Thursday, January 7, 2010

Motorola CLIQ Review – Part 4

Technology Review

Another week has gone by and I’m more in love with the CLIQ than ever before.  Many of the issues I’d noticed have disappeared with the change of hardware.  It appears I may have indeed had a lemon.  The one issue that comes and goes is the Bluetooth connectivity explained here.

Many have argued, including the likes of Robert Scobble of the Scobleizer fame, that the power of Smartphones is realized in the applications available on them.  In fact, the devices that’ll dominate the market will likely be those that have the best and largest set of applications available for them through various markets.  Arguably, Smartphones are less about the “phone” and more about the “Smart.” 

I’m not presenting an argument that Android phones (G1, myTouch, CLIQ, Droid, and the newly debuted Nexus One – THE Google Phone) will win over any other phone.  What I am suggesting is that more and more our phones are becoming our personal computers. I certainly use it for many applications and, on occasion, as a phone too!

What’s the point of today’s review then?  It’s to highlight the importance of the applications available on Android Market that I’ve recently downloaded and like very much:

  • Astrid: I made the move to Google Apps a number of months back in order to become system agnostic.  In other words, I wanted to be able to access my email, calendar, tasks, and notes from anywhere.  Google Apps did everything except Tasks.  The Tasks in Google Calendar is measly and doesn’t have the ability to set priorities, recurring tasks, and, most importantly, synch with my phone.  Enter Astrid.  Astrid allows me to do all of this on the device and sync up with RememberTheMilk.com service.  RememberTheMilk then has a plugin for Google Calendar that allows me to view, add, and edit my tasks directly from the Calendar.  Problem solved.  Keep in mind, Astrid is the only Android app in the bunch I’ve mentioned here, but the sync with RememberTheMilk and the related Google plugin works conveniently for me given my dependence on Google Apps.
  • Evernote: I’d read about Everynote early in Summer of 2009 in Chris Brogan’s blog.  However, I couldn’t find a good use for it.  In general, it’s a web service designed as an electronic notepad, with all of your notes available to you online from any computer.  I used to use Google Documents for this purpose.  Albeit, Google Docs don’t allow me to add voice notes or bookmarks as easily as Evernote with its browser plugin.  Nevertheless, I found no real use for it until I bought the CLIQ.  As a side note, I use a flash-memory based voice recorder in the car to take notes while driving.  It’s a quick way of recording those fleeting thoughts while keeping my eyes on the road.  Also note I’m trying to reduce the number of hardware I use.  So, I decided to look for a voice recorder for the CLIQ.  Low and behold, Evernote for Android does just that, and the content is synced with its online counterpart.  So, I’ve now transferred all my reference notes out of Google Docs into Evernote online.  As an added benefit,  I can view and edit all of them directly on my CLIQ.  In fact, I stopped using Google Documents altogether since all remaining documents I transferred to Google Wave, a collaboration and document management tool.
  • Calorie Counter: This one tool is helping me realize how I can achieve my health goals, though I’m not terribly keen on its poor performance on the CLIQ.  Calorie Counter allows you to track your daily calorie intake and exercise routine to determine how much of the calories you’re taking in is burning off.  You have to enter your height and weight in order to determine your recommended daily intake and calculate your calorie burn rate.  What I love about this app is that it syncs with its online counterpart, FatSecret.com where you can do the same thing as what you can on your phone, with the added ability to sign up for food lifestyle change / challenges.  Think this is just for diet fanatics?  Think again. It’s designed with the busy professional in mind.  You can scan in UPC codes or look up food items by restaurants and fast food stands.  Not all of them are there, but new ones are added continuously. 
  • Ultimate Stopwatch: This stopwatch rocks.  It has a wonderful interface that looks like a traditional analog stopwatch, but it also provides you countdown capability.  I used to have the UltraChrono Stopwatch Android app which is a digital stopwatch and countdown, with the added voice announcement of elapsed / remaining time.  I find the Ultimate Stopwatch’s better interface and ease of use (tap screen to start, stop, and reset) far outweigh the voice announcement and poor visual appeal of UltraChrono Stopwatch.
  • Google Sky: Ever wonder if you’re looking at the Big Dipper or the Little Dipper?  Get your mind out of the gutter! I’m referring to star constellations, of course.  Google Sky provides you with just that.  It uses GPS to determine your location.  You then point it at the sky and the constellation in question.  Voila! It shows you the name of the constellation and the full picture of how the stars should be aligned.  Now if I could only name one of them after my wife!
  • Bubble: This is a very simple but effective tool.  It demonstrates the gyroscope capability of the device.  Plainly, it has a vertical, horizontal and top level bubble to help you level the picture or shelf you’re hanging in grandma’s room!

That’s it for now.  There are a lot more apps that I’ve downloaded and I’m test-driving.  They include Better Keyboard, Math Works, Brain Genius, DroidLive, Pandora, Movies, Where!, Layar, Sherpa, OpenTable, Wapedia, Finance, pFinance, and Free Dictionary to name a few.  I’ll continue to post about my favorites and why I like them.

What Do You Think?

Have you tried the CLIQ?  How about the new Nexus One (Google Phone)?  Feel free to share your thoughts and reactions below about these Smartphone sand the applications available for them.

Related Posts

Motorola CLIQ Review – Part 1
Motorola CLIQ Review – Part 2
How I almost Dumped the CLIQ: Review – Part 3
Motorola CLIQ Review – Part 5

Photo Credits: All photos are the property of Motorola