Archive for February, 2011

HTC confirm Gingerbread update for the HTC Desire

February 28, 2011

Android Robot and GingerbreadHTC announced today that the HTC Desire along with the Google Nexus One, Desire HD, Desire Z and the new Nexus S – good news especially for Nexus S owners who have purchased a brand new phone with an out-of-date operating system.

So what new things can we expect from this 2.3 update? Apart from the usual speed and interface improvements, Google are promising NFC (near field communication) – useless here in the UK because we don’t have any NFC systems yet. SIP is also a new feature which is something I miss from my Nokia N95. Having a SIP account allows you to use WiFi to make cheap/often free phone calls to other people.

Battery life improvements, improved multi-tasking and memory management are just some of the other things you can expect when the update is released during Q2 of this year.

Bring it on! 🙂


Alf for LOVEFiLM Android App on Market

February 23, 2011

Alf for LOVEFILM AndroidIt’s about time: Android finally has an app for managing your LOVEFiLM rental lists – and it’s good too!

As EuroDroid pointed out earlier tonight, Alf for LOVEFiLM launched today on the Market at a very reasonable £1.

The app was written by David Johnston (who is famous for the most played Counter Strike level ever created) and it boasts the following description:

Alf for LOVEFiLM lets you access your LOVEFiLM account on-the-go.

* Includes access to LOVEFiLM’s full database of 70,000+ movies, games, television and music available to rent
* Add and remove titles from any of your queues
* Change title priorities to get the titles you want sooner
* Search by barcode or voice

There has already been one update to the app since the release so the dev is certainly working hard an it open to e-mails with bugs/comments. Take a look at the screenshots below and see for yourself; this is the start of something very very useful. For people like me, I don’t want to have to log onto to the LOVEFiLM website to adjust or add rentals to my list, I want to be able to do it on the move; I want to check when and what rentals have been sent out to me or received back and Alf does that for me.
Alf for LOVEFILM Android Screenshot 1Alf for LOVEFILM Android Screenshot 2

Alf for LOVEFILM Android Screenshot 3Alf for LOVEFILM Android Screenshot 4

Alf for LOVEFILM Android Screenshot 5



HTC Desire S Officially Announced at MWC 2011

February 15, 2011

HTC Desire SWe all knew the follow-up to the HTC Desire would be announced at the Mobile World Congress 2011 but now it’s official!

The HTC Desire S will be running Android Gingerbread operating system and will have the 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 processor (as found in the HTC Desire HD). There will be 1.1GB of internal storage and 768MB of RAM – both an increase since the Desire (512MB internal and 512MB of RAM) so maybe we won’t see too many “Low space” messages anymore 😉

The phone is only a few mm smaller than its predecessor but will be made from a single unibody piece of aluminium. Wireless 802.11n networking will work out-the-box and, possibly the most interesting thing to me, maps will be stored locally on the device. This means no waiting and no data usage/cost.

Front facing camera will allow video calling via Skype etc and 720p video recording will be a standard.

Check out the HTC Desire S website to find out more details.

Gameloft’s Valentine’s £1 Android app sale

February 11, 2011

Wow, try and say that quickly 5 times in a row!

Mre to the point, Gameloft have a sale on their Android apps up to and including the 14th February – ahh how romantic!

What better way is there to tell someone you love them than to buy an app for your own pleasure?

One caveat however is that the sale isn’t through the Android Market. Strange I know. You actually have to go through Gameloft’s mobile Android site ( ) to get the deals which is a bit of an annoyance.

The other odd thing is that there are games on their mobile site that aren’t in the Android Market. The full list includes:

Real Football 2011 HD
Tom Clancey’s Splinter Cell Conviction HD
Let’s Golf 2 HD
Asphalt 5 HD
Sherk Kart HD
GT Racing: Motor Academy HD
Fishing Kings HD
Tom Clancey’s H.A.W.X. HD
Let’s Golf HD

Each game costs just £1 and if you’re wondering whether you can re-download the game when you wipe your phone then the answer, according to the FAQs, is yes. You can re-download the games for up to 3 years but you have to do it through their site. I think 3 years is more than long enough – will we even be using our HTC Desires in 3 years time? Probably not, we’ll have our HTC Desire 4s by then 😉

BBC iPlayer app for Android now available on the Market

February 10, 2011
bbc iplayer android screenshot

The iPlayer app is quite beautiful

Yes, it’s out! Do a search for iPlayer on the Market and you’ll find the official BBC Android version waiting for you.

Just to let you know there is Live TV, Live Radio and 3 quality settings ranging from 400kbps to 800kbps.

So, what is version 1.0 of the iPlayer app like? Well I’ve been playing around with it quite a bit today and although there is still a lot of work to be done, it’s a good start.

You can tell the app is polished. Open it up and you get the BBC “feel”. The main screen of the app shows the featured shows and a quick swipe to the right shows you the current most popular titles. One more swipe right and you get to see videos that have been recommended to you – presumably from data gathered by other programmes you have watched.

A single click on any programme and you are taken to a screen with the programme information, running time and the ability to Share or add to your favourites. Press play and you’ll be taken to the full-screen horizontal mode. If you press your back button, the video will shrink and the app displays the summary page of the programme once more whilst still playing the video. It is then possible to get back into full-screen by tapping on the video. This isn’t a smooth and fluid process and you will notice the video chop and pause when it rotates but it’s still nice to have it there.

The option to view videos by category and channel is also available from the not-so-obvious “menu” button at the top of the screen. This is also where you get to access Live TV. Live TV seems to work well, although the quality obviously isn’t as good as pre-aired programmes, it’s still good enough to watch on-the-go. I say on-the-go but you can’t actually use your 3G connection to stream programmes – only to browse. This might be added in a later version but from experience on the Symbian version, I doubt it very much.

bbc iplayer android download marketThe main problem I have seen with the streaming of videos is the sync between the audio and the video. If you start a programme and watch it all the way through the sync is normally OK. However, if you skip to different parts of a stream then the sync can go way out – this is obviously something the BBC need to fix in the next app update.

The Radio functions all work well, there is also live streaming available via the sneaky “menu” button at the top of the screen. It’s certainly nice to have digital radio in your pocket even if it is only available via WiFi.

So, a good start for the BBC iPlayer app and it’ll be interesting to see how it improves over the next month or two. Will we see HD streaming to our phones? Will we be able to save TV or radio shows for later viewing/listening? It’s all possible but we’ll have to wait and see what the BBC bring to us.

BBC iPlayer App for Android coming this week

February 9, 2011

iplayer android app bbcAt long long last, the BBC have put some of iur TV License fee to good use. There is an Android iPlayer app being released by the end of the week (possibly tomorrow).

So why will this be better than visiting the mobile version of the site? Well it should allow downloading of content and also higher quality versions of shows depending on the handset you are using.

BBC have said the iPlayer app will require a WiFi connection to stream content. 3G streaming will not be supported but browsing via 3G will.

HTC Desire 2 shots leaked – front camera, Gingerbread 2.3.1 and 3 mics!

February 6, 2011

Wow, not a year since the HTC Desire was launched in the UK and shots of it’s successor are already floating around the net. reported earlier this morning that the phone actually has 3 mics as well – probably for noise cancellation which the original Desire didn’t get (although the Nexus One did). This was one of the things that kept the price down.

The Desire 2 has a front facing camera and a super AMOLED capacitive touch screen. It also seems the hardware buttons we’ve been used to on the bottom of the phone have been removed in favour of touch-screen ones. Is this a good thing or bad? Reports from Nexus One users originally were that they weren’t very responsive. Hopefully HTC have tweaked things a bit but I think I prefer something I can actually press. Expect it to run the latest Android Gingerbread operating system 2.3.1.

No other details yet but expect an announcement at the 2011 Mobile World Congress the week after next. In the mean time, feast your eyes on these:


HTC Desire 2 Saga

HTC Desire 2 Saga 2

Android App Test: JuiceDefender HTC Desire Battery Test/Tips

February 3, 2011

Today I’m going to best testing out the excellent little app JuiceDefender to see just how much battery it can save me on my HTC Desire.

Usual phone settings apply (see below). JuiceDefender running with default ‘out the box’ settings.

Here is how my HTC Desire 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
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

I’m going to compare the battery level with my previous Froyo test to get a rough idea on how much it’s helping. Old scores will be in square brackets

9:00 100% Will be listening to Grooveshark on my way in to work

10:00 98%! Not bad so far. Have been e-mailing lots (as my computer is currently out of action) and made a phone call

11:00 95% [92%] Still looking good, have sent plenty of e-mails and checking tweets and Facebook

12:00 90% Have only used 10% of the battery in 3 hours which isn’t bad considering the usage. I have still been e-mailing, Facebooking and tweeting since 11.

13:00 82% [78%] A bit of a jump here. I was listening to FM Radio on the walk back home for lunch and have been eBaying quite heavily (PKT Auctions app). I’ve noticed a few quirks with how JuiceDefender works. One example is that it will disable your volume keys when the screen is locked. This isn’t a huge problem unless you’re listening to music but it’s obviously one of the ways it saves your battery. (Phone usage should go back to normal after lunch as I have now fixed my computer ;))

14:00 78% Only light usage since the last update.

15:00 74% Again, haven’t used the phone much. Checked e-mail and tweets a few times.

16:00 71% More general use of the phone in the last hour, only lost 3%

17:00 69% [60%] Not bad going in the last hour, only down by 3%. Comparing this to the last test I can see that JuiceDefender has done a great job at saving me some power. Knowing that at the end of a working day and some quite heavy usage is reassuring. At the rate the phone has been discharging I know it could still get through a whole night out without being charged.

18:00 64% The walk home and some tweeting hasn’t caused a huge problem. Will be reporting again later on tonight.

22:45 53% left [34%] Well, nearly 14 hours on and I still have over half my battery left! I can certainly conclude from this initial test that JuiceDefender has done a great job at saving power on my phone. I will leave my phone on overnight and see what I end up with in the morning. (JuiceDefender will be disabled along with all syncing activities.)

HTC Desire JuiceDefender Test

Here's the proof!

[Update 04/02/2011] My phone has now been away from a power source for over 28.5 hours and I still have 18% left! I’ll see how long I can push it for the rest of the day!

[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

[Update Oct 2011] I’ve also just reviewed this app on YouTube; you can check it out below

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