Extreme mobility: Tools and tips for smartphone-only travel

By , Computerworld |  Consumerization of IT

While Android has basic voice actions baked in, I turned to the Vlingo Virtual Assistant, available for Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows Mobile devices, for more advanced help. Vlingo's Android app is a freebie that's ad-supported; it costs $2 for an ad-free version of the software.

The app is similar to Apple's Siri for iPhone 4S in that you speak to it and it takes action based on what it thinks you said, but Vlingo lacks Siri's advanced natural language comprehension. Vlingo has only a limited vocabulary of tasks such as "email," "search," "get directions" and "update [social network]."

To alert the Android version of Vlingo to listen up, you tap a bar at the bottom of the screen. It worked well for simple tasks like opening the Web browser and searching for a copy shop but was frustrating for sending texts and emails, making the same mistakes over and over again.

I had mixed results when asking Vlingo questions. For example, when I asked, "How many feet are in a mile?" it brought up a Google search results page with links to several online sources that answer the question. Unfortunately, it didn't do as well when I asked, "When does baseball's spring training start?" Its response? "No answer found."

If you're looking for more Siri-like functionality, a few Android apps including Speaktoit Assistant, Eva and Jeannie are worth checking out, but they aren't quite ready for prime time. (See "Siri for Android -- sort of.")

Giving presentations

A common task for business travelers is making presentations. You'll usually find a projector in the conference room at your destination, but how do you get your presentation from your phone to the projector? I've found a couple of ways that work very well.

Via HDMI

Most projectors that are less than two years old, and some older ones as well, have an HDMI port. (Call ahead and find out for sure.) If so, you might be able to plug your phone directly into the projector.

Some high-end smartphones, such as Motorola's Droid 3, have an HDMI port for sending images to a projector or external display. Unfortunately, my Nitro HD doesn't have this, but it does support Mobile High-definition Link (MHL). This interface can send images, video and audio from the phone's micro-USB port through an adapter and separate HDMI cable to the HDMI port on a projector or TV.


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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