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Summary:

Mobile Tech Manor is my home office where all sorts of gadgetry is always arriving. In this column, I look back at the week in the Manor and recount the happenings and lessons learned. I love sharing my weeks with you, so welcome to the Manor.

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Mobile Tech Manor (MTM) is the home office where I cover the world of mobile technology, and it’s an active scene of gadgets and apps. This column is my look back at the week and my outlet to share observations and lessons learned about the tech that crossed my path. This week, a portable keyboard came through the door: a special one that is tied to the iPad, albeit wirelessly. Kick back and share the week in Mobile Tech Manor with me.

Gadgets of the Week

Mobile technology is all about wireless, both in respect to connectivity and in how gadgets connect to one another. Wireless was the theme in the Manor this week as a company sent me a case for the iPad to test. The  case is a pseudo-leather portfolio with a Bluetooth keyboard integrated into the unit. It’s designed for those times when an iPad  user needs to do some heavy text entry, and the onscreen touch keyboard is not sufficient.

According to the company that sent the case over, this keyboard/ case is called the Dooble, but that name appears nowhere on the packaging for the product, nor does the website they directed me to indicate that name. The case is being sold by Solid Line, and the packaging refers to the product as the Bluetooth Keyboard Case for your iPad. The case is also being sold by Kensington, as evidenced in this review.

No matter what you call the case, it works pretty much as advertised. It’s approximately 90 percent the size of a full keyboard, so typing takes a little time to get used to on the Dooble. It’s handy to have a keyboard when one might be useful, but it makes the iPad hard to use as a tablet. The iPad can be removed from the case for such usage, but it’s a pain and defeats the purpose of having such a product that is intended to make a gadget easier to use. I am going to shoot a video of the Dooble next week to show the case in detail.

Last week, I mentioned the Freedom Pro Bluetooth keyboard that I bought, and this week, I tested it with a Windows tablet, the iPad and my HTC Evo 4G Android phone. It works well with all of these gadgets, and so far, I’m happy with the purchase. I wouldn’t normally want to use a keyboard like this with my phone, but admit it’s nice to have the ability just in case.

The third gadget that came to live in the Manor this week is the Powermat Wireless Charging System for the Evo 4G. I shot a video of the Powermat system for those interested in this device, and having used it for a few days, I’m thrilled with the purchase. My Evo easily lasts all day on a single charge of the battery, so at the end of the day, I simply set the phone on the Powermat and it beeps to let me know it is charging. The next morning, I have a fully charged Evo ready for the day. This charger is highly recommended for those looking for an easy solution to keeping a supported phone charged.

Apps of the Week

The app that occupied a lot of my attention this week is one I had been waiting to appear for Android. Pocket Information for Android was released in a free public beta this week, and I quickly installed it on my Evo 4G. It’s a solid performer for a first beta version, and it has already become a big part of my day. The app integrates my Google calendars and Toodledo task management in one place, with the primary purpose of providing me focus on the things I need to devote the most attention at any given time.

We use Google Apps at GigaOM, and I have about a dozen personal and work Google calendars that I follow, and PI for Android brings them all onto the small screen of the Evo quite nicely. Everything is laid out in a format that makes the most sense for tracking lots of information, and the color coding pushes my attention to those items that need it most. I love this program, and will certainly buy it when the full version goes on sale.

I’m only using simple task management with PI at this point, but I am going to be experimenting with a more sophisticated method in the future. Both Toodledo and PI can do a lot in this area, and I am going to build a system of tasks and subtasks to better suit my work. I’ll share that process in this column as it unfolds.

The only other app that has occupied my time (far too much of it) this week is Angry Birds Halloween for the iPad. What can I say? I’m fully invested in the Angry Birds franchise, having the game on the iPad and the Evo. This special Halloween version is as much fun as the original, with smashing pumpkins thrown into the mix. If you like Angry Birds, you’ll love the Halloween edition.

Morning Ritual

I use my gadgets to get going each morning, and have a little ritual that I do every day that I get asked about frequently. The first gadget I grab every day is the iPad, and I use it to check the flood of email that poured in while I was sleeping (and likely dreaming of other gadgets). I like the iPad email app, and I use it in landscape orientation as the two-pane display is productive. I’m able to do this in my easy chair with the first cup of coffee.

I then hit the App Store to see if any of my iPad apps have updates. It’s funny how good seeing available updates makes me feel; I suspect that’s part of the appeal of the app ecosystem we have come to take for granted. It’s like getting something new for nothing when an app gets an update, and it never fails to put a smile on my face.

Once the iPad has been updated, on those lucky days when updates exist, I set it down and grab the Evo 4G off the wireless charger and do a two-step update ritual: I hit the Android Market to see if any apps have updates, and once that’s done, I hit the Amazon MP3 app to grab the free song of the day. Android apps get updated more frequently than iPad apps, and Amazon is filling out my Evo’s music library quite nicely, all with free songs. I love this method of finding new music, and songs from all genres are offered over time. This provides that same little thrill of the updated apps, there’s something cool about getting something for nothing.

E-books of the Week

This week I took a break from the wonderful sci-fi series I have been reading, and raced through the latest Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child. Worth Dying For is a great novel starring Reacher, and is as good as any of the novels in the series. Child has fleshed out the Reacher character well over the series, and it is great how he makes us like Jack Reacher, while remaining a bit uneasy about him. The story is fast-paced and unfolds well in the novel, and I raced through the book.

Wrap-up

This covered the major points of my week in Mobile Tech Manor. I hope you enjoyed sharing them with me, and perhaps found something to take away. Until next week, take care and do something nice for someone close to you.

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  1. Thanks again for another installment! I really look forward to these each week and I enjoy your experiences and insights. Thanks! -Rob

  2. Curious… can you use a case on the EVO and still charge it via the Powermat? None of the reviews I’ve seen make mention of this. I hate carrying my phone “naked” because I know I WILL drop it (and have). ;-) Thanks for all your helpful info.

    1. No, a case is not possible, at least not any I’ve seen. I like my phone naked so it doesn’t bother me.

  3. Another great one, James. Speaking of the cloud, I’m curious if you’re still experimenting with SugarSync and/or Dropbox these days. I recently started using Dropbox to backup/create file access on my Windows, iPad, and Android machines. There’s a new Dropbox beta — haven’t tried it yet — that let’s you select folders to sync to specific machines.

  4. Most people have a morning “obsession,” like breakfast or coffee, but I call my giddiness of getting app updates in the morning an “appsession.”

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