10 Amazing Technologies That Are Coming Soon

Last updated: January 5, 2014

You won’t believe how much technology is going to change in the next few years. I’m not talking about incremental changes like faster processors or better screens. I’m talking about major new changes in the way you interact with your computer and mobile devices.

1. Perceptual Computing

Right now the only way to interact with most personal computers is using a keyboard and mouse. In the future, your computer will respond to sight, sound, smell, touch, temperature and more.

Gesture recognition technologies are moving from game consoles to computers and getting more advanced along the way

Gesture recognition technologies are moving from game consoles to computers and getting more advanced along the way

Sight – Your next computer or mobile device will automatically unlock its screen after recognizing your face. But that’s just the beginning, it will have a front-facing 3D camera that can recognize gestures and track all ten of your fingers. This will allow you to interact with things on the screen without needing a mouse. Imagine using your fingers to open a virtual door in a video game. This, and much more will be possible. These cameras can detect whether you like what you’re smiling, and use that to insert emoticons automatically. It’s even possible to track eye movement and use that to move an onscreen cursor. Eventually these cameras may even be able to tell whether you like what you’re seeing, and change what you are viewing when you don’t. Pretty cool. This technology will first be available as low-cost add-on for your personal computers, but eventually will be incorporated into tablets and smartphones.

Status: Some Android phones and Dell computers support face screen unlock today. Creative sells a 3D camera that does many of the things described here when used with a new Intel SDK. Samsung’s Galaxy S IV will be the first smartphone to use eye movement to scroll.

Soon you'll be controlling your computer, television and home appliances with your voice

Soon you’ll be controlling your computer, television and home appliances with your voice

Sound – Your next laptop could have voice-recognition capabilities that reduce the need for a keyboard and mouse. You’ll be able to use your voice to log-in and do many other things. Of course your computer will talk to you as well. Later this year, some Android smartphones will start listening all of time — even when your phone is in standby. That means you will be able to interact and control your phone from across the room without pressing a single button. Worried about privacy and battery life? Don’t. This feature will use very little power and you can disable it at any time.

Status: Dell already sells computers with voice-recognition support. They let you interact with Google, Facebook and Twitter using your voice. Phones like the Samsung Galaxy S III automatically take a photo when you say the word “smile.”

In the future your phone could tell you when you have bad breath

In the future your phone could tell you when you have bad breath

Smell – Small sensors are available today which are capable of detecting odors. Some are used for breathalyzers, others sniff out poisonous gases. They can even detect bad breath. Although you won’t find them in a mobile device, special sensors can even detect some types of cancer. In the future your devices may emit odors on command as well. This feature could be used for games, movies or e-commerce.

Status: A odor emitter accessory is available for the iPhone today in Japan. Smell sensors are also available but no commercially-available smartphone has incorporated them yet.

Touch – Intel says we’ll be able to purchase touch-enabled ultra thin notebooks this year for less than $599. I hope Apple eventually adds touch-screen support to their laptops as well. Touch technology also allows you to feel vibrations on your screen. This technology is found in most Android mobile devices today, but should migrate to Apple mobile devices and PC computers soon.

Status: PC laptops and all-in-ones with touch-screens have been around for a long time however, many of them have been expensive.

Temperature, Location and Human-like Faces – Future laptops will have the same technology we take for granted in our mobile devices today including GPS systems, temperature sensors, a compass, barometers and accelerometers. They will also have avatars that look like humans. Imagine actually seeing the person behind the Siri-like voice and hearing a much more realistic sounding voice. Here’s a preview of what I’m talking about [scroll ahead to about 8:40].

2. Computational Photography

The cameras in our mobile devices will continue to evolve beyond higher megapixels. Larger sensors will take photos with reduced noise, greater dynamic range and better low-light performance. Future cameras will also have more internal processing and manipulation capabilities. This advanced computational photography will include HDR video, strobe-motion photos, higher-dynamic range photos and 3D image reconstruction.

Your phone will soon let you change perspective after a picture has been taken

Your phone will soon let you change perspective after a picture has been taken

Camera arrays are another exciting technology you’ll see soon in smartphones soon. Their use of multiple lenses will allow you to do amazing things which are not possible today like fixing an out of focus photo after you’ve taken it, or changing the focal point from one object to another like Lytro does today (dynamic aperture control). See this feature in action here.

Status: The Nokia Lumia 920 and new HTC One have larger sensors than other mobile cameras. Examples of computational photography found in today’s cameras include HDR photos and panoramic photos. The Samsung Galaxy S III goes beyond face-tracking and can detect whether people are smiling or not. It can also recognize who is in a photo.

3. Faster 4G LTE Data Speeds

SD_logo
There are some new buzzwords which are going to make 4G a lot more confusing. Next-generation mobile processors like the Snapdragon 800 have Category 4 modems with are capable of download speeds up to 150 Mbps. That’s 50% faster than the limits of today’s CAT3 4G devices, although some tests have shown it’s over 2x faster.
LTE_adv
Another term you’re going to hear about is LTE Advanced, where multiple radio channels and advanced antenna techniques are used to increase data speeds as high as 1 Gbps. Although this is a theoretical limit, expect real-world speeds up to 10 times faster than today’s LTE phones. The LTE Advanced standard is expected to be released later this year, but don’t expect see support for it right away.

4. Ultra HD

Blah

Ultra HD displays have 4x the resolution of current 1080p


If you think HD looks good, you’ll love Ultra HD even more because it has four times the resolution of current 1080p high-definition displays. Few people will be able to afford an Ultra HD TV by 2015, but there is a chance you will be able to afford a 4K Ultra HD tablet by then. In addition to a 3840×2160 pixel display, you need both hardware and software that supports the new HVEC (H.265) video compression standard if you want to play 4K video.

Status: Panasonic demonstrated a 4K tablet at CES last month, but it won’t be available anytime soon. Nokia and Qualcomm demonstrated Ultra HD playback on mobile devices at CES as well. Those chips will start appearing in products in the second half of 2013.

5. Gigabit Wireless

One of the new technologies I’m most excited about is gigabit wireless (802.11ac). How much faster is it than current 802.11n Wi-Fi speeds? Gigabit wireless is capable of maximum speeds over twice as fast as the current 450 Mbps limit. Of course real-world speeds are lower (about 150 Mbps), but they are still twice as fast as 802.11n speeds.

5th generation Wi-Fi is coming which is capable of gigabit speeds

5th generation Wi-Fi is coming which is capable of gigabit speeds

Why you need this: If you want to stream one (or more) 1080p videos at once over Wi-Fi without buffering, you need gigabit wireless. I sometimes turn off Wi-Fi on my phone when I’m areas with fast 4G because Wi-Fi is slower than 4G. That won’t be the case in the future.

What you’ll need to buy: In order to experience gigabit Wi-Fi speeds you’ll need to replace your current Wi-Fi router with a new 802.11ac router like this one. Keep in mind the standard is not finalized, so you’ll want to update your firmware after that occurs. You’ll also need a laptop or mobile device which supports gigabit Wi-Fi. You’ll see phones with gigabit wireless support available in the second half of this year.

802.11p

Car-to-car Wi-Fi is coming – Another Wi-Fi standard to watch for is 802.11p which allows cars to form a mesh network and communicate using Wi-Fi technology. Cars with this technology will be communicate with other cars and warn each other of upcoming hazards. Don’t expect to see cars with 802.11p this year however.

6. Eight-core Mobile Processors

Samsung and Huawei have been announced 8-core processors for mobile devices. Although this sounds impressive because it’s twice as many as you’ll find in a mobile device today, the jury is out on whether these first generation 8-core processors are really faster, or just a marketing gimmick. There are two problems with first gen 8-core CPUs: First, all cores do not run at the same speed. The first 8-core CPUs have 4 fast cores and 4 slower cores. Second, initially only 4 cores can be running at any given time. As a result, it appears the main benefit with these will be improved battery life, but it’s unclear whether it will be better than current quad-core processors which can scale down both voltage and frequency.

7. 64-bit Mobile Processors

Although the world reacted with amazement when Apple announced the iPhone 5s had a 64-bit mobile processor, ARM announced 64-bit mobile processors were coming nine months before Apple’s announcement. ARM claimed 64-bit processors would provide up to 3 times more processing power than today’s chips and be able to address much larger amounts of memory. This could help mobile processors to enter new markets like servers and high-end PCs. Back in January of 2013 I predicted “Although there doesn’t seem to be a strong reason to use these chips in smartphones today that doesn’t mean someone won’t try it as a marketing gimmick.”

8. Smaller, Faster, More Power Efficient Chips

– Before the iPhone 5s, Apple was still using a 45nm processor, while the best Android phones have been using 28nm processors for years. Intel already has 22nm chips for PCs and Intel, Early in 2014 Intel plans to release a 22nm mobile processor. Samsung, Qualcomm and others are working on 14nm and 20nm processors as well. It’s been said these new chips will be 60% more power efficient and 60% faster than today’s 28nm chips. 10nm processors might be available as soon as 2015.

9. Smarter TVs

– Samsung and others have announced smarter TVs that have face recognition, voice recognition, personalized home screens and more advanced remote controls. This is sometimes referred to as the “Your TV” concept. Expect more integration between social media. Also soon set top boxes may become optional as this technology either moves to the cloud or is embedded into your TV.

10. Curved and Flexible Screens

– Curved screens aren’t new to smartphones. At least four phones have had them — going all the way back to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Samsung Nexus S. Expect to see more curved screen smartphones to be released this year — along with curved screen TVs. Flexible screens have been demonstrated by Samsung and others for years and could be available before the end of 2014. They will be much more resistant to cracking than the screens we have today.

– Rick

Copyright 2013-2014 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.

Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

The True Cost of Owning An iPhone 5

The Huffington Post recently did a story on the true cost of purchasing a smartphone from your carrier. Although that article was based on the iPhone 5, other carrier-offered smartphones cost similar amounts.

original

You can save thousands a year, by purchasing an unlocked phone and using it with a prepaid phone plan. You will be surprised just how much these plans have changed. They now allow the best smartphones and use the major carrier networks. More info.

– Rick

How to Upload Photos Directly from Your Camera to Facebook or Instagram

Last updated: January 5, 2013

This article has had almost 9,000 views. Thanks for reading it.

The Canon EOS 6D is one of several new Wi-Fi enabled cameras

The Canon EOS 6D is one of several new Wi-Fi enabled cameras

Most Instagram photos are poor quality because they were taken with a smartphone. You can now take great-looking photos from a Wi-Fi-enabled camera and upload them directly to the Internet without using a laptop. I’ll describe how this is done using a Canon EOS 6D, but the process is similar with other Wi-Fi cameras. The Canon EOS 6D is pricey, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money on a camera to do the things I’m describing. Wi-Fi enabled cameras like this Samsung model start around $150. Canon has affordable Wi-Fi cameras as well.

Canon's EOS Remote running on a smartphone

Canon’s EOS Remote running on a smartphone

Getting the Right Software

Start by downloading the free EOS Remote app from Google Play. After you’ve installed EOS Remote on your smartphone or tablet, you need to activate Wi-Fi on your camera and connect it to your mobile device. The next section describes how this is done.

Making Your Camera a Wi-Fi Hotspot

Wi-Fi Setup
The first time you setup your Canon EOS 6D camera as a Wi-Fi hotspot you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Press the Menu button on the EOS 6D and use the main dial to select the wrench icon with three dots next to it.
  2. Set Wi-Fi to ‘Enable’ and then move down to ‘Wi-Fi function’ and set a nickname for your camera (e.g. Canon 6D). Press the ‘Q’ button to tab down to the letters and the main dial to select them.
  3. Enter the desired name and press the ‘Menu’ button when you are finished. Press ‘Set/OK’ to proceed.
  4. Wi-Fi Function

  5. Now move the main dial to the second position labeled ‘Connect to smartphone’ and press Set. Then press ‘Set’ again to make the camera an access point and press ‘Set’ for OK.
  6. Press ‘Set’ again for ‘Easy connection.’ Then press ‘Set’ for OK.
  7. Now go to Settings > Wi-Fi on your tablet and select the nickname you entered for your camera.
  8. You’ll need to enter the encryption key that appears on the camera display into your tablet and touch ‘Connect.’
  9. Now launch the EOS Remote software on your tablet and touch the name of your camera on the tablet display. Then press ‘Set’ on the camera twice to save your settings.

This might seem like a lot of steps, but most of these only need to be performed once. After you’ve setup Wi-Fi, all you need to do is press the ‘Menu’ button and use the main dial to select ‘Wi-Fi function.’ Then you select ‘Connect to smartphone’ and ‘Connect.’ That’s it. If that choice isn’t available, first select ‘Exit’ and ‘OK’ and ‘Connect to smartphone’ will appear.

Once your camera is connected to your mobile device, you can use your smartphone or tablet as a remote control and viewfinder. You can also view all of the photos on your camera on your tablet at full resolution.

You can view, save or delete photos on your camera using  your tablet

You can view, save or delete photos on your camera using your tablet

Viewing Photos from the Camera on Your Tablet and More

Now that you are connected to your camera, there are many things you can do. Here are several examples:

  • Touch ‘Camera Image Viewing’ in the EOS Remote app to view all of the images on your camera.
  • Touch a photo to view it and swipe to the left to view the next image.

  • Touch the trash can icon to delete a bad photo.
  • Touch the icon on the far left to save your favorite photos to your smartphone or tablet. Keep in mind that these are reduced-quality images, so you should not delete the originals on your camera.
  • Now we're ready to upload our photo to Instagram

    We’re now ready to upload our photo to Instagram

    Uploading Your Photo to Instagram

    Instagram
    After you’ve completed the preceding steps, you are now ready to upload a photo to Instagram (or another social media site). You’ll probably only need to read this section if you haven’t used Instagram before.

    1. After you’ve saved the photo you wish to upload, you need to go to Settings > Wi-Fi on your tablet and select the wireless access point you use to access the Internet. Then touch ‘Connect.’ Note: This step is not required if you’re using a smartphone.
    2. Now touch the Home button and go to All Apps > Gallery
    3. Open the folder with the same name as your camera (e.g. Canon EOS 6D)
    4. Touch the photo you wish to upload. Then touch the share icon near the top of the screen.
    5. If you don’t see Instagram, touch ‘See all’ and select Instagram from the list.
    6. Now crop your photo, add a filter and touch the icon in the upper right to save your changes.
    7. Now enter a description and hashtags for your photo and touch the green checkmark to upload it to Instagram.

    Follow me on Instagram @rickschwar . You can see higher-resolution pictures taken by the Canon 6D on Google+ as well.

    More Fun With Wi-Fi

    This is just one of many things you can do with a Wi-Fi-enabled camera. You can use similar steps to upload a photo to Facebook or other sites. You can also do the following:

  • Transfer images between cameras
  • Remote control your camera
  • Send photos from your camera to a Wi-Fi printer
  • Upload photos to a Web service without using a mobile device (requires direct connection to a computer)
  • Send images directly to a DLNA-certified TV
  • Please refer to the documentation that came with your camera to learn how to do these things.

    Here are some other fun things you can do with a Wi-Fi-enabled camera

    Here are some other cool things you can do with a Wi-Fi-enabled camera

    Closing Thoughts

    If you don’t already have a Wi-Fi-enabled camera, you should make sure your next camera has this feature. It’s nice to be able to upload great looking photos without using a computer.

    – Rick

    Copyright 2013 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.

    Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

    How to Save Almost $1000 a Year on Your Mobile Bill

    Last updated: July 12, 2013

    Verizon's Share Everything Plan costs a typical family of four $230 to $250 a month

    Verizon’s Share Everything Plan costs a typical family of four $230 to $250 a month

    Cell phone service seems to get more expensive each year in the U.S. Verizon charges $40 a month for each phone — plus another $50 to $100 per month for data for their Share Everything family plan. That means a family of four who uses 2GB of data each will pay $3000 a year for their mobile phone service. Even a modest plan with only two smartphones, one basic phone and 4GB of shared data costs $180 a month. This doesn’t include the upfront cost of the phones and all of the taxes and surcharges which carriers add each month. The true cost of owning an iPhone 5 has been calculated to be at least $1800 a year! By switching to a prepaid plan, you can save almost $1000 a year — and end up with unlimited data. Families can save even more. Even if you live in Europe and don’t pay as much for cell phone service, there are some compelling reasons to purchase an unlocked phone and go prepaid. Read on to learn why.

    It's now possible to use smartphones like the Nexus 4 with prepaid plans

    It’s now possible to use the most advanced smartphones with prepaid plans

    Which Phone Should You Buy?

    Carriers like Verizon offer prepaid plans that cost $50 to $80 a month, but they come with really bad phones. If you think this doesn’t sound like a great deal, you’re right. There are other companies who offer prepaid plans that cost a fraction of what Verizon charges, but they also include bad or outdated phones. You don’t have to compromise on the quality of your phone in order to go prepaid. You can buy any smartphone you want and use it with prepaid plans from AT&T, T-Mobile and others. You just need to make sure your phone works on the type of network your carrier has. The phone I’ll be using as an example in this article is much better than your current phone and costs less.

    A typical prepaid phone

    Prepaid phones like this should be avoided


    You should purchase an unlocked phone if you want the most flexibility. Even though they cost more upfront, you’ll save money in the long run. With an unlocked phone, you don’t have to sign a two-year contract and can switch carriers at any time. Previously, you had to pay around $600 for an unlocked phone, but now you can get an unlocked Nexus 4 for only $299. The Nexus 4 has the fastest mobile processor on the planet, along with a 4.7” 1280×768 display, 8MP camera and 2GB of RAM. It’s also the first smartphone which runs Android 4.2. If you’re an iPhone person don’t worry, we’ll talk about a prepaid plan for unlocked iPhones below.

    Update: Since the Nexus 4 has been sold out much of the time in the online Google Play store, it’s good to know that all T-Mobile locations are now stocking it.

    Update (7/12): Sprint launches new guaranteed for life unlimited data plan. More info

    What is an Unlocked Phone?

  • An unlocked phone is a phone that’s not locked to a single carrier
  • Choose your carrier and phone independently, as long as those carriers work on a GSM network
  • Unlocked GSM phones include a SIM card which is programmed with your information
  • Insert your SIM card into another unlocked phone without losing your contacts
  • Unlocked phones like the Nexus 4 run on any GSM Network. That means you can jump between AT&T, T-Mobile and other pre-paid providers. Phones like the Nexus 4 and iPhone 5 can also be used with international SIM cards while traveling. Cricket Wireless offers the iPhone 5 and MetroPCS offers the Galaxy S III, but these phones will cost you more than the Nexus 4. If you’re looking for a more affordable phone, get a Nexus 4 or a Samsung Galaxy II.

    Other unlocked phones include the LG Optimus 4X HD, Huawei Ascend P1, Samsung Galaxy Beam, Nokia 808 PureView and Sony Xperia P.

    Why Choose an Unlocked Phone Over a Prepaid Phone?

  • Better selection of available phones
  • Change GSM carriers without changing phones
  • More of the best new phones are available
  • Better for overseas use
  • More customization options
  • Which Plan Should You Choose?

    Being off-contract lets you choose from a wide range of different prepaid plans from AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, as well as companies like MetroPCS, Straight Talk and TracFone. Although there are many different prepaid plans available, it seems most people prefer one of the following two plans:

    Recommended Option 1 – T-Mobile Prepaid 4G
    One of the best is T-Mobile’s $30 pre-paid plan. It’s perfect for people who don’t make a lot of voice calls, but use lots of data. It has unlimited data, unlimited messaging and 100 voice minutes a month. Although they say this plan has unlimited data, they start throttling after you use 5GB of data. Most current unlimited data plans throttle data as well, you just probably don’t realize it.

    Why 100 minutes won’t be a problem for most people
    The T-Mobile plan is perfect for my kids, because they don’t talk much on their phones, but send over 1000 texts a month each and use lots of data. Although the T-Mobile plan only has 100 minutes, that’s per person, so it’s 400 minutes for a family of four. Extra minutes cost 10 cents each, so it’s not a big deal if you go over a little. 10 cents a minute is much less than carriers typically charge for overages (it’s more like $0.45 a min). If you are a sales person the $30 a month T-Mobile plan is probably not right for you, however T-Mobile has a $50 plan with unlimited talk.

    T-Mobile has one of the best pre-paid plans because it's inexpensive and works with premium phones

    T-Mobile has one of the best values in pre-paid phone plans


    Recommended Option 2 – Straight Talk
    Consumer Reports recommends Straight Talk’s prepaid plans, which are available from Walmart. Consumer Reports says surveys show people are happier with Straight Talk, than with normal contract mobile service from any of the major carriers. Straight Talk has several plans, including $45 a month for unlimited talk, text and data. That’s half the price of Verizon’s cheapest unlimited plan. I’m told that Straight Talk uses AT&T network.

    You can even get a prepaid plan for the new iPhone 5

    You can even get a prepaid plan for the new iPhone 5

    Big News: Walmart’s now offers the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4 with unlimited Straight Talk plans for $45 a month.

    Recommended Option 3 – Cricket prepaid for the iPhone
    There are prepaid wireless plans from Cricket Wireless and others, however Virgin’s $30 unlimited prepaid plan looks good to me. Virgin has three different plans, which all come with unlimited data and text messages. For $35 you get 300 minutes of talk time. For $45 you get 1200 minutes, and for $55, you get unlimited minutes. More details why your next iPhone should be prepaid.

    How to Activate Your Phone on a Prepaid Plan

    Before activating your phone, you need to determine what size SIM your phone uses. The new Nexus 4 and iPhone 5 both have microSIMs. If you’re not sure about your phone, check the manufacturers website, or check Google. Next, you need to decide which plan you wish to use. I’ll detail the activation process for T-Mobile, but all plans are similar. You should order a SIM when you order your phone. T-Mobile charges $1 for their SIM Card Activation Kit.

    After your phone and SIM arrive you’re ready to activate your phone. Everything you need to know is listed here. I suggest you watch their video and make sure to have the account number from your current mobile provider ready before you start. Activation should take you 10-15 minutes or less.

    The true cost of a smartphone is much higher than your think

    The true cost of getting a smartphone from a carrier is much higher than your think

    How Much Money Will You Save?

    Although the freedom to switch carriers without a penalty, or buy a new phone whenever you want is great, the main reason to go prepaid is to save money. Just exactly how much will you save? AT&T’s cheapest Nexus 4/iPhone 5-compatible plan with similar features to the T-Mobile plan described above (450 minutes, 5GB of 4G data and unlimited messaging), costs $109.99 per month per person.

    The annual cost for a smartphone running on T-Mobile’s pre-paid plan is only $361. That’s a fraction of what you’re paying your carrier today.

    How Much You’ll Save Over a Several Traditional AT&T Plans
    Annual cost of a smartphone running on the least expensive AT&T plan with 3GB of data: $828
    Total yearly savings per person with a T-Mobile’s prepaid plan: $467
    Total yearly savings for a family of four: $1868

    Annual cost of a smartphone on a AT&T plan with 5GB of data: $1320
    Total yearly savings for a single person with a T-Mobile’s prepaid plan: $959
    Total yearly savings for a family of four: $3836

    How Much You’ll Save Over a Traditional Verizon Plan
    Annual cost for a family of four on Verizon’s Share Everything plan with 2GB of data per person: $3000
    Total yearly savings for a family of four using T-Mobile’s prepaid plan: $1556
    Savings for a family of four over an older Verizon Family Plan: $1316

    What are the Downsides?

    As far as I can tell, the risks of switching to a prepaid mobile plan are small, as long as you buy a good unlocked phone like the Nexus 4. The Nexus 4 does not officially support LTE, but I don’t see that as a deal breaker. Read why below. A Consumer Reports survey says prepaid phone users are actually happier than non-prepaid phone users. T-Mobile might not be the best carrier, but I’ve come to the conclusion that all U.S. carriers are bad for one reason or another. Verizon may have better 4G coverage in some areas, but is that really worth almost $1000 for each member of your family? I don’t think so.

    Reasons why the lack of LTE on the Nexus 4 may not be a problem for you
    LTE support isn’t offered in all cities and countries yet. Even if it is available in your city, you still won’t get it a lot of the time. If the lack of LTE bothers you, you should buy another unlocked phone with LTE support or switch to AT&T, which supports HSPA+, which is capable of speeds that are almost as fast as LTE (up to 21 Mbps). Another factor you should consider is the percentage of time your phone will be out of range of a broadband Wi-Fi connection. I spend the majority of my time either in the office or a home where there is access to fast Wi-Fi.

    An Unconventional Way to Save Even More

    I recently read an article about someone who used a 7″ tablet instead of a smartphone for an entire month. At first this sounds crazy, but you can buy a cellular-enabled Nexus 7 for only $299 and add it to an existing carrier plan for only $10 to $20 a month. You can make calls with a Bluetooth earpiece just like a normal phone. You would be using this device on Verizon’s, AT&T’s or Sprint’s network, so your coverage would be no different than a normal smartphone. Obviously this wouldn’t work for someone who didn’t carry a backpack or briefcase where they could store the device, but it’s not as crazy as it sounds. If I was someone who didn’t make many voice calls, I would seriously consider this option.

    If This Is So Great, Why Haven’t I Switched Yet?

    Once my wife’s contract is up, we may switch to T-Mobile’s $30 prepaid plan. If she likes it, I’ll switch the rest of my family members over. I have several friends who have already switched and they are happy. Besides, if we don’t like T-Mobile, we can switch to AT&T (or another prepaid carrier) after 30 days without a penalty. If a better phone comes out in three months, we can use it without paying a penalty. We’ll pay more up front for an unlocked phone, but we’ll quickly make up the difference in 3 to 5 months (depending on the phone). You should look into switching too. Even if you have a less expensive Family plan, you’ll still save over a thousand a year if you switch. Imagine what you could to with all of that money.

    Where to Read More

    - Prepaid or postpaid?: The fight for your cell phone dollars
    One-third of U.S. smartphone sales in Q1 were prepaid

    – Rick

    Copyright 2013 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.

    Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

    Seven Mistakes That Could Jeopardize Google’s Mobile Future

    Last update: May 26, 2013

    Five years ago few thought Google could ever challenge Apple when it came to mobile technology. Now Android is leading the way in many areas. Google got where they are today thanks to a well-executed strategy and lots of help from Apple, but mistakes they are making now could jeopardize the future of Android.

    The top three U.S. Big Box retailers produce almost 600 billion dollars in revenue

    Traditional retailers are still important. The top three big-box retailers produce almost $600 billion in revenue a year

    1. Largely Ignoring the Traditional Retail Channel

    E-commerce sites like Amazon.com might be the future, but big-box retailers like Walmart, Best Buy and Costco produce 12 times more revenue than Amazon does today. Apple understands the importance of retail and sells huge quantities of smartphones and tablets through this channel. Google has met with companies like Best Buy before, but most retailers don’t like them because they sell devices direct to consumers for less money than the retailers need to make a good profit. Google also doesn’t spend millions of dollars on retail end-caps, marketing and product training like Apple and Samsung do. I believe Google needs to hire someone who understands how to work with traditional retailers and expand their presence in brick and mortar stores.

    One explanation why Google has been ignoring traditional retailers could be they are planning to open their own stores. Although Google originally denied this, there is now evidence they may be going ahead with this. I suspect we’ll see them start with only a few stores however. It would take years and lots of money to expand their reach into most major U.S. cities.

    2. Having One of the Worst e-Commerce Sites

    Many Google products are not available from major retailers. If you want to buy a product like a 16GB Nexus 10, there is only one place to get it today: the Google Play website. Although Google Play works well for app sales, it gets failing grades in the area of physical fulfillment of products. Their first launch of of Nexus One was understandably a disaster, but the company has had years to fix these problems and they have not done so. All three of their recent Nexus launches were horrible in every way. Even the e-commerce areas of their Google Play website were unable to support the traffic. That’s really surprising. I haven’t seen a site fail so badly since the early days of the Internet. I believe Google needs to fire the people in charge of their current e-commerce and fulfillment operations and start over, or farm out the business to someone like Amazon, who understands how to do e-commerce right.

    3. Making Better Apps for Competitive Platforms

    Some of Google’s apps are now longer better on iOS than Android. Examples include Google Mail, Google Maps and YouTube, which all have advantages on iOS currently. While this could be temporary, it makes no sense to favor a competitor’s platform over your own. More details.

    Update: Since this article was first written, Google has improved their Maps and YouTube apps, so I believe their Android apps now have advantages in some areas.

    Over-dependence on the cloud can be a bad thing

    Overdependence on the cloud can be a bad thing

    4. Forcing Consumers to Use the Cloud

    It’s clear Google wants everyone to use the cloud, but shipping one of your flagship smartphones with only 8-gigabytes of local storage was a poor decision. Especially in light of the fact the Nexus 4 doesn’t have a memory expansion slot, like the Samsung Galaxy S III, and many other Android phones. An 8GB Nexus 4 has less than 6GB of free space available out of the box. Since my apps alone occupy over 3GB of space, that leaves only enough room for a single movie download. Even if you don’t download movies, you might still have problems. Popular games like Modern Warfare 3 and 9MM use almost 2 GB of storage space. Sure you could delete a few large apps to free up space, but you shouldn’t have to.

    Google expects us to store our movies, music, photos and documents in the cloud, but what if we want watch a movie on a plane, or we need to access an important file at a location with no cellular or Wi-Fi access? This could be a big problem. Apple downloads its media and doesn’t stream it like Google does. Google does allow you to download (or pin) media from Google Play, but you need free space on your device to do so.

    Storing all of you media the cloud can also be problematic because Google Drive and all other cloud-based systems occasionally go down. Google claims 99.948% uptime, but that corresponds to 7 minutes of downtime a month, which is a big deal if a Google service is down when you’re trying to access data from it. That’s why you should always try to carry essential files on your device (or ‘pin’ them so they are accessible).

    Less than 1% of all Android users were running the newest version of Android on 12/3.

    Only 1.2% of all Android users were running the newest version of the OS on January 3rd

    5. Allowing Others to Seriously Weaken Your Platform

    Carriers and handset manufacturers unintentionally hurt the Android platform by insisting on customizing the software on their mobile devices. This causes OS fragmentation, support issues and customer frustration, because users have to wait so long to get bug fixes and new features. Apple has a “take it or leave it” attitude with carriers, and forces them to limit customization, so users can download updates on the first day they are available. This is one of the strongest advantages iOS has over Android today. Google has made progress on this issue with their line of Nexus phones, but even those devices have carrier bloatware and don’t always receive OS updates when they are first available. Just how bad is OS fragmentation on the Android platform? As of January 3rd, only 1.2% of all Android users were running the newest version of Android, while over 60% of Apple users were running the newest version of iOS. 59% of Android users are stuck using an OS that is now over two years old. Google decided to call Android 4.2 Jelly Bean so they could say that 10% of all Android users run that version, but that’s far from a solution. Google must address this issue in 2013.

    Android 4.2′s calendar bug is evidence that Google is rushing products to market before they are ready

    Android 4.2′s calendar bug was evidence that Google was rushing products to market before they were ready

    6. Releasing New Products Before They Are Ready

    Lately it seems Google is trying to do too much at once, and is releasing new technologies before they are ready. For example, proper testing would have exposed the December bug in Android 4.2. That issue was fixed in a software update, but there are other Android 4.2 bugs like the Auto-brightness bug, which should have been caught. In addition, key Android 4.2 features like Miracast steaming don’t work on the Nexus 10 and other devices. Google’s haste has also broken some of the biggest advantages of Android 4.1 on some devices and has some saying Android is becoming too complex for its own good. Not all of Android’s issues are software-related. Some of Google’s newest Nexus devices were released without a single accessory (e.g. dock, case, etc.) This caused frustration among some users. There is simply no excuse for this type of poor planning. Google needs to slow down and take the time needed to do things right.

    7. Eliminating Some of Android’s Biggest Advantages

    Hardware choices are good, but Google should strongly encourage manufacturers to make Android devices with Android’s signature features like slots for removable memory, removable batteries, standard micro USB and micro HDMI ports. Expandable storage, standard ports and removable batteries are some of the key selling points of the Android platform and the reason why many people are switching from iPhone to Android devices. Removing these advantages from Nexus devices and allowing manufacturers to remove them from their devices seriously weakens the Android platform.

    Final Thoughts

    Google has come a long way in the past five years, but it seems like their phenomenal success is going to their heads. Apple may be down right now, but stupid mistakes like these are what allowed Google to steal so much market share in such a short time period. I hope Google can address some these issues before it’s too late.

    Do you agree Google is making some big mistakes, or am I just overreacting? Let me know in the comments section. Thanks.

    – Rick

    Copyright 2013 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.

    Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

    It Was One Year Ago This Week…

    Last updated: January 31, 2013

    It was one year ago this week when I started this writing adventure. I did it because I love new technology and feel knowledge should be shared with others. I had no idea at the time how popular this would become. Since 2012 has been a great year for this blog, I’d like to pause for a moment to give thanks, but first a little history.

    Time flies when you're having fun

    Time flies when you’re having fun

    Growing Slowly at First

    As you can see from the chart below, the first eight months this blog was in existence I toiled in relative obscurity, getting around a thousand views a month. Then something big happened. In July I more than doubled my views from the previous month — thanks to strong traffic on articles about United, AT&T and the smartphone of the year. Traffic in September was twice that of July, thanks to an article about the new iPhone 5. In August traffic was over five times that of July, thanks to the articles on the new iPads. Traffic once again more than doubled in November and December. Every day for the past four months I expect the visits to this site to taper off, but so far there is no sign of that happening. In fact, last week was my biggest week ever in total views. My Nexus 10 Tips and Tricks article has already received over 250,000 views!

    This blog has seen an incredible increase in traffic over the past four months

    This blog has seen an incredible increase in traffic over the past four months

    Quality Over Quantity

    It’s nice to get some attention, but traffic in itself means little to me. Most of the popular blogs get more than 10 times the traffic I get. What matters to me is the quality and timeliness of my posts. Based on some of the comments I’ve been receiving lately, it appears I’m doing a decent job in this area.

    As you can see from the updated chart, weekly traffic continues to hit new highs as well

    As you can see from the updated chart, weekly traffic continues to hit new highs as well

    What People Are Saying About Mostly-Tech

    1. “Great tips! I’m new to your blog, but I’m really starting to like your writing style. No real fluff, just facts! Thanks for the info about the ‘PC’ keyboard setting, I just activated it for my Nexus 7, I would never had known it was there if it wasn’t for you! Keep up the good work!”
    2. “As always, superbly organized and comprehensively researched, Rick! I’m looking forward to reading to your side-by-side comparison of the newly announced Nexus 4 and the iPhone 5…”
    3. “Finally an excellent, well-researched, unbiased, well-written comparison piece which states *facts*. You could teach the guys over at Engadget a thing or two…”
    4. “Rick, having seen and subscribed to dozens of blogs and having been involved in blogging myself, I can assert that it’s because you churn out some of the best articles in the arena of Android, iOS and Windows. Your blog is now in my list of RSS feeds!”
    5. “Well researched article, Thank you very much for your hard work. You are pointing out right facts without fanboism…”
    6. “Rick, this is a quick note to thank you for your fantastic blog! I discovered it yesterday and, frankly, can’t tell why I didn’t notice it earlier. Keep up the good work!”
    7. “Excellent and comprehensive comparisons, Rick, especially after only having had used the Nexus 10 for just a day!”
    8. “You’re awesome, Rick! Many people and I have been trying for months to get TalkBack developers on the Google-monitored Eyes-Free mailing list to tell us what’s changed between 4.1 and 4.2 and we got nothing. But you did it on a holiday!”
    9. “I think the article is great at informing casual users about everything related to beaming. The only article about the topic I found, very useful and clear as well. Cheers”
    10. “I am a new reader and found your blog very entertaining + informative.”
    11. “Hi Rick, I just stumbled onto your blog, I think yours is one of the most informative, unbiased, and interesting blogs that I have come across…”
    12. “GREAT article thanks! Without bias and highlights issues on the #nexus10 with constructive arguments.”
    13. “Everybody should definitely check this out. It’s incredible article, I spent a long time reading it and did many things that it said!!! As others have noticed the keyboard option is awesome…” [Post appeared in Android forums about a Mostly-tech blog article]
    14. Recently bought a Nexus 10, my 1st tab, and your 50 tips have been brilliant. Thanks for taking the time to help so many people. Cheers.
    15. Your nexus-10-tips-and-tricks is a great forum [post] with very useful information. So many times forums are full of garbage that the user needs to wade thru, but yours is wonderful!

    Of course I get my fair share of hate mail as well. You can read those in the comments sections.

    What to Expect in 2013

    I’m not sure what the future holds, but I plan to continue to write about mobile technology in 2013. I'm also planning to expand into some new areas including music technology, photography and video. Hopefully some of you will join me. Even if you don’t, I’m happy you stopped by. Here's to a great 2012, and an even better new year.

    – Rick

    Copyright 2013 Rick E. Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged

    Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

    More Great Tips & Tricks for the Nexus 10

    Last update: October 17, 2013

    This article has had over 110,000 views! Although it was written for the Nexus 10, many of these tips apply to other Android tablets as well. Enjoy!

    Because my original Nexus 10 tips and tricks article was so incredibly popular, I’ve decided to write a follow-up. This time I’m including a few outside sources, however I assure you these tips will be every bit as good as the original ones and there will be no duplicates.

    1. Improve lag and choppiness – Some other Nexus users have found a simple fix to lag, choppiness, and stuttering performance that occurs when swiping across the home screens, opening the app drawer, typing on the keyboard, scrolling in the browser or even simply unlocking the device. I haven’t experienced too many problems like this, but still recommend you make the following change to see if it improves things. First, locate Google Currents in All Apps and open it. Tap “Settings” (the three dots) and uncheck “Enable Background Sync.” Reboot your Nexus 10. Source: TalkAndroid
    2. Ad-blockers can be useful utilities

    3. Unblock ads – There are several good Android ad blockers, but most require a rooted device. Adblock Plus is free and removes ads on a stock Nexus 10. Important note: One of my readers reported some serious problems after installing this app (see the comments section of my original tips article if you want details). For this reason, I’m recommending everyone hold off on installing this app until the company releases an update which addresses this issue. Source: Phandroid
    4. Maximize your battery life – To increase the battery life of your Nexus 10, try these suggestions:
      – Turn off your tablet when you go to sleep and charge it all night.
      – Set your screen brightness at 50% or lower. To do this go to Settings > Display > Brightness
      – Uninstall power hungry apps – Go to Settings > Battery and look at the top battery users . On my Nexus 10, Yahoo Weather consumes as much power then the screen and the OS combined! To uninstall go to the All Apps folder and drag the problem app on top of the Uninstall label at the top of the screen
      – Turn off your GPS when you don’t need it. To do this go to Settings > Location Access and set ‘Access to my location’ OFF. If you do this, any app which requires the GOS including Google Now will not function correctly.
      – If you rarely use Bluetooth or NFC, make sure both are off. To turn off NFC, go to Settings > More…
      – Check the Sleep setting (under Display) and make sure it is set to 1 minute or less.
    5. Tether your tablet to your phone for free – As long as you have an Android smartphone, there’s no need to purchase a tablet with cellular support, or pay extra to use your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Just download and install FoxFi on your phone and check ‘Activate WiFi Hotspot.’ Then go to Settings > Wi-Fi on your tablet, and connect to ‘FoxFi14.’ Now you’ll sharing data with your mobile phone. Make sure to keep tabs on the data usage shown in the upper right hand corner of the FoxFi app, and do not use this app if you sometimes come close to using all of your available mobile data. I cannot be held responsible for any extra data charges you incur because of the use of this app. Other caveats: The free version of FoxFi now has a usage limit that requires you to restart FoxFi at some point. You can purchase the full version key to unlock this. Currently WiFi mode does not work on most phones with Jelly Bean and most HTC phones (except for HTC One). However, Bluetooth mode works for all phones.
    6. Import contacts from other sources – If you have contacts stored in Outlook, Yahoo or another source, export them as a comma-separated value or CSV file. For contacts from Apple’s Address Book, expert as vCard. It’s not essential, but is a good idea if you open this file using a spreadsheet and make some edits on your computer to clean up things. Now you’re ready to import your contacts. Open Google Contacts on your computer and click on ‘More.’ Select ‘Import’ and select the file you exported. After your contacts have been imported, you should go to ‘More’ again and select ‘Find and merge duplicates.’
    7. Scrubly cleans your contacts for free

    8. Clean up your contacts and add photos to them – If you have problems with duplicate contacts or contacts with missing info, you should go to Scrubly.com. Scrubly is a free service for people with less than 250 contacts. In addition to cleaning your contacts, Scrubly will import photos, birthdays, company, job title and more. Make sure to link Scrubly with your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts, so it can pull from those sources as well. I’ve used this service and was very impressed, but if you don’t like it, you can revert back to the way things were.
    9. Send SMS texts directly from your tablet – There are several different ways to send SMS texts from your Nexus 10, but one of the better ones is an app called Tablet Talk. This app uses Bluetooth to talk to your Android smartphone. This app is nice because the person you’re texting does not need to install any special software and all texts are sent using your mobile number. With Tablet Talk you can have a text conversation on your tablet just like you would on your phone. This is a paid app ($3) but I think it’s worth it. Install it on your tablet first and then connect to your Android phone via Bluetooth. Once you do that, you can download Tablet Talk on your Android phone for free. Tip: If you’re having problems connecting your Nexus 10 with your phone using Tablet Talk, make sure the Tablet Talk app is open on your phone first and then press the orange button in the lower-left hand corner of the Tablet Talk app on your Nexus 10. If you live in the U.S. and don’t want to mess around with Bluetooth, Google Voice allows you to easily send SMS texts as well and it’s free. The only negative is the fact that your texts will come from your Google number, and not your normal mobile number. Update: Mysms is now my favorite app for this purpose because it’s available in a tablet-optimized version for Android and can send texts to iOS devices, Windows phones, Macs, Chrome devices and Windows PCs. The tablet-optimized Android version is $2, while most other versions are free.
    10. Kingsoft Office is one of the best free office apps

    11. Install an office app – At some point you’re going to need to open a file which was created with Microsoft Office. There are many apps that do this. Consider Kingsoft Office (free), Quickoffice Pro HD, OfficeSuite Pro, Documents To Go or Google Drive (which replaced Google Docs). Most of these apps also create Word or Excel-style docs as well.
    12. Try another web browser – Chrome is good, but there are other good third-party browsers as well. Check out Firefox Browser for Android, Dolphin Browser, Opera (Mobile or Mini web browser), Puffin Web browser Free and xScore. Each have advantages over the others. You can read more about them in Google Play.
    13. Speed up animations to make your tablet feel snappier – There’s another quick way to make your Nexus 10 feel snappier. By speeding up (or disabling) the animated fade-in effects you see when switching between tasks, you’ll see a boost in performance and faster screen transitions. Start by unhiding “Developer options” as described in Tip #11 here. Once in “Developer options,” scroll down to the “Window animation scale” and “Transition animation scale” options and set both to .5x. You can even turn each of these off and transitioning between apps and pages will be almost instant. If you ever want to go back, remember the defaults for both of these settings are 1x. Source: Cult of Android
    14. Learn how to use your camera – Because there is no information about using the camera in the Nexus Guidebook, I’m adding some info here. You’ll find the ‘Camera’ app in the All Apps folder. Long press its icon and drag it to one of your home screens. To take a picture using the rear camera, press the big blue button. You’ll hear a sound which indicates you’ve taken a photo. To view the photo you’ve just taken, swipe to the left. Swipe back to the right to return to the camera. To switch to the front camera, press the circle to the right of the blue button. Then click on the camera icon with the arrows under it. In a few seconds you should see yourself on the view finder. The +/- controls are for exposure. To make a photo less bright press -1, -2 or -3. Next to that is the Settings button. From here you can access presets for things like action shots, night photos and sunset photos under ‘Scene mode.’ ‘Store location’ tags your photo with GPS info. Next to that are the white balance settings for different types of light. Next are the flash settings, To turn off the flash, touch the lightning bolt with an ‘x’ next to it. Press the Back button when you’re finished. To switch to the video camera, press the camera button to the left. From top to bottom, the buttons are ‘Photo Sphere,’ Panorama, Video, and Still Camera. Here is the most comprehensive guide to using the Android 4.2 camera that I’ve seen so far.
    15. Get a stylus for more control – Although the Nexus 10 doesn’t have the same level of sensitivity of a Galaxy Note II, a stylus will give you more control and make it easier to take shorthand notes. Make sure to check out the reviews before you buy any stylus and never buy the cheapest one available, because you probably won’t be happy if you do.
    16. You can quickly send photos or videos to another device using Wi-Fi Direct

    17. Transfer files quickly using Wi-Fi Direct – Wi-Fi Direct lets you send any type of file from your Nexus 10 to another Wi-Fi Direct device like a Samsung Galaxy S III. To send a photo or movie over Wi-Fi direct from your tablet to your phone, go to the ‘Photo Gallery’ app and select the file you wish to send. Then touch the item so the Share button appears. Next, select an app from the list which you know has Wi-Fi Direct support. I use the ‘OfficeSuite Wi-Fi Direct’ app. If you don’t have that, try Wi-Fi Shoot. Now, select the device you want to send your file to from the list of available devices. Photos only take a few seconds to transfer. Sending a 200MB movie took less than 5 minutes. Note: The receiving device may be sluggish while a file is being sent to it. On the sending end, you can swipe down on the Notification bar to see the transfer progress of the file. After the file transfer is complete, select the app on the receiving end that you want to view the file with. The file sent/received notifications cannot be cleared manually. They will go away after you restart your devices.
    18. Long press a notification for app info – If you long press a notification, an “App info” button will appear and you will be able to find out more about the application that sent it. You can clear its cache, data, stop it, uninstall it or disable sending notifications. Source: Android Geeks
    19. You can speak into your Nexus 10 and it will translate just like the Droid commercial shown here

    20. Speak and translate – You may have seen the new Droid RAZR M commercial where the girl speaks into her phone and it speaks the words back in a different language. You can do that with your Nexus 10 as well. Just launch Google Translate. Touch the microphone icon, and speak the words you want translated. Touch the speaker next to the translated words to hear them back.
    21. Fix problems with some apps – If you find an app that is giving you trouble, try wiping its cached data. To do this, go to Settings > Apps, then pick the problem app from the list which appears and tap the ‘Clear cache’ button. If that doesn’t fix the problem, you want to try the ‘Clear data’ button as a last resort. But keep in mind if you do this you could lose stored data like photos. Source: Android Geeks
    22. Scribble and your tablet translates for you

    23. Scribble and translate – You can scribble on your tablet’s screen and Google Translate will translate the words into to any language.
    24. Try these tablet charging tips – For best results, power off your Nexus 10 and let it charge all night. If you do this, you should be able to get through an entire day of normal use without running out of power. On peak usage days, charge your tablet for an hour during lunch or early afternoon.
    25. Turn your tablet into a media server – Although the Nexus 10 is not pre-loaded with a DLNA media server like Samsung’s AllShare Play, there are free alternatives this work even better. Download and install Twonky Beam. It will let you access media on your tablet from your Xbox 360, Sony PS3, Roku box, connected TV — or any of the 13,000 other DLNA-certified devices. [Disclosure: I used to work for the company who makes this software]
    26. Enable auto-fill on third-party browsers – Although Chrome has an ‘Autofill forms’ setting, there are other apps which give you more control over this. Install Dolphin Browser and the Autofill Form add-on for it.
    27. Lower your screen brightness even more – If you sometimes like to use the Nexus 10 in a room with all lights off, you may find that the screen is still too bright even when brightness is turned all of the way down. Apps like Screen Filter allow you to adjust the brightness of the screen as dark as you like.
    28. Yopu can beam media from your phone to tablet

      You can beam media from your phone to tablet (or vice versa)

    29. Beam something from your phone to tablet – If you have another Android device with NFC support like a Samsung Galaxy S III you can beam browser pages, YouTube videos, contacts and more from your phone to your tablet (or vice versa). Start by finding the media you want to beam and make sure both devices are unlocked. Next place your phone on the Nexus 10 as shown in the photo. In a few seconds you should feel each vibrate and hear a sound. Touch the screen after you see the image get smaller and the words ‘Touch to beam’ appear on the screen. If you’ve done it successfully, the image will continue to get smaller on the screen until it disappears. More info. In case you’re wondering where the two NFC sensors are on your Nexus 10. One is on the back to the right side of the camera near the top. The other one is by the front camera.
    30. Transfer files from your Mac to your tablet – If you’ve got a Mac, you’ll want to download and install the Android File Transfer app. Then plug your tablet into your Mac and the transfer app should automatically launch. Now can copy or move files by simply dragging and dropping them into the folders on the Nexus 10.
    31. Control your computer's mouse

      Control your computer’s mouse with your tablet

    32. Control your Mac or PC using your tablet – When I first read about this tip, I didn’t think I would like it, but I was wrong. This may sound like a gimmick, but it’s really useful. First install WiFi Mouse on your tablet. Next, download mouse server software and install it on your computer. Launch the WiFi Mouse app on your tablet and touch ‘Auto Connect.’ You should now be able to control your mouse using your tablet. You can even right-click, but in order to type using your tablet and have that text appear on your computer you’ll need to upgrade to the full version. Source: Redmond Pie
    33. Disable notifications on a single individual application – If you want to turn off notifications for a single app, follow these steps: First swipe down the notification bar. Then long press the notification until a box appears that says, “App Info.” Touch that and then uncheck the “Show Notifications” checkbox. Then touch OK to approve the change. Source: Droid Life
    34. Boot into Safe-mode to troubleshoot problems – If you are experiencing a problem with your Nexus 10 and you want to determine whether they are being caused by a third-party app, press the power button for seven seconds until your tablet reboots. Then press and hold both the volume up and down keys until you see the words ‘Safe mode’ appear in the lower left-hand corner of the screen. If the problem goes away when you’re in safe mode, you should reboot your tablet and start removing recently installed apps until the problem goes away. Source: How-To Geek
    35. Upload your music to the cloud – Since the Nexus 10 has a limited amount of internal storage and is not expandable, you should upload all of the music on your computer to the cloud. Google Music allows you to store up to 20,000 songs for free. Using the Google Music app, you’ll be able to access all of them as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection. To upload your music, download Google’s free Music Manager software to your computer.
    36. Canon users can preview photos and change camera settings using their Nexus 10

      Canon DSLR users can preview photos and change camera settings using their Nexus 10

    37. Control a DSLR with your tablet DSLR Controller is a popular app that allows you to fully control your Canon EOS DSLR from your Nexus 10 with only a USB cable. Use your tablet to control, Live View, Image review, Auto Focus, Manual focus, Zoom control, HDR, Timelapse, Wi-Fi Passthrough, Shutter speed, Aperture, ISO speed, White balance and much more. It’s $8, so make sure your camera is on its supported device list before you buy. If you have a Canon camera like the 6D with Wi-Fi support, check out Canon CameraWindow and EOS Remote. Both of these apps are free.
    38. Download USA-restricted apps & media anywhere – If you have rooted your Nexus 10 and want to free access territory-restricted apps and media, download and install Droid VPN and follow these instructions. I do not recommend that you root your tablet for this reason alone, because it may prevent you for getting OS updates directly from Google. Also, as one of my readers points out in the comments section below, this tip may only be helpful on content that does not require a credit card, because Google Play restricts purchases by country. Source: One Click Root
    39. Sync your tablet with iTunes – It’s easy to copy music or videos from your iTunes library to your tablet. However, I recommend that you don’t move everything – unless you have a 32GB Nexus 10 with lots of free space. You can find detailed instructions how to do this here. Source: CNET
    40. Here are just a few of the free wallpapers available on Google Images

      Here are just a few of the free wallpapers available on Google Images

    41. Upgrade your screen background and save battery life – Upgrade your screen background and save battery life – Most of the stock Wallpapers that come with your Nexus 10 tablet are not great. They use bright colors and do not take advantage of the full resolution of your display. Although you can download wallpaper apps, your best bet is to find some images you’ve taken with your DSLR camera or do an advanced search on Google Images. Enter a description in the first box, if you’re not sure what your looking for try “HD wallpapers”, “high resolution images” or ‘2560×1600 wallpaper’ in the first box. Select ‘Larger than 4 MP’ as the image size. If you want the best quality available, search for images above 12 MP. You’ll see a wide range of images to choose from. Click on a few that you like, and make sure to click ‘Full-size image’ on the right-hand side of the screen.

      You’ll find there are a lot of decoy images, which are smaller than they are supposed to be. If it doesn’t say 2560×1600 or larger under ‘Full-size image’ you should go back and select another image. If can’t find anything good on Google Images, try Google+ Communities or Picasa Web Albums. There are some good dark Nexus 10 backgrounds on this Google+ page. Now right-click on the large image and select ‘Save image as…’ Move all of your saved images into a folder called ‘New wallpapers’ and copy that into the ‘Pictures’ folder on your Nexus 10 using a USB cable. You could select your images from the Gallery, but you’d be asked to crop them and that would lower their resolution. Although the Nexus screen is 2560×1600, I’ve been told that the size of the wallpapers that Google includes with the Nexus 10 are 3966×2560. That’s because they pan when you change home screens. I use an app called ‘Simple Image Wallpaper Free’ which displays your wallpaper at its full resolution, doesn’t require cropping and doesn’t pan when you move to another home screen.

      If all this seems too hard, try a wallpaper app from Google Play like Wallbase, Interfacelift or Wallpaper Wizardii. Just make sure to select images which are 2560×1600 or higher, (3966×2560 is even better if possible).

    42. Transfer files wirelessly from an iPad to your Nexus 10 – You can send or receive, photos, videos, music, contacts or notes over Bluetooth from any iOS device to any Android device. In order to do this, you need a jailbroken iOS device, and the AirBlue Sharing app which you can purchase for $5 from Cydia. See it in action here. Source: Redmond Pie
    43. Here are some nice Live Wallpapers (Lonely Tree, Mystic Halo, Ocean HD)

      Here are some nice Live Wallpapers (Lonely Tree, Mystic Halo, Ocean HD)

    44. Install a better Live Wallpaper – All of the Live Wallpapers that come with the Nexus 10 are poor quality. You should install a good Live Wallpaper like Light Grid, Mystic Halo LW, Blue Skies Free, PanoPlanet, or Ocean HD ($1.99). My current favorite Live Wallpaper is Lonely Tree. It really shows off the Nexus 10’s screen with its 60fps motion and extreme detail. If you watch carefully, you’ll notice the clouds, tree branches, snow all move independently. Avoid most wallpapers in Google Play which claim to be HD. Most do not look good on the Nexus 10’s display. Once you’ve installed your new Wallpaper, go to Settings > Display > Wallpaper > Live Wallpapers and select the one you wish to use. Then touch Set Wallpaper and press the Back button to return to the Home screen.
    45. Stop Google from reading your email – Google Now is able to do some cool things by scanning your Gmail. If this bothers you and you want to turn it off, open the Google Search app, go to Settings > Google Now and uncheck “Show cards based on Gmail.”
    46. A tablet-optimized website

      A tablet-optimized website

    47. Bookmark some tablet-optimized websites – More websites are starting to update their layouts so they look great on the Nexus 10. Checkout sites like Engadget, Google News, TNW (The Next Web) and BGR to see great examples of this.
    48. Maximize your screen’s contrast – Because the Nexus 10 uses a different screen technology than the Samsung Galaxy S III or iPad, you can’t set the brightness as high if you want the best contrast between black and white. I recommend that you set your screen brightness at 50% to 60% — unless you’re outside.
    49. Quickly review your photos and delete the bad ones – Within the Gallery app, touch where it says ‘Grid view’ to change to ‘Filmstrip view’. In this view, you can swipe right to move from photo to photo, or swipe down to delete any photo you don’t like. If you accidentally delete a photo, touch ‘Undo’ in the lower-right hand corner, but do this quickly because this option goes away after you go to the next photo.
    50. Expand your storage with an external Wi-Fi drive – Companies like Kingston have solid-state drives that add 32GB, 64GB or 128GB of additional storage to your tablet. These drives are small and communicate over Wi-Fi.
    51. Transfer files, photos or contact info using Bump Bump is a free app which lets you transfer files wirelessly between any two devices (Android or iOS) — even if they don’t support NFC. To use, open the ‘Bump’ app on both devices and select the file (or files you wish to transfer). Then tap the two devices together and press the blue Connect button on both of the devices. You can bump photos to your computer by going to http://bu.mp and bumping your spacebar with your device. Bump works with videos, docs, spreadsheets, presentations are more.
    52. Stream full high-definition movies directly to your tablet using VUDU

      Stream full high-definition movies directly to your tablet using VUDU

    53. Stream a high-definition movie directly to your tablet from VUDU – You can now stream or download an HD movie or TV show from VUDU . The Nexus 10 is one of only four devices that support VUDU currently. All you need is the free VUDU app and a VUDU account. Vudu has a number of advantages over Google Play including on-the-go access to your UltraViolet Digital Collection of Blu-ray movies. [May not be available to Nexus users outside the U.S.]

    54. Fix auto-brightness problems – Android 4.2 has an auto-brightness setting, but it doesn’t work very well. You should download Lux Auto Brightness to fix this problem. Lux automatically adjusts the brightness of your display based on your environment. When you go into a dark room, Lux will automatically lower the brightness of your display after you unlock your screen to make reading more enjoyable.

      To setup Lux you need to go through their setup wizard. I suggest you leave the factory default settings as is. After you do that, you’ll need to go back and launch the app again and touch ‘Press to enable Lux.’ Lux will adjust every time you unlock your screen. Although there is a dynamic setting, it doesn’t work as well, because it’s possible for your finger to occasionally block the light sensor when you hold the tablet in Portrait mode. If you sometimes use your tablet in a totally dark room, I suggest you go to the settings page and set ‘Night Mode’ alpha to 10.

    55. A Bluetooth keyboard allows you to type much faster

      A Bluetooth keyboard allows you to type much faster

    56. Get a Bluetooth keyboard – You can hook up a wired keyboard to the USB port on the Nexus 10, but a Bluetooth keyboard is much more convenient because its wireless. One of the best keyboards for the Nexus 10 is the Logitech keyboard for Android devices. It’s only $51 and is easy to setup. Just turn it on and press the Connect button on the button of the keyboard. Then go to Settings > Bluetooth on your tablet, touch Search for Devices, and select the Logitech keyboard. Next, type the number which appears on your tablet and press the Enter key to pair it. Now anytime the Bluetooth keyboard is on, you can type on it instead of your tablet. This keyboard comes with a carrying case which doubles as a tablet stand.
    57. It's easy to increase your Wi-Fi signal strength

      It’s easy to increase your Wi-Fi signal strength

    58. Improve your Wi-Fi signal strength – If you have a few spots in your residence where you’re not getting a strong Wi-Fi signal, you should consider purchasing a $40 Wi-Fi booster like this one. It’s easy to setup and designed for use with tablets. Just plug it in and wait for its LED to turn green. Then press the WPS button on the extender and your router and you should be ready to go. The new Wi-Fi network will be called the same as the old one, but end with “_EXT”. Make sure to select that network when you’re having signal strength issues. After connecting to a Wi-Fi Extender, I’m getting speeds that are almost 4 times faster than I was before.
    59. Create your own photo albums – You can use a file explorer app like ES File Explorer to make new photo albums inside of the Pictures folder. This is done by going to the Menu and selecting New and Folder. If you do this, your newly created albums will appear when you open the photo Gallery app. You can also delete any albums you don’t want by pressing Select and then touching the items you wish to delete. When you are finished touch the trash can.
    60. Get cut and paste to work every time – Several people have written to tell me they are having problems with cut and paste, so I thought I would try to help with this. To select a word, touch and hold on a word until the highlight and arrows pop up. When you do this on a text document, you’ll be presented with the following choices at the top of the screen: Select All, Copy, Cut and Paste. Drag the two blue region selection handles around the desired text and select Copy (or another one of the available commands). Then touch where you want to insert the copied text and hold until the word Paste appears. Press Done when you’re finished.

      If you do this on a Web page or most other screens, you’ll be presented with the following choices: Select All, Copy, Share, Search Web or Find. If the handles are orange and you don’t see Select All, Copy, Cut and Paste at the top of the screen, you should long-press the selection and Copy, Select All and Share will appear in a pop-up menu. Once you cut or copy the desired text, you’ll be able to paste it — after you long press where you want to insert it. If the paste option goes away, just touch one of the region selection handles again and it will reappear.

    61. Left your wallet at home? No problem. Use your tablet to buy lunch.

      Left your wallet at home? No problem. Use your tablet to buy lunch.

    62. Use your tablet to buy things without a wallet – Since most U.S. carriers block Google Wallet on their smartphones, Nexus devices are the only way for most of us to use NFC to purchase things. Before you go to the store you need to run the Google Wallet app once to link it to your credit card and enter a PIN for security. You do not need to be connected to a Wi-Fi network in order to Tap and Pay. Just tap the back of your tablet near the camera on the cash register. You do need to be connected to setup a card or switch between default payment cards however. You can use Google Wallet in-store anywhere contactless payments are accepted, at over 300,000 merchants across the United States. Learn more about Google Wallet here.
    63. Use NFC to change settings – Another nice application for NFC is automatically changing settings when you move your tablet from one location to another. You can purchase low-cost sensor tags like these that can be placed anywhere and programmed to do many different things using an app like NFC Task Launcher. For example, when I set my tablet on my desk, it turns Bluetooth on so my keyboard works, changes Wi-Fi to a nearby 5GHz access point and turns up the system volume. When I go into to my bedroom, and touch my phone on the night stand it changes to my Wi-Fi extender network, and turns Bluetooth and system volume off.
    64. Simply tap your Nexus 10 to enjoy your music playlist through your home stereo speakers

      Simply tap your Nexus 10 to enjoy your music playlist through your home stereo speakers

    65. Stream music directly to your stereo speakers – Even though the speakers in the Nexus 10 are much better than other tablets, they are not as good as the ones that come with your stereo. By purchasing Belkin’s low-cost HD Bluetooth Music Receiver you can stream music wirelessly from your Nexus 10 (or the cloud) directly to your stereo up to 30 feet away. This works with Google’s Play Music app as well as other great free music services like Spotify, Songza and Pandora’s Internet radio app. Setup is made easier because it uses the Nexus 10’s NFC chip for “tap-and-play” pairing. I want this.
    66. Get 50GB of free cloud storage – You can never have too much storage. That’s why I use SkyDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive and MediaFire. MediaFire isn’t as flexible as the other storage lockers I mentioned above, but it’s the only one that gives you 50GB of FREE storage. You’ll need to first go to their website and create an account, then you can download the MediaFire app from Google Play.
    67. Changing your download directory – Several people have asked how they can change the default Download directory. You can do this with Dolphin Browser by going to Menu> More> Settings> Privacy & Personal Data> Download Directory.

    – Rick

    Copyright 2013 Rick E. Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged

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