Yesterday, Canonical, the people behind the development of the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution for desktop and laptops made an announcement that they would be putting Ubuntu on phones later this year or early next year. This will mark a significant change in the development of Ubuntu Linux specifically and Linux in general.
While this is not as revolutionary as when the first iPhones hit the market, it is important to note that the release of Ubuntu for smartphones will be an interesting development in the market segment. Provided the user interface is of as high quality as that on iOS and Android, it can provide a significant alternative to not only iOS and Android devices, but also the range of Windows Phone devices that are fighting for market and mind share in this segment.
This may sound like a wild imagination, but a smartphone that would support multiple user accounts could be an interesting change from what is currently available. This could facilitate several spaces in which a user could run applications. For example, one space could be dedicated to running experimental software, another for running day to day smartphone tasks and yet another could be for running corporate applications for work.
What could also appeal to the developer community could be the mention of some sort of control of device configurations so that the market becomes more addressable. I am not sure how this might translate into reality, but I can see that the benefit of developing for iOS and Windows Phone is the limited number of screen resolutions and device configurations that a developer has to address.
This year will prove to be an interesting one for developers as the Mozilla Foundation is also readying their own Gecko-based phone.
I have been an Android enthusiast since I got my first Android phone, the HTC Legend. Even though I am a big fan of Apple computer hardware, I have found that Apple’s iPhone and iPad a little less inspiring. As for smartphones in general, though, it is the apps that makes a platform useful and usable. I would like to list some of the apps that I use often. I will list them here, but not in any particular order.
Facebook A lot of my friends are on Facebook so it makes keeping in touch and staying social an easy task. It has gotten a little faster since the last update, but it used to be infuriatingly slow, especially for photos.
Facebook Messenger If a lot of your friends are on Facebook, there really is no point in finding out their phone numbers and then sending them text messages. Why not just use the Messenger as your text message replacement. It will also save you money if you text a lot, as long as your phone or tablet has a reasonable amount of data included per month.
Chrome One of the things I really liked about Android was the ability to have your bookmarks synced across the different devices. Using Chrome, I can have my bookmarks synchronised across my Windows 7 desktop, Macbook Pro, Macbook Air, Android Phone and Android Tablet. I can discover an interesting resource while I’m on the move and I can bookmark it for reading later when I get home. The other thing I like about Chrome is its speed.
Evernote Do you need to keep a note of things on a regular basis? Evernote is the application that I use on a regular basis to keep track of little tidbits of information. If there’s anything that is a little sensitive, you can also encrypt them for extra security. This app can keep text, recording, images and just about anything you throw at it as notes that get synchronised to all your other devices. I can write a shopping list on my Macbook Pro and then walk out with my phone to use the list which auto-magically appears on the Evernote client on my phone.
Skitch Is a useful app for making diagrams, notes and other graphically-oriented notes. You can annotate images, screenshots or acquire an image using the camera. I have used it to explain concepts, create simple flowcharts, wireframes and other graphically-oriented tasks.
StumbleUpon A perfect app for those who like to discover new websites. This app will take you to many different sites recommended by other uses in categories. All you need to do is create an account and pick your categories. It is much better in app form than as a browser toolbar.
Autodesk Sketchbook Express If, like me, you like to sketch on the go or when inspired, you can use this app to create your sketches. It supports layers (like photoshop) and it has support for many different types of brushes. The only thing that it does not have is pressure sensitivity, due to the nature of the touchscreen on the devices.
Astro File Manager Unlike IOS devices, Android devices have an actual file system, which is Unix-like in structure. Astro has a lot of tools to help you move, copy or organise your files on your device. It also has support for Samba shares, FTP and Bluetooth transfers through extensions.
Barcode Scanner This is one of the basic apps to use for scanning barcodes and QR codes. There are plenty of them in the Google Play Store, but this is one of the better ones (ad free and no nagging).
Google Drive I use Google Docs a lot for writing documents and sharing them with people. I use Google Drive on the go so I can read, edit and maybe write a little on my tablet or smartphone.
Dropbox I use Dropbox to set my photos to upload as I take them on the phone. This is also a handy way to move files if you absolutely have to only use network connections.
WordPress Wordpress is very useful for updating your WordPress blogs on the go. What more can I say?
A few days ago, my phone reported the availability of a software update for my HTC One X phone, on Virgin Mobile. It was a small update of 1.25MB. I applied the update, and yesterday, my phone reported another update which was the Android 4.1.1 update (Jellybean). Wonderful! If your phone reports the same update, I recommend doing it at home over wifi as the size of the download is quite large, at 360MB. Here’s a screenshot of the phone after the update.
In the last few months, I have noticed that a lot of the websites that I have visited have been offering apps. It gets quite annoying after a while, as every time I visit the website, I am greeted by a modal pop-over asking me if I would like to install their app. The pop-over, invariably has a very large button to take you to Google Play Store (formerly known as “Android Market”) with a quite small link underneath it with a “continue to website” text. Continue reading →
The main attraction of the smartphone systems available in the market is the ability of users to install applications. The ability of users to install applications on their phones is essentially what makes smarphones “smart”. The range of applications available is quite wide and they number in the tens of thousands to the millions. Continue reading →
Three months ago, I was at the end of a two-year contract with my service provider, Vodafone. I took the opportunity to immediately look at available phones in the market and the kinds of deals network providers were promoting. Continue reading →
Having recently acquired a samsung galaxy s android handset, I proceeded to install all the apps that I had installed on my htc legend. One of them was the juice defender app, which worked quite well on the legend.
Soon after I installed the app, I noticed that the battery would drain quite quickly. Within about 4 to 5 hours the battery would be totally flat. As soon as unplugging from the charger, the battery would be down to 80% within about 10 minutes.
Thinking there was a problem with my phone, I began to check all my settings. I then realised what the problem was when the juice defender app was starting really slowly. In fact, the app was causing the phone to really lag badly.
I immediately uninstalled the app and believe it or not, my
battery life improved after uninstalling Juice Defender.
You might want to try this if your galaxy s suddenly drains battery like there’s no tomorrow. Now my battery lasts 8 hours plus like it should.
I recently acquired a Vodafone-branded Samsung Galaxy S GT-i9000 phone. Since I purchased it second-hand, it was not part of any contract with any carrier. However, I found out that it was locked to the Vodafone network as it would not accept a SIM card from Virgin. To unlock the phone, I just headed over to the Vodafone unlocking website and after entering the phone’s IMEI (found under menu > setttings > about phone), I was able to unlock it from the Vodafone network. In some cases, the unlocking could cost money, but in this case I seemed to just get the unlocking code straight away.
After the unlocking, I checked the version of Android installed and found out that the phone was still running Eclair (Android 2.1). Using the version of Kies (the Samsung Phone Manager) that came with the phone on two mini CDs, I was told that the firmware on the phone could not be upgraded. This was quite disappointing since I had just upgraded my HTC Legend to Froyo (Android 2.2) the week before.
A few Google searches later, I tried to use the Registry spoofing method that was discussed on a few websites and it just didn’t work. In the end, the method that worked was updating to Kies 2.0 and it seemed to find the Froyo update for the phone straight away.
The update took quite a while, but it seemed to have done a proper job and restored some of my settings minus the apps that I have downloaded. So, if you want to upgrade your Vodafone Samsung Galaxy S to Froyo, there is no need to use any spoofing or custom-cooked ROMs, just update your version of Kies to version 2.0.
I have been using an HTC Legend running Eclair for the last six months and it has been running quite well. I like the small size of the phone, since it is a bit smaller than my previous phone which was a Nokia E71. It does all the things that I would like to do on a phone:
However, I feel the need to update to Froyo, because there is no support for wi-fi sharing and installing apps on memory card in Eclair. These two features meant that I had to wait months while HTC updated the official ROM for Legend on Vodafone, thanks to the custom HTC Sense interface. Thankfully the official ROM was available early December 2010 for HTC Legend owners in Europe and Asia.
For a while I thought that Vodafone Australia would make the official HTC Legend ROM update to Froyo (Android 2.2) through an OTA (Over The Air) update. By late January I grew tired of waiting and checking, so I headed over to the HTC site and decided to update the Android OS on my HTC Legend manually. To get the official ROM update you can go to this page in the HTC site.
The update process was nice and simple, but I had to remember to backup several things as the update will erase the entire phone:
Pictures: this could be done manually using Astro File Manager
Contacts: if you don’t use Google to sync your contacts, you need to back this up.
Apps: you can use Astro File Manager to backup all your apps.
After about 15 minutes, I had a nice phone running Froyo, with all the features that I wanted. All up, it took me roughly about an hour to get my HTC Legend to the same settings and apps that I had running on Eclair. So, if you have a spare hour or hour and a half, with a little bit of care, you can update your Australian Vodafone HTC Legend to Froyo.
Using four feature phones and a computer, a pair of researchers demonstrated that it is possible to sniff and decrypt a session across a GSM network in as little as a few minutes. The researchers used a custom firmware loaded onto the phones which act as network sniffers, with the decryption done on a computer, after the packets were sent via USB connection.
The implication of this is quite significant, as it means that GSM eavesdropping is now possible with commodity hardware that does not cost five figures in US Dollars. Anyone with access to the right software and the right phone hardware could decrypt any conversations or SMS across a GSM network.
This process has been made somewhat easier by the tendencies of mobile phone networks to send voice and SMS traffic to the old GSM network while reserving UMTS for data use only. On top of that, the researchers revealed that often the same key is used across multiple sessions, which means that once the encryption of a particular session has been cracked, the same key can be used in the next few sessions without having to decrypt a new one.
Read the original article at arstechnica for more details