Posts tagged android
This guide was initially part of the How to Take Screenshots tutorial but has been separated out because it’s going to be referenced in a few upcoming tutorials.
Instructions – Mac users can skip to step 5
- Go to the Java Runtime Environment (or the JDK if you intend to develop your own apps) page
- Select your Operating System, agree to terms and click Continue
- Download the file shown below (the version number may differ, this is the latest at time of writing this article)
- When the download completes run the file to install it
- Get the Android SDK – free download available from here. Downloads are at the top of the page, just choose your relevant operating system – no need to follow the instructions on that page!
- When the download has completed extract the file:
- Windows – Right Click -> Extract All -> Follow the onscreen prompt.
- Mac – Double click the file
- Open the extract android-sdk-rXX-<os> folder, the android-sdk-<os> subfolder within it (if it’s there). You should see something like this:
- Windows: install the latest Android phone drivers using the instructions here
- That’s it. You’ve now got the Android SDK setup on your computer.
In the past couple of weeks, most of the hype has been about ‘Froyo’, and the features that it may/may not include. This article aims to help everyone understand what it actually means, discusses potential features, and what it actually means for you as a HTC Desire owner. Let’s start with basics:
Android is the operating system that is installed on your mobile phone. If you consider your phone to be the hardware – the touchscreen, buttons, camera, mic, trackpad all the little components on the inside, then the operating system (OS) is the software that makes the hardware come to life. From the moment you turn your phone on, Android is running. It provides you with everything you see on the screen, whether its your homescreens, making a call, sending a text message or taking a picture, all of it is done using Android. This operating system is developed by Google and provided free of charge.
As a Desire owner, it’s safe to say you’ll have come across the term HTC Sense. HTC Sense is a version of Android which has been customised by the company that made your phone, HTC. As Android is free and open-source, it’s open to any developer to download the code and edit it for themselves. HTC have gone and done just that, creating a fantastic variation of Android. HTC Sense includes the homescreen that you get, the widgets, the Mail, Browser, Messaging applications, even the on-screen keyboard you get and other similar features. In simple terms, HTC Sense is Android, but modified by HTC.
NOTE: If you’re using a phone by another manufacturer, then it may also have a variation of Android, for example Motorola phones call their variation MotoBlur. Phone that use the Android OS as supplied by Google without any/minor customisation are referred to as running Vanilla Android, with Vanilla being the geek-term for plain.
Donuts, Eclairs and Froyos!
All these desserts are Google’s names for the Android OS as it matures over time. Android is under constant development by Google. Each new version of Android is assigned a codename based on a famous sweet snacks which go in alphabetical order. Donut is Android 1.6, Eclair is 2.1 (the version you have on your Desire) and Froyo is 2.2, which is due to be released around 19 May.
Android Versions on HTC Desire (and other HTC Phones)
As mentioned earlier, HTC phones come with a modified version of Android called HTC Sense. With each new version of Android, HTC get the code from Google and then apply their changes to make it into HTC Sense. This process can take from days, all the way up to months. This means that you can’t expect the HTC Sense version of Android to be released on the same day as the Vanilla release. You have to wait for HTC to finish altering and testing it. HTC Hero phone owners are still waiting for their HTC Sense version of Eclair from HTC – Google released Eclair in January!
Froyo is the next version of Android which is rumoured to bring some exciting new changes to Android phones. The most interesting of which are described below:
- Flash Player 10.1 – Up til now Android phones have used Flash Lite, which is only a very limited way of viewing Flash content. Flash Player 10.1 will allow you to view Flash content on your phone, in almost exactly the same way as you would on your PC. For example, you should be able to watch iPlayer directly from the BBC website, play Flash games on certain websites and view websites that have been created using Adobe Flash. This feature is guaranteed to be included in Froyo.
- Applications on SD Card – If you rooted your handset you’ll know how useful it is to use your MicroSD card for installing applications on. It means you’re no longer restricted to the limited capacity of your phone. Google have now decided that they will allow this functionality in future versions of Android. This is great news considering how many games and applications use quite a large amount of storage space. This feature is most-likely going to be included in Froyo, but not guaranteed.
- Tethering - this allows you to connect your phone to your computer, and share the mobile internet coming into your phone with your computer. For example, if you’re travelling on a train with a laptop where there’s no WiFi, you could plug your Desire into the laptop using your USB cable and enable tethering. The laptop would then be connected to the Internet via the mobile internet connection of your phone. Bear in mind that most mobile networks state that your data allowance can’t be used for tethering.
What Does It Mean for My HTC Desire?
Well, Froyo will be announced on the 19 May at a Google Conference. It will be released on the same day, or within a few days in it’s Vanilla form. The Vanilla version will work on phones whose manufacturers didn’t bother with customising Android, for example the Google Nexus One. For the HTC Desire, we’ll be waiting for HTC to create the Sense version of it – and it’s whenever they’re ready that we’ll see the update on our Desires.
- Android is an operating system
- HTC Sense is Android that has been modified by HTC
- Froyo is a codename for version 2.2 of Android, Eclair is the codename for version 2.1
- Froyo will be released around the 19 May 2010
- Froyo for the Desire will be released when HTC modify Froyo with their changes to make it into HTC Sense
Well, I hope you now have a better understanding of what it is that makes your Desire tick. If you have any questions, or spot any mistakes do let me know.
Update. 25 May 2010: This method will also solve issues where you get an error message saying “Google Talk authentication has failed”
All day yesterday I was unable to download any Android apps from the marketplace, it was very annoying. The phone would constantly say ‘preparing download’ and that was it, there wasn’t even an error message. It turned out the problem wasn’t with the phone but it was to do with a change that Google made to their email service this week.
All over the world googlemail.com is known as gmail.com, here in the UK it is called googlemail.com due to a copyright dispute. However, Google sorted out the legal stuff and this week offered all UK users the option to move over to a gmail address. They claimed the switch over would be seamless but it would seem that they’ve overlooked Android handsets.
Once I changed over to gmail.com my HTC Desire was suddenly unable to download apps from the Android Marketplace. The issue is with the ‘Talk’ application on the handset (Talk is Google’s equivalent of Windows Instant Messenger). When downloading from the marketplace, in the background, ‘Talk’ signs in on your Google email address and that is what authenticates the handset to commence the download. In my example it was still signing in on my old googlemail.com address but this no longer existed (I was also getting an error message stating that Google Talk would not authenticate, a telltale sign of this problem). This is why I was unable to download anything. What doesn’t help is that there is no option on the handset to change the settings for the Talk application, you are stuck with the settings you already entered when you set up the phone for the first time.
Option 1 – Not Recommended
Remove your googlemail.com account from your phone then add the new gmail address. The problem here is that removing your googlemail.com account from your phone requires a full phone reset, this involves losing EVERYTHING on your phone and starting again from scratch. Not good.
Option 2 – Much Better!
Go into your google email account settings (via a computer, not your handset) and switch back to your old googlemail.com address. The second I did this and restarted my handset’s internet connection the applications started downloading again.
In order to refer Gmail back to googlemail.com follow these steps:
- On a computer, log into your gmail.
- Click Settings (top right)
- Click Accounts and Imports
- At the bottom, next to ‘Change Account Settings‘, click on ‘Google Account Settings‘.
- On the opened page it will tell you near the top whether you have a gmail or googlemail address.
- Go back to the previous page, next to ‘send mail as’ there is a small ‘switch to gmail?’ link, click this.
- Then, click the link that says ‘go back to googlemail‘, then on the next page click the next button to confirm (I think it’s the big blue button).
- Then click on the ‘Google Account Settings’ link from step 4; this should now confirm you are back on a googlemail account.
Mozilla have released a Pre-Alpha version of Fennec (the codename for mobile Firefox versions). After developing this version for some time, Mozilla finally feel that the application is ready for some user testing. As the title “pre-alpha” suggests, it’s going to be far from stable so don’t be surprised if there’s unexpected Force Closes and unexpected behaviour.
Some reported problems include some users not even being able to install the app (not enough memory error) whereas others have installed it fine.
You can download it from here. It’s 10MB filesize, so if you’re download straight to your phone I’d recommend using a WiFi connection.
Option 1: Download to computer, connect Desire via USB and mount as USB. Copy the file across and install using Astro.
Option 2: Download directly to phone (WiFi highly recommended). Use Astro to install.
There’s no multi-touch feature in this version.
I’ll post up some screenshots later on. In the meantime if you do try it let everyone know how you get on by posting a comment!
Google announced a few days ago that Google Maps now allows navigation (as Tweeted by me as soon as I heard). Here’s an application that will make it a lot easier for you to launch Google Navigation (as well as other services like Maps and Contacts). It’s just an easier way to start navigating. Here’s a screenshot of the app:
To install it follow these simple steps:
- Download and install Astro File Manager from the Market (if you don’t have it already)
- Download the Nav Launcher from here
- If you downloaded this on your phone skip to Step 4
If you downloaded this on your computer skip to Step 5
- Open Astro file manager
- Click on Downloads
- Select CarDock.apk
- Connect your Desire to computer and mount as USB
- Copy the CarDock.apk file to your phone
- Open Astro file manager
- Browse to where you’ve put CarDock.apk
- Select CarDock.apk
- Select Open App Manager from the two options that appear on Astro
- Click Install
- Install the application as any normal app. If you get an Install blocked message, just go to Settings and make sure the Unknown sources box is checked
- Open your menu and you should see Car Home appear!
Ever wondered what one of these is:
Well this is actually what is known as a QR Code or a 2D barcode. It’s a barcode which can contain a piece of information such as a weblink, chunk of text or even a business card.
On Android it’s commonly used to let you download apps, or visit websites that you’re viewing on your computer to your Android phone.
To use one is really easy, just go to the Market and search for “Barcode Scanner”. It’s a free app. Download and install. Then, whenever you see this code of you can run the app, scan the code and see what information the barcode has. If it’s an app, it will take you to the Market entry for that app or if it’s a weblink it’ll open in the browser and if it’s a piece of text then it’ll be displayed onscreen for you to read.
You’ll find them becoming popular on commercial products too. For example I recently bought a can of Pepsi which had one of these codes on. Scanning it took me to a webpage with a Pepsi competition on!
To test it out just try scanning the code above with your phone!
Seems to be a few posts about syncing contacts to the Desire recently, I promise more variety in the next few posts (I’m open to suggestions) but I suppose this is the kind of thing people want right now as they start using their Desires!
Anyway, here’s a link to a Google page which gives you straight forward instructions on how you can directly sync contacts from your Symbian phone to your GMail account. Once synced, you can use that GMail account on your Desire and sync all the contacts down to your phone. It even works with your calendar too!
It’s really easy, done with software that should be on your Nokia already have (and if not it’s free to download anyway).
Basically: Nokia -> GMail -> HTC Desire. Simple.
Thanks to Stian216 on Twitter for the tip!
Note: This may work with other Nokia phones too depending on the version of Symbian OS that they use. This method is so easy it’s quite unbelievable.
Here’s what you do:
- On your Nokia go to Contacts
- Go on Options > Mark/Unmark > Mark All
- Go on Options > Copy > To Memory Card
- Connect your phone to PC
- Browse to /Other/Contacts/ on your phone’s memory card
- Copy all the .vcf files to your PC
- Connect your Desire to PC and mount as USB
- Copy all the .vcfs to the SDCard (make a directory for neatness if you like)
- Open the People app on the Desire
- Press the Menu button and select Import/Export
- Select the Import from SDCard option
- Select the Import All vCard files option
All your contacts will now be on your Desire using really simple steps.
NOTE: This has been tested on an N95 and should work on other phones too. It even worked on a Sony Ericsson K750i!
UPDATE 1: 15 April 2010 – 15:22: Updated the instructions on what to do on your Nokia
sancho1983 at HUKD has kindly compiled a huge list of popular games and applications that have been suggested by various members on HUKD. Here’s the list:
Handcent SMS – Much better than the stock Messaging facility
Anycut – create your own shortcuts to particular functions (or create shortcuts to apps with “cleaner” names to look nicer)
Twidtroid – Twitter App
eBuddy – Messenger
Foursquare – Gps social networking helps you discover new places in your city (www.foursquare.com)
Mobisle Notes – Notepad + to do list
Locale – allows you to set location based profiles, sound off at work with wifi turned on, different backrround out of work etc etc
Evernote – Note taking and clipping, uploads everything into the cloud, use on your pc aswell (http://www.evernote.com
Movies – Local showing times, film reviews etc
Pkt Auctions Ebay – ebay app
Shazam – music identifier
Telegraph.co.uk – news on the go
Fotmob – football live scores
Advanced task killer – stiop background apps
eoeappinstaller – allows you to install .apks from the net and install them (so you can get the pro versions for “free”
Key Ring – carry your reward cards(with barcodes) on your phone!
Opera 5 mini – Browser (upgrade to Opera Mobile when released)
Torrent Fu – manage torrents on your PC from your phone, scan barcodes when you are out and start downloading at home
Wavesecure – security app
Tunes remote – itunes remote control
Swype – keyboard replacement, drag across the letters to input text, amazing!
Copilot Sat Nav (26.99)
Google maps(updates maps on the phone with added speech support)
Voice Caller ID
Widget Screen brightness
DG_TrainTimes (made by dgoulston)
Astro File manager
Tricorder (Feels like your using a star trek gadget)
Zombie, Run (Real world google map zombies. You literally run away from them)
Opera Mini 5 (still beta but I think this will become a good browser)
Mother TED (Watch TED videos)
Gesture Bar (for gesture search)
Australia Vs England, ashes cricket (£1.49)
Droid mini golf
Orbs knock Off
Poke a mole
There’s on similar to WipeOut but in mines (I’ll change this to the name once I remember)
Replica Island (free)
Blow It Up!
Home Run Battle