Horse trading for an Nexus Android Tablet

July 7, 2012

At the Google I/O Conference it was announced that Google would be releasing their Nexus 7 Tablet (made by ASUS) this month. Going for a price of $199 US (8 GB storage) which is the same as the Amazon Kindle Fire, it would certainly be a big competitor to Amazon’s tablet. Both are roughly the same size with a 7″ screen, however, the Nexus 7 has updated hardware, quad core processor, higher resolution screen, and will run the latest revision of the Android OS (code name, “Jelly Bean”).

I noticed that the store called Gamestop will be selling the Nexus 7 tablet later this month, and you can pre-order this tablet either online at http://www.gamestop.com or in-person at their local brick store. One interesting offer by Gamestop, is that you can trade in specific electronic or gaming hardware for credit towards the purchase of a Nexus 7 tablet. And during the pre-order period, Gamestop will also give you an extra 30% on top of the value of your trade in hardware if you use it towards the purchase of the Nexus 7 tablet.

The specs on the Nexus 7 definitely beats out my current Kindle Fire (which I’ve rooted and installed a custom Android ROM), so I decided to look around my home office to see if I could trade in something to offset the purchase of the new Google tablet. As it turns out, I do have an Apple iPod Touch (64 GB) that I rarely use since purchasing my Kindle Fire last year. I also have a Blackberry Playbook Tablet that I received for free from RIM during a developer’s promotion. So I headed down to Gamestop to see what kind of deal I could make.

It seems Gamestop was not interested in my Playbook Android tablet at all, but they did have an eye on my Apple iPod Touch. In fact, my iPod Touch fetched a price of $203 US and with the extras 30% promotion the price rose to $265. I was amazed at the value of my little iPod Touch, but I guess Apple products really hold their value (worth their weight in gold!). Since Gamestop only sells the 16 GB version of the Nexus 7, the cost was $250 which was completely covered by my iPod Touch trade in (with extra to boot). So I made the deal and am waiting for my Nexus 7 tablet to ship later in August (in the 2nd wave of tablets for Gamestop).

The whole deal was really quick and painless, and Gamestop gave me the going rate for used iPod Touches (based on my research at ebay.com). So I’m very pleased with the transaction as it allows me to get the latest Google Tablet at no extra expense to me! If you’re in the market for a 7″ Android tablet, I highly suggest you go the same route I did at Gamestop. Now, I traded in an iPod, but you could certainly trade in an unused Nintendo Wii console, XBox, iPhone, iPad, or Sony game station.

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Netflix – Streaming video from the Internet

April 30, 2011

I’m just amazed at the quality of videos which you can stream from the Internet to your home PC monitor. For a lot of the YouTube Videos you can stream in “HD” mode and have very high resolution videos playing on your large computer monitor. This also works for online TV Shows from the different network web sites.

We currently are signed up on Netflix, which is a video streaming service that allows you to select and watch videos on your home PC. It’s a great service, as you can watch TV Shows and Movies from thousands of titles, with the cost being $7.99 US per month.

In addition to watching videos on a Internet connected computer monitor, you can also  stream videos to other portable devices. For example, I routinely watch videos from Netflix on my iPod Touch and iPhone 4 which is really convenient when I’m traveling on the road or while lying on the couch at night. In the past I did have a few issues with the video stream stalling for 1 or 2 minutes at times before continuing, and some large pixelation, but over the last week the video streaming has improved quite a bit. I’m not sure if the issue was with the Netflix’s servers, my Comcast internet connection, or the speed of my home WiFi router, but in any case the video playback performance has been very good lately.

My son’s Nintendo Gaming system has Netflix capability built-in, so we can stream videos from the Internet (his Wii is WiFi enabled) to our TV set very easily. We often use this option so he can watch children movies/shows on our TV when there’s nothing he likes on the cable channels. This option has worked flawlessly– just like watching a normal cable channel show. So with this setup, our main home TV can be used to watch any video available in the Netflix library.

Currently, I’ve been watching old episodes of the TV Series, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. The SyFy channel was playing a few of the episodes over the last few weeks on cable and then abruptly stopped. So to continue, I found them on Netflix and have been watching them every night. It’s really cool that I can watch whatever episode I want, whenever I want, and with no commercials!

So, this is definitely a good services if you like watching movies and TV shows and have a relatively fast Internet connection. So if you’re in a hotel, stuck at an airport, or just lying on the couch you can pull out your mobile device and begin watching whatever show suits your fancy!


The Verizon Apple iPhone

January 8, 2011

Looks like the Apple iPhone will be available on the Verizon network sometime at the end of this month. Hurray, Hurray! the iPhone is no longer restricted to the well-known crappy AT&T Wireless network, right? At least that’s what most people believe.

It seems to be common knowledge that the AT&T network is slow and just simply sucks, dropping calls and transferring Internet data at snail speeds. You hear that all the time, but after reading several forum postings I’m not too sure. It seems that a lot of AT&T users are reporting that their smartphones work great on the AT&T network, with no excessive dropped calls or slow data connections. Anecdotal comments are stating that it’s the Apple iPhone that is the culprit for the dropped calls and slow data transferring, not the network. The Android and WP7 phones work great on the AT&T network while the iPhones drop calls.

So with the iPhone soon to be appearing on the Verizon network, we’ll get a 2nd opinion. Verizon is regarded to having a good high-speed network, so if the iPhone exhibits the same dropped call performance as on the AT&T network, then there’s your smoking gun. If not, then I would concluded that the problem is with the AT&T network.

Also, I think it’s good to have the very popular iPhone available on multiple networks. It’s good for consumers and for Apple, Inc. I love using my iPod Touch (which is basically an iPhone without the phone), but for what I use it for it’s somewhat useless without a WiFi data connection. As such, I’m sure I’d really like using an Apple iPhone. So when the iPhone appears on the Sprint network, it will be a hard decision for me to get either an iPhone or a Windows Phone 7 device…

Update: One thing to note, is that with the AT&T Network you can do voice and data connections at the same time (so you could be talking with someone and then bring up Google maps or check your email at the same time). With Verizon, you can’t do this. You can only use one or the other. This is a big limitation with any CDMA network, so you’ll see the same restrictions on the Sprint network as well. So for some current iPhone users, this might be a big enough reason to not jump ship to Verizon.


Thumb board typing

January 2, 2011

I’m a keyboard touch typist (and that’s a physical keyboard) and I don’t do much thumb board typing. By that, I mean typing on a handheld device keyboard like a smartphone. If I had a choice over a real thumb board (with raised keys) or a virtual screen keyboard I would normally choose the physical raised keys. I guess that goes back to using a real physical keyboard with my desktop/laptop computer. Nevertheless, I always avoid typing emailsor messages on my Palm Pixi WebOS smartphone because I’m prone to spelling errors and being slow at pressing down the physical keys.

Lately I’ve been using my Apple iPod Touch for writing notes to myself and I’ve found the iPod’s virtual keyboard remarkable easy to use. It must be the auto corrective spelling checker on the iPod which corrects nearly all of my miss-spelled text. As such, I can really fly at typing messages on my iPod Touch making it totally acceptable and actually fun! It is amazing how quickly I can type text using the iPod Touch, making me a believer in virtual keyboards.

I do have to remember that the technology which I based this opinion may only apply to the Apple iPod and iPhone products, so typing correction may differ on other devices (like the Android and Windows Phone 7 devices). This really makes me want to get an iPhone when they are available on the Sprint network (hopefully not too far in the distant future).

FYI, I typed this entire posting on my iPod Touch using the WordPress app and it was effortless and quick using the virtual keyboard.


Angry Birds is everywhere!

December 28, 2010

Angry Birds is a game that seems to be everywhere these days. I originally heard about it for the Palm WebOS device, but learned later that it was available on nearly all mobile and smartphone devices. So, I decided last week to download the “lite” version on my Apple iPod Touch and give it a whirl.

The game involves a set of bird characters who are “angry” because some green pigs have stolen their eggs. To get back at these pigs, the birds are launched in a sling-shot by the player at the pigs to eliminate them. In each round of the game, the pigs are usually protected by wood or stone structure and you are limited to the number of birds you can use per round.

What’s interesting is that the game is physics-based, so the flying birds, wood beams, stone blocks, etc. all move in a very realistic fashion. The sound effects are good too, as well as the high-graphics. All-in-all I’ve found the game to be pretty good, and I’ve got it loaded on my Palm Pixi WebOS phone as well. Now, I usually don’t play games on my iPod Touch or Pixi phone other than the simple Sudoku or Solitaire card games. I’ve learned that playing a high-graphics game like Angry Birds really zaps my battery big time. It seems that after playing Angry Birds for about 1-hour my iPod Touch’s battery goes from a full charge down to 20%, so it is apparent that the physics-based game must really tax the CPU. What’s amazing, is that I can watch 3 or 4 hours worth of videos on my Touch and still have 50% or more battery life, but 1 hour of Angry Bird game playing just drains my battery.

So if you want a challenging (and addictive) game to play on your mobile device, check out Angry Birds. I went ahead and purchased the full version (for 99 cents) for my iPod Touch which provides many more levels and rounds, which is a bargain considering what you’re getting. My wife has Angry Birds loaded on her Android phone, and I’m sure it’s available on the Blackberry as well. Just be aware, that you shouldn’t play Angry Birds on a plane trip without an AC charger nearby afterwards!