You’re in the big game now. You just got your new Android device, you’re checking emails, stocks, and sports scores, and “this is the best thing ever.” Overall, you’re satisfied. The Android phone is faster than your BlackBerry, “cooler” than your flip phone, and you can finally see what’s on your big screen. You’re officially in mobile tech heaven. Heck, even though your friend’s had a smartphone for years, you’re probably this guy when it comes to talking about your new phone. Well genius, there’s still more to come, because Android devices aren’t just for surfing the web, checking some stats, and downloading a few PDF files. Here’s five ways you’re not taking full advantage of your Android device.
Television or Movie Projector
Movies, TV, and more, they’re all available at the touch of a button. With a some small amount of tinkering, you can watch videos on your Android tablet. Most devices, and especially newer tablets, can connect via HDMI to your television or projector. Purchase a cheap HDMI cable, and you’re viewing television programs, movies, or other videos on your television.
I’m a big fan of getting movies from Netflix (free) and Google Play. The Google Play Movies & TV (free) app comes installed on most devices, which makes watching television or the latest Hollywood blockbuster fast and easy. When I’m travelling, I prefer to connect my tablet to the television and save on purchasing an overpriced movie from the hotel. But, even without the HDMI hookup, tablet movie-viewing still rocks. There’s a wide selection of movies and television programs available, so continue perpetuating the “fat American” stereotype.
Plus, you could combine your system with something like this:
Just for a little something extra.
Perhaps the most played media in our house is the music that streams from my Android tablet or phone. I connect via Bluetooth to my Jawbone Jambox, and let a cacophony of music stream through the house or my office.
Pandora (free), Amazon MP3 (free), and Google Play Music (free), each allow me to take my music anywhere. Google and Amazon offer accounts that allow you to store, play, and download a massive amount of songs. Play music picked by your own genre librarian.
I love being able to reserve my newest upcoming book release and have the publication waiting for me on release day. I even bought Abby Road, to support a friend. I have “stacks” of books, without the clutter. If you’re a “paper” kind of fan, you’ll probably be reluctant about this new way of reading, but you’ll come to love it.
If you’re really evolved, you might even try going audio-only. Audiobooks are a great way to skip the hassle of reading altogether, and Google Play has a number of apps that work well. I fell in love with Audiobooks during law school, when you’re so burned out on reading that your eyes hurt.
I’m a fan of Ambling BookPlayer Pro ($9.99), but our city library forces me to use OverDrive Media Console (free) for their content. Getting content from disc to device is as easy as “ripping” a CD to MP3 format and transferring the files to your Android tablet or phone – I like to upload the content to Dropbox or Bitcasa for storage. You’re ready to listen at your leisure to the great classics, and not-so-classics, of the world. Note: I do not know the copyright implications (if you do please comment), but I assume there’s some exceptions for this kind of use (don’t you just love law from the internet?).
GPS & Atlas
Okay, you probably use your navigation app, but do you use your navigation? I love navigation.
For short commutes around the city, I tend to stick with Waze (free). The greatest, and perhaps, single feature of Waze is the ability to crowd source information about traffic, construction, and speed traps. I can easily save about 5-10 minutes on my commute to and from work.
For longer, or more obtuse distances, I prefer Android’s native Navigation (free). Navigation gives you accurate directions, and includes the ability to use non-conventional methods of travel such as walking and metro transit. The navigation app helped me brave the “mean” streets of Chicago and DC, during my recent trips.
Oh, and don’t forget the greatest globe on the planet.
One thing I missed when I switched from an iPod to Android were podcasts. While this is probably media related more than some separate category, podcasts are another great way to pass media time.
I like the Pocket Casts ($3.99) app, but there are a number of other apps that work well.
Podcasts, for those not familiar, are mini radio programs on a variety of topics. There’s a billion and one (or not so close) podcasts to choose from. You can see some popular examples here, and you’re not going to want to forget to check out the variety of programs from The Legal Talk Network.
I know, games are for pimple-faced teens and those other geeks locked in a hovel somewhere. However, Android tablets and phones offer some sweet gaming experiences. For instance, my ASUS Transformer Infinity tablet features a Tegra 3 processor, which features a near-console-like gaming experience. For nostalgic gamers, there’s nothing like playing Contra on a tablet.
A quick game also gives you an opportunity to pass some time on a Friday morning, waiting for your case during docket call. And don’t worry, because that guy at plaintiff’s table, who’s intently staring you down, is just trying to figure out how to play “ARVHMKL” and score 50 points to beat Judge Moore on Words With Friends (free).
You think I’m kidding? Ask him.
It’s About Living
Ultimately, owning an Android tablet or phone isn’t about being perceived as hoity-toity and “productive.” The device gives you the freedom to be you. Gaming, GPS, media, music, and movies, all provide opportunities to relieve stress and maintain a proper work-life balance.