Kindle: The best e-reader app for your smartphone

Last week, I had a busy schedule with finals and whatnot, so that is why I have not posted again until now. This blog was created originally for my Digital Journalism class, which ended last week. I plan to continue this blog, because I enjoy sharing my knowledge and insights, along with helping both people who are fairly new to smartphones or have had smartphones for awhile, but enjoy learning new tricks and tips.

Today’s post is about Amazon’s Kindle apps for smartphones. Amazon’s free Kindle app is a must have app that trumps similar apps like iBooks, in terms of book prices and quantity of books available.

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Yesterday on Amazon’s Kindle, I bought two books for my professional project (equivalent of a master’s thesis but more like an internship, not a 100-page paper). I need to read the books over my 5-week winter break to prepare me for the project, so I didn’t want to bother waiting for them to arrive in the mail.

The Kindle for iPhone and Kindle for Android apps are very handy. Let’s face it, the book is a dying breed and the age of e-books is upon us. I have rarely used an actual library while in college and graduate school. For a research paper today, scholarly and online articles are all you really need most of the time.

This was the first time I have ever ordered the Kindle versions of textbooks, but I definitely do not regret it. I can now read my readings anywhere I am, without the hassle of packing textbooks. Below is an example of how your e-book library will look on the iPhone’s Kindle app. So far, I only have the two social media public relations textbooks and two free classic books, “Persuasion” and “The Phantom of the Opera.”

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Looking at prices, Kindle is even more worth downloading. My one textbook cost about $5 more on iBooks. Plus, you do not have to pay shipping and handling if you buy the Kindle version, which saves you a few dollars. Overall, I probably saved about $10 buying the one textbook through Kindle.

Unfortunately, the Kindle app on my iPhone does not let me access the selection of e-books I can buy. I have to get on Amazon through my computer’s Internet or my mobile browser to browse and purchase books. This does give iBooks a clear advantage. Through iBooks, you can browse the e-book selection directly through the app on your phone.

However, Kindle is the better e-book app because it is universal, meaning you can read books you bought on Kindle on your PC or Mac computer, your iPhone or Android phone, iPad or Android tablet, and a Kindle device if you own one. iBooks appears to be only available on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod.

Creating more free space on your smartphone

 

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When you manage space on your phone effectively and have a good amount of GB space, you can afford to store a lot of photos and songs like me. As you can tell from the above screenshot, I still have 5 GB available for more photos, videos, songs, and applications. From forums I have read, keeping 10 percent of your internal space free seems to be the best rule of thumb to ensure that your phone runs smoothly.

So, are you running out of room for apps and pictures on your phone? Afraid your phone will start working slower with not much space available? I’ve been there with my old Android phone that didn’t come with enough space to begin with. I have a few helpful tips that will make sure that your phone has more available space again.

First of all, music takes up a lot of space on your phone. If you have an Android phone that you use an SD card for, just keep all of your music on your SD card that is at least 8 GB. Don’t add your entire music collection on your phone unless your music collection is small or you can afford to use that much space for your music.

I personally have 574 songs on my 16 GB iPhone 4s. I added my 46 favorite music albums, which I realize is a lot. However, since I manage the space on my phone effectively, I can keep all 46 albums on my phone with a good amount of space still available.

One of the biggest space hogs are videos. Just don’t take super long videos on your phone and you should be okay. I limit my videos to 20-30 seconds max when possible. There’s no need for a 3-minute video of your cat on your phone. Videos really take up a lot of space, which I learned early on when I took a couple 2-minute videos. Also, just minimize how many videos you take. I only have 11 videos on my phone, where the longest video is 1:34.

Another space hog is having a lot photos stored on your phone. If you are like me, you don’t want to delete any photos from your mobile photo library unless they were taken for a temporary project or just to send to a friend to share an interesting sight.

But if it comes down to it, you can always move your photos to your computer and have them saved in the handy application called Dropbox. Luckily, I have mastered the art of keeping enough space available on my phone to not have to worry about my photos. As of right now, I have 164 photos in my camera roll on my iPhone.

As long as you install Dropbox on both your phone and computer, you can still view your photos on your phone. This is thanks to your photos being saved in the “cloud,” which simply means your photos will be there anytime you open your Dropbox app, but they won’t take up internal space on your phone.

Get rid of unnecessary apps to free more space. We have all probably added a lot of apps when we first got our phones because we were excited to have all the best apps available on our phones. But do you really use all of those apps now? Go through your apps and delete the ones you have only used about once or twice a month.

Sometimes deleting apps won’t make much of a difference, but if you have a phone with low memory space, deleting apps can really help. If you have an Android phone, make sure you have all SD-movable apps on your SD card. There are apps out there that will help you discover how much internal space you can free with an SD card, such as App 2 SD.

 

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Look in your usage section in your general settings or storage settings to see how big an app is in MB (see above picture). This gives you a good idea of which apps are taking up the most space and which of those bigger apps can be removed if you are low on internal space.

When I first got my iPhone, I added a lot of apps that I no longer use because I don’t have the time to mess with them and/or they don’t appeal to me anymore. These apps included Instagram, StumbleUpon, FML, Temple Run, along with several others. For me, I rarely have time to mess with games apps on my phone anymore, so I deleted the free ones I downloaded that I no longer play.

Another handy tip is to delete “duplicate” apps. These apps are apps that you have similar apps of on your phone, such as multiple news apps. Flipboard is a great app to view all your favorite news sources in one place. I still keep CNN because I like having one full-featured app of my favorite news source.

Samsung Galaxy SIII vs. iPhone 4s

Thanks to my boyfriend, I am able to truly compare the Samsung Galaxy SIII to the iPhone in this post. I only have the iPhone 4s, but with the latest version of iOS installed, my phone’s capabilities are practically the same as the iPhone 5’s, minus the size of the phone.

Is one phone really better than the other by much or are they almost the same minus the size and a few odds and ends? This is what I wanted to find out by comparing the two smartphones, a comparison I hope may help those who are in the market for a new phone but are undecided which would suit them best.

For starters, let’s look at physical appearance. The Galaxy SIII is too big, in my opinion. It just seems quite bulky for a phone and I would not want to have to use a phone that big all the time. It especially seems too big when you browse the Internet on it.

You would think for its size that it would be able to hold more on its home screens, but it doesn’t. It only holds 16 apps or app folders per screen, just like the iPhone 4s. The iPhone 5, on the other hand, holds up to 20 apps or app folders per screen. It just seems like a waste of space, plus I feel the bigger screen on the Galaxy SIII makes the home screens seem a bit pixelated when looking at the app background and apps.

I just think that the iPhone is more user-friendly when it comes to phone and screen size. The size is a much nicer for for one’s back pocket and for everyday use. The only real advantage I see with the Galaxy SIII’s big size is that it makes viewing Netflix and YouTube videos a little easier on the eyes.

I didn’t find much other big differences beyond the basic Android format versus how iOS operates. The internal memory on the iPhone 4s 16 GB version is a little more than 1 GB bigger than the Galaxy SIII’s. 1 GB probably doesn’t matter to a lot of people, unless you are like me and love taking a lot of pictures and having most of your music library on your phone.

Some might also point out that the Samsung Galaxy is 4G LTE capable. Well, so is the iPhone 5. The iPhone 4s may not be 4G LTE capable, but that doesn’t really matter to me, since I do not live in an area that has 4G LTE.

Other than the previously mentioned differences, I found it hard to find anything too special about the Samsung Galaxy SIII that the iPhone didn’t have or that I think a lot of people who prefer a more user-friendly, less-complicated smartphone would want.

Android vs. iPhone: Which performs better?

The good old battle of smartphones begs the question: Which is better – Android or iPhone (iOS)? In my personal opinion, the iPhone is the better of the two mobile operating systems. And no, I am not biased because I have an iPhone. I had an Android phone from the Samsung Galaxy line before I bought my iPhone. So, I’ve experienced the best and worst of both phones.

I will be doing future posts looking at the differences, specifically comparing the Samsung Galaxy SIII to the iPhone, as well as Samsung Galaxy SIII’s voice assistant, Galaxy, to iPhone’s voice assistant, Siri. For now, I just wanted to give my quick thoughts on the two mobile operating systems.

My biggest issue is that Android phones are more complex than the iPhone. There’s too many settings and a lot to learn before using an Android phone. I spent a lot of time in Android forums when I had my Android phone, just to figure out the not so obvious things the phone could do. The iPhone is much easier to use, and requires less reading on how to use it to its potential.

Also, a lot of the Android phones have bigger screens, which I find to be too bulky and not very user-friendly compared to iPhone’s perfect average size. I also prefer the touch of an iPhone because it’s more responsive in ways. With my old Android phone, I had to swipe the lock buttons the whole way across to unlock my phone and to answer and end a call. This was quite frustrating at first. With an iPhone, it just takes a short swipe to unlock the phone, and a call can be answered just by tapping a button, no long swipes required.

These are just a few of the main differences I wanted to point out. If you have used both the Android operating system and an iPhone, tell me about your personal preference and why you think it is the better of the two!