With all of the new technology exploding around us I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. Like life was passing me by. There was so much I didn’t know…so many things I didn’t have time to figure out. I was running as fast as I could and I wasn’t keeping up! This thing called Droid. What in the hell was that? And what did it have to do with Android? Everytime I saw it mentioned – on billboards while I was driving mostly as I don’t watch a lot of TV – there was this little green alien thing attached to it. I seriously thought Android was some new science fiction character, like R2D2 from Star Wars and that I’d missed any mention of the movie!
And then I set out to get some people that I love E-readers for Christmas. Books are my business. I know about e-readers. I’ve studied all of the different kinds. I thought. I wanted each bookseller to have their own and that was all. I could grasp that. Associate name of e-reader with store, and move on. You know, Amazon with Kindle, Border’s with Kobo etc. But no, then there was Sony with their e-reader. And there’s the Nook. And…when I actually got out into the stores to shop for Christmas (two days were all we had – for all shopping – don’t try it) I was slapped in the face by my own ignorance.
I’m not one to settle for ignorance. And when I see it right there, with my name on it, I am compelled to seek out any knowledge I can find. I found the Pandigital e-reader. But it was more. It was a tablet, too. And it was Android based. A tablet? What was a tablet? And when had they come around? I’d heard about the I-Pad – I wasn’t so lost in book tour space that I missed that biggee. Although, had I not been on planes and in airports, I might well have!
Tim and I went straight to Best Buy. I studied every single tablet, e-reader, netbook, smart phone they had. We went to Costco. Talked to Verizon. We shopped every electronics store we could find. And here’s the scoop as I see it…
The tablets currently on the market, other than the Samsung Galaxy Tab, are pretty much hurried up affairs that say they offer the world, but it’s a very limited world and you have to be a very patient person with a lot of time to get into the world. I think manufacturers were rushed to compete with the IPAD and haven’t yet perfected their products to make them user friendly. IPAD has some problems, too. They don’t allow expandable memory, for one. And they’re too big for a lot of purposes – like making them truly mobile. Unless you carry a very large purse, they don’t fit.
The perfect tablet is coming though. I suspect it will be seven inches, like an e-reader, rather than nine inches, like the IPAD. They are going to be little computers, that allow you to do all that you do on your computer. Or at least most of it. They’ll look and feel like an e-reader. They’ll have wi-fi connectivity, but also have phone type fixings so that you can buy a service and be on-line even when you aren’t in a location with wi-fi. (They call this the mobile hotspot, from what I’ve gathered.)
And there’s more. There are now phones that also have the tablet capabilities – phones that are mobile hotspots. Phones with larger screens so that you can actually read your email without squinting. Phones that allow you to connect to the internet and get to websites exactly as you would on your computer.
And Android? It’s an operating system. Like Windows. Or Apple. Or Blackberry. Or Palm. And it’s very very cool. Android operating system comes to us from Lucasfilm, LTD. (Which might explain the little green guy who has become my friend.) It’s the friendliest operating system I’ve ever encountered – once I got used to it. That little green guy seems to know what I want and all I have to do is click once to get it. No matter what it is!
And with all of this great new technology comes Apps. Now this is where I fell in love. Apps. Who’d have thought it? There is an App (application) for just about every need. I have to warn you right off, though, before you get your hopes up, I have not yet found an app that does laundry. There isn’t one that actually cooks dinner, though there are plenty that remind you what to cook, that give you step by step directions on what to cook, that will order your dinner for you and have it delivered and even pay for it if you register your credit card. There is no app that dusts or vacuums but for a fee, there is one that will send someone to your home to do it for you.
I’d have to write thousands of blogs to tell you about all of the apps out there. Apps that organize, catergorize, and anesththetize. And a huge number of them are free. I get lost in the game apps. Angry Birds was first. I play the game. I analyze the experience, trying to figure out why I like it, why I keep going back to it. I can’t figure it out. But I’ve managed to figure out many levels of the game.
The app of the week, though, is keyring. I imagine there are other variations, but keyring is the one I found. It’s available for Android based devices. With one click you download the free app. And then you sit down with that key ring filled with reward/loyalty cards that you are forced to carry around. You point your device at the card. The card scans it. You name it. Repeat the process for all cards. And then rid yourself of the clutter. Next time you go to the store, you simply click the icon on the home screen of your phone, choose the store, and hold out your device for the cashier to scan. And there’s more. If you’re lucky enough to be shopping at Kroger (Fry’s in the southwest) you call up the Kroger App (also free) on your device while you’re walking up and down the aisles. You choose which coupons you want to use (all available coupons are listed there) and when you get to the check out the cashier not only scans your reward card, but he/she scans all of your coupons, too. (Before you get too impressed with my abundance of knowledge, I have to admit that my brother is the Kroger exec. who was involved with writing the coupon software!)
There are apps that turn your device into a GPS system. Ones that, upon voice command, will search google for you. Another that allows you, upon voice command, to send a text message. (This in answer to the state laws that are being passed to prohibit texting while driving.) There’s an app that allows you to view the person you’re calling, assuming you both have the technology and the app. My mother’s response to that one – ‘I might not want people to see me while I’m talking on the phone.’
And this is only the very very beginning. I have an entire universe of apps waiting out there for me to find them. But first, I have a new trilogy to write. And revisions to do. And a book to promote. And here I go, sinking right back into book world ignorance. There’s no telling what might have been invented by the time I re-surface.
Anyone else get a new e-reader for Christmas??