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

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

    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

    Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

    Is the Nexus 10 Good Enough to Replace an iPad 3?

    Last update: February 26, 2013

    This article has had almost 20,000 views! Thanks for reading it.

    It’s been several months since my Nexus 10 arrived, so it’s time for an update on my attempt to replace an iPad 3 with it. Was the lack of good tablet apps as big of a problem as everyone said it would be? And what about the superior build-quality of the iPad? Was the Nexus 10 lacking in this area? Read on to learn the answer to these and many more questions.

    My Top Gripes After a Month

    Since most of my previous columns about the Nexus 10 have stressed its benefits, I’ll get right to my gripes about it. Here are the things that bothered me the most about the Nexus 10 after the first four weeks of use.

    You can see an example of a good tablet interface on the left and a bad one on the right.

    1. Limited number of great tablet apps – The number one complaint from reviewers about the Nexus 10 is the lack of great tablet apps. Although it’s true there are more good tablet apps for the iPad, I was surprised this wasn’t more of a problem for me. Many of my favorite Android smartphone apps ran fine on the Nexus 10. In some cases I did need to replace apps, but I didn’t have much of a problem finding suitable replacements. There were two reasons why I needed to replace apps. The first was the fact that some apps have controls which are too small to accurately touch on the Nexus 10. A bigger problem for me was the fact that some of my favorite Android apps couldn’t be downloaded on the Nexus 10. Examples include Zite, USA Today and Flickr. I suspect this is because the companies are working on tablet-optimized apps and are not allowing downloads to tablets because they don’t want to get bad reviews. Now that there are finally a few good selling Android tablets, I suspect we’ll see app makers put more emphasis on creating good tablet apps. I’ve included a list of some Google-recommended tablet-optimized apps here in Tip #4. It’s worth pointing out that not all popular apps are available in tablet versions for the iPad either. For example, Instagram looks much better on the Nexus 10 than it does on the iPad. That’s because it only occupies a small portion of the iPad’s screen. Sure you can blow it up 2x but the text looks distorted and ugly.

      Update: After a month this is no longer a serious problem. Every day I find new tablet-optimized apps that look great on the Nexus 10. Just today a tablet-optimized version of Flipboard finally became available.

    2. Android 4.2’s calendar issue is well-documented

    3. Android 4.2 bugs – Although the stories about Android 4.2’s bugs have been overblown, there is no doubt that iOS 6.0.1 is a more stable, less buggy operating system. Most of the current Android 4.2 bugs are things you won’t experience unless you stream music over Bluetooth, use the lock-screen music widgets, or enable auto-brightness. There is also the well-documented issue which occurs when you try to add an event that occurs in the month of December in the People app. As far as the random crash issues go, I still experience a few a week, so Google does have some work to do in this area.
    4. UPDATE 11/27: Google pushed out an Android 4.2.1 update today which addressed the missing December issue.

      UPDATE 1/15: A Google employee confirms the next Android update will contain a fix for the Bluetooth issue.

    5. Issues rearranging apps and creating folders – Early versions of Android were far superior to iOS when it came to moving apps from screen to screen without rearranging other apps. I’m having problems with this on the Nexus 10 now. A more serious issue is the fact it’s sometimes hard to get an app to go into a folder you drag to. Sometimes the folder moves, other times it won’t work the first time, but if you keep trying you can always get it to go into the folder. This is strange and annoying.
    6. Sometimes magazines can be viewed and other times they cannot

    7. Disappearing magazines – One of my biggest Nexus 10 gripes so far is the problem I’m having not being able to view some of the free magazines that Google provided. I get a ‘Fetching latest…’ message when I try to open a magazine that never goes away. This occurs on magazines I’ve viewed without problems before. This may have to do with the fact I downloaded these to my tablet. The only way I’ve been able to fix this so far is to go to Settings/Apps and swipe to the left until I see the ‘All’ heading and then scroll down to Google Play Magazines and touch the ‘Clear data’ button and redownload the magazine again.
    8. Playback issues with ultra HD video on some apps – I’m having problems trying to watch ultra high-definition (2560*1440) movies using MX Player. The video appears to pause every few seconds now, when it used to work fine on the same software. The same video plays perfectly on the MoboPlayer app so this could be a software-only issue.
    9. Text editing problems in the browser – It’s much more difficult to edit text in a Nexus 10’s browser, than it is to do the same with an iPad 3. There are several reasons for this: The first is the fact it’s harder to insert the cursor precisely in browsers like Chrome. The second is the fact it’s harder to accurately cut and paste text on the Nexus 10 than the iPad. The third, is the fact the Nexus screen sometimes automatically zooms in or repositions itself when you touch the screen or hit the backspace key. It blows my mind that no one at Google has tried to use the Nexus 10 for this purpose because it’s so bad. Editing text in Firefox is even worse than in Chrome. I couldn’t get copy and paste to work reliably in Firefox at all. Two caveats: these are Android-related issues and not Nexus 10 flaws, and furthermore, HTML editing is something I do a lot, but not something a typical consumer does often.

      Update: I’ve figured out what is happening here. Google and browser software makers have implemented logic to try guess when you’re having a hard time touching a button or control. When they detect this, they zoom in around the area to make sure you touch the right thing. This is nice for typical users, but can cause problems when editing HTML. I must have adapted, because I’m now doing almost all of my HTML editing on the Nexus 10 instead of the iPad.

    10. Both the Nexus 10 and iPad 3 have similar back light bleed issues

    11. Screen-related issues – The screen on the Nexus 10 does not have blacks that are as dark as Samsung’s Super Amoled displays. There is also some light leakage in both of the bottom corners. This may only be visible when you are in a dark room and the screen is black, but I wanted to point it out. Some additional leakage is present on each side, but it’s less obvious. As you can see from the photo above, the iPad 3 has backlight leakage that is worse to the Nexus 10. Even with its backlight issues, the iPad 3 and 4 still have a few advantages over the Nexus 10’s display. They have higher contrast, more brightness and better overall color accuracy then the panel in the Nexus 10. That’s not saying the display on the Nexus 10 isn’t great. It will blow your mind when you play a game like “Asphalt 7″ or watch an ultra HD movie on it. It’s also noticeably sharper when it viewing small fonts on websites.
    12. The camera on the Nexus 10 isn’t great

    13. Mediocre rear camera – Although the front camera on the Nexus 10 is only 2MB, it looks much better than the camera on the iPad 3. This is probably because the iPad 3 only has a 0.3 MP camera. The rear-facing camera on the Nexus 10 is not great, but neither is the one on the iPad 3.
    14. Plastic back cover – Although I love the lightness of the Nexus 10 and the way it feels when you hold it, occasionally when you hold its case a certain way, you’ll feel the back move a little. I mainly notice this is when I’m polishing the screen using my shirt. Is this a really big deal? Not for me, but it could have been avoided with a better design.
    15. Wi-Fi range issues – Google claims the Nexus 10 has MIMO Wi-Fi — but its antenna is less sensitive than the one in the iPad. You’ll see this on the Wi-Fi signal strength meter, and you’ll notice a difference in performance when you have a low signal. This isn’t a major problem, but it is a little annoying in light of Google’s bold claims in this area.
    16. Google Play screen update problems – This is a minor issue but I once experienced problems with the screen flashing when I was downloading updates in the Google Play store. This also appears to be an Android 4.2 issue and probably has nothing to do with the Nexus 10.
    17. Auto-brightness problems – Android 4.2 has an auto-brightness setting, but it doesn’t work well because it’s possible for your finger to occasionally block the light sensor when you hold the tablet in Portrait mode. To address this issue you can download Lux Auto Brightness. Lux 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. This approach seems to work better than the dynamic approach that Google uses by default.
    18. The Nexus 10 has the 8th best battery life of 474 Android devices

      The Nexus 10 is one of the more batter-friendly Android devices

    19. Slow charging – Slow charging with the stock charger is a problem, but this was only a issue for me on my first day of use. After that, I charged the tablet at night and did not have a problem getting through most days. When I use the Nexus 10 more than normal, I charge it for an hour around lunch and that gets me through the day. Although there has been a lot of talk about battery life on the Nexus 10, you can see from the chart above it is actually one the top battery-friendly Android devices.
    20. If you’re thinking some of these problems are pretty lame, you’re correct. It’s not easy to find too many things wrong with the Nexus 10’s hardware. Things like backlight leakage are also a problem on the iPad 3 and iPad 4. Most of the serious Nexus 10 issues are software-related, and should be fixed at some point.

    Observations After 8 Weeks of Use

    I order this product on day one and have spent as many hours with it as anyone outside of Google. After eight weeks I am now using my iPad 3 only a few minutes a week. Here is a summary of my observations after eight weeks:

  • The claims about Apple’s superior app ecosystem are overblown. I don’t miss any of the iPad apps I was running before. Not a single one. That doesn’t mean all of the Android apps are at parity, because they are not. But the differences are small enough now that they don’t bother me. Since the Nexus 10 launched the number of good tablet apps has increased dramatically.
  • My problems with the Nexus 10 crashing have sadly increased, but they are not a serious problem yet. Sometimes it will crash twice in a day and then go days without another crash. There is a lot of speculation over the cause of this. Some people think it’s caused by the Chrome browser. Others think the problem goes away when the GPS is disabled. I’ve noticed that many of my crashes occur when I’m using the Chrome browser and Wi-Fi signal strength is low or the tablet is downloading updates. I also suspect that moving wallpapers might be a contributing factor. This hasn’t become a major annoyance for me yet, because I’m confident Google will fix this soon.
  • Update: Since I installed Android 4.2.2, my crash problems seem to have gone away.

  • Most of the display gripes about the Nexus 10 are overblown. The back light bleed is not a problem for me, but I would like darker blacks. That is my number one screen gripe. Color accuracy on the Nexus 10 isn’t great, but that hasn’t been a problem for me. Nor have non-HD desktop icons. I do feel the lack of great HD wallpapers is a problem, but likely one that won’t last long. Screen brightness has also not been a problem for me. Although its not perfect, I love the display on the Nexus 10. To my eyes it’s much crisper than the iPad 3 and that’s what I care about the most.
  • The build quality of the Nexus 10 is fine. I’ll take the lightness over the iPad any day. My only gripe is the fact that the section on the back does not stay in as snugly as I would like.
  • One new problem I’m a little concerned about is the heat from the main chip. This was initially only a problem when gaming, but now I notice it when I’m scrolling on site like Facebook for long periods.
  • What About Build Quality?

    Along with lack of tablet apps, build quality is the most common gripe about the Nexus 10 from Apple fans who have never seen one. I’ll admit the Nexus 10 doesn’t look great in most review photos, but in person, it looks and feels very nice. I’m not the only one who feels this way. Here are a few excerpts about build quality from Nexus 10 reviews:

  • Gizmodo said: “It feels extremely solid and well-built. The back panel is a hard plastic that has been rubberized in a really interesting way. It’s very smooth, but very grippy at the same time.”
  • Ars Technica said: “I do find that I actually prefer the textured plastic back of the Nexus 10 to the aluminum back used by the iPads—the latter gets pretty cold to the touch in November in New Jersey, and the tablet is only too happy to transfer that coldness straight to your hands. The Nexus 10 is a bit more hospitable when pulling it out of a bag that’s been outside.”
  • CNET said: “It is the most comfortable 10-inch tablet to hold in your hand its light weight and smoothly rounded corners the tablet never digs into your palms when held with two hands. The back is a soft, grippy, almost rubbery plastic that not only feels great to hold, but doubles as protection for the tablet. The aforementioned rounded corners have that same rubbery plastic around them. The whole outer shell feels almost like an exoskeleton accessory, specifically designed to protect the delicate tablet organs.”
  • Ubergizmo said: “To put it simply, the design of the Google Nexus 10 is beautiful. The front of the tablet is made of a pristine black glass surface from edge to edge. I really like the soft touch treatment which gives a solid grip when holding the tablet. This is an issue that I have regularly with the iPad. Overall, I find the industrial design to be excellent and high-quality. Unless you are adamant to feel metal when you touch the tablet, I expect most people to be pleased with the quality of this device.”
  • The Guardian said: “The Nexus 10 is a sleek, smooth tablet that feels solid, and sits nicely in the hands with its rounded corners – more rounded than the iPad.”
  • Venture Beat said: “The tablet’s curved design makes it surprisingly comfortable to hold, and the soft back case material feels simply luxurious. The Nexus 10 is so well designed that you’ll be tempted to fondle it even when it’s turned off.”
  • Android Community said: “It’s extremely well made, very durable, feels great and is indeed a polished and beautiful product inside and out.”
  • Android Police said: “Amazing build quality. I tried really hard to find a flaw in the build of this tablet. But I couldn’t. It’s top-notch – everything is super-solid… The back is the real standout feature of the device’s physical design, as it’s coated in a very soft rubbery-plastic that feels almost like leather. It definitely adds a feeling of quality, and is absolutely fantastic in the hands. It’s not cold and slippery like aluminum, nor does it feel cheap and flimsy like typical plastic. It’s slightly grippy, which allows you to hold the unit with less “force,” leading to less wrist fatigue. It also makes it easier to hold the device in your hand palette-style without fear of dropping it.”
  • Tech Radar said: “The rear plastic chassis has a soft-touch feel, with the rubberized effect providing additional grip in the hand, and wrapping round to the front of the tablet for a smooth, seamless finish.”
  • And last, but not least, Wired said: “The back panel is a grippy plastic that makes the Nexus 10 much better than previous Samsung tablets and even the iPad for one-handed use.”
  • Why The Nexus 10 is My New ‘Go to’ Tablet

    You might be wondering why I still favor the Nexus 10, even though I admit the iPad still has some important advantages. Here’s why:

    1. The Nexus 10 absolutely kills the iPad 3 and 4 when it comes to features.
    2. The Nexus 10 is a much better value than the iPad 4. Its hardware beats the iPad 4 in almost every area and costs $100 less.
    3. Apple prevents older hardware from running some features

    4. I want access to all of the newest technologies. The Nexus 10 has features like NFC and multi-user support, which iPad users could be waiting years to get. Not only is Apple behind, they have a history of preventing their users from accessing their new features. Even though the iPad 2 is capable of running Siri and Panorama, Apple forces iPad 2 owners to buy newer hardware in order to run those features. That just isn’t right.
    5. Speed is important to me and the Nexus 10 is faster than the iPad 3. After using my Nexus almost 100% of the time for several months the iPad is noticeably slower on things like scrolling Facebook in the browser.
    6. Lastly, I want the same experience on my phone and tablet. Now that I’ve switched from iPhone to an Android smartphones, it only makes sense that I use an Android tablet.

    Could I replace my iPad 3 with the Nexus 10?

    My transition from an iPad 3 to a Nexus 10 wasn’t as easy as my transition from an iPhone to a Nexus phone. My first few days with the Nexus 10 were not great. I was getting it set up properly and finding good tablet-optimized apps. Most of my issues with the Nexus 10 were software-related, and not directly related to the Nexus 10 hardware. The Nexus 10 is not a perfect product, but it’s good enough that I’ve put my iPad 3 on the shelf and only use it for occasional HTML editing now. The surprising thing is I actually prefer using the Nexus 10 now over the iPad 3. The main reason for this is the fact the Nexus 10 is noticeably lighter than the iPad and feels much better in my hand. Its corners are nicely rounded and don’t dig into my palm the way the iPad 3 does. This is a big deal when you hold your tablet for long periods with one hand like I do. Another reason I prefer the Nexus over the iPad is the display. The crispness of text on the Nexus 10’s display is second to none.

    The bottom line is the Nexus 10 is a great tablet, which holds its own against the best tablets. This says a lot, because the iPad 4 running iOS 6 is a very good product. But for me, the Nexus 10 is even better.

    Final update 2/26: My crash problems seem to have been fixed by Android 4.2.2. I no longer use my iPad for a single thing. It sits on my floor lonely and unused, so I’ve decided to give it to my Dad on Fathers Day. In the past few months there have been a large number of good Android tablet apps which have been released. It’s now at the point where I can’t think of a single iPad app that I still miss — except maybe Zite which runs on my GS3.

    – Rick

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

    Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

    It’s true the iPad has more tablet-optimized apps, but some popular apps still appear like this.

    Here is how Instagram looks on the Nexus 10. Which would you rather use?

    50 Great Tips & Tricks for the Nexus 10

    Last updated: November 24, 2013

    This article has received over 400,000 views! Although it was written for the Nexus 10, many of these tips apply to other Android tablets as well.

    Welcome to the most comprehensive list of tips and tricks for the Nexus 10 you’ll find anywhere on the Internet. This started off as part of a Nexus first impressions article, but quickly grew into a list of 50 tips, so I’ve broken it out on its own. Because this article is intended for everyone from beginners to experts, there will be some things here you already know here, but you’ll also find tips you won’t find anywhere else.

    1. Upgrade to the latest version of Android – There have been several updates to Android since the first Nexus 10 tablets left the factory. Make sure to install the newest Android system update. If your tablet isn’t already running Android 4.2.2, and it doesn’t appear under Settings > About tablet > System Updates, scroll to the bottom of this article to learn how to force an update to Android 4.2.2. What’s new in Android 4.2.2? You can see a list of all changes here.
    2. Choose your screen orientation – The startup screen, volume control and speaker placement seem to indicate Google intended the Nexus 10 to be used horizontally in landscape mode. However I prefer the vertical portrait mode for the following reasons: First, it’s better suited for most web pages. Second, apps like Instagram and Spotify can’t be used in landscape mode. Third, it’s easier to hold the Nexus 10 vertically with one hand. Of course you’ll want to use landscape when watching most movies. In the end the choice is yours, just keep in mind if you use it in portrait mode the volume control will be reversed (e.g. pushing the lower button turns the volume up.)
    3. Google Now delivers information without you needing to ask

      The Nexus 10 Guidebook is massive

    4. Activate Google Now – Swipe up from the bottom of your tablet screen near the center to access Google Now. Before using Google Now you must go through a tutorial and then activate it. Then make sure location services are on. To do this you need to check the box next to ‘Wi-Fi & mobile network location’ and agree with the prompt. Then go through the settings for Google Now and enter your favorites sports teams and adjust a few other settings. When you’re finished Google Now will start presenting you with information tailored to your needs like the local weather. You can see what my first Google Now page looked like in the screenshot above. It’s worth mentioning I’ve never taken my tablet to the gym, or asked Google for my drive time to work. It provided that info based on my previous behavior. I know some people have privacy concerns, but I think this feature is great.
    5. Download the official Nexus 10 Guidebook – Google just made available a new 159 page Nexus 10 Guidebook. You can download this excellent guide here. Once downloaded, I recommend you copy it to your tablet, so you can refer to it anywhere you go. Make sure you have a PDF reader on your Nexus 10 however. You can download Adobe Reader here.
    6. Download some tablet-optimized apps – You’ll quickly discover not all of your Android smartphone apps adapt well to the extremely high pixel density of the Nexus 10. For this reason, Google recommends you download some of the following apps: Autodesk Sketchbook Pro for Tablets, Cat in the Hat, Cut the Rope Experiments HD, Evernote, Expedia, Fandango Movies for Tablets, Friendcaster, Google Currents, Fancy, Heros Call HD Widgets, Hipmunk, Hulu Plus, Magic Piano, Mint.com, Netflix, News Republic for Tablets, Ocean HD, Office Suite Pro, OpenTable, Picsay Pro, Plume, Pinterest, Pulse News, SplashTop Remote Desktop HD, Strikefleet Omega, Sprinkle, SwiftyKey3 Tablet, Pocket, SeriesGuide, Taptu, TED, Trulio, Zappos and Zoomingo. In addition to the above apps, I would add the following apps which have all been optimized to run on tablets like the Nexus 10: 500px, AccuWeather for Android, AirCalc, Amazon Mobile (Tablet), BaconReader for Reddit, Business Calendar, Calendar, Ebay, Engadget, FIFA 2014, Flipboard, Google+, Google Pinin Input, Hotel Tonight, Kingsoft Office, NYTimes for Android, Pandora, PicsArt, Pinterest, Sing! Karaoke, Smart Tools, SkyDrive, Solid Explorer, Songza, SoundHound, Tasks, Temple Run 2, The Weather Channel, Twitter (tablet-optimized version), USA Today, Wunderlist 2 and Yahoo! Weather.

      Here’s a list of the top 150 Android apps. Many, but not all are tablet-optimized. Also, check out the Tablified Market app. It highlights apps that are designed and optimized for tablets.

    7. Install the Adobe Flash plug-in – Flash may be a dying format, but there are still millions of Flash videos around and the Nexus 10 should be able play some of them. To install Flash from the official Adobe website, follow the instructions at the bottom of this page.
    8. The Nexus 10 has several different keyboard layouts like this one with number keys

    9. Expand your keyboard – Since the Nexus 10 has such a large screen you may want to expand to a full-sized PC-style keyboard that includes number keys and extras like the screenshot above has. It’s tricky to set up, but worth it if you like to type in landscape mode. Go to Settings/Language & input and then touch the settings Sliders next to ‘Android keyboard.’ Next, touch ‘Advanced settings’ and touch ‘Custom input styles.’ It will say Deutsch and Francais, but you can ignore that. Touch ‘Add Style’ near the upper right. Then select your language and change the layout from QWERTY to ‘PC’ or one of the other styles. Now touch ‘Add’ and you’ll see your new style appear in the list. Touch ‘Enable’ and use the back key to go back to the Language & input screen. Now touch ‘Input languages’ near the top and uncheck ‘Use system language.’ Lastly, touch ‘English (US) (PC)’ and you’re done. Source: AndroidPIT

      Note: Mostly-tech reader Craig has reported the above tip changed his default input language and broke voice and image responses via GoogleNow. If you experience either of those problems, switch back to the (US English) keyboard input setting.

    10. Control your tablet using your voice - Most people don’t know you can have your tablet open an app, create a calendar event, display a map, navigate to a place, send an email, set an alarm, define a word, show movie times, take a note, display a weather forecast, identify a zip code or area code, provide flight info, find a restaurant, run a calculator or provide a translation by simply speaking. Start by touching the microphone next to the search box. For more info, go to pages 58-64 in the Nexus 10 Guidebook (See Tip 3 to find out where to get this). There’s also a list of all 53 types of voice requests here.
    11. Watch "Timescapes" if you want to see what the amazing display on the Nexus 10 is capable of

      Watch “Timescapes” if you want to see what the amazing display on the Nexus 10 is capable of

    12. Download a high-quality video – If you really want to see what the Nexus 10 display is capable of when it comes to video, download Timescapes. It it the first 4K movie that you can purchase for $29.95. It has almost twice as many pixels as a normal high-definition video. If you’re not ready to shell out $30 bucks, but want to watch a free 1080p preview of the movie click here. If you decide to buy the movie, make sure to download the 2560×1440 version and not the others. The movie is over 6GB, so you should back it up to your computer, so you can free up space on your tablet if you need to later. In order to play this video, you may have to download free MoboPlayer software (or equivalent).
    13. Turn off haptic feedback if you don’t like it – When touch the screen on the Nexus 10 to navigate, you get a little vibration. If you don’t like this, go to Settings > Sound and uncheck ‘Vibrate on touch.’ Making this change will not turn off the vibration you get when you type on the onscreen keyboard. To turn that off, go to Settings > ‘Language and input.’ Then touch the Setting icon for the ‘Android keyboard’ and uncheck ‘Sound on keypress.’ Make sure ‘Vibrate on keypress’ is unchecked as well. If you’re using SwiftKey 3 Tablet, go to its settings page, touch Advanced. Touch ‘Audio and haptic feedback’ and uncheck Haptic feedback.
    14. Shoot and edit your own home movies on your Nexus 10

    15. Shoot and edit video on your tablet – If this is your first Android tablet, you probably haven’t used ‘Movie Studio’ yet. Movie Studio lets you edit video clips together in a timeline with transitions, music, effects and titles. Movie studio has been around since Android 3.0, but the tablets back then didn’t have enough power to run it well. Here are some good instructions how to use Movie Studio.
    16. Unhide Developer Options – Earlier versions of Android had a ‘Developer options’ area in Settings but that’s no longer present in Android 4.2. However, you can still put your tablet into Developer Mode by going to Settings and touching ‘About tablet.’ Then click the build number seven times. After you do that you will see ‘Developers options’ appear in the Settings menu! This great tip came from Wai Ho Cheung.
    17. SwiftKey 3 is Tablet a great tablet-optimized keyboard app

    18. Try a tablet-optimized keyboard – If I had to pick one single app that softened my transition from the iPad 3 to the Nexus 10 the most it would be the SwiftKey 3 Tablet Keyboard. The reason for this is because I type a lot and I like to work in portrait mode. That squeezes the keys closer together and makes typing harder on the stock keyboard. I can’t say enough good things about this app. It takes a while for you to learn it, and for it to learn you, but when that happens, you’ll never go back.
    19. Toggle between MTP and PTP – Here’s another tip you won’t see anywhere else: You can put the Nexus 10 into Camera (PTP) mode by going to Settings > Storage and then selecting the menu in the upper right-hand corner. From there, you can select ‘USB computer connection,’ which allows you to toggle between MTP (which is the default) and PTP which lets you transfer photos using camera software. PTP also works on computers that don’t support MTP.
    20. Learn how to use Quick Settings – You can use the Quick Settings menu to turn on/off Wi-Fi, change screen brightness, turn off auto-rotate and more. To open Quick Settings, swipe down from the top right corner of any screen. You can even access the full settings menu from Quick Settings.
    21. An Actionable Notification

    22. Try the new Notification Shade – To open the Notification Shade, swipe down from the top left corner of any screen. You can do this even when your Nexus 10 is locked. Certain notifications like emails or calendar events can be expanded to show more information. Some notifications let you take action by touching icons. For example, Calendar notifications allow you to Snooze or send email to other guests. To collapse a notification, pinch it. To expand a notification, glide using two fingers. When you’re finished with a notification, just swipe it to the right to make it go away. To dismiss all notifications, touch the icon at the top right of the notification shade. If you long-press on an open task, you’ll be taken straight to the settings page for that app.

    23. Uninstall unneeded apps – After you’ve been using your tablet for a while you’ll probably have apps that you never use. You may want to remove any unused apps to free up space. The easiest way to uninstall an app is to press and hold the app icon in the app drawer and drag it to the top of the screen where it says ‘Uninstall.’ If it only shows App Info, it is a system app and cannot be uninstalled. However, if you drag the app to where it says App Info you’ll have the option to disable the app, which frees up memory.
    24. Games like “Asphalt 7″ look great on the Nexus 10

    25. Download a new game – Playing games on your Nexus 10 tablet is very different than playing games on your smartphone. The large screen, killer graphics, faster processor and great sounding stereo speakers take gaming to a whole new level. Make sure to download a game with great graphics like Asphalt 7, Dead Trigger, or Shadow Gun. All of these will cost you, but there are many great free games as well, including Temple Run 2.
    26. Improve your gaming graphics – If you’re a hard-core gamer, you probably already know what 4x anti-aliasing is. You can enable this on the Nexus 10 if you know a secret trick. First, enable Developer Options as described above in Tip #11. Then go to Settings and click on Developer Options. You will now see an option on the right to enable Force 4x MSAA. Multisample anti-aliasing (MSAA) is a technique used to improve image quality. Since the Nexus 10 has a GPU capable of supporting MSAA, this setting should make your graphics look more detailed when you’re playing advanced games. Keep in mind this will also cause your GPU to work harder and your tablet may get hotter and consume more power than normal. It’s also possible that all games may not support this, but this seems to work great with games like Asphalt 7. Source: Wai Ho Cheung.
    27. This wireless gaming controller was designed for the Nexus 10

    28. Use a gaming controller with your Nexus 10 – If you game a lot, you might try using a gaming controller with your Nexus 10. You have three options: If you own a Sony PS3, you can use up to four PS3 controllers with your Nexus 10 at the same time. Instructions here. You can also plug an Xbox gaming controller into the Nexus 10, as long as you have a micro USB to USB adapter. Lastly, you can purchase a wireless gaming controller like the Nyko Playpad.
    29. Copy your media to your tablet – One of Android’s best features is the ability to plug your charging cable into the USB jack on your computer and have your tablet appear as a hard drive. Once you do this, you can easily copy over the music, photos, videos or documents you want to take with you everywhere.
    30. Select a lock screen – If you plan to bring your Nexus 10 outside of your house, you should go to Settings/Security and pick a pattern (recommended), PIN or password-based screen unlock.
    31. It’s easy to connect a Nexus 10 to your TV and watch HD videos on it.

    32. Connect your tablet to a television – The Nexus 10 has a standard micro HDMI jack, so you can purchase a high-quality cable which connects to your TV for as little as $3. This allows you to watch high-definition videos from YouTube, Netflix or any other site on your TV. Unlike other tablets, the Nexus will display a video on your tablet and television at the same time. It will also automatically scale 2550x1440p videos to 1080p, so your television can display them. As you can see from the screenshot above, the picture quality is great. Important: Make sure to power down your tablet and television before connecting or disconnecting an HDMI cable. If you don’t, it’s possible that you could damage your tablet.
    33. Hook up an external keyboard and mouse – You can easily connect your tablet to an external keyboard, mouse, or other input device and use these just as you would with a PC. This can be done using Bluetooth or direct USB connection. To connect via USB you will need an adapter like this. To connect more than one USB device at a time, use a powered USB hub to reduce drain on your battery. I’ve tried a wired keyboard and a standard wired mouse with the Nexus 10 tablet and both work pretty well. The mouse had no issues whatsoever. The keyboard seemed to miss keys or spaces occasionally when I typed too fast. However, I really like using the arrow keys on the keyboard to precisely move the cursor around text on the screen. I also like the fact the tablet can tell there is a keyboard attached and does not display the onscreen keyboard. This saves a lot of space on the screen.
    34. You can work faster when you connect your Nexus 10 to a traditional keyboard and mouse

    35. External keyboard tips – In addition to entering text, you can use your keyboard to navigate your tablet’s features: Use the arrow keys to select items on screen. Press Return after selecting an item is equivalent to touching that item. Press Escape to go Back. Press Tab or Shift-Tab to move forward on a screen with multiple text fields. For maximum typing speed, turn off auto-replace, auto-capitalization and auto-punctuate. To do this, swipe down on the top of the screen and ‘Select keyboard layout.’ To do this, swipe down on the top of the screen and ‘Select keyboard layout.’ Don’t forget you can use keyboard commands like Ctrl-V to paste text just like you would with a PC.
    36. Expand your memory – One of the biggest complaints about the Nexus 10 is the fact it doesn’t have a memory expansion slot, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add your own memory by buying a short micro USB to USB cable and connecting a low-cost memory stick. However, stock Android devices do not automatically “mount” mass storage devices like USB sticks, so one additional step is required. If you’re Nexus tablet is rooted, the best solution is an app called Stickmount (Note: I was recently told there may be problems with it and Android 4.2, which the developer are working on now). Once StickMount is installed you connect a USB stick to your Nexus using a USB OTG cable and the device will show you a popup and ask if you want to open StickMount. You’ll need a file viewer app like ES File Explorer to display your files. More details. If your Nexus 10 is not rooted, you have two options: The first is a $3 app called Nexus Media Importer, which allows you to import or stream music, video, photos and documents from a USB flash drive or SD card. More info. The second option is free. You can enable PTP on your Nexus 10 by following the instructions in Tip #13 above. Once PTP is enabled, when you plug in a supported device it should immediately bring up the Gallery app with a new folder containing all of your photos. When you open that folder, you can either import, or browse the photos. All of the above options require a USB OTG to mini USB adapter.
    37. Where to Find More Great Tips Like These

      If you’re looking for more great tips and tricks for the Nexus 10, checkout this article.

      The new Photo Gallery App is a powerful photo editing tool

    38. Edit your photos like a pro – The Android 4.2 Gallery app is more than just a photo viewer. It now has some serious editing capabilities. In addition to all of the standard Instagram-style filters, this app has some advanced photo editing features that are similar to the ones you’ll find in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. The incredible screen on the Nexus 10 and fast processor, make it a serious photo editing station. For even better editing options, try Snapseed or Pixlr Express.
    39. More powerful photo editing options

    40. Learn how to take a screenshot – To take a screenshot on the Nexus 10, press the power button and the volume down button and continue to hold them until you hear a beep and see the screen zoom in. The volume down is on the top part of the volume slider when you are holding the tablet in portrait-mode.
    41. Use the new Google Voice search – It doesn’t make sense to type your searches any more. Just touch the microphone near the top of the screen and talk, or say “Google” when you are on the Google Now page.
    42. Set up a guest profile – You may want to setup a guest profile on your Nexus 10, so a friend can check their email, and install their own games, but can’t update your Facebook status. Their app settings, screen background, game-progress and high-scores remain separate. To add a new user, go to Settings/Device/Users. Touch ‘Add user’ and then touch OK. Touch ‘Not now,’ if your guest is not available. A generic new user should now appear in the list.
    43. Customize your home screen – Every one uses their tablet differently, so you should customize your home screen(s) to meet your needs. Here are some suggestions:

      a. Make shortcuts on your home screens for all of your favorite apps. To do this go to the App locker and then touch and hold an app and drag it to the desired screen.

      b. Create folders for different categories of apps (e.g. Games, Utilities, etc.) and move all of the related apps into those folders.To create a new folders drag on app on top of another similar app. After the new folder is created, make sure to name it.

      c. Uninstall any unnecessary apps or widgets from your existing homescreens. To do this, simply touch and drag them into the text ‘Remove’ near the top of the screen.

      Buy a case for your Nexus 10

    44. Buy a carrying case – It’s a good idea to purchase a leather case for your Nexus 10. This will protect your screen from scratches and give you additional protection if you drop it. Most cases also act as a stand for your tablet. Nexus 10 cases are just starting to appear on sites like Amazon.com. I just received this case and I’m happy with it.
    45. Don’t forget about the free music – Although you won’t see the free music that is included with your Nexus 10 in the “My Library” widget, if you go into ‘All Apps’ and open ‘Play Music,’ U.S. Nexus owners will find ten free songs from The Rolling Stones, Cat Power, M. Ward, The Lumineers, Bob Mould, Eskmo and more. Preloaded music in other countries varies.
    46. Install tracking software – You paid good money for your Nexus 10, so you don’t want to lose it. Make sure to install software like ‘Where’s My Droid‘ which allows you to track your tablet if lost or stolen. If you spend $4 to upgrade to the Pro version, you can also remotely lock your tablet, enable the camera to see the thief and as a last resort erase your tablet remotely. If you install this app, make sure to run the setup and connect the Commander screen to your Google account.
    47. Try gesture typing – The standard Android keyboard now allows you to slide your finger over the letters you want to type, and lift it after each word. You don’t need to worry about spaces, because they’re added automatically for you. This feature used to be only found in premium apps like Swype. Now you can use it whenever you like.
    48. Zoom two different ways – There are different ways to zoom in on the Nexus 10. The first is called double-tap. You can quickly tap two times on most webpages in Chrome to zoom in. Double-tap again to zoom out. This feature works on most webpages, maps, and other screens. Android 4.2 also has an interesting new feature called magnification gestures. When enabled, you can triple-tap the screen everywhere (except on the keyboard or notification bar) and zoom in. The nice thing is that you stay zoomed in, until you triple-tap a second time. To enable this feature, go to Settings > System > Accessibility and touch Magnification gestures. Then slide it from off to on and hit the back button. It’s worth mentioning that the way you zoom in works differently when you double or triple tap. Both have advantages, try each and see which is better for certain things. One user has reported that enabling triple-tap doesn’t work well when playing games like GTA3.
    49. Pin your content so you can access it without a Wi-Fi connection

    50. Access your Google Play media offline – Normally Google Play streams your content from the cloud when you access it. This is done so the content doesn’t take up any of your precious storage space. However, there are times where you may not have access to the Internet, but still want to read a book or watch a movie. To do that you’ll want to download or ‘pin’ the media on your device so you can access it offline. To ‘pin’ a book, open the Play Books app, go to the menu and select ‘Make available offline.’ A blue dot with a pin in it means the book is available for offline, but has not been downloaded yet. To download it, tap it once and the pin should turn white. Once the book is finished downloading, the pin icon should be upright, white and surrounded by a blue dot (like “The Time Machine” book above). Keep in mind that downloading a movie will consume a substantial amount of storage space (~1.7GB).
    51. Press and hold to quickly change camera settings

      Press and hold to quickly change camera settings

    52. Quickly change camera settings – You can now press and hold on the camera app screen and swipe to quickly change white balance, HDR and other camera settings. You can also go directly from the camera app to the Photo Gallery app by swiping to the right. Swipe left to return to the camera.
    53. Improve your Internet download speeds – If you have Wi-Fi range issues like I do, you may want to purchase an Ethernet adapter. The Nexus 10 supports USB-OTG, which makes this possible. Although micro USB to Ethernet adapters are available, they don’t get good reviews, so you’re probably better of with a USB to Ethernet adapter like this and a micro USB to USB adapter. More about the types of things you can connect with USB-OTG.
    54. Pinch-to-zoom Gmail – Gmail has a new setting called ‘Auto-fit messages’ which is not enabled by default. When you enable this setting, you can manually pinch to zoom in or out on an e-mail. This is really useful.
    55. Learn how to decipher the notification LED – You’ve probably noticed there’s an LED on the front of your Nexus 10 that flashes occasionally. It’s there to let you when you have one ore more notifications waiting. Its LED is capable of displaying multiple colors so you can tell what type of notification you have without unlocking your tablet. Since there is no mention of this feature in the Nexus 10 manual, there is some confusion over the colors used. It appears Google uses white for Gmail or SMS texts, blue is for Facebook notifications, green indicates your tablet is 100% charged, and also may show Google Voice notifications, yellow is for Google Talk and red is for Google+. It appears third-party apps can trigger the notification LED as well. One thing I’ve noticed about the notification LED is it sometimes continues to flash after you’ve cleared your notifications. If this blinking bothers you, you can turn off the notification LED by going to Settings > Display and unchecking ‘Pulse notification light.’
    56. Light Flow Lite allows you to take control of the colors of your notification LED

    57. Customize your LED notifications – A free app called Light Flow Lite allows you to take control of the colors of your notification LED. It also makes your Nexus 10 flash one color after another. This app allows you to set the notification color for the over 250 applications and system events including missed calls, low battery, no signal, voice mail, calendar reminders, Gmail messages, email messages, SMS messages, MMS messages, Twitter notifications and more.
    58. Quickly silence or restart your tablet – To quickly silence your Nexus 10, press and hold the power button for 1-2 seconds. To restart your tablet, press and hold the power button for 8 seconds.
    59. Backup everything on your tablet

    60. Make it easy for someone to return your tablet if lost – It’s a good idea to add a message to your lock-screen like the following: If found, please call [Enter your area code and phone number here]. To do this, go to Settings > Security > and touch ‘Owner info’ (or User Info, for other users). Then enter the text you want displayed on the lock screen.
    61. Backup everything on your tablet – Although it’s true Google backs up some of your data, it doesn’t back up everything. My Backup Pro backs-up your photos, SMS texts, contacts, call log, browser bookmarks, system settings, Home screens, music playlists and apps. Your entire backup is stored online.
    62. Use your tablet as a phone – You can turn your Android tablet into a phone with apps like Talkatone, GrooVe IP, Viber, Tablet Calling or others. A free Google Voice account is required by most of these programs. For best results, you’ll want to use a Bluetooth earpiece, since the mic used for this is located on the back of your tablet. For video calls try Skype or Tango. Video calls use the front camera on the Nexus, which works pretty well, however you still should use a Bluetooth earpiece for best results.
    63. Let Google know where you live and work – In order to get the most out of Google Now you must enter your home and work addresses. To do this go to maps.google.com using your browser, touch the Menu icon in the upper right hand corner, and open My Places. From there, you can enter your home and work addresses.
    64. Nexus 10 features to avoid – Because Android 4.2 and the Nexus 10 are still so new, there are several features you may want to avoid until the next update is available. Avoid using Lock-screen music widgets and Auto-brightness. If auto-brightness is important to you, please refer to Tip 40 here for a work-around.
    65. Enjoy your media without cables

    66. Get yourself some wireless headphones – The Nexus 10 is great for multimedia. After Google fixes the Bluetooth issues with Android 4.2.2 you may want to get yourself a wireless headset like this one. It’s stereo, sounds good and also has a mic, so you can make calls with it. If you have problems pairing your Bluetooth headset, try it several times. It took me at least three tries before it worked.
    67. Get help from Google – You can call (855) 836-3987 and ask Google questions about your Nexus 10 24/7. I know some people are bashing Google for their phone support, but my phone support experience was positive. Once I waited on hold for 15 minutes, but the person who answered my call was able to quickly solve a difficult problem.
    68. Visit the Nexus 10 support site online for more information.

      Where to Find More Great Tips Like These

      Hopefully you’ve learned something new after reading this. If you’re looking for more great tips and tricks for the Nexus 10, check out my next article.

      How to Install Flash on the Nexus 10

      1. Go to Settings > Security > and check “Unknown sources” under Device Administration.
      2. Go to Google Play and download Firefox (or another browser that you are sure has Flash support).
      3. Next, download Flash from the Adobe website by clicking here.
      4. Drag the downloaded file labeled ‘install_flash_player_ics.apk’ into the ‘Download’ folder on your Nexus 10.
      5. Now use an app like ES File Explorer to locate the APK in your Download folder and touch it.
      6. Next, touch ‘Install’ and ‘Agree’ to install the Flash plug-in.
      7. Note: Although I have not experienced any problems with Flash on the Nexus 10, I can not be responsible for the results of the actions you are about to take. You are installing software which is not officially supported, and could result in security or stability issues. I wouldn’t be too concerned however. I’ve been running this for more than four weeks now and have visited many sites. Content on most sites plays fine for me. Nothing bad has happened on the other sites.

        To test that Flash is working, go to this page (or any other page you know has Flash on it). If you don’t see a video, touch where it says ‘Tap here to activate plugin’. After you do this, you should see a red box jumping around on the screen. I’ve noticed that most, but not all Flash files play on the Nexus 10. This appears to be due to an incompatibility between Flash and Android 4.2. If Flash videos don’t play the first time, don’t try to activate Flash on that page again. Enjoy!

        Although it’s not essential, if you don’t plan to sideload more APK files, you should go back to Settings > Security > and uncheck “Unknown sources” under Device Administration.

        Can’t get Flash to work? Try some of these suggestions.

        If you have problems getting Firefox to work, try installing Boat Browser. After installing it, make sure to go to Settings > Page content settings and set ‘Enable flash/plug-ins to On. If you view a lot of Flash, you might want to make Boat your default browser. [Thanks to Karen for this tip]

        How to Force An Update to Android 4.2.2 on Your Nexus 10

        1. Go to Settings > Apps > and swipe the area which says “DOWNLOADED” to the right until you see “ALL” tab under Apps. The screens below were borrowed from a Cult of Android article for another device. Your screens may look slightly different.

          Steps 1

          Step 2b

          1. Now, scroll down to where it says “About tablet” and touch “System updates’ and touch the “Check now” button. If it does not find the 4.2.2. update, restart your tablet and try again. If the above steps do not work, repeat them rebooting your device after step 3. You may also need to repeat the steps twice for the update to show up on your device. This approach worked for me, but may not work in all regions.

            What to Do If You Have Problems After You Force An Update to Android 4.2.2

            After I forced an update to Android 4.2.2 I could not download or update apps without an error. You have have that problem, you may want to do what I did to fix it.

            1. Go to Settings > Apps > and swipe the area which says “DOWNLOADED” to the right until you see “ALL” tab under Apps. Select “Google Play Store”, and then tap “Clear cache” and “Clear data.” Please note: After clearing the Google Play Store app data, if you have set a PIN code and/or a content filter, you’ll need to re-apply these settings.
            2. Locate “Download Manager,” under “ALL” and then tap “Clear cache” and “Clear data”
            3. Locate “Google Services Framework,” under “ALL” and then tap “Clear cache” and “Clear data”
            4. Reboot your tablet
            5. Try it again. If you still cannot download apps, try removing and then re-adding your Google account on the Settings screen. This worked for me.
            6. – Rick

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


              Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

    Nexus 10 – First Impressions

    Last update: January 27, 2013

    Earlier today I received one of the first Nexus 10 tablets. Since I’m hoping to use it to replace my iPad 3, I’m comparing the two side-by-side. Here are my initial findings so far:

    First Impressions – Day One

    1. The process of setting up a Nexus 10 is easy. You don’t even have to enter your Google account email. Just enter your password, answer a few questions and all of your apps and other data will start syncing.
    2. The build-quality on the Nexus 10 is very good overall. This was a surprise to me, because I didn’t think the Nexus 10 looked very good in the reviews. The front is metal and glass like the iPad 4. The back of the Nexus 10 is plastic, not aluminum like the iPad, but it feels good in your hands. Because it’s corners are rounded, it doesn’t dig into your palm as much as the iPad 3. The only thing I don’t like about the plastic is the fact that it does flex a little when you squeeze it hard. This is something the iPad 3 doesn’t do.
    3. The Nexus 10 comes with 5 books, 3 magazines, 10 songs, an HD movie and a TV show

    4. The Nexus 10 comes with lots of free content – Content varies by country. U.S. users get the following three free magazines, Conde Nast Traveler, Entrepreneur and House Beautiful. We also get five great books including “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens, “The Three Musketeers” by Alexandre Dumas, “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson and “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll. Like music? The Nexus 10 also comes with ten songs from The Rolling Stones, Cat Power, M. Ward, The Lumineers, Bob Mould, Eskmo and more. Last, but not least, the Nexus 10 also comes with an HD copy of the full-length movie “Ice Age” and the BBC TV show “Planet Earth.” Preloaded media varies by country, so your selection could be different from what I’ve listed above.
    5. The screen on the Nexus 10 is beautiful. Small text on the Nexus 10 is noticeably crisper than the same text on the iPad 3. The free ‘Entrepreneur’ magazine Google gives you is a great example how media on a tablet can look every bit as good as a real magazine. That’s probably because HD magazines in Google Play are 300dpi and the screen on the Nexus 10 is 300ppi. I’ve attached a screen capture here, but you can only really appreciate the way it looks if you have a Nexus 10 or iPad 4. It won’t look good on most computer displays. It’s worth mentioning the quality on the free Conde Nast Traveler magazine seems to vary. Some of the ads look grainy to me, while others look great. I’m not sure why. Resolution is just one important display parameter. It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t acknowledge the fact the iPad 3 and 4 both have amazing displays that excel in some areas over the display in the Nexus 10 as well. I’ll detail some of those in my next article.
    6. Here is an example of a 300 dpi HD magazine. In order to evaluate this, it most be displayed at 2560×1600.

    7. The Google Magazine reader preloads pages in the background so there is no delay when you turn them. However, when you flick through the pages of an HD magazine as fast as you can, on the fourth page, you’ll start to have to wait 1-2 secs for them to load. This isn’t a flaw, just an observation.
    8. When you have a web page loaded with a white background, the Nexus screen has a slight yellow tinge to it, while the iPad 3 has a slight blue tinge. This is very subtle so it’s unlikely most people will notice this, but I thought I would mention it anyway.
    9. The Nexus 10 is noticeably lighter and thinner than the iPad 3. The lightness is good, but I’m not sure I’d want a tablet any thinner than a Nexus 10. It just wouldn’t feel right.
    10. The Nexus 10 is really fast. Scrolling and app load times are the fastest I’ve seen on any device, (and noticeable faster and smoother than the iPad 3).
    11. Syncing everything from my Google accounts and re-downloading all of my apps and data to the Nexus 10 took 45 minutes or less. That’s much faster than it took to download everything to my iPad 3.
    12. Here is the same web page on the Nexus (left) and iPad 3 (right)

    13. The screen on the Nexus 10 is noticeably longer than the iPad 3’s screen. At first I thought the Nexus 10 looked strange when held in portrait mode, because I was so used to the 4:3 aspect ratio of the iPad’s screen, but now I love it. The long screen displays quite a few more lines vertically as you can see above. It also displays more information horizontally, because text and images appear smaller due to the higher number of pixels per inch. The smaller text is not a problem for my eyes, but it could be a problem for others.
    14. I’m not thrilled with the new album art carousel on the Google Music app. I’d rather see more album covers at once.
    15. As others have noted, charging the Nexus 10 is slow when you’re using it. I plan to buy a third-party charger as soon as they’re available. Once I got on a cycle of charging all night with the power off, my charging issues seem to have gone away.
    16. When holding the Nexus 10 in portrait mode, it seems like the volume buttons are reversed. The top button is volume down and the bottom button is volume up. This is hard to get used to. I suspect they did this because they suspect people will use this product in landscape mode, but I prefer using it in portrait mode for everything except video playback and gaming.
    17. Like the iPad 3, the Nexus 10 has a screen that is very reflective. If you want an eReader that can be used in bright sunlight, or conditions where there is glare, you’re better off with a Kindle Fire.
    18. One of the reviews I read said the boot time of the Nexus 10 is 18.6 seconds, however I clocked a boot time of 24 to 25 seconds (from vibration to full home screen). By comparison, an iPad 3 takes 28 seconds to boot. The iPad 3 does shutdown much faster however (~4 seconds vs. 10-11 seconds).
    19. At first I thought the touch screen on the Nexus 10 wasn’t as sensitive as the iPad’s touch screen, but now I’m not sure. The only time I have problems is when I touch really small controls on the screen.
    20. Page load times in the Chrome browser vary. Sometimes the iPad 3 is faster and other times the Nexus 10 is faster. The Nexus 10 displays less bars when it’s located far away from a Wi-Fi access point than an iPad 3. It’s unclear whether this is a signal strengh display issue or a larger issue.

    That’s it for now. Make sure to check out additional Nexus 10 gripes in my next article.

    What About All of the Android 4.2 Bugs?

    If you’re wondering about all of the Android 4.2 bugs that sites like BGR are reporting. Random crashes? I’ve had several in five days, but it hasn’t been a major issue. Most of the things things these site are talking about are things that a typical user would not encounter — unless they are using Bluetooth audio, using lock-screen widgets, or trying to select December from the date picker in the People app. It’s worth mentioning that not a single one of the twenty authors who have written detailed reviews on the Nexus 10 pointed out any of the bugs we’re hearing about now. Here is what Gotta Be Mobile said about the stability of Android 4.2. “Fortunately, with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, I haven’t experienced any major issues, nor have I seen any Nexus 7 owners complaining about a plethora of bugs. I’ve heard and see some users complaining about a Bluetooth issue as well as an over sensitive auto-brightness function, but thus far, neither of those bugs are affecting my device.”

    UPDATE 11/27 – Google pushed out an Android 4.2.1 update today which addresses the missing December issue.

    UPDATE 1/15 – A Google employee confirms the next Android update will contain a fix for the Bluetooth issue. Version number rumored to be 4.2.2.

    Summary After One Day

    It’s too early to say whether the Nexus 10 is better or worse than the iPad 3. I can say it’s better than I expected based on all of the reviews. I’m convinced it is the best value in a 10″ tablet today. My goal is to use it to completely replace my old iPad 3. It will take weeks to see if that is possible. Make sure to check my next article for the answer. Also check out my list of 50 Great Tips and Tricks for the Nexus 10 here.

    – Rick

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

    Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

    What Samsung & Google Don’t Tell You About Beaming

    Last update: October 17, 2013

    This article has had over 100,000 views! Thanks for reading it. Although this article refers to the Galaxy S III, S Beam also works with the Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy S 4 and most of Samsung’s other Galaxy products — including tablets.

    Beaming Is Not New

    By now you’ve probably seen the Samsung TV commercial where the wife sends a video to her husband by simply touching phones.

    Samsung promotes video sharing in their newest ads

    Samsung promotes video sharing in their newest ads

    Both Google and Samsung refer to this process as beaming. Beaming multimedia is very cool, but it’s not new. I helped create patent-pending software back in 2009 that sent music, photos or video from a web browser to a connected TV, stereo, game console or mobile phone. That was the first software that used the term “beam” to describe the wireless transmission of multimedia from a computer to a connected device, but an astute reader has pointed out Palm Pilots were beaming contacts, notes, to-do items and calendar entries more than a decade ago. Beaming of multimedia from one phone to another has been possible for over a year using this and other apps, but few knew this was possible before Samsung started running their commercials for the Galaxy S III. The technology which makes beaming possible is called NFC, which stands for Near Field Communication. NFC has been available on Android devices for almost two years. You can learn more about NFC and its many uses here. The technology used to beam the music playlist in Samsung’s TV commercial is called S Beam. It uses NFC and Wi-Fi Direct and has been available since May.

    Beaming Isn’t as Easy as It Looks

    The Samsung commercial makes beaming look easy. Google claims Android Beam lets users share with a single tap. Is it really this easy? No. Beaming only works after both mobile devices have been setup properly. Before I wrote this article, I couldn’t even get beaming to work between my Samsung Galaxy S III and a Nexus 7 tablet. But once I setup both devices properly and learned a few tricks, beaming now works almost 100% of the time. This article will teach you how to beam like a pro.

    You need to configure several settings before you can beam

    How to Beam Like a Pro

    The section will teach you how to setup your devices and use Android Beam.

    1. In order to beam items from one phone to another, you need two Android devices that have NFC support. Here’s a list of all of the phones with NFC support.
    2. Before trying to beam you must go to Settings/More Settings and make sure NFC is checked and Android Beam is enabled on both devices.
    3. Now you’re ready to beam, but before you can do so, you need to open the app you wish to beam from. A list of supported apps is displayed later in this article.
    4. Next, you need to locate the item you want to beam. You can beam web pages, contacts, maps, YouTube videos and much more.
    5. Finally, you need to hold the backs of your two mobile devices together until you hear a chiming sound. If this doesn’t happen in a few seconds, move your devices apart and then back together.

    Troubleshooting Tips: Beaming won’t work unless the screen on the destination device is unlocked. You do not need to tap the two devices together, but they do need to be very close. When beaming from a phone to a tablet, you may need to move your phone around on the back of the tablet to find the spot where the NFC module is located.

    1. After you hear the chime, you need to quickly touch the item you want to beam. If you do this correctly, you’ll see the screen shrink and hear a two-tone confirmation sound.
  • If you press too long, you’ll hear a fast four-part tone that goes from high to low and you’ll need to beam again.
  • If you wait to touch the screen until after the image grows back, you need to move the two devices apart and beam again.
  • If you touch outside of the shrunken item, it won’t beam.
  • You may need to click OK to accept beamed media

    1. After performing all of the steps above, the beamed item should appear on the other devices’ screen. Although this may seem like a lot of steps to follow, once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy and you’ll want to beam all of the time.

    In order to accept a beamed You Tube video on devices like a Samsung Galaxy S III, you need to touch “OK” when you see this message:

    Good Luck Trying to Beam a Music Playlist

    Want to beam a music playlist like you see in the Samsung commercial? What about a photo or video that you took with the camera on your phone? You can’t do that with Android Beam (running on Android 4.0-powered devices). Fortunately, there are several solutions to these problems.

    1. Use S Beam running on Two Galaxy S IIIs — NFC is great for transferring things like contacts or URLs that point to maps or YouTube videos, but it’s not ideal for large files like videos. That’s why S Beam uses NFC for device pairing and Wi-Fi Direct for high-speed data transfer. Wi-Fi Direct is capable of data speeds around 250 Mbps, but because the Galaxy S III supports Wi-Fi channel bonding, files can be transferred at speeds up to 300Mbps. Of course your mileage may vary, depending on the distance from your wireless access point and the amount of interference in your area.
    2. You can see S Beam in action here. Real world speeds are good, but not amazing. The actual transfer time for a photo is 1 to 2 seconds, but it takes an additional 4 to 6 seconds to establish a connection using S Beam.

      Another thing to be aware of: When you touch the back of a Galaxy S III to another S Beam-enabled device for the first time, it takes about 10 seconds to make the connection. For security, the connection times out after 10 minutes.

    3. Use Android Beam on Two Mobile Devices Running Jelly Bean — Android Beam now allows you to send photos and videos from one device running Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) to another. Just select a photo or video in the Gallery app, and then hold any two NFC-enabled devices back to back. When prompted, tap the screen to send the file as described above. File are now send using Bluetooth, so transfer speeds are faster than earlier. However files transfers are not as fast as S Beam — because Bluetooth is only capable of data transfer speeds up to 24 Mbit/s. Performance isn’t too bad. It takes about 7 to 9 seconds to send a photo, and 15 seconds to send a short video.

    Beamed photos don’t automatically appear

    After you beam a photo from the Gallery app, you’ll see the photo downloading in the Notification bar. After the download is complete, you have to swipe down, and select the photo you wish to view. Beamed videos automatically appear after the download is complete however and are ready to play.

    Cool observation: Bluetooth does not need to be enabled before you beam a photo. Android Beam will automatically turn Bluetooth on and off as needed. This should reduce battery usage.

    Most people don’t know Android Beam can now send multiple files from one Android 4.1 device to another. To do this, long press on a photo or video in the Gallery, select the items you want to transfer, and then hold the devices back-to-back to start the beaming process. Because Bluetooth is being used, you should avoid trying to send too many files at once.

    Which Apps Work and Which Ones Don’t?

    Apps that work with Android Beam
    Here is a list of apps that work with Android Beam followed by any issues they may have.

  • aCalendar
  • Any.Do – This task management app lets you beam assignments to co-workers
  • Chrome
  • Clover Pay
  • Contacts (Android 4.0) – This app seems to be a little temperamental. Wait until the screen gets small before you tap it. This takes about four seconds. Then tap near the photo area.
  • Financial Times
  • Gmail
  • Gallery – only works when Android 4.1 is installed
  • Google Play – Android Beam pushes a link to the app’s details page in Google Play. On the other device, Google Play launches and loads the details page, for easy downloading of the app.
  • Google Earth
  • Google I/O 2012
  • Google Maps
  • Internet (stock Android 4.0 browser)
  • Just Player
  • Kingsoft Office
  • Local – Maps, but nothing else
  • MonTransit
  • Navigation
  • NFC Reader
  • Paper Camera
  • Pattrn
  • People (Android 4.1)
  • Shazam
  • Shazam Encore
  • Songkick Concerts
  • StumbleUpon
  • WiFiBeam – This app can pass WiFi setup info from one device to another
  • YouTube – Can’t beam ads, skip any ads before beaming.
  • This is a partial list of the apps which work with Android Beam. As I find more apps that work, I’ll add them here.

    Apps that don’t work with Android Beam

  • Calculator
  • Currents – Loads app, but not selected article
  • Gallery
  • Google Now – Cards can’t be sent
  • Google+
  • Play Music (appears to work on Android 4.0, but music is not transferred immediately)
  • Samsung’s Calendar
  • Street View on Google Maps
  • Most other Android apps
  • The Pros and Cons of Android Beam and Samsung’s S Beam

    Android Beam – Pros

  • Works with all NFC-enabled Android devices running Android 4.0 (or later)
  • Works on devices that do not have Wi-Fi Direct support
  • Requires less configuration than S Beam (because Wi-Fi Direct does not have to be enabled)
  • Very safe because NFC only works at distances of 4cm or less.
  • More power efficient than S Beam because it uses NFC and Bluetooth
  • Android Beam – Cons

  • Only works with Android devices that have NFC support
  • Has data transfer rates up to 10x slower than S Beam
  • Can only send photos, videos and playlists if you’re running Android 4.1 (or later)
  • Beamed photos don’t automatically open
  • Doesn’t use Bluetooth for transfers unless you’re running Android 4.1 (or later)
  • S Beam – Pros

  • Capable transfer speeds up to 10x faster than Android Beam
  • Supports music playlists, photos and videos on Android 4.0 devices
  • Once a transfer in started it’s capable of working at greater distances than NFC-only transfers
  • Safe when good Wi-Fi security practices are followed.
  • Can be used to transfer documents from one Galaxy Note 2 to another
  • S Beam – Cons

  • Only works with a limited number of Samsung devices (like the Galaxy S III)
  • Only works on devices running Android 4.0 (and later)
  • Wi-Fi Direct draws so much power that it’s turned off after only a few minutes of inactivity
  • Only works on devices that have with NFC and Wi-Fi Direct support
  • S Beam works with fewer apps than Android Beam
  • You can now beam files from Android to iOS devices

    You can now beam files from Android to iOS devices

    How to Beam Files to an iPhone or iPad

    S Beam isn’t the only game in town. I’ve been using an app called Bump for years. It started as a way to exchange contacts on iOS devices, but now can transfer any file you have on your device (videos, documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc). First install the Bump app on both of your devices. Next, launch the app on both devices and select the type of file you want to exchange. Then touch your devices together lightly until you feel them vibrate. You need to press the blue Connect button on both devices, before your file can be transferred. Like Android Beam, Bump can be a little temperamental and often requires several tries before it works. Also be aware that all music metadata and album art is lost when you transfer music files.

    Cross-platform Beaming Issues

    In theory, you should be able to tap an NFC-enabled Windows Phone 8 to a Galaxy S III or Galaxy Nexus and share anything. However, I’m told that sharing of web pages and contacts work fine, but sharing of files and photos does not. Let’s hope Microsoft and Google get together to address this issue soon.

    The Final Word

    While it’s true that Samsung and Google may have oversold beaming, once you know how to use it, it’s a powerful feature. As more devices support these two features, I’d like to see both companies enable these by default so no setup is required. Also, Samsung should find a way to automatically toggle on and off Wi- Fi Direct (like Google does with Bluetooth beaming), so you don’t have to turn it on every time. I’m glad that Samsung has made this concept something that everyone now is aware of. We live in a wireless world, and you should never have to connect a cable to transfer files.

    Have fun beaming!

    – Rick

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


    Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

    The Dirty Little Secret About Mobile Benchmarks

    Last updated: June 18, 2014

    This article has had over 13,000 views. Thanks for reading it.

    When I wrote this article over a year ago, most people believed mobile benchmarks were a strong indicator of device performance. Since then a lot has happened: Both Samsung and Intel were caught cheating and some of the most popular benchmarks are no longer used by leading bloggers because they are too easy to game. By now almost every mobile OEM has figured out how to “game” popular benchmarks including 3DMark, AnTuTu, Vellamo 2 and others. Details. The iPhone hasn’t been called out yet, but Apple has been caught cheating on benchmarks before, so there is a high probability they are employing one or more of the techniques described below like driver tricks. Although Samsung and the Galaxy Note 3 have received a bad rap over this, the actual impact on their benchmark results was fairly small, because none of the GPU frequency optimizations that helped the Exynos 5410 scores exist on Snapdragon processors. Even when it comes to the Samsung CPU cheats, this time around the performance deltas were only 0-5%.

    11/26/13 Update: 3DMark just delisted mobile devices with suspicious benchmark scores. More info.

    The old saying about 'Lies, damned lies, and statistics' couldn't be more true when it comes to benchmarks.

    The old saying about ‘Lies, damned lies, and statistics’ couldn’t be more true when it comes to benchmarks.


    Mobile benchmarks are supposed to make it easier to compare smartphones and tablets. In theory, the higher the score, the better the performance. You might have heard the iPhone 5 beats the Samsung Galaxy S III in some benchmarks. That’s true. It’s also true the Galaxy S III beats the iPhone 5 in other benchmarks, but what does this really mean? And more importantly, can benchmarks really tell us which phone is better than another?

    In this benchmark the Galaxy Note 3 easily beats the iPhone 5s

    In this benchmark the Galaxy Note 3 easily beats the iPhone 5s

    Why Mobile Benchmarks Are Almost Meaningless

    1. Benchmarks can easily be gamed – Manufacturers want the highest possible benchmark scores and are willing to cheat to get them. Sometimes this is done by optimizing code so it favors a certain benchmark. In this case, the optimization results in a higher benchmark score, but has no impact on real-world performance. Other times, manufacturers cheat by tweaking drivers to ignore certain things, lower the quality to improve performance or offload processing to other areas. The bottom line is that almost all benchmarks can be gamed. Computer graphics card makers found this out a long time ago and there are many well-documented accounts of Nvidia, AMD and Intel cheating to improve their scores.

      Here’s an example of this type of cheating: Samsung created a white list for Exynos 5-based Galaxy S4 phones which allow some of the most popular benchmarking apps to shift into a high-performance mode not available to most applications. These apps run the GPU at 532MHz, while other apps cannot exceed 480MHz. This cheat was confirmed by AnandTech, who is the most respected name in both PC and mobile benchmarking. Samsung claims “the maximum GPU frequency is lowered to 480MHz for certain gaming apps that may cause an overload, when they are used for a prolonged period of time in full-screen mode,” but it doesn’t make sense that S Browser, Gallery, Camera and the Video Player apps can all run with the GPU wide open, but that all games are forced to run at a much lower speed.

      Samsung isn’t the only manufacturer accused of cheating. Back in June Intel shouted at the top of their lungs about the results of an ABI Research report that claimed their Atom processor outperformed ARM chips by Nvidia, Qualcomm and Samsung. This raised quite a few eyebrows and further research showed the Intel processor was not completely executing all of the instructions. After released an updated version of the benchmark, Intel’s scores dropped overnight by 20% to 50%. Was this really cheating? You can decide for yourself — but it’s hard to believe Intel didn’t know their chip was bypassing large portions of the tests AnTuTu was running. It’s also possible to fake benchmark scores as in this example.

      Intel has even gone so far as to create their own suite of benchmarks that they admit favor Intel processors. You won’t find the word “Intel” anywhere on the BenchmarkXPRT website, but if you check the small print on some Intel websites you’ll find they admit “Intel is a sponsor and member of the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community, and was the major developer of the XPRT family of benchmarks.” Intel also says “Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel microprocessors.” Bottom line: Intel made these benchmarks to make Intel processors look good and others look bad.

    2. Benchmarks measure performance without considering power consumption – Benchmarks were first created for desktop PCs. These PC were always plugged into the wall, had multiple fans and large heat-sinks to dissipate the massive amounts of power they consumed. The mobile world couldn’t be more different. Your phone is rarely plugged into the wall — even when you are gaming. Your mobile device is also very limited on the amount of heat it can dissipate and battery life drops as heat increases. It doesn’t matter if your mobile device is capable of incredible benchmark scores if your battery dies in only an hour or two. Mobile benchmarks don’t factor in the power needed to achieve a certain level of performance. That’s a huge oversight, because the best chip manufacturers spend incredible amounts of time optimizing power usage. Even though one processor might slightly underperform another in a benchmark, it could be far superior, because it consumed half the power of the other chip. You’d have no way to know this without expensive hardware capable of performing this type of measurements.
    3. Benchmarks rarely predict real-world performance — Many benchmarks favor graphics performance and have little bearing on the things real consumers do with their phones. For example, no one watches hundreds of polygons draw on their screens, but that’s exactly the types of things benchmarks do. Even mobile gamers are unlikely to see increased performance on devices which score higher, because most popular games don’t stress the CPU and GPU the same way benchmarks do. Benchmarks like GLBenchmark 2.5 focus on things like high-level 3D animations. One reviewer recently said, “Apple’s A6 has an edge in polygon performance and that may be important for ultra-high resolution games, but I have yet to see many of those. Most games that I’ve tried on both platforms run in lower resolution with an up-scaling.” For more on this topic, scroll down to the section titled: “Case Study 2: Is the iPhone 5 Really Twice as Fast?”

      This video proves shows that the iPhone 5s is only slightly faster than the iPhone 5 when it comes to real-world tests. For example, The iPhone 5s only starts up only 1 second faster than the iPhone 5 (23 seconds vs. 24 seconds). The iPhone 5s only loads the Reddit.com site 0.1 seconds faster than the iPhone 5. These differences are so small it’s unlikely anyone would even notice them. Would you believe the iPhone 4 shuts down five times faster than the iPhone 5s? It’s true (4 seconds vs. 21.6 seconds).

      Another video shows that even though the iPhone 5s does better on most graphics benchmarks, when it comes to real world things like scrolling a webpage in the Chrome browser, Android devices scroll significantly faster than a iPhone 5s running iOS 7. See for yourself in this video.

    4. The iPhone 5s appears to do well on graphics benchmarks until you realize that Android phones have almost 3x the pixels

      The iPhone 5s appears to do well on graphics benchmarks until you realize that Android phones have almost 3x the pixels

    5. Some benchmarks penalize devices with more pixels — Most graphic benchmarks measure performance in terms of frames per second. GFXBench (formerly GLBenchmark) is the most popular graphics benchmark. Apple has dominated in the scores of this benchmark for one simple reason. Apple’s iPhone 4, 4S, 5 and 5s displays all have a fraction of the pixels flagship Android devices have. For example, in the chart above, the iPhone 5s gets a score of 53 fps, while the LG G2 gets a score of 47 fps. Most people would be impressed by the fact that the iPhone 5s got a score that was 12.7% higher than the LG G2, but when you consider the fact the LG G2 is pushing almost 3x the pixels (2073600 pixels vs. 727040 pixels), it’s clear the Adreno 330 GPU in the LG G2 is actually killing the GPU in the iPhone 5s. The GFXBench scores on the 720p Moto X (shown above) are further proof that what I am saying is true. This bias against devices with more pixels isn’t just true with GFXBench, you can see the same behavior with graphics benchmarks like Basemark X shown below (where the Moto X beats the Nexus 4).
    6. More proof that graphics benchmarks favor devices with lower-res displays

      More proof that graphics benchmarks favor devices with lower-res displays

    7. Some popular benchmarks are no longer relevantSunSpider is a popular JavaScript benchmark that was designed to compare different browsers. However, according to at least one expert, the data that SunSpider uses is a small enough benchmark that it’s become more of a cache test. That’s one reason why Google came out with their V8 and Octane benchmark suites, both are better JavaScript tests than SunSpider.” According to Google, Octane is based upon a set of well-known web applications and libraries. This means, “a high score in the new benchmark directly translates to better and smoother performance in similar web applications.” Even though it may no longer be relevant as an indicator of Java-script browsing performance, SunSpider is still quoted by many bloggers. SunSpider isn’t the only popular benchmark with issues, this blogger says BrowserMark also has problems.
    8. SunSpider is a good example of a benchmark which may no longer be relevant

      SunSpider is a good example of a benchmark which may no longer be relevant — yet people continue to use it

    9. Benchmark scores are not always repeatable – In theory, you should be able to run the same benchmark on the same phone and get the same results over and over, but this doesn’t always occur. If you run a benchmark immediately after a reboot and then run the same benchmark during heavy use, you’ll get different results. Even if you reboot every time before you benchmark, you’ll still get different scores due to memory allocation, caching, memory fragmentation, OS house-keeping and other factors like throttling.

      Another reason you’ll get different scores on devices running exactly the same mobile processors and operating system is because different devices have different apps running in the background. For example, Nexus devices have far less apps running in the background than a non-Nexus carrier-issued devices. Even after you close all running apps, there are still apps running in the background that you can’t see — yet these apps are consuming system resources and can have an affect on benchmark scores. Some apps run automatically to perform housekeeping for a short period and then close. The number and types of apps vary greatly from phone to phone and platform to platform, so this makes objective testing of one phone against another difficult.

      Benchmark scores sometimes change after you upgrade a device to a new operating system. This makes it difficult to compare two devices running different versions of the same OS. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S III running Android 4.0 gets a Geekbench score of 1560, which the same exact phone running Android 4.1 gets Geekbench score of 1781. That’s a 14% increase. The Android 4.4 OS causes many benchmark scores to increase, but not in all cases. For example, after moving to Android 4.4, Vellamo 2 scores drop significantly on some devices because it can’t make use of some aspects of hardware acceleration due to Google’s changes.

      Perhaps the biggest reason benchmark scores change over time is because they stress the processor increasing its temperature. When the processor temperature reaches a certain level, the device starts to throttle or reduce power. This is one of the reasons scores on benchmarks like AnTuTu change when they are run consecutive times. Other benchmarks have the same problem. In this video, the person testing several phones gets a Quadrant Standard score on the Nexus 4 that is 4569 on the first run and 4826 on a second run (skip to 14:25 to view).

    10. Not all mobile benchmarks are cross-platform — Many mobile benchmarks are Android-only and can’t help you to compare an Android phone to the iPhone 5. Here are just a few popular mobile benchmarks which are not available for iOS and other mobile platforms (e.g. AnTuTu Benchmark, Octane, Neocore, NenaMark, Quadrant Standard and Vellamo).
    11. Mobile benchmarks are not time-tested — Most mobile benchmarks are relatively new and not as mature as the benchmarks which are used to test Macs and PCs. The best computer benchmarks are real world, relevant and produce repeatable scores. There is some encouraging news in this area however — now that 3DMark is available for mobile devices. It would be nice if someone ported other time-tested benchmarks like SPECint to iOS as well.
    12. Existing benchmarks don't accurate measure the impact of memory speed or throughput

      Existing benchmarks don’t accurately measure storage performance on things like video playback

    13. Inaccurate measurement of memory and storage performance — There is evidence that existing mobile benchmarks do not accurate measure the impact of faster memory speeds or storage performance. Examples above and below. MobileBench is supposed to address this issue, but it would be better if there was a reliable benchmark that was not partially created memory suppliers like Samsung.
    14. Existing benchmarks don't accurately measure storage performance on things like video playback

      Existing benchmarks don’t accurate measure the impact of memory speed or throughput

    15. Inaccurate measurement of the heterogenous nature of mobile devices — Only 15% of a mobile processor is the CPU. Modern mobile processors also have DSPs, image processing cores, sensor cores, audio and video decoding cores, and more, but not one of today’s mobile benchmarks can measure any of this. This is a big problem.

    Case Study 1: Is the New iPad Air Really 2-5x as Fast As Other iPads?

    There have been a lot of articles lately about the benchmark performance of the new iPad Air. The writers of these article truly believe that the iPad Air is dramatically faster than any other iPad, but most real world tests don’t show this to be true. This video compares 5 generations of iPads.

    Benchmark tests suggest the iPad Air should be much faster than previous iPads

    Benchmark tests suggest the iPad Air should be much faster than previous iPads

    Results of side-by-side video comparisons between the iPad Air and other iPads:

    • Test 1 – Start Up – iPad Air started up 5.73 seconds faster than the iPad 1. That’s 23% faster, yet the Geekbench 3 benchmark suggests the iPad Air should be over 500% faster than an iPad 2. I would expect the iPad Air would be more than 23% faster than a product that came out 3 years and 6 months ago. Wouldn’t you?
    • Test 2 – Page load times – The narrator claims the iPad Air’s new MIMO antennas are part of the reason the new iPad Air loads webpages so much faster. First off, MIMO antennas are not new in mobile devices; They were in the Kindle HD two generations ago. Second, apparently Apple’s MIMO implementation isn’t effective, because if you freeze frame the video just before 1:00, you’ll see the iPad 4 clearly loads all of the text on the page before the iPad Air. All of the images on the webpage load on the iPad 4 and the iPad Air at exactly the same time – even though browser-based benchmarks suggest the iPad Air should load web pages much faster.
    • Test 3 – Video Playback – On the video playback test, the iPad Air was no more than 15.3% faster than the iPad 4 (3.65s vs. 4.31s)

    Reality: Although most benchmarks suggest the iPad Air should be 2-5x faster than older iPads, at best, the iPad Air is only 15-25% faster than the iPad 4 in real world usage, and is some cases it is no faster.

    Final Thoughts

    You should never make a purchasing decision based on benchmarks alone. Most popular benchmarks are flawed because they don’t predict real world performance and they don’t take into consideration power consumption. They measure your mobile device in a way that you never use it: running all-out while it’s plugged into the wall. It doesn’t matter how fast your mobile device can operate if your battery only lasts an hour. For the reason top benchmarking bloggers like AnandTech have stopped using the AnTuTu, BenchmarkPi, Linpack and Quadrant benchmarks, but they still continue to propagate the myth that benchmarks are an indicator of real world performance. They claim they use them because they aren’t subjective, but then them mislead their readers about their often meaningless nature.

    Some benchmarks do have their place however. Even though they are far from perfect they can be useful if you understand their limitations. However you shouldn’t read too much into them. They are just one indicator, along with product specs and side-by-side real world comparisons between different mobile devices.

    Bloggers should spend more time measuring things that actually matter like start-up and shutdown times, Wi-Fi and mobile network speeds in controlled reproducible environments, game responsiveness, app launch times, browser page load times, task switching times, actual power consumption on standardized tasks, touch-panel response times, camera response times, audio playback quality (S/N, distortion, etc.), video frame rates and other things that are related to the ways you use your device.

    Although most of today’s mobile benchmarks are flawed, there is some hope for the future. Broadcom, Huawei, OPPO, Samsung Electronics and Spreadtrum recently announced the formation of MobileBench, a new industry consortium formed to provide more effective hardware and system-level performance assessment of mobile devices. They have a proposal for a new benchmark that is supposed to address some of the issues I’ve highlighted above. You can read more about this here.

    A Mobile Benchmark Primer

  • 3DMark is one of the most popular computer benchmarks for graphics. It’s also one of the better mobile benchmarks for iOS and Android. Although it calls itself a graphics benchmark, experts like AnandTech say it stresses the CPU more than graphic benchmarks like GFBench. 3DMark is also heavily-threaded, so its Unlimited Physics tests tends to reward quad-core CPUs. ***
  • AndEBench-Pro is a new suite of tests measuring CPU, GPU, memory and storage subsystem performance. It also gauges XML parsing, GUI rendering, image manipulation, data compression, and cryptography tasks embedded in actual workloads. This benchmark is a product of an EEMBC workgroup led by Intel with members from Imagination Technologies and NVIDIA. One of the first benchmarks to be available in Mandarin. This apps is based on AndEBench, which also appears to be rough around the edges and gets only 3 stars in Google Play.
  • Androbench is a good way to measure the storage performance of your Android Devices
  • AnTuTu is a popular benchmark which tests the CPU, memory, graphics and I/O performance. Although AnandTech and Engadget are no longer using AnTuTu, it’s still one of the most popular Android benchmarks.
  • Basemark ES 3.0 measures the graphics performance of OpenGL ES 3.0 enabled devices. ***
  • Basemark X is a good cross-platform graphics benchmark based on the latest Unity 4.0 engine. One of the more demanding graphic benchmarks. ***
  • Basemark OS II is a system-level CPU benchmark designed to measure the overall performance of Android, iOS and Windows mobile devices. ***
  • BenchmarkXPRT – You won’t find the word “Intel” on the BenchmarkXPRT website, but if you check the small print on some Intel websites you’ll find they admit “Intel is a sponsor and member of the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community, and was the major developer of the XPRT family of benchmarks.” Intel also says “Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel microprocessors.” Bottom line: Intel made these benchmarks to make Intel processors look good and others look bad. These benchmarks should not be used.
  • BenchmarkPi is one of several benchmarks that measures performance by calculating Pi. This benchmark isn’t recommended because it only tests the CPU and is no longer used by AnandTech.
  • BrowserMark is a cross-platform browser benchmark, but it has some issues that make cross-platform comparisons questionable.
  • CaffeineMark is a series of online tests that measure the speed of Java programs.
  • Certimo is a new rating system for mobile devices that is supposed to accurately reflect consumer experiences. Categories include battery life, browsing, display quality, infotainment, messaging, multimedia, overall and performance. It’s too early to say how good the system is.
  • CFBench is a newer benchmark that specializes in multi-core tests
  • CompuBench is benchmark that tests general-purpose computing on the graphics processing unit (GPGPU). It’s creator says it’s the first professional RenderScript benchmark testing the compute performance of heterogeneous multi-core systems of mobile devices supporting the RenderScript API. ***
  • Dhrystone is an older synthetic computing benchmark program which provides an indication of CPU “integer” performance.
  • The original Geekbench was designed to test the CPU and memory, so it was all about raw performance. Geekbench 3 is crossplatform. It runs on Android, iOS, Max OS, Linux and Windows. It measures both single-core and multi-core performance using tests that are supposed to simulate real-world scenarios. ***
  • GFXBench (formerly GLBenchmark) is one of the most popular GPU benchmarks. The GLBenchmark Egypt HD tests are close to the workload you get on most retail games today. The GLBenchmark T-Rex HD test is more stressful and that’s why you’ll see much lower frame rates. ***
  • Google Octane is another browser benchmark that focuses on JavaScript performance. It effectively replaces V8 because it adds another five tests to the ones already in V8
  • Google V8 is another browser benchmark that includes eight tests focused on JavaScript performance
  • Kraken is a benchmark created by Mozilla that runs in your browser and measures JavaScript performance. According to AnandTech, Kraken is designed to stress more forward-looking algorithms. AnandTech recently introduced Kraken into their browser test suite, because they were worried SunSpider is becoming too much of a browser optimization target.
  • Linpack measures floating point performance of the CPU. Although LinPack is no longer used by AnandTech, it’s still used by Engadget and others. ***
  • MobileBench is a new benchmark that will be released in 2014 that claims to provide more effective hardware and system-level performance assessment
  • MobileXPRT – You won’t find the word “Intel” on the BenchmarkXPRT website, but if you check the small print on some Intel websites you’ll find they admit “Intel is a sponsor and member of the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community, and was the major developer of the XPRT family of benchmarks.” Intel also says “Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel microprocessors.” Bottom line: Intel made these benchmarks to make Intel processors look good and others look bad. MobileXPRT should not be used.
  • Pi calculates how long it takes to calculate Pi up to 10 million digits, but it’s not a very useful mobile benchmark because it only measures one thing.
  • Quadrant Standard claims to test CPU, memory, I/O and graphics — but it’s mostly a CPU benchmark.
  • Quadrant Pro claims to test CPU, memory, I/O and graphics — but it’s mostly a CPU benchmark. It’s unclear what you get for $24.99 other than it publishes your results. ***
  • SunSpider is a JavaScript benchmark, which is showing signs of its age
  • WebXPRT – You won’t find the word “Intel” on the BenchmarkXPRT website, but if you check the small print on some Intel websites you’ll find they admit “Intel is a sponsor and member of the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community, and was the major developer of the XPRT family of benchmarks.” Intel also says “Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel microprocessors.” Bottom line: Intel made these benchmarks to make Intel processors look good and others look bad. WebXPRT should not be used.
  • Vellamo is the second most popular Android benchmark. It’s known as an HTML5 browser performance test, but the Vellamo 3 also tests determine the efficiency and performance of your CPU. It also has one of the best collections of multi-core benchmarks. It’s worth mentioning that the Vellamo 3 Browser tests include SunSpider, Google’s Octane and 14 more tests. ***
  • *** Indicates benchmarks which are used by top OEMs and chip manufacturers

    This is just a partial list of mobile benchmarks, you can download other Android benchmarks here.

    Benchmarks like this one suggest the iPhone 5 is twice as fast as the iPhone 4S.

    Case Study 2: Is the iPhone 5 Really Twice as Fast?

    Note: Although this section was written about the iPhone 5, this section applies equally to the iPhone 5s. Like the iPhone 5, experts say the iPhone 5s is twice as fast in some areas — yet most users will notice little if any differences that are related to hardware alone. The biggest differences are related to changes in iOS 7 and the new registers in the A7.

    Apple and most tech writers believe the iPhone 5’s A6 processor is twice as fast as the chip in the iPhone 4S. Benchmarks like the one in the above chart support these claims. This video tests these claims.

    In tests like this one, the iPhone 4S beats the iPhone 5 when benchmarks suggest it should be twice as slow.

    Results of side-by-side comparisons between the iPhone 5 to the iPhone 4S:

    • Opening the Facebook app is faster on the iPhone 4S (skip to 7:49 to see this).
    • The iPhone 4S also recognizes speech much faster, although the iPhone 5 returns the results to a query faster (skip to 8:43 to see this). In a second test, the iPhone 4S once again beats the iPhone 5 in speech recognition and almost ties it in returning the answer to a math problem (skip to 9:01 to see this).
    • App launches times vary, in some cases iPhone 5 wins, in others the iPhone 4S wins.
    • The iPhone 4S beats the iPhone 5 easily when SpeedTest is run (skip to 10:32 to see this).
    • The iPhone 5 does load web pages and games faster than the iPhone 4S, but it’s no where near twice as fast (skip to 12:56 on the video to see this).

    I found a few other comparison videos like this one, which show similar results. As the video says, “Even with games like “Wild Blood” (shown in the video at 5:01) which are optimized for the iPhone 5s screen size, looking closely doesn’t really reveal anything significant in terms of improved detail, highlighting, aliasing or smoother frame-rates.” He goes to say, “the real gains seem to be in the system RAM which does contribute to improved day to day performance of the OS and apps.”

    So the bottom line is: Although benchmarks predict the iPhone 5 should be twice as fast as the iPhone 4S, in the real-world tests, the difference between the two is not that large and partially due to the fact that the iPhone 5 has twice as much memory. In some cases, the iPhone 4S is actually faster, because it has less pixels to display on the screen. The same is true for tests of the iPad 4 which reviewers say “performs at least twice as fast as the iPad 3.” However when it comes to actual game play, the same reviewer says, “I couldn’t detect any difference at all. Slices, parries and stabs against the monstrous rivals in Infinity Blade II were fast and responsive on both iPads. Blasting pirates in Galaxy on Fire HD 2 was a pixel-perfect exercise on the two tablets, even at maximum resolution. And zombie brains from The Walking Dead spattered just as well on the iPad 3 as the iPad 4.”

    – Rick

    Copyright 2012-2014 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. This article includes the opinions of the author and does not reflect the views of his employer. Linking to this article is encouraged.

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