Get a free Chromecast, when you purchase a Google Home

The Google store is running a great deal, when you buy a Google Home and a Chromecast.  Just add both items to your cart and Google will discount your total by 35 bucks giving you the Chromecast for free.

screenshot-2017-02-26-at-8-43-26-am

source – Google Store

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Don’t get fooled by your carrier

Having control over your data seems like it should be simple process, but because of the amount of options available it can be tricky to know which service to use. Android is a great operating system, but sometimes knowing how to properly configure its services in order to maximize the benefit to you can be overwhelming. My hope is to address some of these problems in an effort to make your smart devices serve you better.

The first problem lies with the carriers. Any carrier’s main goal is for you to stay with them so they make if difficult for you to leave. By default, your data will be set to back up to their servers. You may think, “That’s great! Verizon is backing up my data for me. Thanks Verizon!”  There are two problems with having the carrier do this for you.  First of all, your storage is limited and they will often charge you for backups over a certain amount. In contrast, Google will back up almost everything on your phone through their services for free, with very few exceptions. Another issue with running your backups through the carriers is that it’s more difficult to access your data, especially if you want to switch phone companies. Just try it. Tell AT&T you are switching to Tmobile and see how happy they are to transfer your data to the other carrier. With google, it’s simple since everything is attached to your gmail account. Just sign in to your account on your new phone and all of your pictures, contacts, settings, and much more will automatically transfer to your new device.

The second problem is with the manufacturers.  They, like the carriers, want you to stay with them and continue purchasing their devices. Because of this, most of them will provide themselves as a primary or secondary option to store your data. As I stated before, don’t fall into this trap. You may like LG now, but your next phone could be a Samsung. If that’s the case, good luck contacting them to transfer your data!

The final problem also has to do with the manufacturers. Continuity between devices can be difficult when dealing with each manufacturer’s unique user interface.  It is likely that you and your family have multiple devices. If each device has a different manufacturer then you will find that even though they all run Android, they can look very different.  In this case, you can solve the problem by using one of Androids many custom launchers.  Doing this will allow you to have more control over the way that your phone looks. You can set everyone in the house to have a similar look and feel to each other or change and customize your user experience to something more uniquely suited to you.

Android is the most widely used operating system in part because it allows huge freedom of choice in all aspects of its design. However, this great strength can also present a problem.  Keeping control of your data is one of the best ways to keep yourself free and not let a company lock you into staying with them.  If you are not able to access and move your data easily, you will feel stuck and be unlikely to change (even if you want to).  Don’t get tricked. Take control of your device! Know how to easily access your data, and make it look and feel the way you want.

Services referred to in the article

Photo backup – Google Photos

Contacts – Gmail

Files – Google Drive 

These apps are already on most Android devices they just need to be updated and activated/opened

Android Launchers – phandroid.com has a good article about diffrent launchers

Allo is coming to the desktop

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One of my favorite apps of last year is Google Allo and to this day, it is still my messenger of choice with many of my friends.  With that said, it is kind of stuck in limbo somewhere between Hangouts and Messenger.

The answer to this problem is simple. Google should make Allo to Android what  iMessage is to iOS.  Make it Androids default messaging app.  Make it so that it interacts seamlessly between other messaging apps, but like iMessage, when you text someone else who is also using Allo, it automatically activates the enhanced features that Allo users enjoy.

Recently announced on Twitter by Nick Fox, google is planning on bringing Allo to the desktop in the future, but it is in development. Bringing Allo to the desktop is the first step, but I would still like to see it replace messenger as the default phone texting client.

source – google

Use google services – Even on your Samsung phone.

Having control over your data seems like it should be simple process, but because of the amount of options available it can be tricky to know which service to use. Android is a great operating system, but sometimes knowing how to properly configure its services in order to maximize the benefit to you can be overwhelming. My hope is to address some of these problems in an effort to make your smart devices serve you better.

The first problem lies with the carriers. Any carrier’s main goal is for you to stay with them so they make if difficult for you to leave. By default, your data will be set to back up to their servers. You may think, “That’s great! Verizon is backing up my data for me. Thanks Verizon!”  There are two problems with having the carrier do this for you.  First of all, your storage is limited and they will often charge you for backups over a certain amount. In contrast, Google will back up almost everything on your phone through their services for free, with very few exceptions. Another issue with running your backups through the carriers is that it’s more difficult to access your data, especially if you want to switch phone companies. Just try it. Tell AT&T you are switching to Tmobile and see how happy they are to transfer your data to the other carrier. With google, it’s simple since everything is attached to your gmail account. Just sign in to your account on your new phone and all of your pictures, contacts, settings, and much more will automatically transfer to your new device.

The second problem is with the manufacturers.  They, like the carriers, want you to stay with them and continue purchasing their devices. Because of this, most of them will provide themselves as a primary or secondary option to store your data. As I stated before, don’t fall into this trap. You may like LG now, but your next phone could be a Samsung. If that’s the case, good luck contacting them to transfer your data!

The final problem also has to do with the manufacturers. Continuity between devices can be difficult when dealing with each manufacturer’s unique user interface.  It is likely that you and your family have multiple devices. If each device has a different manufacturer then you will find that even though they all run Android, they can look very different.  In this case, you can solve the problem by using one of Androids many custom launchers.  Doing this will allow you to have more control over the way that your phone looks. You can set everyone in the house to have a similar look and feel to each other or change and customize your user experience to something more uniquely suited to you.

Android is the most widely used operating system in part because it allows huge freedom of choice in all aspects of its design. However, this great strength can also present a problem.  Keeping control of your data is one of the best ways to keep yourself free and not let a company lock you into staying with them.  If you are not able to access and move your data easily, you will feel stuck and be unlikely to change (even if you want to).  Don’t get tricked. Take control of your device! Know how to easily access your data, and make it look and feel the way you want.

UPDATE –  I have had some messages asking me to link to the services in the article

Photo backup – Google Photos

Contacts – Gmail

Files – Google Drive 

These apps are already on most Android devices they just need to be updated and activated/opened

Android Launchers – phandroid.com has a good article about diffrent launchers

Google Home, just added shopping

Google announced today that the google home will now allow you to order items, just by asking.

To configure this on your Google Home

  1. Open your Google Home app
  2. Open the menu and choose “More Settings”
  3. Scroll to “Payments”
  4. From there set your default card and delivery address
  5. Now you are ready to shop

source – Google

By the numbers – Android and iOS rise everyone else fades into obscurity

A recent report by gartner.com shows the sales numbers and market share by vendor and operating system

Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 4Q16 (Thousands of Units)

Vendor

4Q16Units

4Q16 Market Share (%)

4Q15
Units

4Q15 Market Share (%)

Apple

77,038.9

17.9

71,525.9

17.7

Samsung

76,782.6

17.8

83,437.7

20.7

Huawei

40,803.7

9.5

32,116.5

8.0

Oppo

26,704.7

6.2

12,961.5

3.2

BBK Communication Equipment

24,288.2

5.6

11,359.4

2.8

Others

185,921.1

43.1

191,708.4

47.6

Total

431,539.3

100.0

403,109.4

100.0

 

Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 2016 (Thousands of Units)

Vendor

2016
Units

2016 Market Share (%)

2015
Units

2015 Market Share (%)

Samsung

306,446.6

20.5

320,219.7

22.5

Apple

216,064.0

14.4

225,850.6

15.9

Huawei

132,824.9

8.9

104,094.7

7.3

Oppo

85,299.5

5.7

39,489.0

2.8

BBK Communication Equipment

72,408.6

4.8

35,291.3

2.5

Others

682,314.3

45.6

698,955.1

49.1

Total

1,495,358.0

100.0

1,423,900.4

100.0

Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System in 4Q16 (Thousands of Units)

Operating System

4Q16
Units

4Q16 Market Share (%)

4Q15
Units

4Q15 Market Share (%)

Android

352,669.9

81.7

325,394.4

80.7

iOS

77,038.9

17.9

71,525.9

17.7

Windows

1,092.2

0.3

4,395.0

1.1

BlackBerry

207.9

0.0

906.9

0.2

Other OS

530.4

0.1

887.3

0.2

Total

431,539.3

100.0

403,109.4

100.0

 

source – gartner.com

Free TV show – Clash-A-Rama!

CLASH-A-RAMA! is an original comedy series based on your favorite Clash of Clans and Clash Royale characters. CLASH-A-RAMA! takes viewers inside the Village and Arena to see what life is like between battles. From three writer/producers of The Simpsons and Rough Draft Studios, the animation house that brought you Futurama

get it free at the Play Store

Deal Alert – 50% off 6 Orange Pixel games!

These Orange Pixel games are usually 1.99 and are now on sale for .99.

GunslugsiOS, Android

Gunslugs 2iOS, Android

Heroes of LootiOS, Android

Heroes of Loot 2iOS, Android

Space GruntsiOS, Android

Groundskeeper 2iOS, Android

Upgrade your phone’s keyboard

 

Here is how to get it

  1. Install the app from the play store or the apple store
  2. Open the app once installed
  3. It will walk you through making it your main keyboard

Now you have Gifs, Google search, Emojis, and much more right from your keyboard!

 

Deal -save on Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra

Best Buy and the Google Store are having a sale on Chromecasts.  Save $5 on the Chromecast and Save $10 on the Ultra.

Best Buy – Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra

Google Store – Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra