Category: Smartphones


The Missing Feature

I’ve been using the android platform since 2009. My first phone was a MyTouch 3G (aka Sapphire or HTC Magic). After that I upgraded to a Nexus S, then a Xperia P (inherit from my girlfriend that went apple) and now I’ve got a Moto G 2nd (2014). In between I got an Asus tablet (the TF101) and used for a few months a borrowed Wildfire S.

I’ve been using an Android phone since 1.5 Cupcake, and I’m now in version 5.0.2 Lollipop. It’s has been a great journey, one that I hope won’t end anytime soon. However, there is a feature that has been missing since day one. How to I migrate the progress I’ve got at a given game from one device to the other or between installations. Even if someone never installs another version of Android besides stock rom, there will be a time when it’s necessary to do a factory reset to the phone/tablet. Or you just want to upgrade to a newer and better device. When we are talking about a windows/mac computer, all you need is to copy certain files/folders and all your games progress is backed up for a new install/device. Not with Android. With Android, you’re limited to a) restart a game from scratch at every new installation or b) have a rooted device. Considering how easy it is for most devices to root it, this seems to be the obvious alternative (unless you like to spend another 3 hours doing that tutorial again). But (and there is always a but), rooting your device voids the warranty… That is annoying.

I’m no expert on programming, but, would it be that hard to create a tool that allows us to back up information between devices/installations? Because we can already back-up musics, photos and other stuff. But what about other information? Text messages, call logs and game progress.

Some companies, like Motorola solved the first two problem with “Migrate”, other companies, like Supercell (Clash of Clans) or Com2Us (Summoners Wars) also solved the problem, the first by linking your game progress to your google+ ID and the second one by making you register at their website. But this are two companies, in a universe of thousands.

So, gentlemen at Google, be so kind and to think about an app that, out of the box, allows us to back-up important information (and yes, I consider game progress as important).

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Technical information

Post grammar reviewed by grammarly.com

MyScript Stylus (Beta)

In the last post I’ve talked about a money saving app, today I want to bring to you a time savng  app for android tablets.
I’ve found this app last week while I was searching for an app to help me in Math.
Stylus Beta allows you to use your finger or stylus as a real pen on a real notebook. It supports language dictionaries, auto correction, correction of miss spelled words on wrongly recognized words, special characters (for example @ and &) and numbers ( 1 2 3…).
The is so good that I wrote this entire text using it and stylus pen (adonit jot pro).
Of course if you happen to have an android tablet with a keyboard, the keyboard can be faster, but if not, or you want to take notes from a lecture than this is the app you need
However keep in mind that this is still a beta app so bugs and problems are to be expected.
Play store link

Technical information
Written on a TF101 Eeepad, on Word press application (v. 2.5.1), input method: MyScript Stylus (Beta) (v. 3.2.11.m0.3) and adonit jot pro stylus.

Going back to the origins of this blog, today I’m doing a review off one of the biggest money savers in the Google Play.

Ever since the launch of the paid applications in the Google Play there have been apps going on sale. This is always great, specially if that application that you’ve meaning to buy goes on sale. But this type of promotions is completly pointless with the current state of the Google Play. You can’t organize the results of a search by price or check which prices have dropped in the last 24hours. And if you, by random chance, happen to find an app that went on sale, there’s no way to know the amount of the discount. This is a problem, specially for developers that wish to get reach a bigger audience by doing this type of promotion.

This is where AppSales comes in. The application allows you to check which apps went on sale on the past few weeks (that’s right, weeks). In the main screen they show all the apps that went on sale over the last 2 weeks (default as far as I can tell), as well as for which apps the promotion has expire. When you select an app, the program shows a screen where there’s a lot of interesting and useful information about the app in question.
You’ll have some screenshots of the application, it’s price in dollars, the option to add it to your watch list, share it over the web (by mail, social apps, etc). It will also gives you a brief description of the application and  a graphic that shows the price evolution of the app on the last 3 months. There are other functions, but these are, in my opinion, the more useful and important.

About the general settings of the application, one comes out as extremely useful. You can login with your g+ profile (and you’ll have one since you’re using a google device). This option allows you to sync the watch list through multiple devices, like in my case, between my nexus s and my tf101.

Another very useful option is the ability to, indirectly, add apps from the Google Play to AppSales Watch list. This is done by simply going to Google Play, select the application you want to watch and click the share button. You’ll will see a selection of sharing apps, including AppSales. Select it and you’ll see a screen with a bunch of information about the app, including the eye to add it to your Watchlist.

I highly recommend the app to everyone that owns an Android Device and wish to save some money on paid apps. For me, it saved more that 50€.

Enjoy

google payappsales qrcode

 

A few weeks ago I decided that I wouldn’t wait any longer for the “masters” at AT&T resolve in gracing us with android 2.2 for MyTouch 3G (my android phone), so I went ahead with the plan of rooting my device and installing CM 6.0.

I had been reading the CM wiki and forum for a few months, in order to be on the safe side and make sure that I would lose the minimal information and data possible.

The tools I used where:

My ride was everything but a smooth one.

My first mistake was to try to backup stuff without root access 🙂 But that was easily solved with Universal Androot and following the site instructions and installing Titanium Backup afterwards with a full backup right after.

Then came my second problem. Making my M$ Vista recognize my phone in fast boot. You need to install the SDK tools, make the full update and only after that connect your phone, already on fast boot to the pc. Then, don’t choose install automatically, choose “Search folders and specificly locations” (or something like that) and target the folder x:\sdktools\drivers (where “x” is the drive letter) and install. And puff you can now use the command prompt to stream the recovery to your phone.

At this point you should already have on your sd card the following:

  • Rom of choice (for this post CM6.0)
  • The recovery you want to install (Amon_Ra)
  • Google apps at choice

Use the screens to apply the rom and restart the phone. If you, by any chance want to flash a recovery file and after the streaming of amon_ra, adb stops recognizing the phone, don’t worry, you can solve it later. I worried for nothing 🙂 I just applied the rom and make the huge mistake to flash the wrong google apps pack, so I had to reset the device and flash the correct one (some people at Cyannogen forum might remember the thread I made before realizing my mistake).

And whatever you do, you must wipe your phone.  I tried without wipe and the rom didn’t even boot (I actually thought I had bricked my phone). After the rom was up and running it was time for the restoration of my personal data. Contacts, Calender (not that important) and messages (deadly important).

I went back to Titanium Backup and attempted a full restoration, that messed up my phone so badly I just did another wipe. After the 3rd wipe because off bad restorations I decided to make a selective restoration, mainly of sms and some other data.

After this I just use Rom Manager (that comes with the rom) to install Amon_Ra Recovery, reinstall some of my apps, most of them I didn’t reinstall because I didn’t actually used them 🙂

My only two problems right now is that none of my previously installed apk via market where there for me to download again and the market takes a lot of time to download apk, even at wi-fi right next to the router (like half a meter away from it)

At endnotes I want to thanks Cyannogen for the great work he’s done on this rom. Much faster than the stock rom I had, and thanks all the devs behind the tools I used to make my upgrade smooth and possible 🙂

Francisco Ribeiro

About Android

About one year ago I bought my first android phone. Thanks to e-bay I became the proud owner of a MyTouch 3G google branded. I was amazed with the platform, it was quick and clean. Google Maps worked great and thanks to Android Market I quickly download several applications that looked great.

After a few days my disappointments started. There was no out of the box solutions for editing word and excel documents. A pdf reader was nowhere to be seen, and every solution I found online for bought issues was payed applications, and not cheap ones in my opinion.

So after just five months of using my android for almost everything I was forced to start using my girlfriend HTC prophet.

What forced me to do it, you might ask. Quite simple. A Google Branded Android is next to useless when you want productiviy on your smartphone. Why? Quite simple.

  • No sync with outlook. You are forced to sync with online servers, which is not very safe if you’re handling sensitive information about your work.
  • No out-of-the-box tools for opening and editing .doc and .xls, not even a link to google docs… a really big screw up if you want my opinion.
  • Not out-of-the-box pdf reader. most documents today are shared using this format. Google could at least put in a crappy pdf reader just to say it has was one.
  • No out-of-the-box task manager. Think a little Google devs… Can someone really manage a job without a task manager?
  • Contact management was and still is hellish at best. In my case I simply use ePhonebook to get the job done.
  • Theres no possible way to organize your applications in the application menu without installing third party software.
  • Root… why on Earth do I need to temper with my phone guaranty to be able to take screenshots from the phone or to customize it? This looks like the policy of certain companies that like proprietary software…

In my opinion, if Google really wants to be a big company in the world of OS for smartphones they have to do some major changes on the way they work with Android.

My suggestions to Google are:

  • Create a tool that allow people to cook their own roms and flash them safely on the phone they bought.
  • Give us root and engineering spl access out of the box. Add an applications for us to enable and disable it at will.
  • Allow us to further customize the application list on the main menu.
  • Give us sync with outlook or create a desktop application that allows us to sync our personal information only on our personal computer.
  • Give us off-line versions of Google docs and Google viewer.
  • Give us dvix and subtitles on movies and a audio-book application
  • Enable payed applications for all countries (I live in Portugal and without root I don’t have access to payed applications).
  • Allow us to use Bluetooth to share files and vcards.

But it’s not all bad. Personally, and despite all the things above, I wouldn’t trade my Android for another phone. I bought an Omnia II I8000, but it’s because of the flaws above.

The things I just love on my Android.

  • How easy it is to find and install new software.
  • The great offer there is on the Android Market, even only with access to free applications.
  • The evolution of the platform.
  • The possibility of finally (and without time) receiving the upgrade to Froyo.
  • The sound and camera quality.
  • The cleanness of the Interface.

Be well and I sure hope Google reads this and pays some attention to my suggestions.

Blizzard releases World Of Warcraft Remote Auction House – Android and Me.

So I checked this news on Android and me last night through their widget for android (quite handy the little thing) and I decided to try it out this morning.

The application looks great and it seems to be quite useful for every wow player out there. However, there’s a huge but. So Blizzard wants us to pay another monthly fee for access something that should be free? The 11 million players (or something like that) are no longer enough? Well blizzard, I’m keeping the application on my droid, I’ll used it to check if an Auction was successful, but I’m not paying you another €uro for more features.

After this, here goes the analisys on the application itself.

The layout is clean and intuitive. you can choose from all the chars in your account, and if you happen to have more than one characters, on different realms with the same name, Blizzard was kind enough to put the realm information bellow the character name.

There’s a lot of info you can access on the free version, notably inbox free space, check your Auctions, and, using the Create option you can check your bags for every characters 😉

Bottom line, in my humble opinion, the people that are going to use the pay version will be the addicts (shame on Blizzard for that) and the Gold farmers/traders. We can expect in the near future more and more “I sell gold” messages in the near future since the gold farmers can now run instances like crazy and don’t even need to go to one of the Capital Cities to post the loot on the AH.

Couldn’t try more of it’s features because I’m not paying more than the monthly fee to play WoW.

Conclusions:

Pros

  • Great application, should have been realease sooner, but that’s ok.
  • Fast (tested over wi-fi)
  • Clean Interface
  • If you’re a dumb ass and pay Blizzard the extra cash you can send your loot to the Auction House from anywhere in the world, both real and virtual

Cons

  • Not free for the full version
  • Can’t send mails to others (would be great)

Classification: 6/10 (make it free and I’ll raise the score

One of my main problem with having a windows mobile phone and a linux netbook is how to copy files from the netbook to the pocket pc and the other way around. In my Android I have an application that solves me the problem, aFile, which transforms you phone on a mobile server you can browse via a web-browser on your pc. But, alas, my problem is on my Windows mobile pc and not on my Android… that was until link8506 dropped is Wifi Remote Access on Xda-developers forum. And thank God he did 🙂 And the best part is… the application is also available on OMarket, meaning you can download it directly to your pocket pc.

So let’s check the Application it self.

When you start the application you are greet with the below screen where you can change a lot of stuff, but most important, to enable the remote access

Here the Remote access is already enabled

Once that’s done you just type the ip address on a web-browser and, put in the password you choose before and your good to go.

The server offer the basic file/folder operations like rename, delete, add folder, upload file, among other. For a full description of the operations please check the application thread on Xda.

Here are some screens of some of the operations I made.

Conclusion:

Pros

  • Efficient
  • Just what I was needing for my daily work;
  • Secure, you need a password to open the “file server”
  • Basic operations are there

Cons

  • The interface could use a little work (but it’s great as it is)

Classification: 9/10 Let’s wait for version 2.0 to give a perfect score

Links

Xda-developers news about the application

Xda-developers application thread

Technical sheet:

  • Application tested on Samsung Omnia 2 I8000
  • Review written on the web application via “Firefox” 3.6.3 for Windows Vista
  • Computer used: Asus Laptop (don’t recall model) running Windows Vista
  • Screen shots of pc actions where taken using Fireshot extension for Firefox
  • Screen shots of pocket pc action where taken using Ilium Screen Capture for windows mobile
  • Pictures uploaded to dropbox for usage via Droppedboxx for windows mobile

First things first. I’m a huge fan of Dropbox. I have it installed on my Asus EEE pc, my Asus Laptop (don’t recall the model, sorry), on my HTC Magic 3G, and now, thanks to d1k_is from Xda-Developers I can have it on my windows mobile pocket pc.

I loved the program so much I decide to give you, the ones that read this blog wannabe, a full review of the application.

When you open the application you’re presented with a double text field to put your username and your password of dropbox. Right below the text field is a little check box that will save your login details for future uses of the application, so make sure you check it.

After a successful login we get a screen where you can choose the sync folder (syncing not supported yet) and have several options on the bottom bar. Some of them haven’t been implemented yet, but they look promising.

The buttons are, from left to right: sync; dropbox, configuration, about, logout

In the configuration screen you now have the choice to make the application forget you login details as you can see beloow.

When you press the center of the screen, you’re taken to a browser like selection screen where you can choose the folder for syncing with your dropbox. But, as stated above, syncing is not yet supported.

Back to the main screen, the button that interests us right now is the second one from the left in the main screen. When you press it you’re taken to your dropbox, where you can browse your folders and files at will, add or delete folders, take pictures and send directly to the selected dropbox folder, upload files, download them and even send them as attachments via your e-mail client 🙂

Folder options

Up here we have, in order: take a photo and upload directly, Add Folder and Delete folder and Paste file (which you can copy using the 3rd button when you select a file- see file options)

File options

This five options are, in order, Download,  Attach (to email), Copy file (not yet), delete file and cancel selection.

In both option the upload file is always visible (top right corner).

Conclusion:

Pros:

  • It’s the Application that was missing in any professional smartphone.
  • You can check it to remember your login details, saving you the time of inputing them every time you start the application.
  • Over wi-fi it’s quick, so quick that I didn’t saw any difference between this one and the pc version.
  • Has all the essential file/folder operations, plus the take photo and upload it right to the dropbox.
  • You’ll be able to choose the sync folder on your device.
  • You can choose the destination folder when you want to download a file

Cons:

  • Stability problems, it crashes very often
  • Doesn’t save my login details (but it’s a beta so this might be remove in the future)
  • Doesn’t sync (yet, beta :))

What I would like to see in the application:

  • An option to upload several files at the same time (might became useless when sync it working… but it would be nice all the same).
  • The option to only sync certain files or folder (in order to avoid an overcrowded sd card for people that have large files or a lot a things on the dropbox.
  • Be a pal and put it on Omarket

Classification: 8/10 – might reach 10/10 when the beta is over

note: the review is now up to date.

Links:

Xda-developers news about the application

Xda-developers application thread

Technical sheet:

  • Application tested on Samsung Omnia 2 I8000
  • Review written on the web application via “Firefox” 3.6.3 for Windows Vista
  • Computer used: Asus Laptop (don’t recall model) running Windows Vista
  • Screen shots of pocket pc action where taken using Ilium Screen Capture for windows mobile
  • Pictures uploaded to dropbox for usage via Droppedboxx for windows mobile

So I was browsing trough xda looking at some of the news, specially the news app that the guys at the forum are always releasing and I decided to try one out, but I wanted to post some pics of it on the review. That took me on another search, and in this type of cases, google is your friend.

As a result of the search I came across the ilium screen capture tool (first result on google actually). I try it out and decided to share you, my estimated readers, my opinion about the tool itself.

The application is quite simple. You just start it from the start menu or from a shortcut and you are presented with the screen below.

By pressing menu you can choose some options.

The second one allows you to choose the hardware button to press in order to take the shots and the length, in seconds, of the timer.

The timer option, when pressed  will take a screen shot in x seconds (that can be changed in the options menu)

The third option is quite interesting actually. Ilium software produces more applications. via the “More” menu you can download them to you device directly which is quite handy 🙂

Conclusion:
Pros:

  • The software does what the producer say it does. A very simple, low-weight, and straight foward application. It’s ideal for people that want to take screenshots of they are doing.
  • The web-site allows you to download the .cab, meaning you can install it on the fly
  • One single note: when the app is running the chosen hardware button will only perform the screen capture, the default action of the chosen button will be override.

Cons:

  • You can’t choose the destination folder or the base name of the files.

Classification: 9/10

sites:

Ilium Software
Screen Capture

Technical sheet:

  • Application tested on Samsung Omnia 2 I8000
  • Review written on the web application via “Chrome” for linux
  • Computer used: Asus eee pc 901 running eeebuntu nbr 9.10
  • Screen shots of pocket pc action where taken using Ilium Screen Capture for windows mobile
  • Pictures uploaded to dropbox for usage via Droppedboxx for windows mobile

Youtube ripper for Android

My second review of an Android application, this time thanks to great community of XDA

User Rolle3k has develop a ripper for youtube that I had the honor of try today.

The concept is quite simple. After instalation do the following

  1. You browse youtube with the built-in application and choose the video you want to view and download after;
  2. press menu and chose the “share” option;
  3. from the multiple options presented, choose youtube ripper;
  4. there will be a text box saying the web adress of the video you’re about to rip, ignore it;
  5. press “rip it” wait a little bit (depends on wi-fi/3G speed) and it’s done.

Please note: do not turn your screen or the download we’ll stop. Hope the dev solves this, since it’s only a beta release.

The program saves the files as .mp4 on a folder called “youtube” on your sd card. It’s quite fast, took 12seconds to rip a 2Mb file on my wi-fi and 32seconds on my 3G network.

Tested on a MyTouch 3G 32B, stock Donut 1.6

Originality: 6/10 – there are more apk that attempt to do this
functionality: 8/10 if we could choose the target folder and file name it would be 10/10
usefullness: 10/10 sometimes I see this great video on my android and want to save it, this does the job 🙂
General: 7/10 it’s still a Beta so a lot of work is on the way, but it’s my conviction that Rolle3k will succeed

Bottom line:
It’s a great application and we can only hope to see more of it in the future. I suggest everyone to install it and give it a try. And the price is also good – it’s free, but don’t forget, people have to eat so press the adds and donate if you feel the application is really good.

News page about the application on xda

Application thread on xda

p.s. sorry for not posting any screenshot but since I’m running on a stock rom I can’t take any (hope google solves it in the near future)

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