Archive for March, 2011

App of the week: Grooveshark Remote

March 28, 2011

android app of the weekI have just spent the last 45 minutes creating this fancy icon for my new feature “App of the week” so I hope you like it.

Every week I get the chance I will list my favourite app for Android. Be it free or paid it will go up and I will attempt to explain what it is exactly that makes this app so very special.

App: Grooveshark Remote
Cost: FREE / 99p for add-free + more features
Developer: Ben Kay
Developer page: awesomedigital.co.uk/gsremote

grooveshark remote for android 1This week I start off with Grooveshark Remote. For those who haven’t seen or heard about Grooveshark then check out my video review on YouTube. To cut to the chase, Grooveshark is a cheaper alternative to Spotify. Whereas Spotify is £9.99 a month for use on a mobile device, Grooveshark equates to about £20 a year.

Grooveshark Remote basically allows you to control Grooveshark running on your PC/Mac via your HTC Desire. This means you can choose, skip, pause and play songs without even getting off your chair. This is great for lazy people like me who like to change the current track whilst in the kitchen for example.

The free version has ads and doesn’t allow you to control the volume but the paid version removes ads and unlocks the volume feature. I know it doesn’t sound like a lot for 99p but not only was the volume feature one I really wanted but the developer promises to add more features in an upcoming version.

grooveshark remote for android 2Who knows, maybe in the future you’ll be able to ‘favourite’ and have even more control over your tracks. I’d certainly recommend giving the free trial a go at least.

If there is album artwork then it is displayed on your handset and the main screen has the previous, pause and skip buttons on. Using your phone’s volume control will control the output of the volume from your Grooveshark web application. Note this app only works with the web version of Grooveshark because it uses a browser plugin – not a problem though because all your playlists from the Dekstop Grooveshark application are all saved online. Clicking on the album art takes you to your playlist so you can quickly switch between songs.

From this screen you can also control repeat all, one or none and also the shuffle mode.

There are a few kinks that’ll need to be worked out but this is definitely an app that’ll get re-installed whenever I wipe my phone.

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Android on crack..lol

March 26, 2011

OK so this isn’t exactly Desire-related but I had to share it with you. If something like this happened in the UK there’d be a whole month’s worth of health and safety hearings on the case (and probably several arrests).

The video is shot in Taiwan at the launch stand of the Sony Xperia Arc and, as the title suggestions, shows an Android on crack. I’ve never seen anyone dance like this whilst not wearing a costume so I have no idea how he did it inside an inflated Android one!

Enjoy!

PS watch closely at 1:27 for the rather disturbing light-up crotch…;)

Amazon App Store now live (in the US)

March 24, 2011

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I held back on posting this yesterday because I thought Amazon would launch the UK version of its app store, but apparently not. Not yet anyway.

If you follow the link below you’ll be able to doanload Amazon’s new app store.

They are offering a free paid app every day and the first one is Angry Birds Rio.

So far so good. The interface is clean, tidy and smooth. Let’s see how this affects the Android Market.

No news about the store on the UK site yet but hopefully it wont be long.

http://amzn.to/amazonappstorelanding

Posted from WordPress for Android

Amazon App Store site and prices leaked

March 19, 2011

amazonappstoreThe bored Germans over at Android News were messing around on the Amazon website a few days back and stumbled upon the holding page for Amazon’s new app store.

The page at http://www.amazon.com/apps was later taken offline but that didn’t stop Frank from Android News taken a few screenshots and even creating a nice little table comparing the prices of Amazon’s store to Google’s Market.

The prices don’t look too dissimilar to the Market but obviously Amazon have some exclusive titles and are able to accept more payment methods than Google Checkout. There is even a rumour that the Amazon App Store will launch on the 22nd March but we will have to wait and find out. For more information and some sneaky screenshots be sure to check out Android News’ post on the matter.

HTC Desire running Android Gingerbread 2.3.3 rom (HD)

March 15, 2011

Hi all, have just uploaded a new video going through some of the features and improvements on Gingerbread which I have running on my HTC Desire. Take a look below and let me know what you think!

Click here for the full-HD version: HTC Desire running Android Gingerbread 2.3.3 rom (HD)

New ‘Angry Birds Rio’ will be exclusive to Android via Amazon App Store

March 14, 2011

Amazon have bagged exclusive rights to distribute the next version of Angry Birds: Angry Birds Rio. It will be launched through Amazon’s very own app store on the 22nd March (according to Rovio – the developers)

Why is this such a big deal? Well, Angry Birds on Android has sold 30 million copies alone so Amazon having exclusive rights to distribute this sure-to-be-sought-after new version can only mean a good launch for Amazon’s new store.

How well the store will hold up is yet to be seen as it faces stiff competition from Google’s Market.

See below for teaser trailer for the upcoming game.

HTC Desire S available in the UK end of March

March 9, 2011

The website Clove are reporting that they will receive stock of the HTC Desire S in the last week of March. This is earlier than previously expected and other shops where you can pre-order the phone still give an April 18th release date.

The HTC Desire S handset on the Clove website is on sale at £406.80 including VAT which is a bit more expensive than Amazon who have it up for £399.99. Mind you, if you are wanting to buy the phone then an extra £6.81 to get it nearly 3 weeks earlier is probably worth it.

Is it time to upgrade yet? If you’re not sure then read my blog post comparing the HTC Desire to the HTC Desire S

Android smartphones outselling iPhones

March 9, 2011

Android salesTesco have reported that Android smartphones are now outselling iPhones.

Graham Harris, CEO of Tesco Telecoms and Tesco Mobile said:

“As one of the UK’s leading operators, these sales are a useful barometer for smartphone trends. There is a lot of choice in the market and as a result consumers are driving healthy competition between rival operating systems.”

With more and more cheaper handsets appearing on the shelves the Android user-base is increasing more and more.

The Inquirer stated that Android sales grew by nearly 900 per cent from 2009 and that 67.2 million Android-based units were sold in 2010.

3 (Three) UK announce the HTC Desire S for April

March 6, 2011

3 Three LogoJoining the O2 bandwagon, Three have now also announced that the HTC Desire S will be heading to their network in April. Although no date is set you can subscribe to receive a notification when the phone starts to ship.

No pricing plans yet but I’ll be sure to post some up when they come out. Being an ex-3 customer they often have some very very good deals…

 

 

 

 

HTC Desire Vs HTC Desire S – Specs, Size and Software

March 2, 2011

Here it is, the official DesireFanatics showdown between the mighty HTC Desire and the new boy in town: the HTC Desire S.

Having owned the HTC Desire since it’s launch on the T-Mobile network last February, I must say I’m still happy with my phone. There have been a couple of additions to the Desire range but they didn’t quite have the same impact as the original Desire (possibly the Desire HD being the most talked about out of the two – the other being the Desire Z of course).

So let’s see what HTC have tweaked and improved with a year’s worth of feedback and reflection. The reason I say ‘tweak’ and ‘improve’ is because the Desire in its own right was pretty much perfect in both design and features.

[update 09/06/11) I have just made a video to compliment this story which you can see below. I still recommend reading the rest of the article once you’ve watched the video though ;)]

So let’s get down to business.

Size

For those of you who say size doesn’t matter – it does – at least when phones are involved. Bigger is certainly not better but too small and it’s unusable, the size of the handset is very important.

HTC Desire S Size Comparison

As you can see, the HTC Desire S is slightly smaller than it’s older brother. The only thing you would notice really however is the fact it is thinner than the Desire.

CPU and Memory

HTC Desire:1GHz with 512MB internal memory
HTC Desire S: 1GHz with 1.1GB internal memorye th

The Desire S still ‘only’ has a 1GHz like the Desire. This is disappointing. As we start to see new Android handsets shipping with dual-core CPUs I was hoping for something more from HTC.

The internal  memory has been more than doubled in the revised Desire. This is good news for speed and app space improvements however it isn’t a huge amount. It would have been nice to see maybe 4GB of internal storage – just for future proofing but this would have put up the production costs I suppose. As more and more apps support moving to SD storage it should become less of a problem but I still can’t help feeling a little underwhelmed.

Platform

HTC Desire: Android 2.2 Froyo
HTC Desire S: Android 2.3 Gignerbread

The Desire started its life with Eclair 2.1 but was then updated to Froyo 2.2. This brought with it speed and functionality improvements. We can expect the same improvements from Gingerbread.

Battery

HTC Desire: 1400mAh
HTC Desire S: 1450mAh

What?! Did HTC not see the problems users had with battery life in their Desires? Increasing the battery size by 50mAh is not really going to help. Let’s hope that Gingerbread brings even more improvements to the battery life so the Desire S with it’s increased bells and whistles can last at least a day.

Camera

HTC Desire: 5MP camera with single LED flash
HTC Desire S: 5MP cameria with single LED flash + front facing VGA camera

This is the big physical change on the desire – the inclusion of a front-facing camera. In no way is this new or amazing technology to have on a phone but it is nice to have as an option. I must admit, none of the phones I have had with a front-facing camera have had any use out of it but that might just be me. In a increasingly “FaceTime” (I hate that word) world, people start to expect these kinds of things. Skype will soon support video calls (if it doesn’t already) so it’ll be useful for many users. Still only a 5MP camera on the Desire S I would have thought HTC may have opted for 8MP at least.

Design

The second physical change in the handset is the new unibody design of the Desire S. This makes it a lot stronger and lighter (by 5 grams) than the Desire. HTC have also removed the physical buttons from the Desire S. This is something I was unsure about until today when I had the pleasure of using an HTC Wildfire. The touch-screen buttons worked well and the feedback received when pressing a button was sufficient enough for my liking. There is an interesting omission of the optical trackball. I often use this to move the text cursor around when correcting spelling errors so let’s hope Gingerbread introduces an easy and precise method of navigating through text.

Final thoughts

If I didn’t have a Desire I would get the Desire S in a heartbeat. Sadly I do have a Desire and I also have 12 months left on my contract. I admire HTC for improving the near-perfect Desire but it’s not enough to make me want to spend £400 on a new toy. I’m quite happy to spend another 12 months with my Desire however, I haven’t gotten bored of it yet like I have done with other phones. I think in the ever evolving world of apps and software updates it keeps consumers occupied for longer and thus the product’s lifespan also increases.

If you don’t have a Desire then go for the Desire S. If you do, I’d hold out until the Desire HD 2 comes out and we’ll see what that’s like 😉


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