comfortably inside a pocket, PayPal was laying the foundation for a global e-payment system – working through regulatory processes in hundreds of countries, grappling with myriad forms of online fraud and fielding customer complaints.
PayPal already has a successful customer base online. While they have offended a few small business owners with their strong commitment to the customer, they’ve also established trust with customers. This trust is invaluable for expanding into a mobile market where security and trust are big issues.
PayPal established an effective model for collecting and distributing payments. Their model has burgeoned into a worldwide market that includes 9 million merchants and 106 million active customers. This translated into $4 billion in mobile payments in 2011, and is expected to reach $7 billion in 2012.
In the midst of this tremendous growth, PayPal acquired the payment system Bill Me Later, the app developers behind RedLaser, and the shopping engine Milo. Now with the introduction of PayPal Here, PayPal is positioned to be a pivotal service provider for both payment collection and payment distribution.
PayPal Here is currently only available for the iOS platform, but an Android version is promised soon. It is undercutting Square’s transaction fee by .05% at 2.7% per transaction. Business owners who sign up for PayPal Here will receive a blue triangular dongle that plugs into the iPhone for sliding credit cards. Additionally, the iPhone camera can also be used to scan cards and paper checks for payments to PayPal.
In the last year, it’s become easier to access all your media from anywhere via iCloud, Amazon Cloud player, and the newly renamed Google Play. These conveniences come with the challenge of managing data usage. The first month iCloud came online, my data usage shot through the roof. How do I keep my data usage under control so that I don’t experience a high bill or risk some kind of data usage throttle? Here are three tips that can help:
1. Identify the Apps that Hog Data
Obviously, apps that stream data are most likely to use more data. PC World recently ran a helpful piece identifying the “worst offenders.”
Video – Netflix streaming is a big data hog. So be careful. Streaming a two hour film via 3G or 4G LTE has the potential to max out a 5GB per month data plan. YouTube is not as bad as Netflix but it can also drain data. When you’re not on WiFi, you may want to set YouTube videos to play SD instead of HD.
Music – Streaming music can easily exhaust your data plan. Listening to Pandora an hour a day averages about 1.73 GB per month, and listening to Spotify for an hour per day averages about 2 GB per month.
Games – Based on game play, graphics, and multiplayer modes, games can become major data drains. Note: Lifehacker recently reported that mobile gaming apps with ads drain your battery.
Video chat – PC World suggests that when it comes to video chat, Skype may actually be a more efficient option than Google+ Hangouts.
Social Media – Usage on social media engines is not nearly as dramatic. But constant uploading and downloading of media files can easily begin to drive up your data usage.
2. Track Data Usage
One way zeroing in on data usage is by tracking it. Verizon offers a data monitoring widget, so that you can track data usage from your home screen. There are also some helpful data management software apps.
Android – Two great Android apps worth considering include My Data Manager and Onavo. My Data Manager tracks usage over by and by specific apps. It can also help you reduce battery drain. Onavo delivers usage notifications while also connecting you to a larger Android community for data-saving tips.
iOS – Onavo and Data Usage are worth considering for the iPhone or iPad. On the iOS platform, Onavo works in the background reducing data consumption. It compresses data usage from all your apps. One note: Some reviewers suggest that the current version of Onavo conflicts with the Facebook app. Data Usage tracks allows you to set daily, weekly and monthly data limits while also provide visual monitoring and predictive data usage analysis.
3. Adjust Phone Settings
Another option for controlling data use is to alter your phone settings. You can turn off the auto update options and choose to update your phone manually, then you can choose to update when you on WiFi. You could also turn off all auto update functions like email, file synchronization software (box.net, DropBox, iDisk, or SugarSync). And you should also remember turn off remote connections when not in use (like LogMeIn, GotoMyPC, Timbuktu and even Virtual Private Networks/VPNs).
The new iPad appeared on the shelves just after midnight at Telstra, Australia’s phone company stores. Within hours, US customers will begin lining up here for yet another Apple event. This is not the iPad3 or the iPad HD but simply iPad as though Apple is starting all over again. While they do in fact, bring a variety of changes to the new iPad, it is not dramatically different from iPad 2. There are several changes, but the two most significant changes include the “retina display” and 4G LTE, these are so dramatic that some people see this as a “game-changer.”
Retina display has 1 million more pixels than HDTV.
Boasting a pixel display of 2048 x 1536, the new iPad has four times the amount of pixels of any other mobile device. Walt Mossberg from All Things D says that “It has the most spectacular display I have ever seen in a mobile device.” He continues, “Using the new display is like getting a new eyeglasses prescription — you suddenly realize what you thought looked sharp before wasn’t nearly as sharp as it could be.”
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In Apple’s promotion video they speak of the new iPad as “an invisible iPad,” or a “magical pane of glass that can become anything you want it to be.” I guess with graphics this amazing, the tablet seems disappear in a “magical pane of glass” that lets you see, engage or create any world you desire.
Speaking of creating worlds, the world renown artist David Hockney is sure to use this new iPad is his fabulous creations. He recently opened at the Royal Academy with a show that literally filled all that halls with colorful landscapes, some of which were created on his iPad. Hockney is known for utilizing emerging technologies as tools for his creations, so the new iPad is sure to capture his aesthetic attention.
Kevin Tofel over at Gigaom suggests that “the new iPad has all of the tools to morph the tablet into a stellar video content creation tool.” Jonny Evans believes the graphic breakthrough makes iPad more important than television, and that it may be ushering a whole new era of creativity using mobile devices. He writes,
Think about it. Working together across different disciplines, photographers, video producers, musicians, sculptors, philosophers, and others can begin to build new entertainment experiences.
The sensors included within these mobile devices open new opportunities for creative arts. Ambient light detectors, dual microphones, gyroscopes — these things are opportunities for artists and developers to find uses for tech which go beyond the manufacturer’s intentions.
Introduce location-awareness and augmented reality support to the new digital tool kit and it isn’t hard to imagine new forms of creative expression…
All this new graphic power requires a faster processor and more battery power. So the new iPad introduces a quad-processor, but don’t expect it to be faster than iPad 2. The extra processing power will be dedicated to processing graphics. This requires more power. In order to continue offering a battery that has 10 hour suppor, Apple has made the iPad slightly thicker and heavier.
Internet speeds that are probably faster than most wired connections.
The other big feature of this new iPad is 4G LTE. When Walt Mossberg appeared on the WSJ video set, his new iPad to stream the same show via 4G LTE. It’s an impressive display of the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network.
CNET ran a comparison of the AT&T and Verizon Wireless 4G LTE networks, and Verizon comes out on top for speed, coverage and data. Plus the new iPad hits just as Verizon Wireless expands its 4G LTE coverage yet again, reaching over 200 LTE markets (with 400 markets and 260 million people by the year’s end). 
 Walt Mossberg. “New iPad: A Million More Pixels.” All Things D, March 14, 2012
 Kevin C. Tofel. “Will the new iPad spark a new video creation revolution?” GigaOm, March 15, 2012
 Jonny Evans. “Why Apple’s iPad is more important than television.” Computerworld, March 15, 2012
 Lynn La. “The best iPad carrier for you.” CNET, March 14, 2012
 Michelle Maisto. “Verizon, AT&T LTE Expansion Arrives in Time for New iPad.” eWeek, March 15, 2012
How long have you worked with the company?
What is your role within Cellular Sales?
I currently have a team of 40+ reps, and my most important role is getting them to buy into Cellular Sales. Second, is to help mentor and coach them to achieving their short and long-term goals.
Please tell me about your most rewarding or satisfying experience — your proudest moment — since you joined the company.
It’s really tough to pinpoint just one thing in [my] 5+ years [at Cellular Sales]. If I were to narrow it down, my most rewarding experience is coaching underperforming reps to their full potential by helping to bring out the best in them. Highlights include going to the North Georgia market in 2009 and coaching a team of 12 reps for two months to hit their goals and mentoring reps that just got started on my team and watching them grow into top sales reps in anywhere from 30 days to 6 months. It’s all very rewarding to watch unfold. I would also say my proudest moment would be when I got promoted to Sales Leader in May of 2009.
What makes Cellular Sales such a special company to work for?
The best part about working here is the sure fact that there are no limits to your income. All the tools to be successful here are right in front of us; it’s literally your ship.
What do you like best about working for Cellular Sales?
[The best part] definitely has to be the competitive nature of the company and always looking for ways to grow and get better. Even after a great month, Chris and Jeff will sit down with us (Sales Leaders) and reps to breakdown what and where we can improve to do better the next month.
Are there any obstacles you face at work?
Yes… TIME! Even when you think there are enough hour’s in a day to get [done] what needs to be accomplished….there never are. Yet somehow it gets done.
Do you have a funny story about working at Cellular Sales?
Back in 2008, a buddy of mine that worked here at the time and I had been killing it month after month. We were always 1st and 2nd on the boards. Another rep and his friend (also a friend of mine) called us out and wanted to challenge us in total VAPS one month. The bet was whoever lost had to show up at the next “All Hands” meeting wearing short, shredded, jean shorts (also known as Daisy Dukes from back in the 90s). Well the good news is I made a lot of money that month. Bad news was my buddy and I lost the bet. It was the most anticipated 7 am meeting in the history of the Orlando market.
Before working here, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
Outside of bartending and serving for several years at a restaurant called Chilis, I did work at KFC my entire senior year of high school. That was interesting…
What are your hobbies?
Traveling to Greece, Vegas, spending time with my family ( especially my brand new son, Zane, who is 4 months old) and helping people make VAPS!
If you were stuck on a desert island, what three things would you have to have with you?
Internet access, beach chair and a cooler full of adult beverages
If a phone was named after you, what would it be called?
The “GZA Remix”
And finally…DROID or iPhone?
DROID… Currently using the Razr Maxx, and it’s the best phone I’ve owned yet.
Cellular Sales has a knack for transforming abandoned buildings into successful businesses. Consider our soon-to-open store in North Naples, Florida. Eckerd Drugs built a nice location beside Walmart for a pharmacy in 2004, but they never moved into the building. Instead, they sold it to CVS. Though it is referred to as “the old CVS building,” CVS never actually occupied the building either. In fact, the building has been sitting dormant for a long time.
Enter Cellular Sales. An authorized retailer of Verizon Wireless products, the Knoxville-based company has over 500 stores nationwide and almost 100 stores in Florida alone. This year, Cellular Sales is planning to open three stores in Naples. The “old CVS building” seemed like a perfect spot. “It’s a really good location. You can see it from every angle in a busy Walmart parking lot,” says Jason Lema, who manages six stores in the Fort Myers-Cape Coral region for Cellular Sales.
Cellular Sales has converted several abandoned spaces like this one into thriving businesses that bring the best in mobile devices and services to an area while also helping stimulate the local economy by creating new jobs. All three new stores coming to Naples plan for success by building strong customer relationships.
“At Cellular Sales, we look out for the customer’s wallet before our own. We want to take care of customers,” Lema said. “We want customers to leave the store happy and refer their neighbors and friends to the location.” The Cellular Sales approach is not focused on a one quick sale, but a potential lifetime of sales by helping customers before and after the sale.
For those living in and around Naples, the new store located at 5410 Immokalee Road should be opening sometime in early April. Keep your eyes open for balloons, banners and a vibrant staff ready to serve.
Google takes a step toward its consolidated “Googleverse” by transforming the Android Market into Google Play. The goal is to provide a comprehensive media solution for applications, entertainment, books and more. Competing with Amazon and Apple, Google hopes users will find a simple place to search, buy and download media to computers, smartphones, tablets and more.
By way of introduction, Google is offering “Seven Days to Play,” which includes .25 cent offers and other discounted deals on music, movies, apps and books for seven days. Google Play is now the hub for purchasing, storing and searching for music, apps, games, ebooks and video. According to Google, Google Play offers the following:
- Store up to 20,000 songs for free and buy millions of new tracks
- Download more than 450,000 Android apps and games
- Browse the world’s largest selection of eBooks
- Rent thousands of your favorite movies, including new releases and HD titles
Jamie Rosenberg, Director of Digital Content posted an official announcement on the Google blog today. He writes, “Google Play is entirely cloud-based so all your music, movies, books and apps are stored online, always available to you, and you never have to worry about losing them or moving them again.”
According to the full announcement, the rollout of services varies by country as follows:
- USA – music, movies, books and Android apps
- Canada and the U.K. – movies, books and Android apps
- Australia – books and apps
- Japan – movies and apps
- Everywhere else – Google Play will be the new home for Android apps
While everyone is waiting for Google’s version of AirPlay for Android, you can experience all the benefits of AirPlay now using a Roku player. Juice for Roku is the easiest way to stream music, photos, and videos (using share feature in video apps when available) from your Android. There are some other streaming options that require you to setup your computer or Android as a streaming server, but these options require downloading server software and some technical setup.
I have my system setup to stream via Apple TV on the iPhone, through a media server that works on Roku and by connecting my computer to the network, but the easiest solution if Juice for Roku. You can literally download the software on your Roku, on your Android and launch. Then your streaming.
Here’s a quick step-by-step solution.
1. Add the Juice channel to your Roku.
2. Download Juice for Roku on your Android. Note: This software costs $2.99, but it is worth every penny of it.
3. If you have more than one network at your house, make sure that your Roku and your Android are on the same network.
4. Launch Juice on Roku, then launch Juice for Roku on your Android. (You can also hit the Launch Juice for Roku from your Android to open the Roku app). The app should find your Roku and connect. If you have more than one Roku on the network, look under Setup/Options to select the Roku unit that you want to use.
5. Troubleshooting. If you have problems, Juice for Roku has a built-in “Help” link that can help you solve the problem.
6. Juice for Roku is also a Roku Remote that allows you to control all Roku functions and select and control other Roku apps.
7. At this point, you cannot stream music and photos at the same time, but that would sure be cool.
Want to nibble on some news? Taste a little Snackr app.
Snackr delivers bite-size audio news nuggets of the latest headlines. I can enjoy a five minute news snack or select from top news, business news, tech news, entertainment, and more. Right now there’s only one voice: British computer. Hearing that “Snooki is wearing an oversized t-shirt and may be pregnant” in a cool, calm British accent is strangely relaxing. And the listening to the Brit warn me, “If you are using Password1, please change it now” makes me think I should probably do something about that password…sometime.
Once I sign in to Snackr, my British computer friend lets me know the weather and reminds me of my Facebook having birthdays. The “reader” reads the first first sentences from each news article. As I listen, I have the option to favorite an article, email an article and re-arrange the order of articles.
I can also create my own channel based on categories like gaming, science, music, sports, and more. The customizing tool on Snackr doesn’t seem to allow for custom feeds or syncing with Google Reader, but one can hope.
Giving Snackr to news junkies who want a “quick read” of day’s news is like giving candy to a baby.
Note: Snackr is currently on iPhone, but a promised Android app is coming soon.