Monthly Archives: December 2012

Why Buy an Android Phone over an iPhone

You should know by now that I’m a big Android fan.  Inspired by a recent post about contextual computing I wanted to list out all the amazing contextual things you can do with tools like Motorola Smart Actions, Microsoft’s on{X} or Tasker:

  • Turn WiFi on when I’m at home or the office
  • Set my phone to vibrate between the hours of 8 and 5
  • Set my phone to vibrate when I’m at the office
  • Turn on my ringer when I plug in my charger
  • When I’m at the office, change my ringtone from the Black Eyed Peas “Let’s Get Retarded” to “Fur Elise”
  • When I’m in a meeting, turn my phone to silent
  • Send a text message to my wife when I leave work
  • Turn off Wifi, GPS, and background apps like Facebook when my battery level is low
  • Open Spotify when I plug in my headphones
  • If I open YouTube and I don’t have my headphones plugged in, turn up the volume to max
  • If I put my phone in the car dock, turn on Bluetooth, open Spotify, turn the screen brightness to max, set the display to never shut off, and auto-respond to any text messages

The future gets even cooler with the advent of NFC-enabled phones.  There aren’t a lot of NFC tags out there, but you can use special NFC stickers to do some crazy stuff.  Here are things you can do or could do in the future:

  • Tap phones to share contact information, photos and videos without an internet connection – great for places like concerts, sporting events, meetups and conferences where the connections are bad
  • Tap your headset against your phone to pair automatically; tap your phone against your car dashboard to do the same
  • Put stickers on the fridge.  If you run out of milk, tap the “milk” sticker to add milk to your phone’s grocery list
  • Put a sticker on a drink coaster.  If your friends have Android phones, they can tap the sticker to get your house’s SSID and network password, and automatically log in (you can also print out a QR code – find this awesome app here)
  • if you network enable your lights or thermostat, you could tap a sticker near your front door to turn off the lights or turn down the heat
  • Once shops and restaurants start using this, you could:
    • Check into a restaurant/bar/gym by tapping a sticker on the doorframe
    • Register with Belly by tapping your phone against a Belly sticker on the cash register
    • Put stickers up on the wall by the entrance in Starbucks; diners can tap the sticker to order their drink, which will be ready by the time they get to the counter to pay
    • Pick out outfits you like at your favorite apparel store; when you go to the store, tap your phone against the store’s Android tablet.  The sales rep can then grab all your favorite items in your size and suggest clothes or accessories that can go with it

Pretty neat stuff. This is all stuff enabled by a combination of Android’s open API’s, background services, and Intent infrastructure.  There is a buzzy phrase around mobile apps – great apps take advantage of SoLoMo, or Social/Local/Mobile.  However, Android apps give you an ability to go beyond that to SoCoMo – Social/Contextual/Mobile.  The thing to consider is that your phone knows an amazing amount of things about you – where you are, how fast you’re moving, what events you have coming up, where your friends are, if you are in your car, if you are listening to music, etc.   And the Android platform can take all that information to make your life easier and automate away all the simple, repetitive things you do everyday. I’m excited to see what people come up with next!

So if you’re looking for a phone, get an Android phone.  You can do amazing and interesting things with it that you just can’t do with other phones.