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Mario's Top 3: White House smartphones; TV shows in the shower

March 22, 2014 at 6:57 AM ET

TODAY's technology contributor Mario Armstrong shares his "Top 3" tech trends and gadgets from the past week.

White House Communications Agency: BlackBerry or Android?

The Wall Street Journal reported that the White House Communications Agency, a military unit in charge of President Barack Obama's communications, is testing out some alternative Android phones to replace the BlackBerries that they use. According to the report, models from both Samsung and LG (sorry Apple!) are being tested.

What’s the big deal? The BlackBerry has fallen on hard times in recent years, and its popularity is waning. The smartphone was once a status symbol; today most people are trading their BlackBerries in for smartphones running Android or for iPhones.

Government workers and officials were some of the earliest adopters of smartphones, specifically the BlackBerry. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company’s new chief executive, John Chen, has said that winning back these customers is a top priority.

White House spokesman Jay Carney addressed concerns yesterday that the president was seeking to change his personal phone, stating, “I can tell you the Executive Office of the President is not participating in a pilot program with regards to handheld electronic devices.”

Use Wunderlist to keep everything organized

I’m an entrepreneur, a family guy, and I love to keep my wife happy, so as you can imagine I love ANYTHING that can keep me organized! I am all about great apps that can keep me on task so that I don’t forget things during the course of the day. Wunderlist is a great app that helps you manage all the tasks and lists in your life.

One of the features that really appeals to me is the ability to share my to-do lists. That way my employees and my family can each see what needs to be get done for the day, week or month and can take it upon themselves to jump in and help out.

The feature that really makes Wunderlist a winner for me is the ability to take lists and break them down into smaller tasks. While “clean the house” might feel like too big a task, when you’ve broken it down into 25 subtasks and you’re checking those off, things feel a lot more manageable.

Wunderlist is free for iOS, Android, Mac and Windows so you can have lists all over the place and can get rid of all those annoying pieces of paper.

Sing in the shower with your smartphone

I am crazy busy all the time. I meditate consistently but rarely have time to sit down and chill out. As a result I am so far behind on all my shows — when will I have time to catch up on "House of Cards"?!

Well, I found a solution that is so simple I wish that I had thought of it! It is a shower curtain that lets me listen to my favorite tunes, catch up on the shows I’ve missed, or if I want to bathe for a long time, even catch a movie. It’s called Shower Tunes, and it's so simple to use that anyone can operate it — even kids. The curtain has two speakers (not high-end, but for $39.99, they do the trick) built in at the top and a waterproof pocket for your device. Because it’s just a pocket, it can be used for any device, whether that’s a tablet, smartphone or MP3 player. I just plug the speaker cord into the device, turn it on and voila! I am catching up on "House of Cards" or getting some inspiration from TED Talks while I soap up! A bonus is that my wife is not yelling at me for slopping water all over the floor while reaching out to change the song or the channel.

Read more from Mario at marioarmstrong.com and follow him on Twitter @marioarmstrong and on Facebook.

UPDATE: This post has been amended to note that the White House Communications Agency, not the Executive Office of the President, is considering a switch to Android from BlackBerry.


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