Posts Tagged ‘Android


Android Update Delays Explained

androidpit-nexus-4-bootloaderSmartphones can be so neat because new features come out constantly.  Unfortunately, sometimes we are stuck waiting for system updates to get those features on our current phones.  Why does it take so long for them to get to us?  The site Android Pit has published a very good article lending some sense to the delays.

Basically, the Android change which starts at Google has to go to the phone manufacturer to be updated for your device and then to your cellular carrier for their updates to make sure it functions properly on their network.  All three of those parties have programers trying to make new stuff that they can get paid for, so you can imagine that your year old phone will take a back seat to writing new things for new devices they want to get paid for.  Your device will bring no new money to them, so guess who gets thrown on the back burner.

Before you get too dejected, some new features really don’t work that well on older phones.  Sometimes enabling the cool new feature or compatibility drives your performance, stability, or battery life down the tubes.  So be careful what you wish for.  Choose your updates wisely, both the software, and when you might want to replace the device.


Desktop Control of Your Smartphone

iogear-keyshair30-300x211I’ve used Airdroid for years to use my desktop or laptop to control my phone.  I find the keyboard and mouse much easier than fumbling with my thumbs when I’m at a desk.  Airdroid can be a hassle and a possible security concern though.  That’s why when I saw a review of the IOGear KeyShair it caught my eye.

The KeyShair looks like a flashdrive, but it acts like a KVM (a device that lets you use one keyboard, mouse, and video to control multiple computers).  You plug the small device into a USB port, run the software, pair the bluetooth with your phone and you can then toggle between your keyboard and mouse controlling your smartphone or your computer.  In fact it can flip between four devices if need be.  So instead of fumbling with your phone to reply to a text, you’d look over at your phone screen, press a hot-key on your computer and start controlling the phone with your mouse and smoothly enter your reply text at your keyboard.

Maybe I’m just showing my age, but if you can fly on the computer and are derailed switching to the mobile device constantly, check out the IOGear KeyShair microsite and see if this might be a solution you appreciate as well.


Android Trick to Add Number Row to Keyboard

keyboard_number_0One of the great things about Android is that you can customize the various components to fit your particular habits.  It has done this better than iOS for years.  While iOS8 finally let’s iPhone users pick a custom keyboard, most are not free, nor do any I could find have an on-screen keyboard with a dedicated number row above the qwerty keyboard.  Switching from the letter to number screen has always been a pain, especially when entering passwords or trying to fire off a quick text.

The Google Keyboard is free in the Play Store and has customizable views and Swype capabilities.  Once you’ve seen the speed of “swyping” words instead of pecking individual letters, you’ll never go back.  Of course you don’t lose the ability to speak your type as well with the microphone key.

Customize away with the instructions here: How to add a dedicated number row to Google Keyboard – AndroidPIT.

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