Friday, 13 December 2013

New Year's Resolutions - Mobile Tech Edition

Image: Android Guys
I'm not the kind of guy who makes resolutions when new year's comes along. Quite frankly I think the whole concept is silly. I mean, why wait until the turn of the year if you want to be a better person? If you really wanted to better yourself, you would do so then and there. But I digress. The reason why I'm writing this post despite my previous statement, is because I just got my Nexus 5. With a new device comes new opportunities to change your mobile habits. We are often restricted by our devices when it comes to what we can do. If we have a device with poor loudspeakers, we won't be listening to music much without earphones. If our device has a mid-range SoC, we won't be playing graphic intensive games. A poor camera, not a lot of photos. You get the point. Now some of my "resolutions" may not be directly related to, or a consequence of me owning a Nexus 5, but cover a broader scope of how I aim to improve my mobile habits. After all, if we don't use our devices and the services available to us to the fullest, we might as well go back to carrying old feature phone's right?

Use the camera more
The Nexus 5 always had a great camera, but was let down on the software side. With the recent software improvements however, it would be a shame not to use it frequently. The camera on my previous HTC One X wasn't bad, but I just wasn't that into mobile photography. The fact that my battery life was horrible certainly didn't help either. Now with a better camera and better battery life, I'm going to be a bit more adventurous with my Nexus 5, and take more photos when the opportunity presents itself. Videos too. The video recording capabilities of the Nexus 5 are awesome, largely thanks to OIS and a brilliant microphone. Just look at these comparisons to the Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5s and you'll see how great videos recorded on the Nexus 5 can be. 
It would be a shame not to use the camera often. Image: AndroidPIT
Use Google+ auto-backup and auto-awesome
Sticking to photos and videos, if I'm going to be using my camera more often, I should probably prepare to backup my media to the cloud as I go along. I plan on using Google+ to backup my photos and videos now. Never used it on my previous device. I could also use Dropbox's auto-upload feature, but with auto-awesome and the photo editing tools built-in to Google+, and the fact that I'll probably be sharing photos on Google+ anyway makes it the better option.

Use cloud storage more frequently
Speaking of using the cloud, it wouldn't hurt if I used it more frequently elsewhere too. I'm already using Google Drive quite regularly. I keep track of my daily expenditure in spreadsheets on Google Drive, I store some research data there as well, and I was recently reminded of the utility of having documents stored in the cloud instead of locally (see embedded post below). Since I'm pretty much living a multi-screen lifestyle, it would definitely be a great benefit to use the cloud every chance I get. Even more so since I decided I want to buy a Chromebook in the future. In case you didn't know, the Chromebook operates primarily online, so storing all my documents online now, will make transitioning into ChromeOS much smoother when the time comes.


Use Hangouts more often
Similar to Google Drive, I'm using Hangouts quite frequently too, especially since I've been more active on Google+. Sometimes I get messages from acquaintances asking questions about Android or Google services I use, sometimes I use it to communicate with my Gmail contacts like my supervisor, and most recently I use it to communicate with a group of friends that I moderate a Nexus 5 community with on Google+. But like I said with regards to cloud storage, it would be better if I use Hangouts more often as well. Trying to get more people to use Hangouts isn't exactly vital, since my friends and family all use WhatsApp, which is still better than SMS but going forward, if I meet new people through my studies and eventually my career, I'll be more willing to give them my e-mail address instead of my mobile number. 

Use my tablet more productively
I have a Nexus 7 (2012), and I love using it. But I mainly use it for entertainment purposes. Playing games, browsing social media, browsing the internet, watching YouTube etc. I rarely use it for anything productive. Now I know, tablets are not really meant to be used for work, they are designed more for media consumption, but it would be nice if I could find a way to use it more productively. It will definitely involve using Google Drive, so perhaps when I start using that service more, probably once I start working, I'll finally have the opportunity to be able to use my tablet more productively as well.
Won't be taking it that far. Image: Android Authority
Have any of you recently upgraded your smartphone or tablet? Has it unlocked any new use cases for you? How do you plan on better utilising mobile technology in the future? Feel free to share in the comments!