On My Tech Radar

On My Tech Radar

by RJ Jacquez

You can scroll the shelf using and keys

With ‘real-time’ apps, Facebook is always watching – CNN.com.

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September 26, 2011

Kindle App for Android is now Tablet-optimized for Honeycomb

April 22, 2011 2 Comments

I will admit that of the most frustrating things about being an early adopter of the Motorola Xoom is waiting for Android Apps to become fully optimized for Honeycomb.

So whenever I get a notification telling me there are updates for my Apps, I quickly tap on the link and go check them out.

That’s exactly what happened this morning when I was notified that the Kindle for Android app is now optimized for Honeycomb Tablets (i.e. the Motorola Xoom).

I have been testing the new app and find the Honeycomb optimization to be extremely well done. The experience is user-friendly, the navigation is intuitive and overall the app looks gorgeous on the Xoom’s big screen.

Amazon has also integrated the Kindle Store right into the app and browsing for new books is a real pleasure. Buying and trying new samples couldn’t be easier, especially with Amazon’s 1-Click feature.

You can read more about the Kindle app for Android HERE on the Android Market.

Now that Android developers have had time to work with Google’s Honeycomb SDK, I’m optimistic about seeing more Tablet-optimized apps in the next few weeks.

What apps would you most like to see updated for Honeycomb Tablets?

Amazon Introduces Cloud Drive, Cloud Player for Web and for Android

March 29, 2011 2 Comments

The great thing about Technology is that there’s always something new and exciting to play with and blog about. This morning’s trending topic is that Amazon announced Amazon Cloud Drive, Amazon Cloud Player for Web, and Amazon Cloud Player for Android.

The idea behind these new services is that instead of having your music trapped in iTunes or in Windows Media Player, your music is now in the Cloud and you can access it and play it from anywhere, including from your PCs, but also from your Android smartphones and Tablets. This also means that we no longer need to connect our mobile devices to iTunes (or Windows Media Player) for syncing up our music, the Amazon Cloud syncs your music automatically between all your devices, no cables required. This is a good move toward the Post-PC era.

iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad do not support these services, most likely because Apple sees them as competing technologies to iTunes and the iTunes Store.

You initial Amazon Cloud Drive is tied to your Amazon ID and password and starts out with 5 GB of Cloud Drive storage to upload your digital music library, plus those who purchase an Amazon MP3 album will be upgraded to 20 GB of Cloud Drive space. Furthermore, new Amazon MP3 purchases saved directly to Cloud Drive are stored for free and do not count against a customer’s storage quota.

To get started, I downloaded the Amazon MP3 Uploader, an Adobe AIR application, which means it works on Mac and Windows. The process of uploading supported music is very straightforward:

Next I updated the Amazon MP3 for Android App on my Droid 2 and Motorola Xoom, signed in using my Amazon ID and password and within second, I was listening to the music I uploaded from my iTunes Library.

At least on my Xoom, I’m also able to Download songs locally for offline listening. I haven’t found this option on my Droid 2 but perhaps I just haven’t played with it long enough.

I’m very impressed with the implementation and the ease with which I have access to my music and plan on purchasing music through Amazon.com going forward instead of the iTunes Store.

I highly recommend you give these services a try and please let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

A quick Review of Mobile Payments via Square

March 15, 2011

My wife, who designs and sells jewelry to friends and family is now a walking Etsy.com thanks to the Square card reader.

Being the Techie husband that I am, I signed her up for a Square Card Reader for her Droid 2 smartphone and sure enough, the small device arrived in about three days, with a simple card that reads “You are ready to accept credit cards.”

I then installed the Square Android app on her phone and through the www.squareup.com site, I linked the card reader to her bank account, which was later verified through a couple of small deposits.

These steps completed the setup and we were now able to test the device by charging one of my cards.

Accepting payments could not be easier and more well thought-out than this. You plug in the device into your headphone jack, enter the amount, swipe the card and even use the camera to take a picture of the item you are selling, have the buyer sign using their finger and the payment is complete.

Well almost. The buyer can also get a receipt via email, which in my opinion is a brilliant marketing move from Square, because the receipt includes among other things a Google map of where the transaction took place, a picture of the item if one was taken, and more importantly for Square, a simple link to sign up for one of these card reader, as illustrated here:

Finally able to take screenshots on Motorola Xoom and Droid 2

March 13, 2011

I’m still very new to the world of Android but I continue to be very impressed with my findings having come from an iPhone and later an iPad. Having said that, the one thing that puzzles me is the inability to take screenshots on my Droid 2 and Motorola Xoom out of the box.

I read somewhere that this is coming soon in a future Android update. However, until then there is a workaround through the Android SDK and without Rooting your devices. I have been playing with these steps for a couple of days with no luck, until this morning when I discovered that I also needed to download USB drivers from the MOTODEV site.

In case you are interested, here are the sites that helped me get this to work:

Best of luck and here’s my very first screen shot from my Motorola Xoom:

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