Thursday, January 10, 2013

10 Ways I Saved Time With Android Apps

I owned smartphones between 2001 and 2006. They were of limited use back then costing about the same as a good smartphone in 2012, the applications were often slow, lacking features and the interface cumbersome. Mobile internet was usually very slow, patchy and often frustrating. Not so long ago in retrospect. I was put off, they were not value for money at all....

Can the market sell to me again? I did not own another smartphone, until late 2012. I threw down the gauntlet. I enjoyed some of the advertisements and peer influence, but until the sums looked as if they were adding up for my requirements, I did not buy in. Bingo - a refined Android powered device appeared; the Galaxy Note 2. Another thing, tablets. I had resisted those too, but quite liked the look of those handy, intuitive pads. Readers are looking good as well. The Note 2 is a fusion of all these things. For someone like me, who is interested in many things, this device convinced me to buy into the marketplace again.

During my first month of ownership, these apps have genuinely saved me time whilst mobile:-

1) Camera + Gmail. Taking pictures of complex equipment at work, domestic appliances and the outcome of meetings. I reference the images to find parts, diagnose faults and communicate issues.

2) National Rail. Checking journeys and viewing delays. Less time spent waiting on a platform.

3) Met Office. Checking the five day forecast. Plan time to chop reclaimed wood for domestic multi-fuel burners.

4) Bank Balance App. Check balance and recent transactions. Knowing if payments have been received on purchases. Information to use when chasing late or lost deliveries.

5) Spotify. Finding a tune during a social gathering. A group of friends wanted to sing along to the popular folk song, The Wild Rover. Found the tune within seconds, the device speaker was good enough for a nice sing-along. I decided to subscribe to download play-lists.

6) Navigation. Searching for a store in a busy, unfamiliar area. Found the store without making any wrong turnings and had time to browse.

7) Google Sky Map. I was given a telescope for Christmas and wanted to provide Jupiter viewings for guests at a social gathering. Located Jupiter, then was easily able to point the telescope at the planet and focus. Everyone was able to see the planet’s markings and moon.

8) Clock. Setting an alarm. Usable and flexible alarm clock management. I can set alarms quickly when tired, each night I need them.

9) Independent. Independent news on-line. I no longer need to read my least favourite newspapers in a cafe I use regularly for lunch, if the single copy of ‘The i’ is in use by another customer. I might subscribe to the on-line version.

10) S Notes. I needed to take some notes whilst talking to a colleague. Important ideas, which may have been lost whilst looking for a pen and paper, were saved. For an ongoing task I couched a few ideas then noted them; the solution came to me whilst out walking.

The time accumulated in these examples range from a few seconds to minutes. As I find more time saving apps and become more adept at using them, this function of time will improve. The apps are good at saving time in context, when you are busy seconds are more valuable than when relaxing at home, for example. Catching up on missed TV is perfectly viable and I'll be ordering a take-away Friday night, using the web browser.