LastPass released a major update this week. LastPass 3.0 gives the essential password manager a streamlined look and introduces some new features. If you’re a LastPass user, you’ll see some new things happening onscreen as you move around password fields. Don’t be unnerved! The changes will seem to be for the better, I think, after we get used to them.
LastPass is a free program that memorizes each password typed into a web site and automatically fills it in when you return to the same site. Once it’s up and running, the master password for LastPass is the only password you have to remember. […] continued
Google is a confounding company. We all interact with it daily; almost everyone uses Google Search and Google Maps, at least. Android is running on an overwhelming number of new phones and tablets, with such a commanding lead that it’s fair to say that Android is the new Windows.
And yet . . .
Google Now is the remarkable virtual assistant that provides useful information before you ask for it. Here’s some background about Google Now. If you’re in the Google ecosystem, it will remind you about appointments on your Google calendar, pop up boarding passes that it pulls from Gmail as you approach the gate at the airport, and remind you when it’s time to head for the station to catch the last train of the night. […] continued
Previously: It’s Not The Device, It’s The Ecosystem
Let’s break down the new tablets by ecosystem. I’ll give you some shopping tips along the way.
Everyone can find something to like in an iPad.
The iPad Air (9.7” screen) brings the weight of the full-size iPad down to one pound, another triumph of engineering and design for Apple.
The iPad Mini (7.9” screen) gets a high-resolution retina display and has identical specs to the larger iPad. Look carefully at the iPad Mini! The smaller size strikes many people as just right, the tablet that Goldilocks would choose.
There is an incredible array of apps that do useful or creative or entertaining things on iPads. […] continued
The holiday shopping season is nearly here. You’re faced with quite a selection of tablets and no obvious way to choose one over another.
– The level of engineering is so high that almost all of the new tablets are gorgeous and strong and light, with beautiful high-resolution displays.
– Battery life has been extended far beyond what was possible even a couple of years ago.
– You can find a tablet in any size from six to twelve inches (and even beyond, if you stretch the definition to include hybrid laptops with detachable keyboards).
– Prices are all over the place, from the cheapest Amazon and Android tablets all the way up to Apple’s expensive iPads. […] continued
Although specific sales numbers aren’t available, we know that Amazon is selling millions of its Kindle Fire tablets to people who want a tablet for the lowest price and who are happy living in the Amazon ecosystem.
Last month Amazon announced the next generation of Kindle Fire HDX 7” and 8.9” tablets (available on October 18), with better specs and lower prices than anything else on the market.
The 8.9” Kindle Fire HDX has a very high resolution screen – 2560×1600, higher resolution than most 24” monitors – matched with a decent processor and reasonable amounts of storage and memory. Amazon claims at least 12 hours of battery life, much more if you’re only reading Kindle books. […] continued
It’s widely expected that Apple will add a fingerprint reader to the next iPhone, scheduled to be announced on September 10. If the rumors are right, your thumb will unlock the phone when you press the button at the bottom. To be successful, it has to be nearly 100% effective but that might be possible – Lenovo’s fingerprint readers in Thinkpads have become very reliable and Apple purchased leading mobile security company Authentec last year and presumably has been working on improving Authentec fingerprint sensors.
Apple’s influence is declining but its product decisions still get tremendous attention from the media. […] continued
Since the early days, Google has proclaimed that one of its core values is: “Don’t be evil.”
Faith in that slogan is being tested as Google matures into a corporate behemoth. Its reputation was not helped last week by a couple of tone-deaf responses to security and privacy issues. These aren’t awful problems that should cause you to lose faith in Google and leave their ecosystem, but they leave an unsettling feeling.
If you’re a Chrome user, try this experiment.
In Chrome, click on Settings / Show advanced settings / Passwords / Manage saved passwords. […] continued
Microsoft released Office Mobile for Android phones this week, with versions of Word, Excel and Powerpoint optimized for small screens. Here’s where you can download it from the Google Play store.
The apps are very similar to the Office Mobile app released for iPhones less than two months ago. Like the iPhone app, the new release for Android is free but available only to Office 365 Home Premium subscribers and Office 365 business users with a subscription that includes Office ProPlus (aka Office 2013).
Microsoft unexpectedly released native Outlook apps for iPhones and iPads today!
Well, kind of.
Office 365 subscribers with a hosted Exchange mailbox can download OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad, which display your mail, contacts, and calendar in a view that closely resembles Office 365 webmail. There are live tiles, push notifications of email and appointments, integration with the iPhone address book, integration with Bing Maps and LinkedIn, and more. The apps are free but require an Office 365 subscription. You can read Microsoft’s lengthy description of the features and see screen shots here.
Let’s peer over the wall into the Google garden.
The changes in one ecosystem are more or less irrelevant if you’re committed to one of the others. Pieces of the Google, Apple, and Microsoft ecosystems can be used across platforms, but you’ll get the biggest rewards if you declare your allegiance to one of them and ignore the others.
So if you’re an Apple person, or a Microsoft person (like me), then consider this a quick guide to some of the new tourist attractions in the Android world.
The stream of Android phones coming onto the market has turned into a flood. […] continued