This post comes a little late since I’ve actually had this phone for a little more than a month. But, better late than never, right?
The Samsung Galaxy Note is cross between a phone and a tablet, or as what Leo Laporte likes to call it, a “phablet”. It comes with a brilliant 5.3 inch screen, which is great for web-surfing and watching videos, as well as playing games. The phone itself resembles an over-sized Samsung Galaxy SII, and one of my colleagues have remarked that it’s about the size of a pocket notepad. Yet, it’s still small enough to fit into the front pocket of my backpack. The best thing about a large display is that the keyboard becomes larger too. Great for fat fingers like mine! Not to mention the larger home screen, which offers more room for larger widgets.
The Note is shipped with Android version 2.3, or Gingerbread. Samsung has announced that the update to the latest version 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is coming up later in the year, so I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for that. Still, this is a great improvement for me since my previous X10 Mini only runs on version 2.1 (Eclair). This means I now have access to more apps that weren’t available to me due to version incompatibility.
What makes the Note stand out, apart from its large size and bright display, is the S Pen, which is a stylus built specially for the Note. So instead of touching the display with your fingers, you can also choose to manipulate the screen with the S Pen, which offers more precision, especially for games like Draw Something.
All in all, I’m simply loving this phone! For more features and specifications of the Samsung Galaxy Note, please visit its mini-site.
My current project is this blog, of course. I try to review podcasts, blogs, apps, etc, Catholic or otherwise, but I’m a little behind since work has been piling up. Still slowly trying to clean-up broken links and obsolete items.
Ever since I switched to this new Android phone, I’ve been trying to look for some good Catholic apps that resemble what my Apple-loving friends have on their devices. I must say the Android App Market is rather disappointing when compared to the iTunes App Store. But thanks to the recent upgrade on the AppBrain app/site, I discovered quite a handful of cool Catholic apps that can be downloaded and installed directly from my web browser. Let me review a couple of them here.
One of the most popular Catholic apps on iTunes App Store has finally arrived on the Android App Market. The iBreviary is developed by an Italian priest, Father Paolo Padrini. The app has sections for the Breviary, Reading of the Day and Prayers, and is wonderful for Catholics to be able to keep up with their daily devotions while on the go.
Lectio Divina stands for Divine Reading in Latin. The Lectio Divina app for Android consults the Catholic liturgical texts (readings, psalms, gospel) taken from universalis.org, and the lives of saints for each day or a date chosen.
The Sincere Prayer app contains 4 major sections: Prayers and Verses, Prayer Journal, Daily Readings, Mobile Rosary. Worth mentioning is the Daily Readings section which contains links to various websites and podcasts where you can get your daily readings.
This app offers a collection of Catholic prayers for you to take on the go. There’s also a Catechism section, which is great for folks who want the Catechism at their finger tips. The user interface on this app is rather simple when compared to the others mentioned here, but still, it gets the job done. There are also separate apps available for Mobile Litanies and Mobile Rosary.
I had an earlier version of this app installed on my phone, where there were only daily mass readings and a prayer section. The latest update now has Liturgy of the Hours (Lauds and Vespers) as well as a Rosary section. Sadly I had problems updating to the new version, after I uninstalled the older version. So now I’m between a rock and a hard place. I tried contacting the developer directly via email, but he wasn’t very helpful, and has since stopped responding to my email. I’ve yet to see the latest version for myself, but the print screens and description from the developer’s blog look promising. At least for the short time that I had the earlier version on my phone, I had quite enjoyed it. I do hope to be able to install this on my phone once again.
All the apps mentioned are available free on AppBrain. Some of these apps are location specific, so you may not see it on the Android App Market. There are also some paid apps such as the iMissal that I’m not able to review here since I do not have access to paid apps here in Singapore. If you know of some good Catholic apps for Android, please let me know!
Like Apple iPhone’s iTunes App Store, there’s also an Android Market available on the phone, where I can search for and download apps. Currently, only selected free apps are supported in the Singapore version, which is fine since I’m a bit of a cheap-skate who prefers free than paid. But certain premium apps that I’d like to own permanently is only available as time-limited free trials in the Android Market, which gets frustrating sometimes. Luckily, with the sudden surge in manufacturers putting out new Android phones, and more and more people taking notice of the Android OS, more and more developers are producing fun and cool apps for this relatively new mobile platform. Here’s some of the apps I have on my phone right now.
I’ll like to highlight some of my favorite apps here, but I’ll probably have to do it in parts since, as you can see, I’ve got quite a few.
Today’s main focus will be on touchscreen keyboards for Android. We’re all used to the traditional T9 and QWERTY keyboard layouts on the phone, but typing on the phone is still quite a challenge when you’re using the touchscreen instead of a physical keyboard, particularly on the QWERTY layout, where the keys are much more cramped. Recently, there has been a new trend of keyboards where all you have to do is to slide or swipe your finger from one letter to another without lifting it up to form a complete word. The more common and popular ones which I’ll list here are the SlideIT keyboard, the ShapeWriter keyboard and the Swype keyboard. Something to note here is that these keyboards are not exclusive to the Android platform alone, most if not all of them are available for the iPhone and Windows Mobile as well.
This is the first “slide” keyboard I’ve tried and I took to it like fish to water. I loved it! It’s snappy and smart enough to figure out words from the doodles that I draw on the screen, even very long and complicated words. I found myself typing much faster with this than on the default T9 keyboard. There’s even a Graffiti feature that let’s you draw numbers and special symbols. Pretty cool! Here’s a video of the SlideIT keyboard in action.
The only couple of gripes I have with it is that the capitalization isn’t too smart. It also a bit of a hassle to input numbers and special characters as I’ll have to touch one of the shortcut keys to switch to the numeric/special character layout.
The free version available on the Android Market is time-limited to 30 days, and like I’m unable to get the paid version anywhere. The guys from Dasur, the company behind the SlideIT product have said in reply to my query, that the Android paid version will be available for sale on the website soon.
Since I couldn’t get a paid version of SlideIT, I decided to search for other options out there. I discovered ShapeWriter, which is a free alternative. The look and feel is similar, but ShapeWriter has smarter capitalization, and the number pad is much cuter. Entering special characters on ShapeWriter is also much easier as all you need to do is to long touch the key to access the special character behind. I’ve read about some complains about ShapeWriter’s accuracy on some forums, but I have no issues with it so far. Here’s a video of ShapeWriter in action.
ShapeWriter has announced that they plan to take the ShapeWriter keyboard off the Android Market on June 20th 2010 for an indefinite period of time. Users are strongly urged to download the latest Version 3.0.9, which does not expire. So if you have an Android device and are thinking of finding a free alternative to replace your current touchscreen keyboard, now is the time!
This 3rd and last keyboard that I’m featuring here is a little special, because it is the only which I’ve not had a chance to try hands-on. I signed up for the close beta on their website, and was invited. However, I was unable to install the keyboard ultimately as it says that the screen size of my X10 Mini is not supported. How disappointing.
Nonetheless, this is by far the most popular slide/swipe keyboard out in the market today. Here’s a video of Swype in action.
I hope you’ve found this short review helpful. More next time!
I’m typing this post from my brand new X10 Mini. I’ve had it for 2 days and I’m totally loving it! This is the miniature version of Sony Ericsson’s flagship Android phone, the Xperia X10. It currently runs on Android 1.6, an older version of Google’s popular phone operating system. Although it’s 2 versions behind the latest version 2.2, this phone still packs punches.
Like Apple’s iPhone, the X10 Mini is fully touch-screen and features tons of apps to keep one entertained, most of which a downloadable from the Android Market, Google’s equivalent of Apple’s iTunes App Store. Although there aren’t as many apps developed for Android as compared to the iPhone, most of the essential stuff (for me at least) are there. One of these essentials is this WordPress app that I’m typing this post in. Pretty cool huh?
Well, that’s all for now. More on my new phone another day, when I find time to sit in front of the computer. Bye!
Good old classic Japanese style omu-rice.The rice is fried with luncheon meat and onions cut up in cubes, with just enough tomato sauce to give it a nice flamingo hue.Unlike the traditional omelette found in most omu-rice that’s thin and smooth like a newborn infant’s skin, the omelette here gave a more “home cooked” feel. Something my mom might make, when she’s in the mood.The cappuccino that came it was not fantastic, but I obviously wasn’t expecting Italian coffee in a Japanese bakery, especially when it only costs an extra dollar.The omelette rice costs S$8.50 on its own, and you can choose between tomato sauce and chilli sauce. Top up a dollar to include drinks, and add an extra dollar if you want cheese.