Archive for the ‘iOS’ Category

Rectangle, or round smartwatch display

Sunday, July 23rd, 2017

When reading tech posts about smartwatches, the reviewers frequently stipulate that a round display is the “proper” display for a smartwatch based on the majority of analog watches having a round display.  I understand the reviewers’ reasoning; however, for my needs, a rectangular display is preferred.  Being the tech addict that I am, I have purchased too many smartwatches with a plethora of screen technologies.

I prefer a digital time display so the usual (which I do not agree with) statement that an analog watch face only looks good on a round display does not apply.  I also use the smartwatch to display bus arrival times; the live arrival times look more “natural”, and easier to read on the rectangular screen without the top / bottom lines being truncated by the round smartchwatch display.  Ditto for notifications.

I realize a round smartwatch display is the proper fit for many people, but for my needs, I will always prefer a more computer like rectangular screen.

Again, Android the winner for playing Archos videos

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Used a Kingston Wi-Drive for this test. 

Android consistently streamed, and / or download the Archos files flawlessly from the Wi-Drive. 

iOS had problems again.  If the video format was one of the natively supported formats, iOS streamed / downloaded the videos fine using the Wi-Drive app.  However, the Archos videos are not natively supported on iOS.  When selecting an Archos video file from the Wi-Drive using the iOS Wi-Drive app, you do have the opportunity to select the player you desire to use for video playback.  Problem is the non-native video formats do not stream, the full video is downloaded before playback which takes on average 20 minutes, and frequently the connection drops even though the devices were about 2 feet apart during testing.  For me, this is unacceptable, need immediate streaming which Android has no problem initiating consistently with the same videos.

Bottom line – Android is definitely the quickest, easiest, and most reliable platform for me to use for my viewing of the Archos videos while on-the-go.  iOS does not stream the mp4 wrapped in a AVI container videos, and downloading takes too long before playback.

Android again the winner for playing Archos 7 video files from WiFi Flash Drive

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

You know from prior posts that Android is the easiest, and quickest platform for me to watch TV shows I record on my trusty Archos 7 device while out the next day. Due to iOS’s lack of USB To Go support, I experimented with using a WiFi enabled Flash Drive, a SanDisk 32 GB model.  The results were the same, Android the clear winner.

With Android, when I select one of the mp4 AVI files, I am immediately prompted to select the player to view the video.  Both streaming, and download worked flawlessly on Android.

On iOS, streaming worked fine for video formats natively supported by iOS, but I received a “video not supported message” for my AVI files with no opportunity to choose a player that supports the format.  I tried force downloading the AVI  video files, but again I never received an opportunity to select one of the players I have installed that can play the files properly, just the same old “video not supported” message.  I tried accessing the WiFi Flash Drive via Safari browser.  If Safari could complete the download, I was asked which player to use.  Problem is Safari / iOS were not able to complete a large file download without loosing the connection, and trying again resulted in another lost connection the majority of the time.  My Android devices were able to consistently download the same large video file from the same WiFi Flash Drive without any glitches.

I tried downloading to a Windows 8 Bay Trail based tablet, and the files also downloaded without a glitch consistently.

I did not try the WiFi Flash Drive with Windows Phone since I have not yet located a video player that can play the Archos video files without conversion.

Android definitely the easiest, quickest, and most flexible solution for playing my Archos 7 recorded TV programs

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

Reference my earlier post regarding using an Archos 7 for recording my favorite shows while I am not at home.

Since iOS does not support USB To Go, a computer is needed as an intermediary between the Archos 7, and iOS device, definitely a PIA. Some 3rd party apps offer Wifi, and Dropbox uploads, but the large file sizes makes those options unrealistic. VLC was playing the MPEG4 wrapped in an AVI container videos fine. After I completed the 7.0.4 system update, and VLC app update, VLC could no longer play the files. I am now using playable PRO which seems to play the videos fine.

Android is definitely the easiest, quickest, and most flexible solution for mobile viewing of my Archos videos. No computer is needed as an intermediary between the devices, and I can also save the files from the Archos to a flash drive. Since my Android devices support USB To Go, or Nexus Media Importer, I can stream, or copy the videos to my Android device of choice. VPlayer does a fine job playing the Archos videos without any conversions.

Windows Phone, like IOS, also does not support USB To Go, an intermediary computer is needed for that platform as well. I have not yet found a video player on Windows Phone Store that can play the Archos videos natively, and the included Windows Phone video player cannot play the files.

Still use trusty old Archos 7 to record my favorite TV shows while out

Friday, January 31st, 2014

I am out most evenings, and use an Archos 7 with DVR accessory to record my favorite programs for watching the next day while out. I also record the shows on TiVo for watching while home; however, the TiVo files won’t play natively, and I do not want a time consuming conversion. Fortunately, the Archos 7 supports USB host, and client.

Since most of my Android devices support USB To Go, transferring files from the Archos 7 to the Android device is quick, and easy. A third party video player supports both the video, and audio formats from the Archos so the files play perfectly on the Android devices without any time consuming conversions.

Unfortunately, Windows Phone does not support USB To Go so a computer is needed as an intermediary between the Archos, and Windows Phone. Even after that hassle, Windows Phone video player will not play the MPEG4 wrapped in AVI format video from the Archos. Time consuming video conversions would be necessary. No Way.

I have not tried iOS devices for awhile. When I last tried the Archos videos on iOS, I encountered the same restrictions as I did on Windows Phone. I will have to check for new video players on iOS that support the Archos video, and audio codecs.

Nokia 1520 Windows Phone is excellent, but cannot be my daily driver

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

The Nokia 1520 6″ Windows Phone / phablet is excellent yet too restrictive to be my daily driver. I have found the Windows Phone interface to be silky smooth, even a bit smoother than iOS, or the latest Android versions.

The Nokia 1520 has an excellent, bright screen, top build quality, and like all WP, the silky smooth UI. Videos, and the web look fantastic on that nice screen. Even with its 6″ screen, I have found the 1520 easy to handle, and not bulky although I do carry it in a belt case.

If you like the 1520 so much, why can it not be your daily driver? Flash support, user accessible file system, USB To Go native support, and a HanDBase database client are essential for my daily driver. Unfortunately, the 1520, like all Windows Phones, does not support these essential (for me) features. If these essential features were available in the Nokia 1520, it would be my daily driver for sure.

If I could only keep one device (aka toy), it would be the Dell Streak

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

If you have followed my posts, you know I am a gadget geek, and am the perfect example that “the only difference between a man, and a boy is the price of his toys” is definitely true. I enjoy the gadgets I use, they all have strengths / weaknesses, and are best for certain tasks while not so good for others.

After having used my current crop of toys extensively,  which device would I keep if I could only have one device?

I love the Samsung Tab, it is great for videos, web browsing, and all apps look great on its quality 7″ screen. It also fits in my winter jacket pocket for easy mobility. The Tab supports Flash, and does a fine job displaying Flash videos as long as you have a good cell connection, or WiFi. I do feel like I have full web access with the Tab unlike another device which claims full web access, but does not support Flash.  I take the Tab with me every day to enjoy videos, browsing etc. while out.

The Samsung Sprint Galaxy S Epic 4G is definitely one of my favorites as well. I love the physical keyboard, the Super AMOLED screen is fantastic, 4G is superfast, and the phone is very stable / reliable.  When / if this device is upgraded to Froyo with Flash support, it will be superb.

The Nexus One is, dare I say, elegant. I am impressed with its overall feel / looks, its speed, and I do like the trackball as well as the pure Froyo experience. Like the Tab, the Nexus One plays Flash videos fine as long as you have a good cell connection, or WiFi. I have two Nexus One’s, one I take with me everyday, and one in my bedroom for mobile access while upstairs.

The HD2 / HD7 are impressive as well. The 4.3″ screens are great for videos / browsing, both devices are well built / feel good in the hand even with the large screens, and both have been stable / reliable. The HD2 has all the classic power user features I crave, while the HD7 has the nice Metro UI which is fluid, smooth, and fast. Unfortunately, the HD7, like all WP7’s, is missing too many features I require.  Hopefully, Microsoft will soon rectify this dearth of  power user features as I feel WP7 has the potential to return Microsoft to prominent mobile player again.

The Samsung Vibrant is similar to the Epic 4G but has no keyboard, and of course, no 4G although HSPA+ has been very fast in certain Boston locations even approaching the speeds of the Epic 4G at times, but not consistently.

Now the iOS devices. – Although well made, the iOS devices are too restrictive to be my daily drivers. I need file access in order to easily transfer files among my plethora of devices, and iOS does not allow this without jailbreaking. I also dislike using iTunes as the main conduit for the various iOS devices, and want a microSD card slot. The iPad is nice, but its lack of Flash, restricted file access, and overall bulk / cumbersomeness prevent it from being the mobile device I take with me for videos / web browsing while out. The iPhone 4 is nice as well, but its restricted nature, and small 3.5″ screen prevent it from being my daily mobile driver. After using larger screen devices, the 3.5″ screen on the iPhone 4 seems small almost toy like in spite of its acclaimed Retina display. Ditto for the iPod touch 4G. The SIM (with adapter) from my iPhone 4 has found a home in the Dell Streak for the last two months.  All of the apps I desire (and more) are available on the Android Market as well.

Now my choice for the one gadget I would keep if I had to discard all others, the Dell Streak. Although I prefer videos / web browsing on the Tab’s 7″ screen, the Streak is my next best device for watching videos / web browsing. The Streak fits in all my pockets unlike the Tab which only fits in my winter jacket pocket, and weighs quite a bit less than the Tab. The 4 / 4.3″ devices are nice for video / web browsing as well, but the Streak is one step better due to its 5″ screen. The Streak also fits in my hand well, and makes phone calls unlike the US based Tabs which do not. Although I use my devices primarily for data, I do make the occasional phone call. All my current devices have nice screens, but I am really impressed with the Streak’s screen. It is a joy to use for videos, web browsing, and all my favorite Android apps look great. I make my choice while the Streak is still at Android 1.6 with the Dell UI enhancements (which I like). When / if Froyo / Gingerbread are officially released for the Streak, its ratings will skyrocket particularly if it plays Flash videos as well as the Tab, and Nexus One currently do.  The best overall device for me from connectivity, usability, form factor, weight, video viewing, web browsing, quality of screen, app availability, and pleasure to use perspectives is the Dell Streak.  If I could only keep one device, it would be the Dell Streak even with 1.6.

Fortunately, I do not have to make the choice, and can continue to use all the devices for the tasks they are best at performing. My choice is based on the features, performance level, and form factor that are important to me as well as the tasks I wish to accomplish on my mobile devices. Your opinions, desired features, required tasks, and ratings may be different.

Although I would welcome your comments, I have comments turned off because I was being inundated with spam replies.