Jul

01

Posted by : Arun | On : July 1, 2010

Yahoo has released an official Android Mail app and Messenger app. Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Messenger apps are available in Android market for download. Yahoo Mail for Android brings you the following:

  • Get instant notifications when new mail arrives, plus up-to-the-minute access to important messages.
  • Read, reply, forward, delete, mark as spam; express yourself with emoticons and rich text in your reply.
  • Access contacts from Yahoo! and your phone address books.
  • Search messages by sender, recipient, or subject, as well as keywords.
  • Send photos from your camera or photo gallery; view and download attachments.
  • Access your messages, file mail in folders, mark as read, mark as spam

I installed Yahoo Mail in my Droid. The first time I logged in, I got a message saying the application didn’t respond and I had to force close. When I opened it the 2nd time, it worked fine. It took some time to download Inbox, Spam folders etc. The interface is simple and neat. I like the interface. The options are set to notify you when new mail arrives. It shows you the folders too, which is good. The only annoying thing is, for deleting new mails or read mails, you have to press the Edit button on the right top corner and then select the mails you want to delete or spam. I’m not sure the reason for such an option, but that really sucks. I don’t want to click Edit each time I want to select mails and click Spam.

I don’t use Yahoo Messenger, so I didn’t install it. With the new Yahoo! Messenger App for Android, you can:

  • Easily message friends, check friends’ status updates and availability and update their personal status and availability
  • Multitask and stay connected with the App working in the background; with push notifications, consumers can easily catch new messages and friend requests
  • Full use of emoticons and rich text formatting
  • Send photos to friends directly from the phone’s camera or the photo gallery
  • Chat with MSN/Windows Live Messenger friends
  • Send instant messages to friends via SMS text message

Both Apps required Android 2.0+, so you are out of luck if you are running the older version of Android.


Source: Yahoo.
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Apr

20

Posted by : Arun | On : April 20, 2010

Tor is free software and an open network that provides anonymous surfing of web. Tor protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location.

According to Tor:

Tor is available for Android by installing the package named Orbot. Orbot is an application that allows mobile phone users to access the web, instant messaging and email without being monitored or blocked by their mobile internet service provider. Orbot brings the features and functionality of Tor to the Android mobile operating system.

Orbot contains Tor, libevent and privoxy. Orbot provides a local HTTP proxy and the standard SOCKS4A/SOCKS5 proxy interfaces into the Tor network. Orbot has the ability to transparently torify all of the TCP traffic on your Android device when it has the correct permissions.

Orbot is not currently in the Android Market. It will be available in the market in the very near future. You can install Tor by visiing their website here.

For Android 2.x devices like Droid, Nexus One

  • You must root your device for Orbot to transparently proxy all TCP traffic.
  • For non-modified and non-rooted phones, you’ll want to manually configure your specific applications.
  • If you root your device, whether it is 1.x or 2.x based, Orbot will automatically, transparently proxy all web traffic on port 80 and 443 and all DNS requests. This includes the built-in Browser, Gmail, YouTube, Maps and any other application that uses standard web traffic.


Credit: Tor.

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Apr

14

Posted by : Arun | On : April 14, 2010

I reset my GMail password through the browser while using my desktop. Due to the password change, I was getting an error message alert for my GMail in my Droid. Droid couldn’t sync my GMail account with the server (obvious) since I changed my GMail password. I couldn’t figure out how to change the password in Droid GMail apps. The account setting page didn’t have a password option. The only way I could change was to click the error notification in the notification bar which then asked me to enter the password. I had to enter a captcha string after entering the password and then it started working fine. I think Google should provide an option to enter the password through account setting also. Though clicking the notification bar and entering the new password is easier, people might ignore clicking the notification message and go directly to the apps to check.

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Apr

08

Posted by : Arun | On : April 8, 2010

You might have read my earlier post about Android 2.1 update on my Droid. After I got the update, I thought I would go and download Google Earth from the Apps market, but unfortunately it wasn’t available. When Nexus One was released with Android 2.1, Google announced that Google Earth would be available to other phones once they move to Android 2.1. Unfortunately, it wasn’t available when Droid went to Android 2.1. Now it’s back on Android Market. Go to Android Market and search for Google Earth, download and install. I installed it on my Droid and it worked fine.

It’s similar to Google Maps, but as with the desktop version, you can view 3D imagery & terrains. With the mobile version of Google Earth, you can travel around the globe with the swipe of a finger or a simple voice command — Android’s voice recognition together with Google Local Search make it easy for you to search for cities, places, and businesses anywhere in the world. You can also browse layers of geographic information including roads, borders, Panoramio photos, and more.

Google Earth should run fine on most of the Android devices running Android 2.1, but if the device lacks hardware floating point acceleration, then it won’t run. Google Earth won’t work on myTouch 3G and Droid Eris even if they go to Android 2.1.
Source: Google Lat Long blog.

Google Earth on Nexus One

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Apr

06

Posted by : Arun | On : April 6, 2010

I finally got the Android 2.1 update on my Droid today. The installation was smooth and no user interaction was needed other than clicking Install Now. Android 2.1 gets quite a few enhancements, but not all were implemented in Droid’s update (highlighted in bold) and that sucks. Here are the list of features that Android 2.1 added and whether it’s available in Droid or not.

  • Live Wallpapers – It’s part of Droid update and it’s cool. You will get 10+ live wallpapers.
  • Additional home screens – Android 2.1 increased the home screens from 3 to 5, but Motorola didn’t get that to Droid. That sucks big time. I have trouble deciding which Apps & widgets to keep since my home screen is already cramped. I was expecting this update and was disappointed.
  • Home screen Navigation – Android 2.1 added thumbnail-based navigation system that allows you to quickly jump to any screen. The thumbnail system gives you the option to also see small icons of all five screens and tap directly on any one to jump straight to it.This is also missing in Droid.
  • New App launcher – Compared to the drawer-like look seen in previous versions, where the app list would slide up from the bottom of the screen, the 2.1 app launcher flies the icons in from the corners of the screen while fading in a dark background behind them. It then uses a rolling effect as you scroll down through the list.This is also missing in Droid. Big disappointment.
  • Voice typing for all text fields – I haven’t tried this yet, so I’m not sure if it’s available or not.
  • New News and Weather widget – It’s cool and is available for Droid.
  • 3D Photo Gallery – It’s part of Droid. It’s one of the best update for Android 2.1. The photos are shown in 3D view and responds to your phone shake. It also integrates with your Picasa account and displays your online albums. I love this feature.
  • New Music App – Though I like the old one, this tab based one is also cool. It’s part of the Droid update.
  • Multi Touch – Multi Touch worked in the maps, but it didn’t work in the browser for me.

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Mar

25

Posted by : Arun | On : March 25, 2010

Verizon and Skype released the Skype Mobile for Verizon today. You might have already read the news about the release planned for this Thursday. I downloaded the Skype Mobile from My Verizon tab on Android market. Once downloaded and installed, you have to accept the agreements and then sign in with your Skype account.

I twice tried Skype Lite in the Android market previously. Each time, the phone would not wake up randomly after Skype installation. Once I uninstalled Skype, everything was fine. I hope Verizon and Skype tested this well before they released it. I installed it and will wait and see for few days. The interface is simple and clean. I haven’t tried chatting or calling anyone yet.

Skype Mobile works with national and extended national coverage areas. It doesn’t work with wi-fi which is a big disappointment. Domestic calls from Skype uses verizon wireless minutes. Calls to international numbers are charged at Skype rates. you can’t use skype mobile if you are using per-line or per-call caller ID blocking.

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Mar

19

Posted by : Arun | On : March 19, 2010

Google released Google Buzz widget for Android and Orkut for Android yesterday (both can be downloaded from Android market). I gave both a try and they work pretty good. Google Buzz widget makes it easier to buzz publicly or privately and also look at the buzzes nearby. It lets you post text and photos with a single tap and tag your post with the location or place from which it was posted.Your photos will be uploaded in the background. It works with Android 1.6 or greater. you can add it to your home screen by tapping “Menu” while on the home screen and select “Add > Widgets > Google Buzz”. The problem with Droid is, there are only 3 screens you can work with and with so many applications and widgets, it’s getting difficult to find space to add widgets.

Orkut for Android also makes it easier to use the social networking similar to Facebook apps. Orkut for Android lets you add your Orkut friends as a live folder on your home screen. The live folder also lets you communicate via call, scrap or SMS with your friends in a single click. To install a live folder, click “Menu > Add > Folders > Orkut” on your Android device’s homescreen after installing the orkut for Android application.

Orkut also lets you upload photos directly from your photo gallery. When you select the share option for a particular photo, you will see Orkut in the list. Orkut also notifies you if someone writes in your scrap. The notification will appear on the notification bar. I don’t use Orkut as much as Facebook, but it’s an useful app to check your account once in a while or get notified.

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Mar

04

Posted by : Arun | On : March 4, 2010

I finally downloaded a Microsoft apps onto my Droid. Microsoft Tag is now available for Android. Microsoft Tag is more like a barcode reader. According to Microsoft, From your mobile phone, simply snap or scan a Tag image anywhere you see it – in editorials, advertisements, product packaging, signs and storefronts – and gain instant access to Websites, videos, reviews, schedules, contact information, social networks, discounts, promotions and more! All you need to do is download the free Tag reader on your web enabled camera phone and when you see a Tag, snap or scan it to interact with the world around you in new ways!

You can download Microsoft Tag by searching Microsoft Tag in the Android market. I installed it today, but haven’t gotten a chance to scan anything. Will try it soon.

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Feb

22

Posted by : Arun | On : February 22, 2010

Google Earth is now available for Android, but what sucks is, it’s available for Android 2.1 only. That means anyone who’s not using Nexus One won’t be able to install it, including Droid users. According to Google, this is their fastest mobile version of Google Earth yet, with a smooth framerate and 800 x 480 resolution. Google Earth for Android also contains the Roads layer, which lets you get a better sense of where you are with road labels drawn on top of the satellite imagery.

Google Earth also supports voice commands. With Google Earth for Android, Google has brought together Google Search by voice with the power of Google Local Search to make it easier than ever to navigate the globe and find whatever you are looking for. As with other versions of Google Earth, you can also browse photos, places, and local businesses.

I don’t understand why they can’t release it for Android 2.0. As reported in the web, it seems like Google gives special preference to Nexus One owners before they release it to others? Next step, release Android 2.2+ to Nexus One owners and any new application released after that will support Android 2.2+ only and others won’t get Android 2.2+ for few months?


Credit: Google Mobile.

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Feb

11

Posted by : Arun | On : February 11, 2010

The Register reports:

A reverse engineering expert has disclosed a way to make his Motorola Droid host USB-enabled devices, a hack that allows the smartphone for the first time to directly connect to printers, video cameras, TV tuners, and a wide variety of other peripherals.

Using a charging cable that plugs into a car’s cigarette lighter, a micro-USB cable, and a USB extender cable, he devised an improvised micro-dongle and connector cable. Getting the Droid to work with a Linux-enabled USB device is as simple as turning the smartphone off, connecting the cable to the host and peripheral and turning the Droid on. As soon as the Motorola logo disappears, you’ll need to unplug the micro-dongle.

Once your Droid is booted – voila -it should now work with the device. You can even pull up a terminal and look at dmesg to see the usual kernel notifications that appear when new USB devices are connected.

To change peripherals, you’ll need to reboot the smartphone. What’s more, leaving the micro-dongle plugged in too long causes the port to get stuck supplying power to devices but not actually recognizing them.

Here is the link to the blog with details on how to do that.

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