The Droid Lawyer™ Tips, Tricks, and Techniques for Lawyers using Android mobile devices Fri, 18 Apr 2014 18:14:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Weekly News Round-up: What You May Have Missed in the World of Android Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:00:02 +0000 This week Google gave everyone the opportunity to buy Glass without an invite. I haven’t seen the numbers on sales figures, but I did see one Tweet that claimed Google ran out of Glass inventory. Obviously, that really means nothing, since running out of and inventory of one device is the same as selling five million devices. Google also went one step further to announce it’s opening a “try-before-you-buy” program for interested Glass users. It’s not as great as many claim, since you get a non-working pair of Glass and a bunch of prescription frames to try. Sounds like you’re going to the eye doctor for a fitting. Here’s my Google+ post about the news (embedded content):

And now the rest of the news:

  • Howtomen has a really good video on Android’s hidden features

  • Lawyerist has a great post on getting started with Dropbox.
  • Chrome blog announced a new partnership with that allows you to stream baseball games to your television with Chromecast. (Embedded content)

That announcement makes me want to go sign up for MLB’s premium content. Now we just need to know when NFL’s coming.

  • And Phandroid reports that YouTube app now supports live streaming to Chromecast. I haven’t tested the feature out.
  • If you haven’t checked out the new Google Camera app or Chrome Remote Desktop app, go already. They’re great. Here’s a picture I too with the Lens Blur setting (embedded content):
  • And Google Glass once again proves itself useful in the medical profession. Will lawyers benefit? Not likely.
  • Samsung announced it received a patent for its new “Glass” prototype:


Pfft! Their version looks nothing like Google’s, it doesn’t wrap around your head.

  • CTIA announced their commitment to manufacturing devices with a “kill switch.” We’ll see how far that goes with Verizon and the Feds.
  • Google Fiber’s hiring in New York, which means that Bloomberg and de Blasio will probably start taxing New Yorkers for consuming too much internet.
  • I posted a reminder that Google Now will set reminders for places you visit, regardless of their location.
  • Google Now and Siri go head-to-head with Windows Phone’s newest assistant, Cortana. Who wins?

  • If you own a Kindle Fire, you’re not going to have Google Play installed. That doesn’t mean you can’t get Google Play later. This post gives you step by step directions.
  • KitKat’s “coming  soon“for Droid Razr Maxx and HD.
  • We might even seen Android 4.4.3 for Nexus devices.
  • Heavy Dropbox users, do you use Mailbox?
  • Here’s a post on 7 places to sell your old smartphone.
  • And finally, go crush your weekend:

Have a Happy Easter or Passover.

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Android App Review: Chrome Remote Desktop Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:15:32 +0000 Logmein is my preferred remote desktop app. I find that Logmein is easy to use and for $50 per year, it’s a great option to enable remote connections. Also, since setting up a VPN is pricey, remote desktop connections work well to save on cost.

However, Logmein’s giving me some remote access issues. Since I use my Chromebook many times, I’m basically locked out of my office computer. But fortunately, Google introduced Chrome Remote Desktop that’s enabling me to keep working remotely.

CRD is a Chrome web app that allows remote access from my Chromebook or Chrome browser. Admittedly, the Google’s version isn’t quite as clean as Logmein — there are some issues with full screen mode — but Chrome Remote Desktop works well enough to get projects done.

The one drawback to CRD was the fact I couldn’t access remote desktop from my tablet or phone. Now though, that problem’s solved, because Google release the Chrome Remote Desktop app for Android. And since the app’s free, you won’t have to worry about recurring charges or costly servers.

It’s simple enough

I like the fact that CRD associates itself with my Google account. Of course, I’m a bit of a “Google Homer,” so I advocate using a lot of Google’s services — once again, if that’s not your thing, then Android’s probably not the mobile OS for you — and I especially love having everything neatly contained.

Once you’ve established your CRD relationship, which is installing CRD from the Chrome Web Store, then you’re ready to sign in. That’s simple enough.

If everything’s correct, you’ll see your list of associated computers on the screen.


When you don’t see your computer, then make sure you’ve selected the right account from the drop-down menu.


If your computer’s still not there, make sure your account’s added to your Android device, or check out this help section for troubleshooting tips.

From here, you’re asked for your CRD pin:


And you’re logged in.


Beware: controlling the desktop is a little funky

Before completing this review, I should mention that the controls are reversed from your common way of scrolling. For instance, if you swipe from right to left, you’ll actually move left on your desktop. Similarly, swiping up moves the cursor down. Pinch zoom is the only function that works naturally. But, once you figure out how to move, CRD is easy to use.

For efficiency and cost, Chrome Remote Desktop gets 4 of 5 stars.

Get this app on Google Play


CRDMyComputers CRDAccounts CRDPin CRDDesktop FullDesktop

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Product Review: HTC One M8 Thu, 17 Apr 2014 11:00:14 +0000 When you’re looking to upgrade your Android device, perhaps it’s time to look at HTC’s newest flagship, the HTC One M8.

HTC One M8

One word describes the overall look, feel, and performance of this device: wow. And thanks to AT&T, I had the opportunity to test drive the phone for a few days.

Sleek design, high performance

The first thing I think I can say about this device is that it’s very smooth. The M8 improves on its predecessor 2013 model. The M8 features a quad-core 2.3 gHz Qualcomm processor. For comparison, the Nexus 5 has a 2.26 gHz Snapdragon processor. You probably won’t notice too much of a different between either device, but HTC made sure to beef up this device.

Next, the screen is simply beautiful. Here’s where I think the M8 really outperforms with its 5 inch, 1920 x 1080 screen. Pure high-definition. Also, even though M8′s screen is less than 1/4 inch larger I could see a subtle difference in the larger screen.

Truthfully, even with Nexus 5′s 445 ppi, the M8′s screen really appears more crisp than the Nexus 5. If you’re someone who does a lot of work on your phone, you’ll love the big, bold, high-definition screen — although if you compare this to Samsung Note 2 or 3, you’re losing valuable real estate with the 5 inch screen.

It’s all about the camera

Nexus 5 has a really great camera.

I know some people are complaining about problems with the Nexus 5′s camera, but I have no problems with taking high quality pictures.

Nexus 5

Nexus 5 Camera

HTC One M8

HTC One M8 Photo

Here’s where the Nexus 5 camera wins, but it’s not by much. Nexus 5 definitely takes more detailed pictures, and the colors are more vivid, but the HTC One M8 doesn’t skimp on its own performance. The One M8 touts HTC’s UltraPixel Camera in the rear, and a 5MP front camera. Each are capable of recording some quality HD video.

The One M8 has an interesting dual capture mode, which is a fun way to capture video and commentary of your surroundings.

Feature packed

The HTC One M8 includes a couple of cool features not available on other devices.

First, the M8 has a FM radio and an accompanying app for tuning in to local FM stations.

HTC One M8 FM Radio

I know, the radio isn’t that cool, but I can see using the radio in emergency situations.

Next, the M8 includes an infrared controller and TV app, which allows you to turn on your television and tune channels with your phone.

HTC One M8 Infrared

Unfortunately, the TV tuner app didn’t recognize any of standard over-the-air channels — CBS, NBC, ABC, or Fox — but it’s still awesome, and really saves having to hunt for the television remote.

Finally, the M8 sports two front-facing speakers — I’m not sure why more phones don’t have this — with HTC’s trademark, “BoomSound.”

HTC One M8 BoomSound Speakers

The speakers deliver, especially when compared to what the Nexus 5 has to offer. I know a lot of people watch videos or listen to music through other devices (headphones or Bluetooth speakers), but the advantage of the M8′s front-facing speaker comes when you try to use the speakerphone. I haven’t really found a good phone with a decent speakerphone option, but the M8 makes me change my mind. Clarity is the only way to describe the event.

Form and function

Hopefully I’ve said this enough: the HTC One M8 is a great looking and feeling device.

HTC One M8 in hand


And when compared with my Nexus 5, you will feel comfortable using the HTC One M8.

Nexus 5 HTC One M8

Battery bonanza

Generally, I’m pretty happy with my Nexus 5′s battery life. I can usually get through most days without charging my phone — a lot depends on use and calls. The M8 has decent battery life — it sports a 2600 mAh battery versus the Nexus 5′s 2300 mAh — only losing 29% of its juice after 14 hours of minimal use.

HTC One M8 Battery Life

The M8′s battery also performed well with more regular use.

Updated battery

Sadly, the M8 is missing wireless charging capabilities. Thus, you’re confined to finding a charging cable and outlet (or you could use an external battery). Fortunately, HTC provides one of the longest USB charging cables you’ll ever see.

Well, maybe . . .


Is the HTC One M8 worth buying over a Nexus 5? Probably not. You can grab an unlocked One M8 on Amazon for $823, though most carriers have great deals on subsidized devices. If you could get the phone on an upgrade, it’s worth the price. Note too, most of the wireless carriers’ retail prices are less than Amazon’s, though the devices are carrier specific.

The One M8 is also available as a Google Play Edition device, though the phone costs $699. At that price, the Nexus 5, for about $300 less, is definitely more appealing.

Honestly, if the One M8 was available when I switched from Verizon to T-Mobile, I would have upgraded to the One M8. Yes, it’s that good.

The Google experience

Similar to other Android 4.1+ devices, Google Now runs on the HTC One M8 through the Google Search app. Unfortunately, because of HTC’s default BlinkFeed launcher, you’re going to miss the “OK Google” built-in capabilities of the Nexus 5′s Google Experience. Don’t worry though, you can sideload — you can’t install GNL from Google Play — the Google Now Launcher and the full experience.


I should also mention that HTC’s Sense 6 software, which basically runs as a skin over the One M8′s Android 4.4.2 operating system, fixes a lot of the annoying quirks of previous versions. Sense 6 really feels, looks, and acts more like stock Android. So, if you decide that you don’t want the Google Experience, you can stick with Sense 6 and still be happy.

HTC is also committed to hearty software updates, which means the One is already running Android 4.4.2, and will probably receive the next few Android OS updates fairly quickly. Incidentally, the M8 boot screen already shows the “Powered by Android” slogan recently required on devices running Google services. that’s just one proof of how quickly HTC moved to update this device.


Finally, although both devices are similar in size and form, Nexus 5 easily feels lighter. The Nexus 5 weighs in at 130 grams, while the HTC One M8 is a hefty 160 grams.

That might not seem like much of a problem, but trust me, you can really feel the difference. Of course, when you add my Tech 21 case to the Nexus 5, the devices weigh the same.

Carrier speed

AT&T’s carrier network makes me regret my decision to move from Verizon to T-Mobile. Although I’m saving $50 each month in fees, I’m really limited by T-Mobile’s data network. Usually, that’s not an issue since I spend most days connected to my home or office WiFi, or I’m zooming around Oklahoma City on T-Mobile’s unlimited 4G LTE.

But, I’m currently sitting on my living room couch flopping between zero wireless bars at 3.85 Mbps (if I’m lucky to connect to LTE), compared to AT&T’s three bars, and 5.75 Mbps.

AT&T LTE (left) versus T-Mobile LTE (right) speeds

AT&T LTE (left) versus T-Mobile LTE (right) speeds

In full disclosure, and perhaps to save some T-Mobile embarrassment, I usually connect to T-Mobile’s HSPA and 3G networks at my house without too many speed issues:


Unfortunately though, reliable data coverage on T-Mobile’s network is an issue — I like the unlimited data though, so it’s a toss-up.

The result

Overall, if you’re looking for a new device, and you’re not sold on a Nexus 5, you really need to check out HTC’s 2014 flagship device.

However, the HTC One M8 isn’t totally without its flaws. Most especially, I hate the placement of the power button on the top of the phone. This makes no sense, and it’s difficult to turn off the phone if you have smaller hands.

HTC really hits a home run with its One M8 phone, and I’m really loving AT&Ts coverage.


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Get the Newest Google Camera Thu, 17 Apr 2014 03:19:04 +0000 Google is obviously trying to give Android users the “Google experience” even when they don’t own a Nexus device. The release of Google Now to all devices, followed by the Google Experience Launcher, showed Google’s commitment to “opening” its apps to more users.

Today, Google pull all Android users one step closer with the release of the Google Camera app.

Google Camera is a beefed up replacement camera that gives users the ability to shoot photo spheres, panoramic pictures, or take high quality videos.

Google Camera

Google also added a cool new Lens Blur feature. This new setting lets you focus your camera on a subject, pull the device away from the subject and automatically blur the edges.

Apple & Fire Hydrant


Some shots look better than others. Google Camera added a basic editing program — think a dumbed-down Instagram — to correct colors, crop images, or add special filter effects.

Google Camera Image Editor

Evan Rapoport, Google’s project manager for Google Camera development and shared this tip:

Google also added a “mobile video for dummies” feature to remind you to shoot your video in landscape mode.

14 - 1

The arrows spin around the camera profile to remind you to tilt the device into landscape mode.

Overall, I like the new camera app, and I think most users will, too.

Get this app on Google Play

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Product Review: Poweradd Pilot 2GS 10000 mAh USB Charger Wed, 16 Apr 2014 11:00:34 +0000 When you asked me last year whether a portable power pack was a good buy, I would tell you to pass on the product. However, after testing a number of different portable chargers (here and here), I’m convinced they’re a necessity for every mobile lawyer’s arsenal. The Poweradd Pilot 2GS 10000 mAh USB charger is no different.

Poweradd 10000mAh Charger

Compact portable power

In case you’re not aware, 10000 mAh is a lot of power.

10000mAh charger


10000 mAh will easily charge two devices, with enough remaining power to eek out a third half charge. You can buy smaller chargers, such as 5000 mAh models for about $15, while the 10000 mAh model will cost $26 on Amazon. In my opinion, the double power capacity is worth the extra $10.

The Poweradd looks great too.

Poweradd Charger


The charger has a brushed aluminum case and weighs about 9 ounces. That might seem heavy, but probably doesn’t weigh any more than your current phone.

In addition to having a low mass, the charger is also fairly compact.

Poweradd and Pen


The small form factor guarantees that the Poweradd charger will fit anywhere comfortably.

Charging power


The device charges using a micro USB cable and has two USB ports to charge your phone or tablet.

Poweradd Charging Ports


The blue port works double time to charge your device, while the middle port is a “standard speed” charger. In reality, I didn’t notice too much of a difference between the single bolt port and the “super speed” port. I figure the blue port is about 1.5 times faster than standard speed.

Poweradd Charger Ports 1


Obviously, the four blue lights indicate how much charging power remains, and the button on the left is a quick way to see how much power remains.

There’s something missing

Poweradd is missing a vital carrying bag, which seems standard with other chargers I’ve tested or used. Although this device is compact and the charging cable is small, it’s difficult to keep these things together, especially when you’re hopping from hotel to hotel. You might want to look for a sturdy carrying case, just to keep everything together.

And now you’re considering…

Overall, I’m satisfied with the performance of this device. The Poweradd charges quickly, which means you can get moving much faster. If you’re going on the road, there’s no reason not to grab this 10000 mAh charger or one of Poweradd’s other products.

Poweradd’s external battery would be a great device to add to your emergency kit — especially in light of the upcoming severe weather season — or to your mobile travel bag. Better yet, these batteries help free you from your cord while you’re laying in bed.

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Product Review: Ten One Design Pogo Sketch Pro Stylus Tue, 15 Apr 2014 11:00:01 +0000 Styli are a must-have item for any tablet owner, especially as the capacitive touch capabilities of Android tablets improve. I’ve discussed different stylus types on occasion, and I generally waffle between recommending the Adonit JotPro or one of Wacom’s Babmoo series styli — check out iPhone JD’s review here.

Recently, Ten One Designs sent me their newly redesigned Pogo Sketch Pro Stylus to review.

Pogo Stylus

Comfort and design

I love the overall comfort and slim design of the Pogo stylus. The solid aluminum case feels hearty enough for heavy writing, but not too dense to take over your hand.

Pogo Writing

 The first thing I noticed was that the stylus weighs less than my JotPro. I thought the smaller design would get annoying, but I find the weight and size are comfortable while using the stylus.

However, I do notice that my hand cramps slightly whenever I use any writing utensil. Unfortunately, the small form factor of the Pogo encouraged greater than normal cramping — that’s just me though, so don’t become dissuaded.

For a size comparison, the Pogo is roughly the length of a permanent marker, which means it’s perfect for tablet writing.

Marker Stylus Comparison

Pogo also has a convenient pocket clip that makes traveling with the stylus very easy. I find that many times I have to hunt for spaces to tuck my other styli. If you don’t like the clip, simply remove it by unscrewing the end.

It’s all about the writing

Admittedly, I’m not a big fan of the rubber tips. I find that they’re too easily by a bit of water or a fingernail. More especially, I don’t think the rubber ends translate into as fine of a writing sample. However, with a decent handwriting program like Papyrus — one that allows you to adjust the tip size — you can get a decent final product.

Papyrus Writing with Pogo

In this case, even the bulbous rubber tip on the Pogo stylus worked well. The final product is also one other reason you want to grab a quality tablet with decent capacitive touch abilities. A better  touchscreen will definitely translate into better hand written notes.

One of the interesting aspects of the tip is the magnetic connection that holds the tip in place.

Magnet Pogo

Most quality styli use magnets to create the drawing capability, so Pogo isn’t any different. However, the magnet makes the tip very easy to replace by separating the tip from the stylus with a light tug.

Pogo Stylus Tip

Of course, if you need extra tips, you can buy a two-pack for $7.95, directly from Ten One Design.

A decent stylus for a decent price

If you’re looking for a stylus that simple works well, don’t be ashamed to buy the Pogo from Ten One Designs. At $25 (direct from Ten 1 Design; or $23.06 from Amazon) the Pogo works well and provides a great writing experience.

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Check Out Google’s Tips for App Development Success Tue, 15 Apr 2014 08:37:43 +0000 Google wants to help its app developers become more successful and start generating revenue for themselves (and businesses). Thus, Google’s trying to help anyone develop better mobile applications.

A new infographic from Google’s AdMod division shows developers how to capitalize on their consumers’ use of their application.

Six Essential Tips for App Developers

I think law firms can capitalize on a couple of important takeaways from the infographic, especially if they want to ignore my advice.

If your app’s not a “core app,” it’s not getting used

Contrary to your popular belief, your app isn’t that popular. Google’s infographic shows that most mobile device users rely on 5 apps each day.

6 Tips 5 Apps

If you’re truthful with yourself, you’ll discover you fit into the majority of users. Let me guess: email, Twitter/social media, calendar, and two more “personal favorites.”

Users don’t really use their devices

This stat kind of shocked me, but actually makes sense.

6 Tips Download Apps

This finding makes sense because most users really aren’t using their devices as we suspect. With over 1,000,000 different applications, it’s hard to imagine that anyone has time to check them all out. Users in the US and UK are far below their Asian counterparts.

Less than 50 is remarkable, since I’ve probably downloaded 500+.

Mobile is all about games

As much as I lament about more apps for lawyers, I’ve resigned myself to realizing that those apps aren’t coming.

6 Tips Games

Remarkably, the US and UK love playing games. Thus, if you want to recoup your loses for development, gaming is the answer, especially if your game becomes a top hit.

As the infographic explains, free to paid is the “bang for your buck” model to produce the greatest results. Google notes that in-app purchasing doesn’t work, since 85% of users don’t use the model. Build brand loyalty.

Notice too that the conversion model from free to paid is higher in China, but lower in South Korea and Japan.

6 Tips Free to Paid

About 33% of users in the UK and US convert from free to paid versions of the apps.

Make the app useful and generate user appeal

According to Google’s infographic, cost and user reviews are the two majority factors when deciding what apps to try and buy.

6 Tips Cost and Reviews

Obviously free apps do best, but a majority of those surveyed report that favorable ratings and reviews help prompt selection.

Seriously consider the tips

I think any law firm who wants to design a mobile application needs to seriously consider these six tips in their design phase. It’s too easy to develop an app based on some prior template — think personal injury attorneys and “your car wreck tips” — but firms who want to stand out will do well to follow Google’s advice.

Anyone who’s following Android development for any significant time knows that Google’s trying to unify app design. Google really wants its platform of Android apps to have a similar look and feel, which the company believes will improve app quality.

If you’re going to ignore my advice about developing a mobile app for your firm, then please have a lawyer on your development team who understands Google’s push for app quality. More importantly, your firm needs to vet its developers and make sure they’re going to understand your vision, and help create a good-looking product. And finally, prepare to spend some money because quality app development isn’t cheap — thus the reason nobody wants to tackle the small Android legal market niche.

Click here to get a PDF version of the AdMob infographic. Google also has an App Developer Business Kit that’ll help to understand some basics of mobile app development. Google also has The Guide to the App Galaxy for a fun look at turning app development into a business. If your firm wants to develop an app, then treat it like a business and not like another lost law firm venture.

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Google Updates its Terms of Service Tue, 15 Apr 2014 07:39:22 +0000 You should pay attention this morning to Google’s updated Terms of Service. The new terms went into effect yesterday. The terms add one key paragraph that won’t sit well for some folks:

Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored.

Of course, this is to counteract the issue revealed in the email scanning class action lawsuit.

If you’re anti-Google already, the full acknowledgement of Google’s scanning will probably give you the “I told you so” feeling. Otherwise, you’ll probably shrug it off. Further, you need to remember that Google’s free services use a different Terms of Service agreement than paid Google Apps accounts. I suspect we’ll see a similar statement appear in the Google Apps Service Agreement.

Will this new revelation change how you feel about Google’s products or services?


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Get Google Glass Tomorrow Mon, 14 Apr 2014 12:00:53 +0000 There’s no doubt that Google Glass is a hot commodity, even though plenty of folks mock uses as “Glassholes.” I’m still not sold on the benefits of Glass for lawyers, but I think opening up the Glass Explorer program to more people is the right move for further mass appeal — I think the expense is one of the greatest hindrances of the product.

Well, if you’re one of those few who hasn’t received an invite and is fitfully desiring to own a pair of Google Glass, then tomorrow is your day.

Glass is going public for a very short time — April 15, 2014 at 9:00a EDT — where a limited number of prospective “Glassholes” can get on the list.

You’ll need to be a US resident with a US shipping address, and over 18 years old to get a set of Glass.

So, tomorrow you should start clicking away.

And if you’re lucky enough to get a pair and test them out, why do you give me a review on your thoughts? What’s your opinion for the future of Glass and lawyers?

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New Poll: Your Most Favored Android Device Mon, 14 Apr 2014 08:21:41 +0000 More often than not, I find myself gravitating to one particular device, my Nexus 5. Although I own three different types of Android devices, I usually use my Nexus 5 when I can — fact: most screenshots are from my Nexus 5.

That doesn’t mean I don’t like my other devices, but I think there are two reasons I prefer to use my Nexus 5 over other devices. First, my Nexus 5 is small, thus I can easily use one hand — I think I’m coming down with Carpal Tunnel — to browse websites, check social media posts, and respond to email messages. Second, the Nexus 5 is a powerful little device, with a lot of extra features. Basically, that means the phone’s speedy, works when needed, and is lovable all around.

So, that got me thinking that I’m pretty sure most people operate the same way: you have multiple devices, but there’s one you favor above the others. So, which is it? Your phone, tablet, or do you use them equally?

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