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February 14th, 2013

AndroidPhone_Feb13_COf the two major mobile operating systems, Android is heralded as being more open, as you have access to the phone operating system code. Users are encouraged to tinker with their phones by installing apps that make their phone unique to them. While there are a number of ways to tailor the OS, users are fairly limited at managing phone calls and texts.

If you are looking for an app to better manage your calls and texts, check out Sanity.

Sanity has a number of excellent features Android users, and people who get a lot of calls, will find useful. Some of these include:

  • Record a call - If you are constantly using your phone for business, or talking with clients and would like a way to remember what was said, this app allows you to record phone calls. They will be stored as a format that can be read by computers and phones alike. Of course, you will want to let the caller know that the conversation is being recorded.
  • Caller or SMS announcement - Sometimes you are in a place where you can't look at your screen to see who is calling before answering. This app has a feature that will speak the name of the caller, so you know who it is on the other end. This feature also works for text messages, and will say the name of the text sender.
  • The ability to block calls and SMS - If you keep getting telemarketers calling you, or spam texts, you can create a blocked call and SMS list which the app will not allow through.
  • Urgent call list - There are likely one or two people that you always answer the phone for, and if your phone is on silent, you could miss their call. With Sanity you can create an urgent call list that will ignore current phone settings and allow the phone to ring (only for people on the urgent call list).
  • Automatic answer and loudspeaker - If you are driving, on a train, or in a situation where you can't otherwise answer your phone, Sanity can be set up to automatically answer your calls. You can also configure it to turn on loudspeaker automatically as well.
The interesting thing about this app is that almost every feature has advanced options that allow you to really tailor your phone's calling and SMS features. There are a nearly endless amount of ways you can use the app, and employees or business owners who use Android devices will definitely benefit from it, if they want more control over their calls and texts.

The best thing is, the app is free, although if you like it, you can chose to donate to the developer. If you're interested in learning more about Sanity, you can download it from the Google Play store here, or you can get in touch with us. We would be happy to discuss how Android devices can make your day easier.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Mobile
February 6th, 2013

When it comes to the modern phone systems many organizations and companies use there's a high chance that you will often call a number and have to go through an automated switchboard. This is a waste of time, especially if you already know the extension of the person you want to talk to. iPhone users have a way they can get past these systems and talk to the intended person quicker.

Here's how you can add number extensions to your iPhone contacts:

  1. Open Contacts and either press the '+' for a new contact, or select the contact's number you would like to add the extension to and press Edit.
  2. Enter the new contact's normal number without the extension under the Mobile, Work or Home field. If you are editing a contact's number, press on the number you would like to edit and tap on the end of the number.
  3. Press the '+*#' button located at the bottom-left of the dial pad.
  4. Select Wait. You'll notice a ';' at the end of the number.
  5. Add the contact's extension. It should look something like this: 123-123-4567;321 (if the contact has a three digit extension).
  6. Press Done and the contact's number will be saved or updated.
If the number was entered correctly, you should see a secondary button under the contact information when you call that person. It will say something like Dial-321. Pressing this after the line has engaged will dial the extension and connect you to that person. This is useful if you don't know how long you will have to wait to be able to dial the extension, but you will have to hit the Dial button on your phone to enter the extension.

You can automate this further by replacing the semicolon (;) with a comma (,). The comma tells the switchboard to pause, and then enter the number after the comma. This will often connect you directly to the person without having to press an extra button. The number should look something like this: 123-123-4567,321

If you use an iPhone for your business communication and call clients who are behind switchboards this is a nifty time-saving feature. For more information on how the iPhone can help power your business, please contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Mobile
February 1st, 2013

One of the major selling points of the iPad, and any Apple product for that matter, is ease of use. Most people, regardless of their tech experience, can pick an iPad up and figure it out within minutes. Many business owners and managers are finding that the iPad fits well into day-to-day operations, mainly because of a wealth of apps. One great app allows users to manage files stored on various cloud storage services with ease.

Readdle Documents is an app for iPad users that acts as a central platform that connects with cloud storage providers like Dropbox, Box, iCloud, Drive, etc. and allows users to keep their multiple services organized.

What exactly is Documents? Documents is an app that enables users to manage their various cloud services. This robust app also allows users to view Word documents, PDFs, listen to music and watch video stored on various services directly in the app.

The functionality doesn't stop there however, as you can also copy files from one service and move them to another directly in the app. No more having to download files from one and upload to another. You can also use this app to save web pages for reading at a later date, which could be useful if you are going to be away from data or Wi-Fi for an extended period of time.

There is one downside to the app: You can't edit documents. If you need to edit a document you have to do so in the app the document is stored in.

Will businesses benefit? If you use multiple cloud storage apps in your business, the Documents app will be beneficial in helping you access and manage files on the go. At best, this is an organizational tool to help make accessing files easier. One really positive element of this app that many businesses owners will like is that it's free. Another benefit is that you also have the option to password protect files.

While this app might be free, if you don't use cloud storage services this probably isn't the best app for you. However, there are enough features to benefit users of cloud services, making this app potentially valuable.

How do I get the app? Documents is available on the Apple App Store. Once you have downloaded the app onto your iPad, start it up and you'll be able to add your cloud services by clicking on Network (located on the left-hand menu) and selecting the service you use. Input your account information and you should be ready to go.

If you would like to learn more about Documents, or how the iPad can fit into your business, get in touch with us. We are happy to sit down with you and tell you more!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Mobile
January 30th, 2013

When it comes to choice, most people are of two viewpoints: Less is more, and more is better. These two perspectives can be transferred over to mobile platforms. Those who want less choice could chose Apple devices, while those who want more choice could go with Android. Those who pick Android will have likely heard of the Nexus line and wondered what exactly it is, and why some treat it as so special.

To begin with, devices labeled with Nexus are Google branded phones and tablets made by different manufacturers that often come in different sizes. Below is a brief overview of the different types of Nexus devices, how they differ from other Android devices based on hardware and software, plus how to buy them.

Nexus devices As noted above: Nexus devices carry the Google brand. Flip one over and you will see the Google logo featured prominently on the back. What this means is that in countries like the US and Canada, the device is sold through Google's website. Google does not manufacture these devices, instead relying on companies like Samsung, Asus and LG to produce them.

There are currently three Nexus devices available from the Google store: The Nexus 4 - a 4-inch smartphone made by LG; Nexus 7 - a 7-inch tablet made by Asus; and the Nexus 10 - a 10-inch tablet made by Samsung. You can still find older devices like the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S, etc. available from a variety of different cell providers.

Nexus hardware Google views the release of a specific Nexus device as what Android devices should be. This means they have near top-of-the-line components and are often considered high-end when they are released. It's easy to think of the them as the benchmark - hardware wise - for the other Android devices, up to a year after the release.

Because of the large number of manufacturers turning out Android tablets and phones, you can bet that any device, Nexus included, will soon be surpassed by another in a matter of months. However, most tablets are powerful enough that users often don't notice the difference, so there's really no need to worry about bigger and better with the Nexus - at least not for a year or two.

Nexus software Where the Nexus models excel is software. Google's Android OS is now in it's eleventh version, yet most users are still using devices with versions from 2011 and 2012. This fragmentation happens largely because manufacturers apply their own OS layout that needs to be updated when Google releases a new version of Android. This can take months.

Nexus machines receive OS updates a few days to a month after Google releases them. This means that for at least two years they will be running the latest version. These devices also don't have custom layouts, so you get a 'pure' Android experience, or as Google calls it 'Vanilla Android'.

In other words, if you want a device that runs the latest and greatest software and OS, Nexus is the way to go.

Buying a Nexus As Nexus devices are considered high-end, you might think that the devices come with a high-end cost too. That's not 100% true though. For example, the Nexus 7 tablet is sold at cost (USD$199 for the 8GB version). In comparison, the iPad Mini starts at over USD$300. In general, Nexus devices retail at an affordable cost for the intended market. If you are looking for a high-end Android tablet, the Nexus is one of the best value devices on the market.

That being said, if you have a set budget, and aren't worried about a device running the latest and greatest version of Android, you shouldn't feel pressured to get a Nexus. There are many Android devices out there that could meet your needs and budget. Not to mention that almost all apps on the Google Play store will run on a large variety of devices, so you can still access the same apps.

If you have your heart set on a Nexus then check out the Nexus store. For those who can't access this, many big electronics stores also offer the devices, often at the same price as the Google store. To learn more about Android and your business, why not give us a shout? We'll be happy to sit down and have a chat.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Mobile
January 17th, 2013

The calendar has rolled over and for many it's time to look forward. 2013 is a promising year for tech, especially in the mobile field. Towards the end of 2012, Google's mobile platform Android appeared to be growing and increasing in popularity. Many users who will be replacing older phones this coming year are curious as to how Android is actually doing, and an increasing number of them may well make the switch. So what state is Android in for the year ahead?

Here's a spotlight on Android at the beginning of 2013.

Distribution by the numbers Since 2009 there have been 11 different major versions of the OS released, with the current being 4.2 (Jelly Bean). As of January 3, 2013, the percentage of devices (according to Google) using the two versions of Jelly Bean is around 10.5%.

Looking at the numbers, 4.1 (Ice Cream Sandwich) has slightly over 29% of total users, while 2.3 (Gingerbread) has nearly 48% of users. In other words, nearly half of Android users still use an OS from 2010 - Gingerbread was released in 2010 with a major update in February 2011.

These numbers come from the Android developer's website, and offer an interesting snapshot into the more technical side of the OS. Overall, they show a fragmented market. Compare it to previous figures however, and you can see that the gap is slowly closing. It is highly unlikely though that Android will see Apple-like iOS version adoption rates anytime soon.

This fragmentation does hamstring users a bit, as many manufacturers are slow to release updates and some carriers block updates completely. On the upside, it forces developers to develop apps that are compatible with different OS versions to get the most users possible.

Apps, apps and more apps! Many users view Apple's App store as superior. While it's true that developers often release their apps for Apple users first, this is changing, with many developers now releasing apps simultaneously on both platforms.

In fact, back in October, Google Play (Android's app store) pulled even with Apple's App store - both stores have about the number of apps available, and according to The Sociable will have one million apps before Apple does.

A quick view of the Google Play store shows that many of the most popular iPhone apps are also available for Android, making the "Apple has better apps debate" less of a moot point.

What this means for the phone buyer in 2013 Android is currently in a bit of a conundrum: Developers are hesitant to invest in high-quality apps because of a lower usage rate compared with Apple, while users are hesitant to buy because of a perceived lack of high quality apps and lack of update support.

Google started to make steps in 2012 to turn this around. One of the major steps was the release of the Nexus tablet line. The Nexus 7, a 7 inch tablet, was released at more than USD$100 cheaper than the iPad and has seen fantastic sale rates. Similarly, Samsung released the S III which gives the iPhone a serious run for its money. Beyond that, features released in Jelly Bean make the OS more user friendly.

Combine this with the momentum of Google Play and the growing number of quality apps, and you already have a viable platform. If you are worried about the lack of updates you do have options. One of the more popular ones is to purchase a Google Nexus product. This is Google's 'Vanilla Android' and receives OS updates within a few days of their release, not to mention that the hardware is top of the line at release.

If you are in the market for a new phone this year, Android device is a great choice. To learn more about how you can integrate Android into your daily routine, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Mobile
January 4th, 2013

One of the biggest tech trends from 2012 was the growth of tablets and more specifically, Android tablets. It's a pretty sure thing that this trend will continue in 2013 as more tablets and mobile devices in general are purchased. With the increase in mobile devices the idea of advertising to users through mobile advertising has become feasible for companies of any size. The issue is finding a company that can help you reach your intended audience.

One of the easiest ways to get in on the mobile advertising boom is through the use of mobile ad networks. There are over 150 available, serving more than 10 different niches. This will likely grow exponentially over the next few years as the demand for mobile marketing and the number of mobile devices continue to grow.

Sure, mobile advertising is the next big thing, but how do I figure out A. who the companies offering services are, and B. what companies offer what services? To help answer this question, mobyaffialiates has recently posted an infographic/map of which companies offer which form of mobile ad services.

This is an interesting infographic because you can click on the names of the companies to be taken to an overview of what each company does and the regions/areas they work in. It's definitely worth a look if your company is interested in launching a mobile advertising campaign. Some companies even offer ad development, so this could be your key to a successful campaign.

With the increasing number of Android tablets in use, it may be time to look into a more unique, (for now), form of advertising. If you'd like to learn more about mobile advertising, please contact us, as we may have a solution for you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Mobile
December 20th, 2012

In today's world, individualism is striven for and encouraged. If this is true then why do all of our mobile devices essentially look the same on the outside? From Apple to Samsung, they all look similar. This has led to users expressing themselves through their home screens and apps. Admittedly, this is a lot easier on an Android device, it just takes a bit of tinkering.

Here's how you can customize your home screen. Please be aware that this article is written for devices running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and later. Older versions are similar, and differences have been noted where needed.

Wallpaper it up Android offers three different ways to customize your wallpaper/background:

  1. Gallery: This option allows you to pick a picture you have taken and apply it as your phone's wallpaper. The images can be stored on your phone's memory, cloud albums or Picasa/Google+ account.
  2. Wallpaper: If you don't have any pictures in your Gallery, or prefer to use one provided by the manufacturer you can select this option. Note, the wallpapers available to you will be different depending on what company made the phone.
  3. Live Wallpapers: Live Wallpapers are similar to Wallpapers - they are made by the phone's manufacturer - but these have been animated. For example, there's one that simulates water drops in a pond when you tap the screen.
Whatever you set as your background will be synced with your Google account, and should transfer to any other Android device you sign into using the same account. If you chose a device specific background, these won't transfer over. To set the background navigate to an empty home screen on your device and press and hold on the screen. You should be given the option to change the background which will be applied to all of your device's home screens. Note: This will vary depending on the manufacturer.

Folders: I choose you On most Android phones, the apps you download and install are accessed through the App Drawer. You can create shortcuts to these apps which can be placed on the home screens for quick access. This can be done by opening your App Drawer (usually a grey circle with six squares) finding the app you want, then pressing and holding it for a second or two. The App Drawer will close and you will be able to place the icon on the home screen.

You can move icons around on the home screen by pressing and holding them until the phone vibrates, then moving them where you want. Moving to either side of the screen will switch to the home screen to the left or right. You can also put similar app icons into folders by picking one and dragging it on top of the other. These apps will be placed into a folder, which can be renamed if you open the folder and press on the name.

Widgets and icons

A major part of the 'Android experience' is widgets. Widgets are essentially small apps that often show important information. For example, there's the Gmail widget that will show your new emails right on the home screen. There are a ton of widgets, and many apps have widgets as well.

To access widgets press the App Drawer icon and select Widgets from the top of the screen. Pick the widget you like, long-press on the icon and drag it to where you would like it to go on your home screen. On older versions of Android, you can press on a blank part of any home screen and a list should pop-up, allowing you to add widgets.

If you can't find a widget on your phone, a quick search of the Google Play store will return lots of widgets. After you download and install them, they should be in the Widgets section of the App Drawer. You just have to drag and drop them onto the home screen.

These are just three ways to customize your Android device's home screen, in fact, there are many more ways to customize your phone. One of the more popular ways is to install launchers. Launchers are programs that emulate another Android device's home screen. Say you have an HTC device, but don't like the look of the home screens, you can install a launcher to completely change it. One of the most popular launchers is Go Launcher which allows you to install themes, new layouts and even new buttons.

For some great examples of just how customizable Android's layout is, you should check out LifeHacker's Featured Home Screen page. What's your favorite layout? Let us know.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Mobile
December 12th, 2012

The usefulness of smartphones in modern business settings is undeniable. It's hard to imagine how we would function without these handy devices. While they are great, there are a few common gripes, one of which is the keyboard. iPhone users have noted that the keyboard is solid, but it does take a while for new users to get used to.

Here are four tip to make the typing experience better on your iPhone.

1. Lock caps lock - While the use of capital letters while typing is generally frowned upon, there are times when you need to type more than one letter in a row in caps. Most users will hit the caps button (upward pointing arrow) on the keyboard, type a letter and then hit it again to type another in caps. You can lock the keyboard in caps mode by double tapping the caps lock button. You'll notice the key turns blue, indicating caps lock is on. When you are finished, tap it once to turn it off. 2. Turn off auto-correct - We've all seen the funny and sometimes embarrassing texts blamed on auto-correct. While useful when getting used to typing on the iPhone, it can be more of a hindrance than a help after you've gotten the hang of it. You can turn auto-correct off by selecting Settings, followed by General, Keyboard and finally setting Auto-Correction to Off. 3. Long-press keys for more options - At first glance, the iPhone's keyboard is a little sparse with many of the standard keys beyond the letters and number keys missing. They are still there, however but just not labeled. With many keys, a long-press on the key will bring up a number of different options and other keys. For example: a long-press on the A key will bring up different letters associated with a, or a long press on ? will bring up the option to use an inverted question mark or an exclamation point. Play around with the keys, and you'll soon see a ton of different typing options emerge. 4. Stop typing .com - Did you know that you don't have to always type .com, .net or .org? In certain places, the iPhone will put it in for you. For example, when you are typing a web address on the browser, you can do a long-press on the . to get a pop-up of a whole bunch of dot something endings. This will also work in the email To, CC and BCC: fields.

The above tips are just a few ways to make it easier to type on the iPhone. Do you have another typing tip? Let us know; or, if you would like to learn more, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Mobile
December 6th, 2012

Tablets are really starting to come into their own. They are great for users who need to take their business on the road and don't want to be tied down to bulky laptops. The one tablet that's proved to be the catalyst to this movement is the iPad. One of the main reasons for this is due to the sheer number of apps, especially productivity related, that help users do their job.

Here's some useful apps for the iPad that can help boost your productivity.

Document compatibility It's highly likely that your office uses a document production program that isn't made by Apple - Microsoft Office. Using another program to create documents and then spending time formatting on your work computer isn't a great productivity booster, but there are options.

If you do use Microsoft Office the iPad kind of supports Office documents through Apple's iWork. iWork does support Office files, however formatting and other things like fonts normally won't transfer over. This can be counter-productive.

While there will be a version of Microsoft Office heading to the iPad sometime in early 2013 (no set date yet), you're likely better off purchasing an app like Documents to Go which allows users to open, edit and create Office documents.

If you aren't doing serious work on the iPad and just need it for mobile document production, you can skip paying for an app and instead sign up for an outlook.com or Office 365 account. Doing so will give you access to cloud based versions of Word, PowerPoint, OneNote and Excel.

Not a Microsoft fan? There's also Google Drive. It's not 100% compatible with Microsoft Office  though as many functions and formatting won't transfer over properly. However, with solid word, spreadsheet and presentation programs it's a great option for Google users.

Notes Because of the iPad's size, it's a perfect tool to take notes on. There are literally hundreds of different note apps available for the iPad, some are great, others lack functionality. One of the most consistent is Evernote. Evernote is available for nearly every system, so a note made on your iPad can be accessed on your computer, iPhone, Android Device or even BlackBerry.

Evernote really excels when you need to take simple notes. There's also a number of excellent  add-on apps like Penultimate - which allows you to take handwritten notes - which make it a nearly all-in-one solution. The best part is: The basic app is free.

Sharing files When you are mobile with the iPad, you will no doubt need to share files with users. There are many different ways you can do this. The easiest way is to use an app like Dropbox or SugarSync which allows you to upload files and share them when needed. While you can upload most programs or files, you won't be able to edit some of these.

How most of these work is that you put a copy of the app on your hard drive which is essentially a folder. When you put files/folders into this folder, they will be uploaded to the cloud and allow you to access the files/folders from any device you have installed the app on.

There are many other apps available that can help boost your productivity. Have you found some that you can't live without? Let us know.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Mobile
December 5th, 2012

Digital technology has advanced at an astounding pace; we now have computers that fit into a small device we can hold in our hands. Looking at this, it's kind of a shame to realize that we still rely on cords to charge devices and transfer data. If you have an Android tablet, there's an app that lets you send files from your PC to your tablet without a cord.

To wirelessly share files from your PC to your Android tablet without a cord, you can use the ES File Explorer File Management - available for free on the Google Play Store. This app does a lot more than allow you to share files from your PC, in fact it's main purpose is to access and maintain files on an Android device. There is a feature of this app which allows users to access files shared on their computer of a LAN - Local Area Network.

Here's how you can set this up: Note: The following steps are for computers running Windows 7.

Set up both devices

  1. Download and install the app on your Android tablet. It can be downloaded from here.
  2. Start the app on your device and go through the overview and brief tutorial.
  3. Navigate to the folder on your computer you would like to share with your device. You can also create a new folder on the desktop for files you want to access on your device.
  4. Right-click on the folder and select Add a network location.
  5. Click Next and a screen will display your computer's IP address which you can jot down. If your computer is the only one on the network, there's no need to do this, but if you have more than one, it's a good idea to write this address down. It should look something like 192.168.1.107 - the IP will differ, depending on the network.
  6. Set a Username and Password when you're given the option. Then click Finish. Note, if you don't set a username and password, anyone connected to the network will be able to access the folder.
Connect your Android device
  1. Connect your Android device to the same Wi-Fi network the computer is connected to.
  2. Select LAN in ES File Explorer on your Android device. It can be found by pressing the downward pointing blue arrow in the top-left side of the app.
  3. Press Search on the app. It will search and display a list of devices currently connected to the LAN.
  4. Tap the computer icon with the IP address that matches the one you jotted down above.
  5. Enter the username and password you established earlier and select Connect.
Using ES to transfer/view files After you have connected, you can tap on the icon again and you will be able to see the folder(s) you selected to share. To copy a file from your computer to your device:
  1. Tap and hold the file for a second or two to get a list of options.
  2. Press Copy to copy the file.
  3. Navigate to /sdcard/ - by flicking to the left/right on your device.
  4. Select the folder where you would like to place the file, and press and hold for a second until the menu comes up.
  5. Press Paste.
If you want to move a file from your Android tablet to your computer, you can navigate to it's location on the /sdcard/ section, then press and hold to select Copy and navigate to the LAN section. Select the folder, long-pressing on it and finally pick Paste.

There are many different apps out there that can help you integrate your Android tablet to your office. If you do choose to follow this method you should be aware that it may not be the most secure way to transfer files. It would be a good idea to contact us before you try this at the office, as we may have a solution for you that could make things even easier.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Mobile