I’m a proud Android user. Whether you want to debate about how great it is or how iOS is better (or even Windows Phone 7), there are some things about Android that are just amazing. Here they are.
1. Voice Actions – Trying to navigate the menu of a phone while driving is challenging. Google has created the solution. Hold the “search” button for 1 second, and a box pops up – “Speak Now”.
Say what you want the phone to do. “Send text message to Daniel Hill (pause) hey comma what time are we meeting later question mark ” – give it a moment … 5 seconds later, the phone has transcribed your text message, and is ready for you to push the “Send” button. Alternatively, say “Listen To Neil Diamond” and your favorite tracks pop up by that artist. Perfect while driving. Or, say “Navigate To Empire State Building” (but make sure your GPS is enabled first!) and have the phone start directing you.
2. Swype – Using the Voice Actions isn’t always practical when you’re at work or with people. Texting or responding to emails with an on-screen keyboard can be challenging, and annoyingly slow. Enter “Swype”. Last week, I used it in front of an iPhone user, who literally gasped at my ability to text a long word in less than 2 seconds.
Drag your finger across the on-screen keyboard without lifting it, and the phone figures out what word you want, then enters a space. After a couple of days using that interface, you’ll be so fast you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
*Side point – the Swype BETA is now open! Join ASAP!
3. Management of Multiple Personalities – For years, I’ve dealt with the challenge of managing personal and work lives. For a long time, I carried two separate phones with separate phone books and calendars – but this was cumbersome and expensive. However, with the addition of Google Voice and my world being hosted by GMail, that’s no longer a problem.
My company uses GMail for it’s email hosting, and I use GMail for my personal email and calendar on this domain. Adding a Google Voice number tied to my work GMail was easy, and installing Google Voice on my phone was as easy as installing the app. Now I can make calls and choose which number to dial out on – my personal cell phone number or my work cell phone number. I also have multiple calendars on my device, one for personal and one for work.
The best part is that texting is supported, and texts to my work number come into my Outlook – so I can save them as necessary! (It also does this for voicemail, but I don’t like voicemail.)
4. Calendaring – My wife and I have email accounts that live within Google – mine is on toodifficult.com, and hers is through gmail.com. On my phone, within the calendar, I can see her calendar right next to mine, and add appointments to hers by putting her email address is the “required” box.
Daniel: We should go to the city soon.
Friend: Sure, when? Check with your wife and let me know some dates.
Daniel: I don’t need her to check her calendar, I can check her calendar. Looks like we’re open on the 12th, 13th, or 20th.
Friend: The 20th sounds good.
Daniel: Done. (Creates calendar event, invites Lauren, exits app.)
5. Google Latitude – I’m a protective husband. I’m also a nosy husband. If my wife is out doing something without me, I’d like to know where she is without having to call her all the time. Also, if she’s gone out and left me a list of things to do, I’m going to wait until the last possible minute to do them. Google Latitude helps me do all of that, while avoiding the “hey, where are you?” phone calls.
With Google Latitude, I can see where my wife’s phone is at any time. I can refresh as needed, or get updates every minute for 15 minutes (perfect for when I think she’s about to leave somewhere to come home.)
You can use Google Latitude with anyone who has a GMail account, as you can post your whereabouts using the computer or phone. You can set to share your exact location, or rough location (town-level) or not at all.
Do you have an Android device? Are you using some of the things mentioned above? Are there other things you like better? Let us know!