Archive for October, 2010

Have a Happy Halloween with a Live Wallpaper

October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween people! [Do people even say that?] If you’re feeling all spooky and ready to trick or treat then why not spruce up your Android phone before you go out?

There’s a funky little Live Wallpaper for your phone available from the Market which is sure to impress your friends*. Best of all, it’s free and also very customiseable. Just do a search for “Halloween Live Wallpaper II” or browse through the top free in Apps -> Themes. Enjoy 🙂

Halloween Live Wallpaper

*If they’re 8 years old

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Top 10 HTC Desire Battery Life Increasing Tips [HD]

October 30, 2010

Evening folks. I’ve just finished uploading my “Top 10 HTC Desire Battery Life Increasing Tips” video onto YouTube. Be sure to watch it before you go out for your Halloween parties because you don’t want to end up with a dead phone by the end of the night! 😉

Read on to see the full story and please subscribe to my YouTube Channel.

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HTC Desire HD now available from 3 UK (Three)

October 29, 2010

3 Three LogoFor those who want to get themselves a beefed-up Desire; 3 have started accepting orders for the HD version of the Desire for shipment on 2nd November.

From ‘as little’ as £35 a month you can get a free handset with 500 minutes, 1GB of Internet and 5000 texts (who uses that many texts?!). This is all based on a whopping 24 month contract however so be sure of what you’re doing before you sign up. This is by no way the best deal out there but if you’re stuck with 3 it’s the best you’re going to get in the short term.

Check out 3’s HTC page here for more info

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HTC Desire auto-brightness – useless?

October 29, 2010

auto brightness, androidWhilst browsing the web I found an article relating to the HTC Desire and iPhone 4’s auto-brightness feature. It explains how these features don’t actually work properly and are bugged to high-heaven. Anyway, I found myself saying “Yes, yes this has happened to me! What on this earth would cause such a problem?“.

I’ve often been sat in the pitch black (just something I tend to do) and wanted to check my phone only to find myself completely blinded when the screen auto-brightnesses (new word) to full brightness. Surely this isn’t a complicated thing to get right. I recall in Electronics back at school we set up a light sensor to dim/brighten a lamp depending on the ambient light. Surely, 16 years later technology must have improved enough to get it to work in a mobile phone?

Apparently not. Have you had the same problem? Is there an app to fix it? Let me know and in the mean time, be sure to check out the full article on the cnet.com website.

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The HTC Desire (Froyo) Battery Test – A day without a charge: Episode 2: Froyo Vs Eclair

October 28, 2010

Back in April you may remember I tested out my HTC Desire’s battery to see how long it would last over a day or normal use without being charged. Well, today I’m going to re-visit this test and see whether the “battery performance” improvements in Froyo really work or not.

Welcome to the HTC Desire (Froyo) Battery Test: Episode 2: Froyo Vs Eclair

I am trying to keep the phone setup the same so have enabled the following settings (but will expand slightly on how the phone is configured):

Fully charged at 9am.
Screen: Medium brightness (auto brightness off)
WiFi: ON (Wireless N enabled but will not be used at work as we currently only have 802.11b/g)
Syncing: ON (2 Gmail accounts and FriendStream – see below)
Bluetooth: OFF
GPS: OFF
FriendStream: ON (Twitter updating every 15 minutes and Facebook every 1 hour)
Wallpaper: Set to Live as per the previous test but didn’t mention.
2G/3G Data: Enabled  with network mode set to automatic and data roaming enabled

To make things easy to compare I will put my previous results in square brackets so you can compare the ‘new’ to ‘old’ battery readings.

9:00 – 100% My Desire has a good feeling about today. 100% battery and Froyo says it’s ready for what I throw at it.

11:00 – 92% [87% previous test] remaining. So far I haven’t done a huge amount with the phone (I’ve actually had to do some work today!) but I did listen to Grooveshark during the walk to work and have sent a few text messages. So far so good! As you can see, when comparing it to my previous test, there is an extra 5% of battery remaining so this is great news.

13:00 88% [80% in previous test] More texts and a few photos of the ginger kitten who seems to have adopted me at work. Now walking into town with my music playing to get some food.

14:00 78% [75% in previous test] OK after a quick shop in town and walk back to work by battery has gone down by 10%. I was listening to music for around 40 minutes whilst e-mailing a few people and texting so it hasn’t done too badly. Also, Grooveshark does require a constant connection to their servers to verify you’re a VIP member. 3% up on my last test (but the phone has been used more over the hour.

17:00 60% [52% in previous test] Some quite heavy usage this afternoon. I even set my phone up as a Wi-Fi hotspot for 15 minutes or so which really drains the battery. When compared to my previous test earlier this year however you can see that we’re still 8% better off. So off home to see how much battery I have later this evening.

19:00 46% [Previous rating N/A] Still got just under half the battery juice left and the day is almost over. Have been using Last.fm quite a bit as well as e-mailing and texting people. Twidroyd has also been in use.

22:00 36% [34% in previous test] Wow my Desire is feeling tired now. Have done a lot of tweeting and some YouTube web browsing along with some tweeting. Over 3 hours however I’ve only lost 10% which isn’t bad at all. I’m still up 2% from my previous test even after all this strenuous work.

22:50 34% [27% in previous test] Right, well time to sign off for the night. Only a few texts and e-mails since the last update but you can see the the battery life is an impressive 7% higher than last time. It may not seem a lot but that 7% could be a life-saving phone call or emergency tweet! Upon working out the average, Froyo has improved battery performance by at least 7.2% over Eclair. I say this because I have used the phone a lot more than I did back then so the fact it has still ended up with more battery remaining is very impressive.

So in answer to the original question, yes, Froyo does improve battery life. In fact, I think it deserves its own little chart:

Froyo vs Eclair Battery Test

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions then let me know, tomorrow is another day and I know my HTC Desire will be with me throughout the whole thing 🙂

[Update] I thought I’d include my Battery Saving Tips video now you’ve read through this article. It’ll show you how to save even more power when using your phone

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Google Maps Updated: 4.6.0 adds real-time Latitude updates and more

October 28, 2010

Google Maps Android iconGoogle have released a new update today for their Maps app.

The update improves the reviews system for Places and brings it more in-line with what you would see on your desktop computer. You can also now filter reviews to be from “around the web” or just from Google users.

You can also filter your Places searches by “Open now” or “Neighbourhood” as well as the standard Distance and Ratings.

This update also adds much-needed real-time Latitude updates. Google describe this better than I can:

In Latitude, you can also choose an experimental “Real-time updating” option from an individual Latitude friend’s profile page to help meet up with them by temporarily seeing faster location updates (friends must have Maps 4.6 and Android 2.2+).

The update is live right now so as soon as the Market is working again (;)) you can download and install the new version.

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Google’s Froyo is the “best tech product” of 2010

October 28, 2010
Froyo

Froyo is the best, it's official!

Great news for frozen yoghurt fans. Google’s Android operating system under the same name has been declared the best tech product of 2010 by PCWorld.com.

The little hand-held operating system beat off not only other mobile OS’ but also full tech products such as the Apple iPad, Apple TV, Amazon Kindle and more. It also beat the likes of Facebook, TomTom and Microsoft Office. So, there we have it, all you need is an Android phone 😉

(It’s good to see that Grooveshark gets a mention coming in at number 85)

Click here to see the full list and see who else was competing for the top spot.

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HTC Desire HD Review – 9/10

October 27, 2010

HTC Desire HDPocket-Lint.com have posted a lovely review for the lovely HTC Desire HD. Will you be upgrading your ‘old’ Desire and making way for its bigger brother? Personally I’m going to stick with my non-HD Desire as it is just about the right size for me. Any bigger, as the HD obviously is, and I wouldn’t be able to fit it in some of the jeans I wear.

Be sure to check out Pocket-Lint’s review and let me know what you think. Is it worth the upgrade to get the 8MP camera with 720p recording? Do you really need SRS sound on your phone? Are your hands big enough?

Here are a few snippets from the review:

The build quality is exemplary; the luscious metal body nestles comfortably in a large hand, the soft curves of the edges providing enough grip without introducing any hard lines. It’s more comfortable to hold than the iPhone 4 and more comfortable to make calls with thanks to softer top line, but the size – 123 x 68 x 11.8mm – will make it difficult to use for those with smaller hands.

Of course, the source of your content to share may well be the video camera on the back. Bumping up the megapixels to 8 (and having a noticeably larger physical lens than the 5-megapixel HD7), you also get video capture at 720p HD at 30fps. In daylight the results are very good too, with a solid frame rate and an acceptable level of detail. The video capture also offers in-video focusing, which is a bit of a rare feature. Some phones will offer continuous autofocus, but in the case of the Desire HD, you can touch the screen to refocus on a particular point. There is a delay and it hunts a little before hitting to focal point, so it will never give you slick focus pulls, but to re-centre on the action it will see you right.

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Quick Look: Guns’n’Glory for Android Video Review

October 27, 2010

I have just uploaded the first (of many to come) videos looking at some of the apps you can get on your Desire and/or Android device.

The first app is a Tower Defence game called Guns’n’Glory.

Let me know what you think and please subscribe to my channel!

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Gingerbread man shows up outside Google HQ

October 26, 2010

A bit of fun for your Tuesday afternoon: The giant gingerbread man from Shrek 2 & 3 appeared on the front lawn of Google HQ in America a few days back to show off the upcoming 2.3 “Gingerbread” update for Android devices. OK so it wasn’t actually Mongo from Shrek but it sure does look like him!

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