Android Fully Loaded

Rob Huddleston

Published by

Wiley

ISBN

978-0-470-93002-1

RRP

£16.99

Reviewed by

Peter Daly CEng CITP

Score

5 out of 10

Android Fully LoadedHaving recently purchased an Android mobile phone, this book came at an appropriate time. It's written for someone who does not have an Android and may want a fuller treatment of the facilities the phone provides.

As such it does quite a good job of covering the features of the phone. If you are considering buying an Android phone, but want to know more about what it offers then this book is worth a read.

However, there are one or two parts of the book that I think are unnecessary; for example there are a few pages of discussion on how to use Google Mail and iTunes, which does not really add to the Android experience. Indeed, having a Google account is central to using an Android and I would guess that most people are already aware of this and have such an account.

There are also parts of the book that are missing in the sense that there are topics that should be covered but are not. For example (and this applies to any smartphone), given that all smartphones require a data plan and your accounts are saved onto the phone, what happens if the phone is lost or stolen? You've just lost the keys to your kingdom and (potentially) opened yourself up to identity fraud.

Indeed, since a Google account could include ‘Google checkout’ information, your credit card data may no longer be safe. This is a big issue given that ‘228 mobile phones are reported stolen in the UK every hour’ (Home Office statistics). Can anything be done about this?

Well yes, there are applications on the Android marketplace that can help - one of them can even wipe your phone of any data remotely (for a fee), but they are not discussed in this book - arguably a major omission. It focuses on other (fun) applications like Google Sky rather than security.

Finally, the book itself is just an import from America and so it does contain information that is not relevant to the European market, which I would consider laziness on the part of the publisher. There are also some errors (for example, the image of the phone in airplane safe mode is incorrect; a potentially dangerous mistake).

A big positive described in the book is to basically ‘dump the sat-nav’ since Google maps and Google navigator are installed as standard. This is true, but because the book limits itself to the US it does not address the issue of roaming data charges in (say) Europe.

Although these are capped by European Law to about £30 per month, this is still a significant cost and it's unlikely that you would ‘dump the sat-nav’ in this scenario. I consider that to be misleading.

Overall it's a good overview of the capabilities that an Android phone offers, but with some omissions and a US-centric view that could be changed to make it much a much better treatment of the subject. The published price is a bit high, but a quick search on Amazon reveals a discounted price of 50 per cent off, which is a more realistic option.

Further Information: Wiley

February 2011