Buy a Xiaomi Mi5

There has been a lot of talk about Xiaomi as a company over the last few years as they have exploded on the scene and are now the #1 smartphone manufacturer in China, which happens to be the the largest smartphone market in the world.  The company has quickly expanded into Asia and the bullish CEO Lei Jun has pronounced his ambition to be the number one smartphone manufacturer in the world in the next five years.  He also has ambitions in the connected home and in other areas of tech.  He is definitely someone to watch as is his impressive company, Xiaomi.

The long awaited Mi5, Xiaomi’s next generation smartphone is expected to hit the market later this year and it appears to have impressive specs for the price.

NETWORK Technology

BODY Dimensions 5.1 mm thickness

DISPLAY Type IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 5.5 inches
Resolution 1440 x 2560 pixels (~534 ppi pixel density)

PLATFORM OS Android OS, v5.0 (Lollipop)
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 805
CPU Quad-core 2.7 GHz Krait 450
GPU Adreno 420
Internal 32 GB, 3 GB RAM

CAMERA Primary 16 MP, 5312 x 2988 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
Features Geo-tagging, touch focus, face/smile detection, panorama, HDR
Video 2160p@30fps, 1080p@60fps, 720p@120fps, HDR
Secondary 8 MP, 1080p@30fps

But when and where will you be able to get one, that remains to be seen, especially in the U.S. market.  Stay tuned!

Facebook app Riff for Android

Facebook is testing out a new app to help users create viral videos.  Its actually inspired by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that took the internet by storm last year.  The idea of the app is that you can create a “template” for a short video (up to 20 seconds) with instructions for what the user should do and then invite friends to join the fun.  The videos are then tied together to form  a video collage that could lead to lots of creative innovation on the part of Facebook users.  Facebook claims that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge helped video views reach over a billion per day so as mobile and video become two very key elements for Facebook growth, this seems like an interesting way for them to enable users to “go viral” with their videos.

Videos are shot in the Riff app, not uploaded.

No comments or likes yet, the idea is to get people to add more video content and not simply hit a button or type “lol”

You must be a friend of a contributor to add your own so there is some control to how these will spread

Contributors get tagged automatically to help with viral growth

The app is free and can be downloaded from the play store!

Have you tried Taskrabbit for Android

Taskrabbit is a very cool concept and I’ve had amazing results.  If you need someone to perform a task of almost any kind (within limits), you can pop open the app, post a job and immediately get bids from local people willing to help.  Maybe its as simple as going to the grocery store, mowing the lawn, assembling one of those incredibly annoying pieces of furniture from Ikea that seems so simple to put together but ends up taking hours.  Yeah it could be anything like that.  Just post the job, review bids and you can accept and even pay right from the phone.  You can also look at reviews on the individuals so you can see how they’ve done on past projects.  Amazing!  I needed my lawn mowed once while I was away, found someone to come that day, paid them from the phone remotely and came home to a beautiful lawn and never had to do more than use my phone.

On the flip side, you can also earn money as a “rabbit”  Just pop open the app and look for posted jobs in your area, place a bid and you may end up earning some quick cash without having to do any cold calls or sales.  Its a very cool concept and its got some good momentum over the last few years so check it out free in the Google play store at:

Mobile banking with Bank of America for Android

Back in the 90s when online banking and specifically online billpay came into play, it really changed my life.  No longer was I late on bills, no longer was I constantly scrounging for stamps or running out of checks, no longer was I getting hit with fees or balancing my checkbook.  I got my bills paid on time, many of them automatically and I saved a lot of time each month.

Mobile takes that a step further.  Now I can pay a bill as soon as I think of it since I’ve got my Android phone with me all the time and its always connected.  I can check my accounts from anywhere but the coolest thing ever is being able to deposit a check by taking a picture.  This was the one thing that online banking never solved that mobile banking does.   I still had to run to the ATM to deposit a check and sometimes those would sit in my wallet for weeks until I remember to deal with it.  Not any more.  Give me a check now and I open my trusty Bank of America app, snap a couple photos of the check and boom its in my accounts.  Its so amazing it took me a few times before I believed it and trusted it but it works and its totally awesome.  Many banks offer this now but I love the Bank of America for Android app and use it all the time.  I also love the way they’ve dealt with passwords and login.  They really have done a lot to make you feel secure.

If you’re a Bank of America customer download the app today from the Google Play Store.  Its free and its totally awesome.

Netflix for Anrdoid with Chromecast

Netflix has been around for a while, evolving from an online DVD rental service to the leader in streaming TV and movies to millions of subscribers for a small monthly fee.  The Cable companies may pretend they aren’t worried but they must be given how much content you can now get on streaming services like Netflix.  In addition they have started creating award winning content of their own such as the hit House of Cards with Kevin Spacey.  The Netflix app for Android is a great companion to your account.  You can stream TV and movies right to your phone or tablet but one of the most interesting uses is to stream it to a big screen TV using your phone as the remote.

Chromecast is a little device for about $35 USD that you plug into an HDMI port on your TV and then connect to your Wi-Fi access point.  From there you can stream lots of stuff from your phone to your TV screen and Netflix is a great example.  In fact, Netflix and Chromecast are a great pair.  Your Android phone is a much better remote control than the typical junk that comes with your cable TV service or the TV itself as you can use it to search with the keyboard or your voice to find the perfect content.  Netflix has a great recommendation engine as well to help you find shows and movies based on things you previously enjoyed.  Then instead of huddling around your 4 inch screen, beam it to your 50″ LCD TV and let everyone enjoy HD TV and Movies.  Its a perfect fit.  The Netflix for Android app can be downloaded free from the Google Play Store at:,+Inc.&hl=en