Android this week: Galaxy Note 2 here; smarter phones; Sony games launch

android-this-week

The latter part of this week saw me spending most of my free time with Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2. I ordered the 5.5-inch slab last weekend from overseas and it arrived on Thursday morning. It hasn’t taken me long to get used to the large size as I used the 4.65-inch Galaxy Nexus as my daily driver for nearly a year. Samsung made a smart design decision by decreasing the width of the Galaxy Note 2 over its popular predecessor.

To get a feel for the size, take a look at my first look video, which compares the Galaxy Note 2 with my Nexus 7 tablet, Galaxy Nexus, a Galaxy S III and my wife’s iPhone 4S.  Don’t miss the part where I tuck the new phone in my front pants pocket — this phone is just as portable as any other on the market today.

In the video I lamented a missing feature: The ability to run two apps on the screen at the same time. This function is part of the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet and the Note 2 in Korea shipped with it. On Friday a small software update added the mutli-window feature to my Galaxy Note 2 and it’s very useful. Even more important; it works without any lag, which isn’t the case on the larger Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet. I suspect the performance boost of Android 4.1 is helping in addition to any optimizations Samsung may have done since the larger tablet debuted.

Turn WiFi off when leaving home ruleHelping to make all of my Android phones smarter is a free app in beta called Atooma. This software is similar to Tasker in that it can automate actions on your handset. However, it’s far more intuitive to use, even if it may be more limited than other similar apps. In just a few minutes you can use Atooma to take action upon certain events. I set up a simple rule — using the IF this then DO that interface — to turn off my Wi-Fi radio when I leave home, for example. If you want to automate phone tasks on your Android, I highly recommend the free Atooma download to see if it works for you.

It’s too bad Atooma can’t automate some of my Android gameplay, helping me to get more achievements and such: Sony PlayStation Mobile launched this week, bringing nearly two dozen initial game titles to Android phones and tablets. The first devices certified for the program are of course those made by Sony, but the HTC One S, V, and X are on the list as coming soon. Adventurous Android-types may want to try PlayStation Mobile on non-certified devices: With a rooted phone and these instructions from Android Police, you can give it a try. Non-certified devices may experience crashes and such, but I think I’ll still give this a try… maybe on that beautiful 5.5-inch Galaxy Note 2!

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