Category Archives: Android

Amazon App Store for Android

Visit the Amazon Android App Store for a new free Android app for your business – or just for fun! – every day.

According to the latest stats, IOs and Android apps were downloaded over 1,000,000,000 times in a single day after Christmas. You read that right – over one billion apps for iPhones, iPads, and Androids were downloaded in a single day.

While that’s not a normal day (Christmas causes a bump), it gives you some idea of the size – and potential profits – of the app marketplace. Apple has the iPhone market locked down – but the Android market, like the Android platform, is open. And Amazon is fighting Google for a share of the profits. In this case, competition among the giants benefits the consumer.

You might be surprised to learn that it matters which store you download your apps – even your free apps – from. Not all apps are available in all marketplaces. Updates will have to be downloaded from the same store that housed the app you downloaded. Payments (if any) are collected by the store which pays a royalty to the developer.

Amazon has to convince potential customers to go through the trouble of downloading, installing, and activating Amazon’s Appstore before they can get your business (the Google Marketplace is loaded on all Android phones straight out of the box.) To convince you to spend a minute or two of your time getting set up, Amazon gives away a different paid app every day for free.

The majority of these free-for-a-day paid apps are games (the majority of everything is games) – but there have been some excellent productivity apps included in the deals, especially when the Kindle Fire was introduced.

Amazon also offers many popular commercial apps at a discount. If you need to sync your Droid with your employer’s Exchange server, for instance, you can find Touchdown for Exchange for only $10.00 instead of its normal $20.00 price tag.

So far, I’ve downloaded Pocket Informant, Enhanced Email, Tasks and To Do Pro, List Maker, and several others. Your favorites will probably be different than mine – but you are sure to find something if you check in every day.

To get started, visit the Amazon Appstore on Amazon’s web site and look for the “Get Started” box on the right hand side. Follow the directions (check here for step-by-step instructions) and you are on your way. Then, just open the Amazon Appstore each day to see the latest deal.

Android Droid Apps That Will Make Retail Easier

Applications For Google Android Droid Smart Phone : Garage Sale Finder, Bar Code Scanners, Amazon Price Look Up and More

droid

I recently upgraded my cell phone to a Motorola Droid. To be honest, I didn’t know much about it before I made the plunge. I made the buying decision on the slide out keyboard. Having been forced into the age of texting, I wanted a cell phone that made typing in messages easier. And the Droid hasn’t let me down for that.

While you can certainly make and receive calls and text messages on this little brick (it has to be one of the heaviest phones I had in years) I’ve found that the Droid is so much more than that.

I LOVE this phone! There, I’ve said it — you’ll be lucky to ever pry it out of my hands.

One thing that makes the Droid so compelling is the applications. Belonging to Google means there’s money behind the software. This means we users benefit. One benefit is that Google is offering to let developers create applications using open source software and making it simple for the apps to make it to market. Whereas, with the Apple iPhone all applications must go through iTunes an application approval and costs the developer money to put it into the the iTunes store.

With Google lowering the barrier of entry for the Droid applications I’m sure we’re going to see lots of creative applications available. Indeed many of them are all ready available by simply clicking on the ‘market’ icon on the droid landing screen.

One of the great things about the Droid is the capability to get online without an Internet connection. Using cell technology these applications give the seller who visits garage sales, estate sales, even walking past the bargain bin at a local shop a tool to look up current market prices. Here’s a list of a few really useful applications I’ve found for eBay, Amazon, Bonanzle, online and book sellers. Load these free tools onto your Droid and you’ll find your time and money more efficiently spent.

EBay Applications:

eBay Offers an eBay application called ‘eBay’ — it will show your items sold, selling, watching, unsold, messages and the daily deals. I’ve found this application a little too striped down. However I do use it to check to see if I’ve made any sales on eBay when I’m away from my computer for an extended period.

Cost: FREE

Pocket Auctions by Bonfire

I really like this application! I can do price checks; look at active and completed listings. This allows me to quickly look up recently sold items if I’m on site and need to make a purchase decision. I can hardly wait to take this to my next live action.

Pocket Auctions has more, including alerts for end of actions and functions buyers would find most helpful.

eBay buyers and sellers both will find this a great app.

Cost: FREE

For Research:

Google Shopper (Labs)

You can look up products using:

    • A voice search – just speak into the Droid
    • An image search — use the Droids camera function to take a picture of the item
    • A word search — type in the name or bar code of the item Then tap on the money bag next to the item photo to see who and where it is being sold and for how much.

Cost: FREE

Garage Sale Rover

This application uses Craigslist and the Droids GPS to locate where you are physically — then displays all the current Garage sales on a Google map. You can easily navigate from one garage sale to the next.

Click on the pin (which shows location) and the application will show you the Craigslist ad, so you can read what’s for sale before you arrive.

This is a must have for all Garage Salers!

Cost: FREE

Bar Code Scanners

There are a number of Bar Code Scanners which can make researching a new product easy. As long as you can read the bar code you can get a quick price estimate before purchasing.

Shop Savvy

Scan the bar code and Shop Savvy shows web prices and where the item is being sold locally along with how much.

I’ve used this app in a number of stores and found that many bar codes can’t be matched, so the library of codes is limited.

However, the fun thing about this application is the Social Sharing! You can Tweet or Facebook the item. That might be great if you just found a hard to find item you know your buyers want. Once you know you are going to resell the item you can Tweet it out to your customers.

Cost: FREE

Barcode Scanner

To get this application to function properly you’ll have to also install Google shopper. That’s OK, you’ll want it!

With this scanner you read the code and then you’ll have a choice of doing a ‘web search’ or a ‘Google shopper’ search.

One nice little feature is hidden in the setup menu. It’s the front light. This will use the Droids (flash) light to illuminate the bar code if it is too dark to read. Although once in awhile you’ll run into a glare problem where the barcode cannot be read due to the light reflections on a glossy surface, more often you’ll be in a dark area where there isn’t enough light to read the code. Having this light is a blessing.

Cost: FREE

Media Scanner Free

Perfect for used books and media sellers! Scan the barcode and see results from the Amazon marketplace and Buy.com

Cost: FREE

Amazon Trade in

Scan in the barcode and this will give you the Amazon Trade in value on games, books, CD, DVDs and the like. You can save the list or email it.

Cost: FREE

Mobile Tag

I downloaded this barcode reader because many of the others readers didn’t recognized QR codes. This one reads them with ease.

Scan in the barcode or the QR code and this reader will return web and local results.

The application allows you to set price point alerts that will be emailed to you. This might be a great way to watch for inventory locally as stores start to put items in your niche on clearance that you know will have a longer shelf life in your eBay store.

Cost: FREE

Pocket Profit From Media Scooter this application is in Beta. If you sell on Amazon as a third party vendor — grab and use this!

Using the bar code scanner you can quickly find important information you need to know about that potential item you are considering purchasing.

All on one screen it will show:

  • Sales rank
  • # of used items
  • # of new items
  • # of collectible items

It will show you the current selling price, including the lowest used and new prices. You can set price alerts so the software will automatically let you know if the item is something you should buy or not.

For instance; say you want to make an estimated 15% profit after the Amazon commission. You could set the app up to alert you when the item meets that magic 30% markup (15% plus Amazons 15% commission). I don’t know about you — but I love it when someone else does the math!

Cost: FREE (may become a subscription service?)

That’s just a sample of applications specifically for online retailers.

Square – A New Way To Accept Credit Cards

square

If you buy and sell antiques, art, or collectibles, you’ve probably wanted an easy way to accept credit cards when you were away from your store, without lugging a terminal and laptop around.

Or maybe you just wanted an alternative to PayPal’s virtual terminal – something that was just for credit cards and unconnected to PayPal.

This new gadget from Square may be the answer. It is a small swipe terminal that connects to your iPhone or Droid through the earphone jack. And it is free.

Square reminds me a lot of PayPal’s humble beginnings as a PalmPilot app. And it looks like it could have the same explosive, disruptive growth.

For those who don’t recall the misty, hazy days of the early PDAs – PayPal was introduced as a way to pay people and share money through the PalmPilot’s infrared port. I could beam you $20.00 as my share of a restaurant tab, for instance, and you could pay the bill.

Back in those days, PayPal even paid you $10.00 to sign up. Just open an account and like magic, it had $10.00 in it.

Of course, eventually eBay saw the wisdom of buying PayPal (took them long enough!), and it became the PayPal we know today.

Similarly, Square is starting as a person-to-person app as much as a small business app. (Think Craigslist payments…) The discount rate is a bit steeper than a real merchant account. Fraud may be a problem, as it was in the early PayPal days. And there will no doubt be hardware glitches along the way.

But it is built from the ground up for mobile users. It takes nice advantage of many smart phone features, like GPS, the camera, and email to protect buyers and sellers.

In fact, there are so many cool features, I can’t wait to start trying this out. If you have an iPhone or Droid – can you see a use for Square in your business?

How To Add Photos, Ebooks, and Files To Your Android Phone

androidIf you work on multiple computers – desktop and notebook, home and work, tablet¬†in family room, etc – you’ve probably gotten used to moving files around on a USB thumb drive. They are small, inexpensive, and easy to use. What you may not know is that you can also use your Android smart phone in the same way.

This is handy not just for transferring files, but for adding ebooks that you already have stored on your PC, even if you didn’t buy them from an online retailer.

Of course, with all things computer, there is always more than one way to accomplish a task. This one isn’t right for all situations. But it is a valuable trick to know.

You can add any ebook, photo or file to your Android smartphone in 6 easy steps.

  1. Connect your Android to your computer, using the USB cable that was supplied with the phone.
  2. Pull down the Notifications bar on your phone.
  3. Tap USB Connections
  4. Select USB Mass Storage
  5. Locate the new Android drive on your computer
  6. Still on your computer, copy the file you want to transfer and then just paste it into the Android drive.

It really is that simple. But, if you’ve never browsed your Android’s SD card, you might like to see a more detailed explanation. If so – keep reading.

COPYING FILES FROM YOUR PC TO YOUR ANDROID SMARTPHONE – STEP BY STEP

Adding ebooks or photos or any types of supported files to your Android is quite simple. No weird voodoo or advanced tech knowledge is required. As you saw in the 6 step explanation above, all you need to do is attach your phone to your PC with the USB cable supplied with the phone, then copy your file to the correct directory on the Android’s SD card.

Piece of cake.

Begin by plugging one end of the USB cable into your Android and the other end (the large, USB plug) into a USB port on your computer. A USB cable almost certainly came with your phone, even if you are not aware of it. On many smartphones, the wall charge has the USB cable attached via a slot on the wall wart. Try – gently! – to pull the cord loose from the plug. There’s your USB cable.

Once you plug one end of your USB cable into the PC and the other into the Android, you may receive a message from the computer that new hardware has been detected and installed. You don’t have to do anything – Windows will take care of it.

When the connection is ready, a small USB icon will appear on the notification bar at the top of your phone.

If your phone is locked, unlock it. Then tap and hold on the notification bar and pull it down so you can read the messages. The exact message can vary depending on model and version of the Android operating system. You will see a message under “Ongoing” at the top of your Notification screen that reads “USB Connected.”

Tap on it.

You will now see several different types of possible USB connections between your phone and computer. Most phones have “USB Charge Only” as the default connection type, but that is not what we want. Select “USB Mass Storage” and tap OK.

Some newer phones may automate this process. On these phones, you will see a pop up screen with the message, “You have connected your phone to your computer via USB. Select ‘Mount’ if you want to copy files between your computer and your phone’s SD card.” If given that choice, tap on the “Mount” button.

Your PC may inform you that a new USB Mass Storage device is connected. That’s good!

Your Android is now connected to your PC just like any thumb drive. When you Open “My Computer” on the PC, you’ll see a new drive in the list – that’s the Android. It will probably be labeled something like “Removable Disk G.”

Now it is time to add the file.

If you are just moving or storing files, you’ll want to create a new folder to keep things neat.¬† Creating a folder on a mounted SD card inside your phone is no different than creating a folder directly on your hard drive. Just click on the computer’s “Create New Folder” icon, name the folder, and you are ready. Now copy and paste any file you wish to transfer into your new folder.

If necessary, set your phone back to “Charge only” when you are done.

Unplug your phone from your PC.

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR EBOOKS

The process for ebooks is basically the same, but you will have to place the ebook into the particular folder required by your eBook reader. This will vary from reader to reader. Most popular eBook readers available for Android have a desktop companion that can be used to automatically copy the file and place it correctly on your phone.

Some Kindle ebooks, however, need to be moved by hand. The following instructions are necessary only for Kindle ebooks that you are not purchasing from Amazon. If you get your Kindle ebook from Amazon, you can download it directly to your phone. However, there are many very useful ebooks in Kindle or Mobi format (including the Home Run Guide, Vol 1) that are not available directly from Amazon. Here’s how to read them on the run.

First, if you haven’t done so already, download the Kindle for Android from the Android app store. (It’s free).

Next, download at least one Kindle eBook from Amazon to be sure everything is working correctly. Open the book, scroll through a few pages, click on the Table of Contents links, etc. There are plenty of free Kindle eBooks to choose from. Be sure to find the ebook using your Android’s Kindle Reader – not your regular Kindle.

Now it is time to add your non-Amazon ebook. Connect your phone to the computer using the instructions above.

Find the Kindle ebook on your PC and copy it.

The file will have the extension “.awz” or “.prc”. You may have to rename the file to work with the Android app. For instance, there should be no spaces in the file name. And the file should include “_EBOK” at the end, right before the extension. All files on my phone use the .prc extension. (If you don’t see your Kindle book on your phone after copying it over, try changing the extension from “.awz” to “.prc”. You don’t need to translate the file into a different format – just change the extension.)

Double click on the icon that represents the Android (Removable Disk G, or whatever) to open it. You can now see all the directories and files on the SD card in your phone.

Look for the directory called “kindle.” Double click to open it.

Now paste your ebook into that directory.

Close the directory.

If necessary, set your phone back to “Charge only” when you are done.

Unplug your phone from your PC.

Smartphone Quick Tip – Send Texts Via Email

smsYou can send an SMS text message to any mobile phone from your computer, not just from your cell phone. And the service is not only convenient – it’s free.

There are some situations that call for text messaging. It is briefer than email, more discreet than talkig on the phone, and occaisionally necessary to validate a mobile service.

If you have your cell phone handy, sending and receiving brief messages is usually not a problem. However, there may be a time when you need to send or receive a text and, for whatever reason, your phone is not available or you don’t want to tap out the message with a virtual keyboard.

No problem.

You can text from any email program on your computer.

Most cell phone carriers offer free Email to SMS Gateways. All you need to know is the cell phone number and the carrier gateway suffix of the person you wish to text. This information will go in your email application’s “To” field in the form of “10-digit-number@carriersuffix.com”

For instance, if you want to send a message to an iPhone user on Verizon whose phone number is 206-555-1234, you would send an email to 2065551234@vtext.com

NOTE: This service is not limited only to smartphone or phones that can receive email. It is available on any cell phone that can be used for texting.

HERE’S A LIST OF THE MAJOR US CARRIERS’ SMS GATEWAYS:

AT&T
[10-digit phone number]@txt.att.net
Example: 2125551212@txt.att.net

For multimedia messages, use [10-digit-number]@mms.att.net
Example: 2125551212@mms.att.net

Boost Mobile
[10-digit phone number]@myboostmobile.com
Example: 2125551212@myboostmobile.com

Nextel (now part of Sprint Nextel)
[10-digit telephone number]@messaging.nextel.com
Example: 7035551234@messaging.nextel.com

Sprint (now Sprint Nextel)
[10-digit phone number]@messaging.sprintpcs.com
Example: 2125551234@messaging.sprintpcs.com

T-Mobile
[10-digit phone number]@tmomail.net
Example: 4251234567@tmomail.net

Verizon
[10-digit phone number]@vtext.com
Example: 5552223333@vtext.com

Virgin Mobile USA
[10-digit phone number]@vmobl.com
Example: 5551234567@vmobl.com

HINT: If you need the address of a carrier that isn’t on the list, you can find the SMS gateway by sending or receiving a text msg from the phone to your email address. When you get the email it will include the SMS address it came from.

Adding New Documents to Your Android Phone With DropBox

ADD ANY PDF DOCUMENT TO YOUR ANDROID PHONE OR TABLET
IT’S AS EASY AS 1-2-3

This article was originally written to explain how to quickly add The Home Run Guide Vol 2 to an Android phone. But this technique can be used for any file – whether it is a PDF, a photograph, a text file, or a spreadsheet. If you’d also like to learn how to add files to an iPad, please see this article: The Easy Way To Add Files To Your iPad.

You can add the Home Run Guide Vol 2 to your Android smartphone in a number of different ways including emailing the PDF to yourself and then opening the attachment on your phone or by syncing your phone with your desktop computer via USB cable.

But the simplest, fastest, and most convenient way to add the Home Run Guide Vol. 2 is also the simplest way to add any document to your phone — with Dropbox.

SIGN UP FOR A FREE DROPBOX ACCOUNT

If you don’t already have a Dropbox account, sign up for one now.

It is absolutely free, with no hidden gotchas. Any document you keep in your Dropbox will be available to you on any computer, smartphone, or tablet that you use — whether you have a Windows PC or a Mac, an Android or an iPhone, an iPad or a Droid tablet — or any combination of these devices.

And did I mention it’s free?

Once you have a Dropbox account, download Dropbox to your computer and add a copy of the Home Run Guide Vol 2 to your Dropbox. Just copy and paste the PDF into the My Dropbox folder.

Now open Google Play (the app store) on your Android phone or tablet, and search for Dropbox.

Click on the Install button and the app will be added to your Droid. Read and accept the permissions to finish the installation.

When you open the Dropbox app on your phone, you’ll be prompted to either open an account or to sign into an existing account. Tap the “I’m already a Dropbox user” button and enter your password.

BOOM!

You can now see every document you’ve stored in the Dropbox cloud. Best of all, the docs don’t take up every KB of available space on your Droid. They are only permanently saved to your phone when you actually open and save them. Otherwise, documents and pictures are just instantly available whenever you want them.

GET A DEDICATED PDF READER FOR BEST RESULTS

Before you can read the Home Run Guide Vol 2 on your Droid, you’ll need a PDF reader. You probably already have one installed. Even the Kindle app can now open PDFs. But to get the most out of the Home Run Guide Vol 2, including bookmarks and instant search, get a dedicated PDF app. They are free, too.

If you search Google Play for “PDF Reader,” you’ll find a good selection. The Adobe Reader app is as good a place to start as any, so if you need a PDF reader, download and install the free Adobe Reader for Android.

If you have a number of different apps that can read PDFs, Dropbox will ask which app you want to use. Pick whichever you prefer.

Chances are you already had Dropbox and a PDF app on your phone and you’ve been chomping at the bit to get started. Whether you are an old hand at installing and using apps or if this is all a new adventure, the next steps are the same for everyone:

1. Open Dropbox and sign in
2. Tap on The Home Run Guide Vol 2
3. Start reading in your favorite PDF reader

When you use Dropbox, adding any document to your Droid really is as easy as 1-2-3.

If you’d also like to learn how to quickly search and find specific parts of a mobile PDF document, please see Get the Most Out Of Adobe Reader for Androids