Doug Lerner reports from Tokyo and St. Louis, and points beyond…

Posts tagged ‘iPhone’

Taken with my new iPhone macro lens

Some things I like better in Android (from an iPhone user)

As an iPhone user, I just recently (like last week) got an Android to use for testing web apps. I wasn’t going for the “latest and greatest” so bought an inexpensive, contract-free LG Optimus Bright new off of an auction site. I wasn’t really expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised (

I’ve been using it a bit this past week, and there are definitely some nice things about Android OS 2.3.3 in comparison to my everyday iPhone 4 running iOS 5 which I noticed pretty quickly, which I would like to mention:

1. Maps app allows rotate. On the iPhone you can use the pinch gesture to expand and shrink. On the Android, in addition to that, you can rotate the maps, which is cool.

2. More things can be made into icons on the home screen (shortcut EverNote notes, settings, etc.). On the iPhone you can have apps and bookmarks to web pages, but the selection of what you can add to the home screen is much more limited than on the Android device.

3. Apps and widgets. Many apps even come with widget versions installed. There really is no comparison on the iPhone, and I was pleasantly surprised to find widgets on my Android. The pre-installed Google widget with voice input on the home screen is very cool.

4. Hardware keys provide a more consistent UI and save screen space. On the LG Optimus Bright the “hardware keys” are below the screen and are really not keys you press at all. They seem to be capacitive touch elements, like the screen, but are in fixed positions and don’t take up screen space. What I really like about them is in addition to a home button (which the iPhone also has) the key on the left works like a context-sensitive menu for settings and other features inside all apps; there is a separate key that you can always use to “go back” or cancel the current dialog; and a 4th key for search. In addition to saving screen space (e.g. you don’t need the bottom row of UI icons in the mobile browser like in Safari Mobile) it makes the user experience consistent across all apps, which makes things easier overall, and is something iPhone supposedly aims for.

5. Replaceable battery. This is obvious and not really anything more needs to be said about that.

I’m sure there are lots of things in iOS 5 which are better than Android OS 2.3.3 (for example, on my iPhone I can take a screenshot, but there doesn’t seem to be a way of doing that on my Android – at least not a pre-installed way).
My aim is not to cut one device down in favor of the other. But I just wanted to say I’m pretty impressed with Android too. The Optimus is also lighter and thinner than my iPhone 4 and has a larger screen (though lower resolution).

Anyway, just thought I’d make these few observations from a mainly iPhone and Mac user who really is also pleased with Android.


Flipboard, Zite and Google Currents – a breakthrough week for mobile news aggregators

I think it’s somewhat of a breakthrough week in greatly enhancing the fun and usability of iPhones and iPads. 

Flipboard, Zite and Google Currents have all released versions for the iPhone. In particular, this has been a long desired development for iPhone users of Flipboard and Zite. Until now, only iPad versions were available. Google Currents is newer than the other two and released its iPad/iPhone app at the same time.

Anyway, these are basically news/magazine aggregators . But they are really good aggregators –  at the top of their class. I keep trying to decide which I like best. Flipboard has their cool “flipping” effect. But mostly I go for Zite because of the way it learns what you like to read, so every time I pick it up I find the content more and more interesting. (Note: Try to read articles in different sections sometimes, otherwise Zite can start thinking you are obsessed with just one topic.)

I used to only reach for my iPad occasionally. Now I use it every day – usually more than once a day – mostly for these apps. I still believe the iPad is more of a consuming device than a producing device. But it’s an interesting consuming device.

The fact these apps now also work on the iPhone make them even more useful. If you enjoy reading news, I think you would enjoy these apps.

Note to my mother, relatives and friends in their 80s and 90s (and you know who you are): If you have an iPad, please do go to the iTunes store and at least install Flipboard and Zite. They are the two easiest to use, are free, and I think you would get a kick out of them.


Reflections in an iPhone

Android on my iPhone 3G

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