October 04, 2010
Droid X for "Excellent
Motorola hits another homerun with the Droid X. I’m not certain what the “X” stands for, but I’m going to say that it must stand for “Excellent” because it is. Let me tell you why I have come to that conclusion.
The first thing that will grab you is the humungous 4.3 inch touch screen, and its brilliant WVGA edge to edge display that supports up to 16 colors. Remember the old three and four color screens we used to get so excited about?
Its sleek, shiny black case measures 5.02” x 2.57” x .39”. It has a slight hump on the back presumably to accommodate the camera and flash—more about that later. It weighs in at 5.47 ounces. So, it’s not going to make your pants fall down if you put it in your pocket.
The Droid X runs on the Android 2.1 with the Motorola platform. Version 2.2 (Google Froyo) should be available soon. It features a 1.0 Ghz processor with plenty of hunk and 8 GB of internal memory. With a micro SD slot, you can get up to 32 more Gigs of memory. It comes with a 16 GB card installed.
A 540 mAHLi-ion battery is rated to provide up to 480 minutes usage time and 220 hours standby time. But, in practice, I found that the battery can become exhausted rather rapidly, especially if you are multitasking with additional services such as GPS, Wi-FI or Bluetooth. Keep your charger handy or a spare battery.
Let’s take a walk around the unit checking for buttons, inputs and outputs. On the top, we have a 3.5 mm jack for earphones, a microphone (one of three), and a power button. On the right side are two volume control buttons and a button to invoke the camera. There is nothing on the bottom unless you count the bottom of the screen in the front where there is another microphone plus Menu, Home Screen, Return, and Search physical hardware buttons. On the left side, toward the bottom is a micro USB port for a charging/sync cable. Below that is a HDMI cable port for audio/video output so that you can transfer content from the Droid for viewing on your TV. Nice. You can also output to a projector. On the back is an 8 MPX camera lens and a dual LED flash. On the bottom of the back is yet another microphone.
Camera and Video
The camera is to covet with its 8.0 MPX lens 1/1000 second mechanical shutter, auto focus, touch to focus, face recognition and panoramic modes features. The Droid X will share photos, video, and music with other DLNA compatible devices. (However, I didn’t have much luck with this feature.) The 720 p ND video allows slow motion capture, fast action, and quick uploads to YouTube. It features directional audio capture with is three microphones that enhance sound while tuning out background noise. With HDMI output, you can play your recorded videos on your HD TV. Unfortunately, a cable is not included. But there is still no way to take screen shots, which is a pity.
If you enjoy listening to music on your phone, the Droid should please you with its standard 3.5 mm jack for headphones, Bluetooth, Android Music Player, ability to create playlists, access to the Amazon Music Store of MP3 downloads, and FM Radio. There is also a Verizon VCast store available for the purchase of music.
I found the sound quality to be acceptable with earplugs, external stereo speakers, and with Bluetooth headphones.
If you’re looking for video entertainment, the Droid X can deliver. It comes with an Interface app for Blockbuster video that allows you to stream videos. Of course, you must rent them. Unfortunately, there is no app for, nor could I even access Hulu on the browser to watch TV and movies. Fortunately, there is an app for Orb, which allows you to tune into your desktop computer remotely to access files, watch videos, and live or recorded TV. Also, I am happy to report that SlingBox now has an app for the Droid. It costs $29.95, and you must have a Slingbox installed on your TV, but it’s well worth the investment. Welcome aboard Sling Media. There are some other apps for viewing more limited TV channels as well that are worth exploring. I only wish there were an application for Netflix streaming videos. Maybe I’ll have to create one myself.
Droid X comes with an FM tuner that requires you to plug in ear buds that act as an antenna. There are many nice radio and music apps available as well. My favorite is Pandora, which is free. If you suggest a tune or a composer, it will create a Playlist of similar items in the same genre and stream them to you. Nice.
If you are a gamer, there is a plethora of games in the Market for you to download. Many are free. The large screen, fast processor, memory and great graphics combine for a pleasant gaming experience. I haven’t tried it yet because I don’t have an HDMI cable, but I suspect it may also be possible to play games from the X on your HDTV or on a projection screen.
3G Mobile Hotspot
Another attractive feature of the X is that it can perform as a Wi-Fi router connecting up to five other devices using Verizon’s 3G network. Unfortunately, this service costs an additional $20 per month, and there is a 2 GB cap on usage.
Using the built-in Wi-Fi feature will generally give you a much faster connection to the Internet and save possible billable connection time via 3G.
Apps and Software
As Android is a Google platform, it offers many Google mobile apps such as Maps, Voice, Latitude, Calendar, Push Gmail, Talk, and integrated Google, Exchange, Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter contacts. Let me caution you though. Adding all your social networking contacts to your regular contacts can be overwhelming and bog down the system. It offers advanced Speech Recognition, IMAP, POP, Hotmail, and AOL email support. Other Google and Verizon apps may be installed from the Android Market along with around 50,000 other paid and free apps.
I am pleased to report that my Google contacts and calendar ported over seamlessly to the X and synced with my desktop Outlook information. You can access your Google tasks and Docs. Strangely, while you can edit Excel docs, you cannot create or edit any other Microsoft Office documents, which is not exactly a plus in my book. However, there is a workaround with a third party application from DataViz.
My Verizon, Backup Assistant, and CityID are some of the other apps that come preinstalled that let you keep track of your account, backup your device, and have a caller’s city appear on the screen. It also comes with a voicemail widget that I never could get to work properly. You can subscribe and pay a fee, for visual voice mail. But I much prefer Google Voice, and it’s free.
Screens and Navigation
After turning on the device and unlocking it with a finger gesture, a home screen appears sprinkled with apps and widgets. Navigation is accomplished with finger gestures. You can flick to six different screens that you can customize to suite your tastes. You can even customize the background with pre-loaded graphics or provide your own.
One of the six screens is set up for quick access to your favorite contacts. It did not work well for me. My first four contacts displayed with large photos, the next four with smaller photos, the next four would not display photos at all, just a blue box with a gear in the corner. Tech support was not able to resolve this issue.
Another screen is set up with a music widget for easy access to your favorite tunes and playlists.
At the top of another page is a widget that gives quick access to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Phone, and GPS, which I appreciate.
Another page comes with widgets for news and RSS feeds already set up for you. Of course you can remove these if you wish or add more icons of your own choosing to any of the six screens.
Google Voice search allows you to take charge of your phone and tell it what to do. You can search on the phone for such things as contacts, tell it to call someone or pull up an app or file. You can search the Web orally or find a business or address and then navigate to it. If you have an urge to be dictatorial, here’s your chance to be the boss.
Unlike its predecessors, the Motorola Droid X does not have a slide out lateral keyboard. For me that it is plus. I do not like slide out keyboards, and I especially don’t like lateral ones. They are bulky, mechanical, and just something more to go wrong. I don’t appreciate being forced to use two hands to type if I don’t want to. I really like the onboard input panel for Droid X.
The X also comes with an onscreen keyboard that opens automatically whenever text entry is required. If you prefer a larger keyboard, just orient the device horizontally, and the keyboard will shift to a wider, horizontal display.
In settings, it is possible to turn on such options as keypress sound or vibrate, auto capitalization, auto punctuate, word suggestions, and autocorrect errors. You also have your choice between the standard Multi-touch keyboard, and a new innovative one called Swype.
The Multi-touch keyboard expands the touched character, which reduces typos. You can slide your finger to the desired character if you make a mistroke. Holding the key down brings up every available variation of the letter including foreign characters diacritical markings. Another nice feature of this keyboard is the voice option. Touch the microphone and speak the text you want to create. It is surprisingly accurate. As a test I said, “I want to say that this is a very accurate system.” The way it came out was, “I wanna say that this is a very accurate system.” Whoops, maybe it’s a little too accurate.
Swype is a pretty amazing keyboard option. You merely slide your finger around the screen from one desired letter to the next until the word is completed. When you lift your finger the word appears on the screen as if by magic. If there are other possibilities with the letter combinations, a list of choices to tap will appear on the screen. There is a tutorial to get you up and running. You can also use the speech to text engine with Swype, and there’s a emoticon directory too.
Now comes the most exciting part for me, and that is the X’s ability to connect to an external Bluetooth keyboard using an interface app called KeyPro. It works like a charm, and you are in the word processing, inputting business. There is a trial version to try before you buy.
The only problem is that there is no real word processing program available yet for the X. The work-around is to use Documents to Go by DataViz. It costs $14.99, but it’s a most worthwhile investment if you want to turn you PDA into a road warrior. It will allow you to view, edit, and create Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF documents. I consider this an absolute must have.
It would be an altogether perfect world if the Android Market had an application that would display a Droid screen on your desktop and allow interaction with file drag/drop, keyboard inputting, and mouse/cursor movement. Sometimes I really miss my Windows Mobile devices.
Another feature I appreciate is the you can tap and hold to make a string of entered text expand and the easily see where to place the cursor to correct a type. Nice.
Browsing the Net with the big, crystal clear screen and fast processor on the X is a pleasure. The response time is snappy, and scrolling is smooth and fast. Enlarging the image with spread or retracted figure gestures works well. My only wish would be that there were an option to configure a Webpage to fit the screen as you can with a Windows Mobile device. This is a much better way to view a Webpage on a handheld device because you don’t have to scroll all over the place. I would put this option on my list wish for Droid developers.
There are many attractive features associated with the browsing experience. For example, you can tap on the star on the right side of the address bar to mark a favorite. It then appears on the favorite screen for easy access. The favorites screen lets you view the bookmarks in a list or image view showing the home page. There are also tabs for Most Visited and History. You can even place a Webpage on one of the home screens for instant access.
By the way, you can watch YouTube in high resolution by tapping HQ on the lower right of the screen.
By connecting your X to your desktop or laptop via the supplied micro USB cable, you can transfer files, videos, and pictures. With downloadable Media Manager, you can also purchase, store, and listen to music from the Verizon store. Unfortunately, the Media Manager only supports 32 bit systems. So, if you have a 64 bit system, you’re out of luck. However, you can still connect to the X as if it were another drive and transfer files that way.
The X comes in a pretty bare bones box with just a charger, a micro USB cable, and a mini quick start guide. To take full advantage of this marvelous device, you may wish to accessorize it more fully with a 32 MB micro SC card, an HDMI cable, a windshield mount for navigation, a charging/docking station, and perhaps a case to protect your investment. I plan to write reviews of some of these items in subsequent articles.
The Motorola Droid X is a supreme powerhouse of functionality with its big, high definition screen, 8 MPX dual flash camera and HD camcorder with an HDMI port for output to TVs and projectors. While it may not have as many apps yet as the iPhone, there are certainly enough to keep anyone busy, productive, and entertained while more are being developed for this relatively new platform.
There are several things I wish the X could do and hope they will be forthcoming. I wish it were possible to take screen shots. I wish it had the native capability to handle Office docs. I wish there were an app to place an interactive X screen on a monitor. I wish there were an option to configure Webpages for single column viewing without having to scroll sidesways. I wish there were a Netflix app for viewing movies, which would be much better, in my opinion, than Blockbuster.
I could go on with my wish list, but I feel confident that the Droid platform is a serious contender now and developers with place a lot of energy into creating new and wonderful applications to make it even better. I fear, however, that as an open platform in which every manufacturer can put its own twist on things using all different screens, processors, and resolutions, that it will be more difficult for developers to create apps that work across all Droid models and they will become discouraged. That is a problem iPhone developers don’t have as much.
The hump on the back reminds me of the Hunchback of Notre Dame and makes the device appear to be top heavy. It’s too bad that it doesn’t come with an HDMI cable and a case to protect it.
In any case, I am very pleased overall with the Motorola Droid X from Verizon, and I wish to give it my very highest recommendation. It is worth your serious consideration if you are looking for a new device. I would even encourage you to trade in your current model for this beauty.
August 03, 2010
The New HTC Droid is Incredible
Yes, the HTC Droid Incredible is no exaggeration. It’s a keeper as it naturally cuddles in the cup of your hand insinuating itself like a heat-seeking puppy looking for a new master. I have fallen hopelessly in love with it under its enchanting spell. I guess I have to say it was love at first sight. Frankly, I’m not a bit surprised that Droid is now outselling iPhone.
Why would I be swayed so compellingly? What about after the honeymoon?
Preliminary Attractive Features
Its appearance is sleek with a shiny black case thinner than the iPhone and yet with a larger screen. It measures 4.63 x 2.3 x .47 inches and weighs 4.59 ounces.
Under the hood it has a powerful GHz Qualcomm Snapdrogon processor and a 3D chip for amazing gaming experiences on a 3.7 inch AMOLED 480 x 800 screen. The 8 MPX autofocus camera with dual LED flash is another huge plus. While I was surprised that it only has 8 MB of onboard memory, it also has a micro SD slot that can handle up to a 32 MB card for a total of 40 MB storage capacity. There is 748 MB of ROM. At the bottom of the screen there is an optical joystick.
This phone is the product of a three-way marriage with Google, HTC, and Verizon with each making a solid contribution to bring a superior product to market.
Google contributes its mobile apps in enhanced form and the Android 2.1 operating system. One of my favorite Google/Android innovations is Google voice search, which works remarkably well, and is a major convenience that obviates typing.
HTC contributes its manufacturing expertise and the Sense user interface that allows pinch/zoom with an amazing Web browsing experience. When viewing Web pages at any zoom level, the text wraps and conforms to the screen size so that there is no sideways browsing required--what a pleasure. If you’re a social network junkie, there’s Friend Stream that conflates Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr into a single screen as if they were one program with a range of views possible.
There are seven home screens where you can store widgets and apps for easy access. HTCs Sense allows you to pinch the screen to display miniature cards of all seven screens. Then just tap on the one you want.
HTC has loaded several worthwhile widgets and so has Google.
Of course Verizon offers what is arguably the best mobile network with the widest, most trouble-free coverage.
Kicking the Tires
Taking a walk around this beauty reveals an economy of external features. On the top is a power/phone options button. Next to that is a standard 3.5 mm ear plug jack. The right side is unencumbered with any pesky buttons to push inadvertently that may make your machine go crazy when you don’t want it to. The same is true for the bottom except that there is a small microphone hole and a slot for removing the back cover. On the left side is a volume rocker switch and a micro USB port for charging and syncing. The back has an free form like three-tier battery cover. The camera lens in the upper left corner is flanked by the dual LED flash to the right. There is a small opening for the speaker.
Flipping off the battery cover reveals a shocking red interior with a red battery to match. You have to remove the battery cover to gain access to the micro SD storage slot, which is a bit of a bother.
I have already mentioned that large screen with its magnificent, bright resolution. There is a charging light at the top of the screen. Below the screen are four useful hardware buttons. From left to right there is a Home button, a Menu button, a Back button, and a Search button. Double tapping the home button invokes the Sense seven-card screen mode. A quick tap brings up a Google text search screen. Tapping and holding activates Google voice search, which is a Godsend as far as I’m concerned.
It used to be a big deal to be able to say a phone had Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and more recently GPS. Now, however, that’s pretty much taken for granted, and I’m happy to report that the Incredible has all of the above.
Speaking of GPS, Incredible users will benefit from an enhanced version of Google Maps for navigation and positioning in many applications. The navigation system is a turn by turn voice driven app with satellite and photo views. The rerouting is the fastest I’ve ever seen, and it is usually spot on with up to date data and traffic notifications.
There are some excellent geocaching apps available too that take all the old drudgery out of the process. It’s truly a pleasure to geocache with this device.
What’s in the Box?
The Triumvirate cannot be accused of not sparing any expense, for the box was pretty bare bones with a quick start guide, an AC charger and USB cable that works on the wall outlet as well as in a USB computer port. When connected with a computer, you can transfer files as well as charge the unit. There was no carrying case to protect this jewel, and there wasn’t even a micro SD card. It might have been a nice gesture to include at least a 2 MB card. Many applications will only install to a storage card, which could render the unit less functional until you can obtain a card. So, no extra points there.
The Incredible comes with a variety of useful applications already installed. Here is a partial list:
Calculator, Calendar, Call History, Camcorder, Camera, Car Panel, City ID, Facebook, FM Radio, Force Close, Friend Stream (did not work—caused forced close), Internet, Mail, Maps, Market, Messages, Music, PDF Viewer, Peep, People, Phone, Photos, Quickoffice, Search People, Settings, Setup, Talk, Text to Speech, Voice, Voice Dialer, Voice Mail, Voice Recorder, Voice Search Weather, and YouTube. There are a variety of widgets offered by both HTC and Android. With lots more available.
The Android platform cannot compete yet with the depth and range of applications offered in the iTunes store, which I think is approaching around 200,000 now. In the short time that Android has been extant, it has already accumulated about 40,000 apps available in its store and elsewhere. Many are free, and the fee based apps are relatively inexpensive; many are in the one dollar area, which makes them highly affordable.
Unlike Apple, Google, at this point, doesn’t seem to be interested in controlling everything. For instance there is no music in the Google Market and users are on their own to acquire and install music. The music player has a nice interface that flips album covers and delivers a satisfactory listening experience.
I appreciate the installed YouTube app, which saves going to the Web first. I also enjoy the installed FM radio app. Of course there are many other radio apps available in the Market.
There are some TV apps as well with limited programming. What I’m waiting for is SlingMedia to make an app available for the Droid. Then I can tune into the programs recorded on my DVR at home, watch live satellite TV, and control my home TV remotely from my Droid. I tried the Orb app, but I could never get it to work.
It seems strange to me that there is no built in file explorer so that you cannot find files stored on the storage card or in main memory. You have to find a third party app for this, and some are less than satisfactory.
The QuickOffice app is only for viewing files. You cannot create or edit files with this program, and there is no app that I could find available in the Market. This severely limits the device’s functionality as a power productivity tool for road warriors. I happen to know that there is a third party app available for Android that allows creating and editing Office files, but apparently it’s not available yet for the Incredible. I hope it will be soon.
As a side note for those concerned with productivity, It is possible to connect a portable Bluetooth keyboard to the Incredible for efficient inputting on the road, which is a huge plus. Put that doesn’t do a lot of good without the ability to create and edit documents. At this point I suggest using Google Docs as a partial solution.
As this device is so new, there is not much available for it yet in the way of accessories. However it is easy to make do with cases, headphones, earplugs, and other stuff that can be repurposed for the Incredible. I did find it surprising that there were not even any earbuds in the box. I wish there were a set with a mic for use when driving or just for pleasurable listening. You’ll have to find your own set.
A brief comparison to the iPhone 3GS
I suppose somehow the iPhone has become the measuring stick by which phones can be compared these days, which I find amusing because the iPhone is still lacking so many desirable features. Anyway for those into comparison shopping, here are a few quick comparables.
- Battery Life
- Capacity: iPhone 1219 mAh; Incredible 1300 mAh
- Talk time: iPHone 300 hours of standby; Incredible 149 hours
- iPhone 3 mpx with autofocus but no flash or manual controls, 640 x 480 video.
- Incredible 8 mps with dual LED flash, manual adjustment controls, 800 x 400 video (same resolution as screen)
- iPhone AT&T—many complaints about speed and coverage; this may change with 4G
- Verizon is arguably a more dependable system with greater coverage and more economical subscriber plans.
- iPhone 3.5 inch screen with 480 x 320 LCD display
- Incredible 3.7 inch screen with 480 x 800 resolution on OLED display, which is much brighter than the iPhone display.
- Up to 32 GB built-in; no expansion slot
- 8 GB built in with up to 32 GB expansion slot for total of 40 GB
- iPhone 600 MHz
- Incredible 1 GHz
- 185 applications in iTunes store
- 40 applications in Google Market
And the winner is clearly the Incredible as it beats iPhone in every category but software and battery life. So, unless battery life and software are key issues for you, the Incredible is the better choice.
- 1 GHz Snapdragon processor
- Google Android 2.1 with HTC Sense 2.5
- 3.7 inch WVGA OLED touchscreen display
- QWERTY Virtual keyboard
- 8GB internal memory and microSD card slot (up to 32 GB)
- 8 megapixel camera with dual LED flash and adjustable controls
- Video up to 480x800
- 312 minutes talk time / 149 hours standby
- Dimensions: 4.63 x 2.3 x 0.47 inches and 4.59 ounces
- Push Gmail and Exchange
- Advanced Speech recognition
- TTY compatible
- Hearing aid compatibility=M4/T3
- Bluetooth with stereo capability
- Wi-FI 802.11b/g/n$199.99 with 2 year contract3.5mm headphone jack
- 512MB ROM / 512MB RAM
- Dual-band EV-DO Rev. A
- HTML browser with Flash Lite 4.0
The full retail price of the Incredible is $529.99. For that price I would expect an unlocked unit, but that’s a moot point. You pretty much have to acquire it from Verizon with a contract and connectivity plan. A two year contract is $299.99 with a $100 discount online for a total cost of $199.99. If you buy the Incredible you get to select another free phone, which also requires a two year contract. There are a number of plans available that seem to start at $39.99 per month. Unlimited text/data/talk is $89.99 per month. But I guess that’s still cheaper than the iPhone.
After the Honeymoon
After the rush of love at first sight with time to get comfortable and settle in, there are some foibles I’ve discovered, and a wish list I’ve developed for the Incredible.
I noticed that the battery life is not very satisfactory. In my experience the battery wears down very rapidly. Two hours of phone conversation, and it needs recharging. If you leave Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth, or GPS running, the battery drains rapidly. You’d better have a charger or extra battery handy if you want to do geocaching, Bluetooth communication, or connections by Wi-Fi. When using the unit for navigation in the car, I have to keep it connected to the charger or it will go dead in short order. At least it’s possible to change batteries, unlike the iPhone.
I found it frustrating that the beautiful screen so brilliantly rendered inside all but disappears and turns into a black hole outside in the sunlight--so much for working at the beach and in my garden.
I wish that the Incredible would have cards for each open application like the Palm Pre Plus so that you can easily flick back and forth to reinvoke the app of your choice. A workable alternative might be a screen devoted to open apps for easy access.
I was surprised that there is no built-in file explorer program so that you can view and manipulate files and move them around between main memory and storage card. There is third party software, but it only seems to address the storage card. Developers?
Of course I’m upset about not being able to create and edit my Office documents on this device. I hope that will be remedied in short order for it is a serious short-coming that could cause me not to purchase this phone.
Another problem is that there is no unrooted application that will take screen shots, and that’s why you are not treated to them in this article. Come on developers. Here’s a need.
For the price, I think it would have been nice for the sponsors to include at least a small micro SD card to get you started. It would also have been nice to include a set of earbuds with a mic. Would a case to protect your investment be too much to ask as well?
While there are some growing pains as the platform and devices mature, to be sure, there’s lots to like with the HTC Droid Incredible. It is clearly the Droid of Droids, simply the best available at this time. It is also superior to the iPhone in many respects with an 8 MPX camera with dual LED flash and manual controls, more storage, larger screen with twice the resolution, replaceable battery, and a larger, more powerful processor. You cannot go wrong with this truly incredible device that indeed lives up to its name.
This puppy gets two thumbs up! It’s an A dog.
January 21, 2010
Eye-Fi Fo Fum
The words in the title were not uttered by Thunderdell the Giant, but Google the Giant has a killer deal I’d like to share with you. It concerns Picasa and a free Eye-Fi card.
Picasa is Google’s free photo organization and storage service. You can download the program for free and use it to edit, organize, and turn your photos into albums, slide shows, and videos. You can then post them online to share with others. However, you only get 1 GB of free space, and that’s not a whole lot when you are an avid photo buff.
One of the exciting new features of Picasa is that it will search all of your photos and use sophisticated face identification technology to label all the folks in your people pix. It works surprisingly well and can save you untold hours of manual identification.
Accordingly, to accommodate an expanded storage plan, Google has made an offer that seems to be too good to be true and too good to turn down. If you expand your storage plan to 200 GB for $50, Google will give you a free Eye-Fi card that costs $99. So, for a hundred bucks you get a $99 Eye-Fi card and 200 GB of storage.
What an Eye-Fi card you ask? Well, it’s a standard size SD card with 4GB of memory that you put in your camera. It also has a built-in Wi-Fi transmitter that connects to your computer and uploads your photos automatically. All you have to do is turn on your camera, it connects, and starts uploading your photos seamlessly. You can connect to 32 different networks.
Eye-Fi will also upload your photos to any of the popular photo storage services online such as Flickr and Picasa. You can control the photos you want to share and with whom. You can even upload to your Facebook account and automatically share photos with friends. By the way, it sends both photos and videos so that you can upload to YouTube as well.
But, that’s not all that Eye-Fi will do for you. It also geo-tags each photo before uploading it. It doesn’t work with GPS but rather with cell phone tower triangulation. So, if you are in a poor cell-phone reception area, your geo-tags may not work too well. But so far, it has been an incredible tool that can save hours of manual labor.
Normally, Eye-Fi charges an extra $15 a year for the geo-tagging service and $10 a year for the upload service to online storage facilities. However, this is all free with Google’s amazing offer. These services will continue to be free as long as you maintain your minimum 200 GB storage agreement with Google.
All you need to take advantage of this offer is a Picasa account and an SDHC compliant camera. If you’re not sure, take a look at the list of compatible cameras. If your camera uses an SD card, it will probably work with Eye-Fi.
There are many different Eye-Fi cards available that range from $49.95-$149.95 and from 2 GB to 8 GB that you can buy in retail outlets such as WalMart, but you won’t get the deal offered in the Google Picasa storage bundle. To secure your free Eye-Fi card, go to http://www.eye.fi/google.
Note that the card you will receive is the 4 GB Home Video version. It may take a couple of weeks for it to arrive in the mail, so you have to be patient.
Not surprisingly, as Android phones are a Google enterprise, there is a free application that allows you to upload photos from your camera to your Android phone. The app is called Eye-Fi Droid. Learn more about it at the developer’s Website: http://eyefidroid.leshak.com where there’s a video of the upload process in action.
I highly recommend the Google Picasa/Eye-Fi bundle. It’s an amazing bargain, a real no-brainer. But you should take advantage of it ASAP, as it’s a limited time offer.