Mobile Tech Manor #91: I Want My EVO

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The week flew by in a blur with all the activity at Mobile Tech Manor, and that means time to share the week with you. Mobile Tech Manor was a busy place, and I spent far too much time feeding my app addiction. The fastest phone I’ve ever used went back where it came from, and I read a free book full of great pixels.

Bye bye Pre

The Sprint EVO 4G was sent back to the folks at Sprint who let me take a look at the phone that is launching today. It was the fastest phone I’ve ever used, and I regretted only getting to play with it for a long weekend. Since today is launch day I just went to my Sprint account online and verified I qualify for a full upgrade on the EVO. Why do I have the feeling that I will be visiting the Sprint store today? My Palm Pre may get retired today.

The Pre has served me well, it is still my main phone. I find that webOS has the best user interface around, and I am anxious to see what HP intends to do with it since buying Palm. I suspect we’ll see new phones with webOS from HP quicker than we might think, and I want to see what webOS can do on really good hardware.

Android is very nice, especially when fronted with the HTC Sense enhancements which really sharpen the user experience. The EVO 4G with Sense is a great phone to use, although it does like that battery. If I get an EVO I’ll have to keep a close eye on battery consumption and see how that goes. That was the only concern about the EVO in my limited trial. Everything else about the phone is outstanding. That large screen is to die for, and sipping 4G on a phone is mind-blowing.

Taking two monitors to the coffee house

I spent a lot of time in the iPad App Store this week. I never got into the whole app thing with my iPhone 3G. Maybe that small screen never tickled the app center in my brain; I have only bought a handful of apps in the two years I’ve owned the iPhone.

The iPad is another matter entirely. I suspect it has to do with the larger screen that makes apps shine. Or perhaps it is the sheer usability of the iPad that makes for good app usage. Whatever the reason I am hopelessly addicted to apps on the iPad. There is something special about finding an app for a buck that adds a lot of value to my time on the iPad.

I picked up two apps this week that have given me far more value than I expected. Air Display is the equivalent of buying an external monitor for my MacBook for ten bucks. I admit I bought the app for its cool factor, never expecting it to make my work sessions better than before. You can watch my short video of Air Display in action to see what it does, but that doesn’t demonstrate how Air Display is adding the most value for me.

This week I was working in the local coffee shop, working on a long article I’m writing. I have gotten spoiled with my dual monitor setup in the Manor, and I miss it during work sessions like this one. I had a technical document I needed to refer to while writing the article, and while that would have been easy in my office I only had the MacBook with me in the beanery.

I remembered Air Display so I pulled the iPad out of my bag and fired it up. In seconds I turned the iPad into a wireless additional monitor for the Mac, and I opened the technical document in portrait orientation. This let me see a whole page of reference material at once, while keeping the MacBook screen free for the writing. This made a huge difference for this session, and I am convinced the work went much faster than it would have otherwise. I have a feeling I’ll be doing this a lot.

Docs2Go

A new version of Documents to Go was released for the iPad this week, and they had a one-day deal for 20 percent off the normal purchase price. I picked it up for $11.99 and have been using it a lot. It is a full office suite that has outstanding compatibility with MS Office docs, and it has already replaced my use of the Apple iWorks apps.

The iWorks apps have received a lot of deserved bad press due to compatibility problems with complex documents. I’ve experienced those incompatibilities first-hand when opening documents on the iPad, particularly spreadsheets and presentation documents.

Docs2Go handles those documents just fine, and the icing on the cake is the tight integration with both SugarSync and Google Docs. I use SugarSync for my cloud backup, and we use Google Docs at GigaOm. These both work great on the iPad and I am very pleased with this purchase, even though it was a bit pricier than most iPad apps.

e-Book of the week

This week I read a murder mystery that was a light read. Murder Takes the Cake by Gayle Trent is a simple story about a murder in a small town, and the cake baker who solved it. I guess the police are glad the cake baker moved to town. I got the e-book free from Amazon on the top seller list I keep telling you about. You are checking that regularly, right? Many of the free books are quite good, as Amazon gives them away to expose you to new authors.

Wrap-up

That’s the week in Mobile Tech Manor. Gadgets, apps and e-books, or business as usual. Until next week take care of yourself.

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