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Archive for the 'My Android Tips' Category

Starbucks for Android

Ok, so no, you can’t drink Starbucks from their Android mobile app, but you can do almost everything else.  Reload your Starbucks Card, track your Stars in the My Starbucks Rewards program and manage your Starbucks account, all from the app’s simple interface. 

All you have to do is enter your Starbucks Card number and your Android phone becomes your Starbucks Card.  NICE!

Your Android phone or tablet will display a barcode you can use as your Starbucks Card to make purchases. It’s fast and easy, and you get to be really hip and cool. 

According to the company, this Mobile Pay option is available at 6,800 company-operated Starbucks stores including all of the Starbucks in Target stores in the United States.

You can check a specific store by using the Store Locator  on the Starbucks web site and selecting the Mobile Payment filter.

This is GREAT for me on trips because I don’t always want to take my full set of cards with me while I’m on the road.  Now while I’m heading to Cornerstone Festival or the International Christian Retail Show, I can stop into Starbucks on the fly and still have my hot Chai with soy and no water, or iced Chai with soy and half ice count toward my Rewards points, which right now means I’m getting my soy for free with every cup. 

Pick this up in the Android App Market. It’s free.

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Android Mobile APP Rec: GasBuddy

GasBuddy is a must have app for your Android, or really any smart phone.  This is a great crowdsource app that takes pools together gas pricing reports from everyone running the app.  Of course you get to report on prices at stations where you are as well,  if you want to do so. 

I have found this app to be invaluable as I’m searching for gas stations in whatever area I’ve travelled to, or even just around my house. From the app home screen, you can search for prices by entering either a city or a zip code, or you can find gas stations near you using your phone’s GPS location.

When you start a search, you are presented with a default display of the locations nearest to you, sorted by distance.  You can also press “Sort By Price” which will rearrange the list in order of the cheapest option, or “Map View”, which brings up a Google Map view of your location and places detailed icons representing the location of the different stations on the map.

Pressing an individual station gives you further details, including the different services and amenities offered.

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Hootsuite Unable to Send to LinkedIn

We switched from Tweetdeck to Hootsuite Pro for our team to handle social media postings.  Tweetdeck is excellent and I still highly recommend it for any individual person who needs a great free solution to manage their social media across all the key outlets. Tweetdeck won’t work if you need more than one person in your process. We switched to Hootsuite Pro because we needed to have our team all in one system. Having been a longtime Tweetdeck user, I have preferred it over the free version of Hootsuite.  The cost for Hootsuite Pro is very reasonable, though their mobile app for Android is a bit week and doesn’t allow me to post to as many outlets as my combination of Ping.fm and Seesmic did previously on my Blackberry. I also do miss Tweetdeck’s ability to handle Twitter posts longer than 140 characters through their Deck.ly partnership.  Still, the move to Hootsuite has been good, and we needed it for our expanded social media team to work together.

I found that my posts to LinkedIn were “randomly” not making it through.  Having been trained by Twitter to think that means there has been another site outage, I lived with it for a bit. Then I realized that I was logged directly into LinkedIn AND still saw posts not make it from Hootsuite to LinkedIn.  

After some research, it turns out there is a glitch in Hootsuite for LinkedIn.  You can’t post anything that has a “&” symbol in it!  That’s a pretty major problem when feeding your Twitter posts to LinkedIn because every & saves you 2 characters toward your 140 limit! Other symbols maybe affected as well, but so far I’ve only seen this happen with the “&” symbol.  I tested this with the very commonly used “#” symbol, and that seems to have posted just fine. I contacted Hootsuite for a comment or update on the problem, and will let you know what I hear, if they fess up to it. 

If you’re a current Hootsuite user, have you run into any other characters that glitch like this? 

For other users, what are you using to manage your social media via your computer and your phone?

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Android Mobile APP Rec: Swype

Here’s one of the Android mobile APPS I now can’t live without: Swype.  

It took very little time for me to get the hang of using this keyboard that allows you to slide you finger over letters in one fluid motion without picking up your finger once!  Either I’m getting better at it, or it’s starting to recognize things I’ve Swyped in the past.  I am amazed at how imprecise my fingers can be, and still Swype nails what I was trying to “type” in (no pun inten.   It is now pre-installed on many Android phones these days, and is gaining in popularity.  It has been amazingly fast in getting text into my Samsung Galaxy S G4.  

 The only thing better is text to speech recognition, and I’m looking into that.  What apps are your favorites?

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Angry Birds for Android Validates the Free, Ad Supported Model for Mobile, plus you just have to play the game.

Angry Birds

The first mobile app game that I recall hearing about from everyone, everywhere was Angry Birds on the iPhone.  It is still one of the hottest games on mobile, and when Rovio released it in the Android Market for free, it didn’t take long before the app topped the million downloads mark back in Oct 2010.  More recently, Rovio released Angry Birds Seasons, further deepening their massive following on Android. With these latest versions of the free game, the CEO of Rovio, Peter Vesterbacka, has said, “By end of year, we project earnings of over $1 million per month with the ad-supported version of Angry Birds.”  Google is getting a piece of that revenue pie because the ads in Angry Birds are provided by Google-owned Admob.

I’ve played the game (ok, I’ve really played the game ALOT, as in every extra minute spent waiting somewhere) on my Samsung Galaxy S G4, and even at the 4.0 screen size, I didn’t find the ads to be overly intrusive in something I’m spending a total of many hours playing for free. I also have yet to click an ad, but I’ve been in Advertising/Marketing for about 20 years … I don’t click a lot of ads other than to see what the campaign might look like. 

Angry Birds is a HUGE success. With the expected expansion of both Android and tablets, ad revenue still has massive room to grow.  So just to ask, is anyone still wondering if the free/ad-supported model can work?

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Flash 10.2 Arrives on Android OS and to Tablets

Adobe just released Flash Player 10.2 for Android, making Android phones and tablets equipped to play Flash content on web sites.  This also signals that Flash will be integrated for Android 3.0.1 Honeycomb, Google’s OS for tablets. According to Adobe, while Flash 10.2 for Android provides performance enhancements that improve the mobile experience, the main push behind this update is to bring Flash to tablets like the Motorola Xoom.  Flash 10.2 for Android 2.2, 2.3 and 3.0.1 is available for download in the Android Marketplace.

This is a BIG deal for the mobile world and the web. Apple’s Steve Jobs has been very public about his dislike of Flash as a technology and as every iPhing user knows, by leaving it out of Apple’s iPhone and iPad world.  Since Flash is a competitive product that takes away market share from Apple’s QuickTime, I personally wonder if his decision is more about competition than technological concern.  It’s a major problem for the many, many web sites which use Flash’s advantages in file size to stream video, or use Flash for attractive enhancements to their sites. 

It will be interesting to see how this plays out for Jobs and Apple as Google continues to move toward a leading position in mobile OS, especially outside the U.S. market.   For tablets as a whole, I’m still waiting for the right combination of functions that will make the tablet a great business tool.  I think we’re getting closer.  I’m excited by the potential I see in Motorola’s Xoom and Asus’ Eee Slate. If you haven’t seen the Eee Slate, you should definitely stop by the Microsoft Store and play with it a bit.  I’m looking forward to being able to equip our staff with the right tablets.

For those who follow me regularly, you know I’ve finally converted my mobile experience from Blackberry to Android with the new Samsung Galaxy S 4G.  I’ll be posting tips on Android as I run across cool stuff and solutions. 

You may also remember that we took eight iPads on the road with My Broken Palace, our non-profit, to 14 festival events in the Summer of 2010 to do data capture in our booth.  As a now former iPad owner, I found the absence of Flash to be extremely annoying in my iPad browsing experience. I also couldn’t live with being confined to Apple’s world for video options and some of the key software we use here at FrontGate Media and My Broken Palace. I had difficulties with  the iPad support for PDFs as well, though I think they will fix that in later versions of the OS, if it’s not already fixed.    We eBay’d the iPads at the end of Summer.

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