Tuesday, 14 December 2010

HTC Desire Out Of Memory Solution

Apologies for not posting for awhile, I've just been getting on with using my phone, enjoying the HTC Desire Android experience.

There was however a fly in the ointment - the continuing out of memory error problems. Every other day my HTC Desire would inform me that it was running short of internal memory, and I should manage my applications.

This drove me crazy. I couldn't understand why my phone kept using up its memory when I wasn't adding any more apps or data.

The answer, I think, turns out to be Facebook bloating out my contacts file, I guess with status updates from all my friends. The contacts file was just getting bigger and bigger, pushing out other apps that I didn't really want to get rid of.

To solve the problem I went to the accounts section in the options on my phone, and turned off synching with Facebook. I then went to the manage application settings and cleared the data from my Contacts file. ONLY DO THIS IF YOU SAVE ALL YOUR CONTACTS VIA GOOGLEMAIL, THIS STEP WILL DELETE ALL YOUR CONTACTS DATA PERMANENTLY. Then when I fired up the people app again, my phone downloaded my contacts details from gmail, without adding all the Facebook bloat.

Since I've done this my phone has been running great. I've had no more memory problems and my HTC Desire is running fine.

Have a go at this solution if you're running into Android memory issues, but be very careful that you don't lose any of your contact details.

Cheers, Rob.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Stumbleupon Android App Video Review

The internet sometimes appears to be full of spam, link-sites, aggregaters and websites that have little original content and are just here to earn money from ads. (Present company excepted of course!)

It's getting harder and harder to find great new content. You can use Digg and Twitter, but Stumbleupon has to be one of the best ways to spend a little spare time surfing the web like we used to.

Stumbleupon is a community of people passionate about finding great web content and sharing it with others. To use the Stumbleupon app, just set up an account, tell it what you like, then hit the Stumble Button. You'll be off on a gander through the best of the 'net in no time, and that spare ten minutes will quickly turn into an hour.

My only complaint about Stumble Upon is that sometime the content can be a bit old, but that isn't always a bad thing.

The Android Stumbleupon Vid can be downloaded for fee from the Android Marketplace.

Thanks, Rob.

What Do You Think?

Are you a Digg, Facebook, Twitter or Stumbleupon user? What's the best way to find new content on the web? Please share your comments below!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

White HTC Desire Seen In The Wild...

I'm not sure if this is "new" news, but I was walking pass a Carphone Warehouse phone shop the other day I saw this poster advertising the HTC Desire Android Smart-Phone in white.

If you get the HTC Desire on contract, looks like you can get it for £25 a month, and the phone comes free.

I'm not sure how much it matters to have a different colour, but the more the merrier as far as I'm concerned...

Cheers, Rob.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

In The UK T-Mobile And Orange Let You Share Their Coverage... Sort Of

I don't know about everyone else, but the T-Mobile Network Coverage near where we live can sometimes be a bit sketchy. The good news is that T-Mobile and Orange have teamed up in the UK to share their networks.

The bad news is that for Android users there's a few "quirks":

(Text from T-Mobiles Website)

Android phones are automatically set up not to allow 'Data roaming', so when you're using the Orange network:

  • You won't be able to send or receive picture messages or browse the internet.
  • You might get a message that says, 'You have lost data connectivity'.
  • If you receive a picture message or activate an internet page, you might get a warning message, 'Generic network failure' or 'Unknown error'.
  • You might see the 'roaming' icon (a triangle) whenever you're using an Orange signal.
  • You might see a message 'Allow data roaming? You may incur significant charges!' each time your phone picks up an Orange signal.
  • When you pick up an Orange signal your phone will ask you: 'Allow data roaming?'
  • What to do: Enable 'Data roaming' on your phone, but remember to disable it if you leave the UK to avoid charges
  • What to do: As soon as a fix is available to resolve this quirk we'll update our Help & Support site, so please check that in the future.
I'll give it a go and see what happens. My main issue with T-Mobile is that lack of 3G coverage, but at least this link-up with Orange is a start. 

If you're a UK T-Mobile Customer, you can sign up here.

Cheers, Rob.

(Thanks to Matthew Clarke for the heads-up on this one.)

What Do You Think?

What's the network coverage like from your Phone provider? Does a slow internet connection drive you crazy? Or perhaps you want to rave about your network? Please share your comments below!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Retro Camera App On Android Video Review (HTC Desire Smartphone)

(If you can't see the video, please click here.)

When it comes to camera apps on Android, the paid version of Vignette is a hard act to follow, but lets take a look at the "Retro Camera" App, by Urbian.

I've got to say that this is a slick looking camera app - very apple-like and a pleasure to use. At its core are five different camera types that will give you very different looks to your photos.

First up is the Barble, an East-German Viewfinder Camera that'll give you photos with low saturation, medium contrast and a square frame. Then there's the Little Orange Box, a Russian plastic-lensed toy camera for a scratchy, cross-processed look.

No Android camera app would be complete without a Polaroid, so next we got the Xolaroid 2000, then the Pinhole for full-bleed shots onto 35mm film.

Rounding up "Retro Camera's" range on offer is the Fudge Can, another low-contrast, scratchy camera that, like all the others, produces moody, lomo type photographs.

Most of the cameras have a black and white option, you can specify a different button to fire the shutter, and the application can geotag your images if you so wish.

Using the app is a little tricky - your viewfinder is a small square in the centre of your screen, and you have to wait a few seconds for you photo's to be "processed", but the app does have enough options to keep you shooting and playing around.

However, I won't be using this version of Retro Camera simply because it doesn't work with the full native resolution of my phone, the HTC Desire. You can set it to "Hi-Res", but even then you're getting cut-down images. If my phone can shoot 5 megapixel photographs, why can't this app?

You also can't import photos you've already taken and work on them using the programs algorithms, another short-coming that could be easily fixed.

So, until they update "Retro Camera" so that it works with the full quality of the camera in my phone, I'll be sticking with the paid version of Vignette, which works at full resolution, and allows you to import photographs rather than just take them.

If you're into just taking smaller photos, this app is ok and fun to use, otherwise stick with the native camera app and use Vignette for editing.

Thanks, Rob.

What Do You Think?

What's your favourite camera app? Please put your comments below!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Please Help DesireUser!

Hi Everybody, just a short post today to ask for a little help.

If you enjoying reading DesireUser, and want to put a little something back, I've added a couple of donation and subscription links to the blog.

Just head on over to the blog, and scroll down until you see the orange "donate" and "subscribe" buttons with the credit card icons underneath.

If you press either button they'll take you to paypal, where you could make a one-off donation of any amount, or if you press the subscribe button you can subscribe $5 a month.

Thanks in advance, Rob.

Monday, 11 October 2010

"A Good Reader" RSS Android App Review On My HTC Desire Smart Phone

(If you can't see the video, please click here.)

Don't get me wrong, I really like the mobile version of Google Reader. I use it on my HTC Desire via an internet short-cut on my home screen, but it only works when you've got a data connection, and has the annoying habit of asking for your password every now and again.

With "A Good Reader" by Urbian we get a nice little Android Application that kind of addresses those issues, but it's not perfect...

"A Nice Reader" will store your feeds locally, but it is quite slow at updating. It has a built in mini-browser, is OK to use, and does do the job, but I can't really say that it's better than Google's own Reader, and it's definitely not quicker.

However, it is a free download from the Android Marketplace, so why not just give it a try for yourself?

Thanks, Rob.

What Do You Think?

Which RSS Reader do you use? Are any better than Googles mobile version of Reader? What would you recommend? Please add your comments!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Google Android 2.2 Fro-Yo Update Video On The HTC Desire (UK T-Mobile)

(If you can't see the video, please click here.)

Well, it has been a long wait for the Google Android 2.2 Update if you've got a HTC Desire on T-Mobile in the UK, but it's finally here, so is it worth the hype? The answer has to be yes, with a big BUT!

Android 2.2, or Fro-Yo as it is more commonly called, is a major system update. As you see in the video, it adds several great new features:

1)The ability to install apps onto the SD memory card of the phone rather than the internal memory - no more "memory short" warnings!

2) Apps can now update themselves automatically.

3) Improved speed and performance.

4) Chrome to phone, and other cross-platforms features. You can send bookmarks straight from your desktop browser to the phone, and expect similar things, like maps and directions, soon.

5) Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot. You can now use your Android 2.2 enabled device to tether to something else, like a lap-top, ipod touch, etc - and share the phones internet connection. Perfect for long journeys in the car!

6) A few new apps, that will probably depend on your phone-service provider.

BUT, as you can see in the Video, there is a bug in the Browser. Whenever I look at the BBC News site, the Android Browser crashes. What a pain! I may have to try Opera, or another one of the third party browser offerings if this bug isn't fixed soon. Under 2.1 my phone never crashed once!

I'm not saying don't update - just be aware that if your browser keeps crashing, switch on the "mobile sites" option in the settings, or try a different browser. Come on Google, send us 2.2.1!

Cheers, Rob.

What Have Your Experiences Been?

Have you updated to 2.2? Are you getting crashes, or is it my phone / provider combination? Do you a different browser to the stock, pre-installed one, and are they any good? Please add your comments and thoughts below!

Friday, 8 October 2010

Skype Comes To Android At Last With Free App

(If you can't see the video, please click here.)

At last! It's finally here! We've got Skype on our Google Android Smart-Phones! If you're reading this on your phone, click here to visit Skype and download the free app! or just search the Google Marketplace for Skype...
(You need at least Android 2.1.)


Ok, ok, that's enough of a warning.. For everybody who doesn't know what Skype is, you're in for a treat. Skype is a free telephone / messaging / video call service that normally runs on your PC, and gives you free communication between people with Skype over the internet, and cheaper calls to international, mobile, and land-line numbers.

We use Skype to video-chat to our daughter in Spain (we're in the UK). My wife spends hours on Skype, watching and talking to our new Grandchild - and it's all free. Absolutely brilliant.

You can pay Skype, and get a number so normal phones can call you, and / or you can call land-lines, mobiles and international numbers very cheaply. The quality is great, but as you can imagine, telephone companies aren't that happy about this - but it doesn't matter because now we've got Skype on our Google Android Smart-Phones, and I've got it on my HTC Desire.

The Skype Android Application only offers phone calls and text chatting - but that'll do for now. Just sign in, it'll import your contacts, and you're good to go. This means that, say you're on a business trip to a foreign country. Just walk into McDonalds, buy a coffee, join their Free Wi-Fi network, fire up the Skype App, then phone your Wife. And talk for hours. For free! As I said at the beginning, be careful when using Skype with your normal data package over the 3G network - it'll chew up your allowance and you could be left with a big bill (especially if you're abroad).

Skype will transform the way we use our Android Phones - I'm so excited that this has finally happened, and I can't wait to use it as much as possible!

Cheers, Rob.

Your Views!

Are you a Skype user, or maybe you're thinking of downloading it? What do you think of the app? How do you think Skype will change the mobile phone industry? Please add your comments!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Using My HTC Desire Android Smartphone On Holiday

(If you're reading this in RSS / email and can't see the video, click here.)

This is the link to the blog / website I wrote about our Isle of Wight Holiday, using my HTC Desire to write the Posts and take the photographs.

A whole week without a proper PC! This was going to be a real test for my HTC Desire Google Android smart-phone, and I have to say that (with one slight modification and plenty of charging) it came through with flying colours.

First up, that modification. You may have heard me mention that the photos from my Desire had become misty, soft and unfocussed. This is because the clear piece of plastic on the back cover that is in front of the real camera lens had become opaque. I couldn't clean it, so in a fit of temper I pressed on it and the offending item simply popped off!

Now my photographs were even better than before. Of course there's a higher likely-hood of crap getting into the phone through this hole, but I always keep my mobile phone in a pouch when I'm not using it, so hopefully that'll protect it.

Taking photographs with my HTC Desire, editing them on the phone, then uploading them to Flickr the same or the very next day, was very good. I used the phone's built in camera app, then I imported the full-res versions into the paid version of Vignette. After converting to Black and White and saving, I used the Desire's Galley app to share them via Flickr.

The only fly in the ointment of these photos is the visible banding in the sky, as you can see here:
View Of Needles From Viewing Platform

This banding is in areas of similar tone, and I think where I converted to b&w there just wasn't enough information to do a gradual transition. The colour versions don't show the banding as strongly.

As I said in the Video, I wrote a blog while we were on holiday, on my phone:

Our Isle Of Wight Holiday

I tried to use Blogaway, but that wasn't working, so I stuck with the HTC Desire's built in Internet Browser, and edited the posts straight on blogspots website. Note though that I could only use the "Edit HTML" box to write text, and not the "Compose" box. I added the photo's when we got home, as at that time the phone's browser wouldn't let me access the drop-down menus on Flickr to grab each photo's URL. With Froyo now installed, the drop-down menus do appear, so I could write the whole posts using my cell-phone.

The Google Maps App, and the GPS Sat Nav Navigation, were great, as long as there was a decent cell-phone signal. Unfortunately on the Isle of Wighht there are plenty of dead-spots, so we had to rely on our trusty Garmin Nuvi 200 (which has al the maps stored in its memory) as our main navigation device.

Google reader, accessed via a shortcut, was a great way to pass the evenings and catch up with my favourite websites, and of course Peep kept me up to date with everything going on in Twitter.

So, my HTC Desire Phone did very well on this holiday trip, mostly negating the need for a lap-top or netbook. Now if I only had a more powerful battery so that I didn;t have to charge it so often...

Thanks, Rob.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Froyo, The Android 2.2 Update Arrives At Last!

Well, I checked the settings on my HTC Desire, and at last it said that the Android 2.2 update, Froyo, was ready to download!

It all seems to have worked ok, apart from my custom keyboard, the imod version that allows voice input, has stopped working. This isn't a problem as the updated Froyo keyboard includes voice input as standard.

What I've done so far is to transfer a few apps to my SD card, which has freed up plenty of phone memory. I've played around with the mobile hotspot option, and had a quick go with the new browser.

Everything seems a little smoother and quicker, so i will have to see how it goes over the next couple of weeks and come back with a video.

Thanks, Rob.

Ps T-mobile why did it take so long?

Friday, 16 July 2010

Vignette Photography App (Full Version) On The Android HTC Desire Smart Phone

The best Android Photography App that I've used. Working with full-resolution images from my HTC Desire, there are dozens of cool effects and frames to play around with, and I've found that the best results can be had if you use your Phones built-in Camera App, then import the images to Vignette.

Play around with the demo version, then make sure you pay the few bucks for the full version, it's well worth it.

Thanks, Rob.

Ebay App On Android (HTC Desire Mobile Phone)

With the small screens on Smart-Phones, browsing your favourite sites can be a frustrating experience. The web-browser on the HTC Desire is excellent, and renders the desktop versions of almost all sites perfectly, but you've still got to scroll around and pinch and zoom to see all the content.

Large, popular websites will have a mobile version, but this is often optimised for lower-powered and lower-resolution devices, so you end up losing a lot of the functionality of the website. An answer to this is a downloadable app that is tailored to the small screens of Android phones, giving you all the popular features of the particular website.

This eBay app is a great example. You can search the listings, bid, watch, check "My eBay", and even search by talking to your phone...

The ebay Android application is available free from the Android Marketplace, does what it's meant to, and works very well. Recommended!

Thanks, Rob.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Taskpanel Memory Manager Android App On The HTC Desire Smart Phone

It's not like the HTC Desire is slow, but sometimes it doesn't feel as snappy as it should. That's probably because the phone has run a little low on RAM memory - and this is where the Taskpanel Memory Manager App (free from the Android Marketplace) comes into play.

The Android OS is meant to handle memory without any user input, but as you install more and more apps, these apps will turn themselves on every now and again in the background, and your phone will slow down. When you turn Taskpanel On, you'll be able to kill all the apps you don't use - like stocks, footprints, etc, and make your HTC snappy again.

Cheers, Rob.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Dropbox Android App on HTC Desire Smart Phone

This is very cool indeed - with the Dropbox Android App on your Phone, and the software installed on your desktop PC, you have, in effect, a shared folder, that makes transferring and using shared files a breeze.

The above video isn't the best way of showing what Drop Box can do, but it is a free app (with a 2gb limit on storage), so head on over to the Android Marketplace, install it onto your phone, then on your desktop or laptop, go to dropbox.com, install the desktop software, and give it a go.

Cheers, Rob.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Compass, Bubble and Flashlight Android Apps On The HTC Desire

Of these three free apps (you'll find them in the Android Marketplace), it's probably the Flashlight that I use the most.... but I'm sure the other two will come in handy at some point too!

Cheers, Rob.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Another Test Video From My HTC Desire Android Smart-Phone

Sorry If you're getting sick of these, but hopefully they give potential Desire Users an idea of the capabilities of the phone.

(Plus I enjoy sharing them!)

Cheers, Rob.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Froyo Update Is Coming!

As you are aware by now, I'm no Google insider, so most of the posts and videos you'll see on this site aren't exactly new.

However, I thought it would be useful to list some of the features coming in the Android 2.2 Froyo update, which should be coming later this month to the HTC Desire.

Speed. Expect your android phone to be at least twice as fast...Tethering. The Desire should be able to turn itself into a wireless hotspot, but I'd look out for extra data charges from the mobile phone operators.

A faster browser. You'll also be able to install apps to the SD memory card in your phone, which will be a brilliant update, and end the low memory misery of the current OS when you install too many apps.

Read more at betanews.com. http://www.betanews.com/article/Google-unveils-10-huge-improvements-in-FroYo-Android-22/1274374860 

Cheers, Rob.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

FX Camera App On The Google Android HTC Desire Phone

Take a look at the FX Camera Group on Flickr.

This is a great little app to take funky looking photos on your Android phone. Toy and Polaroid are my favourite starting points, but there's dozens of settings to play around with to create your own individual look.

The only problem with any of these third party camera apps is the loss of size and resolution - the photos you take will only really be good enough for sharing on the web, you'll need to carefully re-sample them to print them out at decent sizes.

Don't let that put you off though - FX Camera takes great photos, I like "toy" "high contrast mono" and "soft vignette", so download it from the Android Marketplace and start shooting!

Cheers, Rob.

Google Reader Mobile On The HTC Desire Android Mobile Phone

I wasn't really into using RSS and Google Reader on my desktop PC. Sure, I'd set it up and had my favourite feeds populating a custom folder, but it just didn't feel right looking at posts, I felt more at home actually visiting the websites themselves. This all changed when I got my HTC Desire and used Google Reader for mobile - I'm a RSS convert!

Here's a post on how to set up Google Reader on your desktop.

Now, with Google Reader on my Android Phone, I'm a bit of an RSS junkie. If I'm on my lunch break at work, standing in a queue at the bank, or waiting for my Wife as she shops, I'll fire up Google Reader for mobile and start reading the posts from my favourite blogs and websites - it's a great way to consume content.

Remember, Google Reader isn't in the Android Marketplace. All you have to do is set up Reader on your desktop, then navigate to reader using the Internet Browser on your phone, and you'll get the mobile experience. Brilliant!

Cheers, Rob.

Free Audio Books With Your Library Card and The Overdrive App On The Android HTC Desire

I've always thought about becoming an Audible subscriber, you know, the service where for a few bucks a month you get an audio-book to download and own. The problem is that although I have a longish commute (45 mins each way), I do listen to a lot of podcasts, so I didn't think that small investment was worth it to join Audible.

With Overdrive and my library card, I don't need to. Hampshire County Council's online library site offers free downloadable audio books and e-books - using the Overdrive App to manage the audio media.

Obviously you've got to live in Hampshire in the UK for this particular service, but I bet that if you visit your local library and have a chat with the librarians you'll find that your areas library offer a similar system.

I'll warn you about one thing that will drive you crazy, and seem insane. There's only a certain number of copies of each electronic Audio-book at each library, so just like with normal books, you have to reserve the most popular titles and wait your turn!

This is all to do with the licensing of the titles - the publishing industry must force libraries to manage electronic media just like paper books, and it does seem crazy, and you can understand why piracy is so rife with these archaic practices.

Anyway, join your local library, get Overdrive from the Android Marketplace, and enjoy some free audio books!

Cheers, Rob.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Tricorder App on the Htc Desire Google Android Phone Video

More harmless fun, but a must Android App for any Trekkies out there...

Thanks, Rob.

Light Racer 3d Basic on Android HTC Desire Mobile Phone Video

I don't install many games on my HTC Desire, but this one is quite fun and takes me back to the days of Tron....

Cheers, Rob.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Friday, 14 May 2010

The New Twitter App On The Google Android HTC Desire Phone

It's arguable whether this new free app from the Android Marketplace, written by Twitter themselves, offers much more than "Peep", the built-in Twitter Client on the HTC Desire, but it does have some nice features.

I like the simple layout of the start screen, and the way that you can "surf" twitter in a similar way to Stumbleupon. Popular and trending Tweets appear at the bottom of the page, and you can tap on them to see the relevant posts. You can also tap on the bird to get trending topics sorted by "current", "daily" and "weekly".

It's easy to use and understand (a bit like Twitter), and I have to say that the little blue bird does make me smile. Check it out if you're into Twitter.

Thanks, Rob.

Evernote App On The HTC Desire Google Android Smartphone

Evernote is a free app for Android Smartphones, available for download from the Android Marketplace, and I have to say that it is very, very good.

Take notes, photos and audio files, then upload them to the Cloud where you can then access them from your phone, desktop or laptop pc's. Great!

Check out Evernotes website for more details.

Thanks, Rob.

Portsmouth Harbour 360 Degree Sample Video Shot On My HTC Desire

This video was uploaded straight from my HTC Desire to Youtube, so it's a good example of the quality you can get when using the Desire Smart-Phone and Google's video-sharing site.

It's worth noting that the phone waits until it gets a wi-fi connection to upload the large video files, rather than using the mobile / cell data network.

Thanks, Rob.

Some Nice Photos Using The FXCamera App On My HTC Desire

View Towards Gosport Harbour Marina Lightship


Portsmouth Harbour

View From Pier Towards Holy Trinity Church, Gosport

The above shots were all taken using the FXCamera app (free in the Android Marketplace) on my HTC Desire Google Android Smartphone. I used the Toy Camera setting, with high-contrast mono and a soft vignette.

Although the photographs look ok on the web, the main problem with FXCamera (and all the photography apps I've used so far) is that if you apply any effects to your images, the quality is substantially reduced, in terms of image size and clarity.

The only way to get full-resolution shots out of an Android Smart-Phone is to use the built-in camera, and I guess I could just edit those images in Photoshop on my PC, but I want a solution where I can do everything in-camera. Maybe someone could point me towards an app that could do that?

Thanks, Rob.

Desktop Version Of Google Calendar On HTC Desire Android Smartphone

The built-in Calendar app on the HTC Desire is ok, but I have a few issues with it - mainly that I can't get other Calendars (that I can see in the desktop browser version) to show up. So I thought I'd see if the desktop version of Google Calendar would work on the Desire's Internet Browser, and it does!

You've got to do a lot of zooming and scrolling, but it is workable, and it's great having all your tasks and appointments on the same screen.

Now Google, if the full version of Calendar works on Android, can we have a fully working version of Google Docs PLEASE!!!!

Cheers, Rob.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Beebplayer App on the HTC Desire Google Android Smartphone

Watching TV on your PC just isn't that good an experience - there's too many distractions, but being able to watch TV on your phone, that's a whole different matter!

I have to admit that I was a little sceptical when I first downloaded the Beebplayer application from the Android Marketplace. It's a third party app that allows you to access the BBC's iPlayer catalogue, where you can watch re-runs of recent programmes.

Once I'd watched a couple of programmes that I'd missed on Live TV, my opinion changed. This is a great free Android App that is well worth installing and keeping updated - hey, the latest Dr. Who anyone?

Cheers, Rob.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

A Better Way To Turn The Internet On and Off On Your HTC Desire, To Lengthen Battery Life

You may have watched my short video on how to get longer battery life on your HTC Desire , and in it I say the best way to extend battery life is to turn off the internet connection when you're not using it.

In the video I say that the way to to this is by pressing the power button on the phone, then the "Mobile Network" option to toggle the internet on and off - but there is a quicker way.

"bspiner" on Youtube pointed out that there is a widget to do this which you can add to any of your home screens. Simply press the "plus" button, "widget", look for the "settings" widget, and press the arrow to the right of it. Choose the "Mobile Network" widget, and you'll have an icon with which you can simply flick your internet on and off without having to use the power button.

Thanks to bspinner for the suggestion.

Cheers, Rob.

Friday, 7 May 2010 Software Update Seems To Solve Micro SD Problems On HTC Desire

UPDATE (08/05/2010)Got the error back this morning, so ignore what I say below.

One of the great features of Smart-Phones is their ability to accept and download software updates wirelessly - and HTC puhed their to UK T-Mobile HTC Desire owners last week.

While I couldn't find any specifics on the web about what this update did, I have noticed that the random Micro SD Memory Card failure error that I have occasionally encountered, has gone away.

What would happen is that I'd go to use the phone and it would have an error message, saying that it had been unable to back-up my files to the memory card. If I tried to use the camera that would also say that it couldn't access the card, and a quick look at the memory settings showed that the SD card wasn't showing as being in the phone.

The only way to fix this problem was to turn the phone on and off, which takes about a minute. I tried formatting the card, both in the phone and in a card-reader, but the error would reveal its ugly head a couple of days later. I contacted T-Mobile support, but they wanted me to take the phone to a shop to look at it (like you'd be able to SEE the error!), but I just don't have the time. I was just going to buy another card and see if that solved the problem.

I can happily say that since the HTC Software Update for the Desire, I haven't had this problem at all - so well done HTC, the only thing bothering me about my excellent phone has now been solved!

Cheers, Rob.

ps If you're still waiting for the update, look out for a message in the status bar asking you to confirm that you want to do the update. The phone will be out of commission for a few minutes while it does it, a bit like when you have an automatic update on your pc.

Monday, 3 May 2010

5 Reasons Why Android Will Take Over The World

Picture the scene in two years time. Mobile / Cell phones running the Android operating system will be the most popular mobile device bar none. You'll see people on busses, trains, planes, and in coffee shops using their beautiful Android tablets - a larger version of the phone, for an even better browsing and creative experience.

People will still be using iPhones, and a few die-hards will be hanging onto their Blackberries, but Googles Android will be dominant.

So what's the thinking behind my prediction?

1) I love my HTC Desire! Android is a good mobile / cell phone operating system already. In some ways its better than the iPhone and in others it has some catching up to do. The point of difference that Apple used to have is gone - Android is very easy to use, very powerful and looks so cool!

2) Anyone can make an Android phone. Pretty soon all the major phone manufacturers will have at least one phone in their lineup. The pace of change is astounding, it seems like a new, better phone is coming out every other month. This competition between different manufacturers will make Android better, faster and....

3) Cheaper! Apple is well known for keeping its prices high by trickling in improvements and by offering what they see as a premium product. With Android, prices are crashing already, as long as you pay at least thirty pounds you can get any of the latest Android phones for free. (Two year contracts).

4) Google! The search engine giant knows that the easiest way for it to make more money is for more people to be using the Internet for longer. So you can expect Android to become even more well integrated with the web, and faster. Now that Apple have categorically said that they will never support Flash on their mobile devices I also expect Adobe to wade in with some amazing features that you'll only experience on Android.

5) The Android Tablets are coming! Ok, ok, the iPad may be cool enough and seem like the best thing since the Psion 5, but trust me, when we see cheaper Android versions they'll be consigned to the Apple fan-boys and people with more money than sense. Expect built-in cameras, mics, memory card slots, gps, USB, true multi tasking, and so much more.

So there you have my predictions and reasoning behind them - give it two years and we'll all have gone Android!

Cheers, Rob.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Mobile Blogging On The HTC Desire Phone With Wordpress And Blogaway

One of the reasons I wanted to get a smart-phone in the first place was to be able to write blog posts on the go. The ability to quickly add something to one of my bogs, say as I'm waiting around in a shop, was very important, and the HTC Desire, with the Wordpress and Blogaway apps, delivers.

Apart from using the applications directly, what I also really like is the integration of Social Media into all parts of the phone. If you take a photo you can share it immediately via Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, or one of your blogs. Find an article you like? Share that link almost immediately across those social networking sites.

Your phone becomes the hub of a fast, mobile, content creation and sharing experience. I believe what we're seeing here is only the start. As these apps, and the operating system, mature, the ability to share all of your content across multiple streams will become even easier.

Cheers, Rob.

Voice / Speech Recognition On The HTC Desire Google Android Phone

Here's the link to add voice recognition to search.

Here's the link to add voice recognition to the keyboard.

Cheers, Rob.

The Photo App On The HTC Desire Google Android Smartphone

Here's a slideshow of photo's I've taken with my HTC Desire - it does include some taken with third party photo apps like CameraFX. Click on the play icon, then the arrows in the bottom right of the box to make it full screen.

I like the camera in the Desire. It's prone to lens-flare, the type where you lose overall contrast, but it's more than acceptable in a phone. What we really need is an update where we can rotate our photographs in small increments, and be able to do post processing (on the phone) with full resolution images.

Thanks, Rob.

Installing Apps On The HTC Desire Google Android Smart-Phone

As you can see, it's really simple to install applications via the Android Marketplace (which is a link pre-installed on the phone.)

Just click on the little Android Icon, then browse through the various categories to find the app you'd like to try out, and your phone will download it via 3g or wi-fi, then install it automatically.

It doesn't end with the Android Marketplace. Go into the settings, applications, and untick the "unknown sources" box, and you'll be able to download programmes from other sources and install them on your phone. (Unlike the iPhone / ipod Touch where you have to jail-break your phone to do this).

All we need now is an update to the Android Operating System to let us install apps on the SD card so we're not limited to the phones RAM.

Cheers, Rob.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Voice Directions Now On HTC Desire Google Maps In UK

For UK users of Google maps on their Android phones, like my HTC Desire, we've been missing out on voice guidance when it comes to directions.

Fret no more, because in the last few days Google has turned this feature on in Maps. When asking for directions, there's a new option - "navigate". Simply tap this and the first time you'll be asked to install the voice simulator, then you've got a fully featured gps Sat Nav to rival Garmin or Tom Tom!

I used the Navigate option on a local journey and was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the voice instructions and the way it displays the map in pseudo 3d. It's a bit quiet, but I could hear it above the engine noise, and I'd recommend some sort of windsceen mount and car charger for longer journeys.

The simulated voice is more than passable, it will say things like "take the third exit onto Southampton Road", which is better than my old Garmin 200. Sometimes the pronunciation and words used are a bit odd - being asked to "slide right" was off-putting, but overall this is very usable.

I haven't had a chance to test the app on a long journey where it would be more than likely that you would drive through areas with no 3g coverage, but I have to say that if I was the CEO of Garmin or TomTom I'd be very worried about this FREE app!

Cheers, Rob.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Voice to text on the h t c desire android phone

I have just installed a application that allows me to talk into my phone rather than type.

So i am speaking this blog post rather than having to type it. I just open any application them press the new microphone button on the keyboard and talk instead of type.

It seems to work rather well but i do  have to edit some mistakes.

This is a feature that comes as standard on the google nexus 1 but has to be installed as an extra on the desire.

Its amazing on such a very small device that you can have a quite accurate dictation application without having to train it.

You could use this for text messages 4 tweets or blog posts or anything where you would normally type, you just speak instead.

I have added the punctuation after using the keyboard.

I will put the link for further instructions in a comment post after this.

This is amazing!

Thanks rob!

Saturday, 17 April 2010

How To Get Longer Battery Life On The HTC Desire Google Android Smartphone

OK, so to get a usable amount of battery life out of your HTC Desire, try the following:

1) Use a plain wall-paper. ("Menu" then "Wallpaper", then choose "HTC Wallpapers".)

2) Add the Android Power Control Widget to your Home-Screen, so YOU control when apps sync, wi-fi is on, blue-tooth is on, and GPS is activated. (Press the + button on any home-screen, "widget", "Power Control").

3) (This is the most important!) When you don't need the Internet, turn it off! (Hold the Power Button, then tap the bottom option "Mobile Network". You'll still be able to make and receive calls, and send and receive text-messages, but the phone won't be using 3g, so you'll save loads of power. Just tap it again to turn the internet back on, it works in seconds).

Thanks, Rob.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Why A Google Android Smartphone, And Why The HTC Desire?

As I was reading back through the few posts I've done on this site, I realised that I hadn't fully explained why I decided to buy a Google Android Smartphone, and why the HTC desire was the handset I went for.

First, a little back story. I used to use Smart-Phones - Windows Mobile Smartphones to be precise. I started off with the o2 XDA, then moved on to the XDA 2. Great devices for their time, they were Pocket-Pc's with built-in phone functionality. They synchronised nicely with Outlook, so my Calendar, Contacts and Task-Lists were up to date, but the Internet Browsers were rubbish.

After using them for a few years I went back to a plain old mobile phone, and had given up on the idea of a really useable phone / PDA combination. I also started to use Google Apps for my email, calendar, tasks and documents, so anything Windows specific was looking more and more unlikely.

Then the Apple Iphone was released. I don't think any gadget in the history of computing has had such a radical impact on how we use our mobile devices. Here we had a phone that was a Pocket Computer, but that was also tightly integrated with the Internet. Thousands of "apps" were (and are) available to make the device more capable, but most importantly the User Interface was simple, straightforward, and anyone could use one. They also looked very, very cool. Unfortunately they were (and are) too expensive for me.

I played with Iphones at the phone shops, and a friend of mine has one, so I could see the potential for how I could use one. I wanted to be able to access the Internet from anywhere, so I could post to my Blogs on the move, post photos to Flickr, update Twitter and Facebook more regularly, record Podcasts, read my RSS feeds, and generally have in my Pocket the device I'd always wanted. (Oh, and make the odd phone call!)

Then Google released Android - their free operating system for mobile / cell phones. Over the last couple of years we've seen lots of handset manufacturers create Android Phones, and the operating system has had several updates. The phones still weren't on my Radar until a certain Mr. Leo Laporte anounced that he was swapping his Iphone 3GS for a Google Nexus One Android Smartphone. (Here's an article comparing the Nexus One with the Iphone 3G.)

All of a sudden I was thinking that the Google Nexus One, and the Android Phones in general, could be a real competitor to the Iphone, and they had the advantage of using Open-Source Software, have changeable batteries, have Multi-Tasking, and are tightly integrated into Googles Web services.

However, the Nexus One was only available in the States, and was just as expensive as an Iphone to buy anyway, so I kind of pushed the idea to one side, until I heard that HTC (who make the Nexus One for Google), were bringing out the Nexus One under their own HTC badge, and calling it the Desire. (There are a few minor differences).

I was intrigued, and started to do some investigating, although I thought that the Desire would still be too expensive for me. My Son, Oliver, uses a Pay-as-you-go mobile with T-Mobile, and as they were going to be the first to get the HTC Desire in the UK, I checked their website out.

I was amazed to see that you could get a HTC Desire for £95, if you took out a 24 month contract at £15 a month. For this princely sum you get 100 minutes free (I don't call many people!), unlimited Texts (as part of a free booster) and unlimited Internet (well, 1gb worth). This is much, much cheaper than any Iphone deal - so I jumped at the chance. (I have a feeling this may have been a mistake on T-Mobiles behalf - they've since put their prices up, and the cheapest you can get a Desire at £15 a month is £157).

My darling Wife, Suzanne, offered to buy me the phone as a "giving up smoking" gift, so I ordered that phone and got it within a couple of days. Fantastic! Within a few minutes of playing with the HTC Desire, I knew I had a brilliant device that rivalled, if not bettered the Iphone.

The Internet Browser is super slick, and includes Flash (unlike the Iphone), the integration with Google apps (apart from docs) is brilliant, and the way the phone links together all the social networking stuff has to be seen to be believed. I can blog on the go, upload images to Flickr, track my location and get directions from Google Maps, read my RSS feeds (no need to buy another Photo Magazine!), and do countless other things.

The battery life maybe poor ( I've come up with a solution, I'll do a video soon), but apart from that, this small gadget is marvellous. It really is the Internet in your pocket, and so much more. To say I'm chuffed to bits with it is an understatement!

Thanks, Rob.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Example Video Shot With My HTC Desire

Just a quick video I shot on Sunday Morning. When you take a video, and try to share it on You tube, the HTC Desire will wait until it has Wi-Fi coverage to upload the large files.

Thanks, Rob.

Google Goggles App On The HTC Desire Android Smartphone

That is magic....

Thanks, Rob.

Google Earth On HTC Desire Android Mobile Phone

Thanks, Rob.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

HTC Desire Google Android Smart Phone First Look Video

Sorry about the poor video quality, I'll try better for the next series of vids!

Thanks, Rob.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Listen To Me Talking About My HTC Desire On My Photography Podcast

SCL PodcastMy new phone, the HTC Desire Android (on T-Mobile) that really is the Internet in your pocket.

Subscribe on Itunes. (Will open Itunes, then you need to click on the "subscribe" button) (Free)

Subscribe with other Podcatchers. (Google Reader, etc) (For Free)

Download / listen to the mp3. (Right-click then "save target as" / "save link as".) (Did I say it was free?)

Download / listen to the LOW BANDWIDTH (small file-size) mp3. (Right-click then "save target as" / "save link as".) (Again, free!)

Cheers, Rob.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Battery Life And Blogging On The Move

So today I put my HTC Desire through its paces again, learning as I go.

As I posted earlier,  Blogaway  seems to be a decent local app for posting to Blogger / blogspot sites and I'm using it to write this article. (Did you see how I slipped that link in there too!)

I did have a problem though, when I tried to insert a photo into my last post, the upload kept failing. I guessed that this was because the photo was far too wide and the file size too large for either Blogaway or Blogger to handle, so I had to find way of resizing my photos.

The photo app that comes with the phone doesn't include resizing, nor does the PhotoShop app. I checked the Android Market and there wasn't anything obvious there, but the answer was already on my phone:   Picsay.

Picsay is a great free little photo app that let's you do some basic image editing, including resizing then saving your image. (The feature is under Transform option). This is perfect for making photos around the 400 pixels width that fits this blog template. There is a catch with the free version of Picsay, you're always limited to working on Lo res versions of your photographs.

So if I want to post to this blog from my android phone, I've got a few options. I can use Blogaway, but have to make sure I resize my photos first. I can access this blog through the Android browser, but I can't easily add links or photos. lf I want a post with with a link to a hi res photo at the top I have to first upload the photo to Flickr, then blog from there, but I can't easily add tags or links that way (but its the best for photos!)

Time and practice will decide the winner, but I think that ill probably be using Blogaway for this site, and maybe the Flickr method for my photo site, if I want a nice hi res image.

As you can guess, photo editing on my HTC Desire has been one of my top priorities, and this is what I've learnt so far. The in-built apps have little options to edit your photos after you've taken them, nothing beyond crop and rotate.

The trick with the HTC camera app is to select the style you want before you take the picture. Increase the contrast, change to grey scale or boost the saturation, the press the shutter release. This will give you the highest resolution images to upload to Flickr.

If you want more of a creative look,  Fxcamera offers loads of great looks, where again you've got to choose the style before you shoot. (The toy camera black and white is excellent). The down side is that you're shooting at a lower resolution than the native camera app.

If we're looking at post processing both Picsay and PhotoShop reduce the resolution of your photographs.

Finally my simple battery life test that I did today. I've made a customized scene (the look of the home pages) that has a plain black background and includes the Android power control widget. I left the phone radio on all day, made a few calls and text messages, took some photos and did some web browsing. The phone had a full charge and lasted ten hours, pretty good, but I was hardly using it. Time to buy a spare battery and a car charger!

Cheers, Rob.

I've Found A Blogger / Blogspot App For My Desire

After unsuccessfully trying Androblogger, I've just installed Blogaway, which seems like a nice Android app for writing posts on your phone.

I'm in Lee On Solent with Suzanne as I'm writing this (using Blogaway), so I better go and see where she is!

Cheers Rob


Friday, 2 April 2010

Thursday, 1 April 2010

First Post From My Desire!

I couldn't find an app for uploading to blogspot blogs, so I'm writing this in the browser. For some reason you have to use the "edit html" box rather than "compose" but I'm used to that from Wordpress.

I'm getting used to the touch keyboard too, but I'm still very slow.

The multi tasking is impressive, as I'm doing this I'm chatting to two mates on Google chat.

That's enough for now, time for bed soon, watch for lots more updates over the next few days!

Cheers Rob.

My T-Mobile HTC Desire Android Phone Arrived Today!

I was working in the garden this morning, putting up a wooden Gazebo, but my mind was on whether my new mobile phone would really come today. To say I was excited would be an understatement - this is my most anticipated gadget since my Canon 350d / Rebel XT of last year.

At about ten o'clock there was a knock at the front door. I downed tools I rushed to open it - the Postman with a package! Unfortunately it was some printer cartridges I'd ordered a few days earlier, so it was back to the Gazebo...

Just as I was drilling the holes in our concrete hard-standing to secure the foot-plates for the Gazebo, there was another knock at the door. This time it was Fedex, with a signed-for delivery. My phone!

Oliver (my son) and I rushed into the dinning room and open the packet, carefully laying out the phone, battery, SIM card, USB cable, hands-free kit and instructions. After loading in the SIM and the battery, we left it to charge for a couple of hours while I finished off my work in the Garden.

After lunch we fired up the phone, going through the set-up process. This was a bit traumatic as I couldn't remember my gmail password, but after a bit of thinking the phone was set up and we were good to go. T-Mobile have this handy (not!) feature of Content Block which stops minors accessing potentially rude sites (like Flickr and Facebook), but a quick call to T-Mobiles customer care line and it was switched off. After about twenty minutes the whole of the internet was open to us!!!

Oliver proceeded to use the Android Marketplace to download games, and that's pretty much what we've been doing this afternoon. I'll set up all my Social Networking stuff this evening, and then I'll see what the HTC Desire is really capable of.

First impressions are amazing. The OLED screen is bright and clear, the internet seems fast enough and websites are easy to navigate by dragging your finger around the screen and "pinching" to zoom in and out. I had a quick look at some youtube vids, and they streamed fast and clear.

My love goes to my darling Wife Suzanne who bought this phone for me as a gift for giving up smoking (I'm in my third day), this site is dedicated to you!

Cheers, Rob.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

My HTC Desire Is Coming Tomorrow!

I ordered my HTC Desire Android Smartphone on Sunday  from T-Mobiles Website, but after hearing nothing from them, and the order being shown as still "being processed", I gave them a ring this afternoon.

A very helpful lady explained that the Desire had been out of stock, but more had just arrived. She found my order on the system, asked me a few questions, then promised me it would come tomorrow (01/04/10 - I hope that isn't appropriate....)

What I did get today was a case for my Desire (feels strange writing that!), which I ordered from eBay on Sunday because there weren't any cases listed in the T-Mobile accessory store. It's a Mofi soft case, in black, but looking at it now I don't think it will be big enough. I guess I'll have to wait until tomorrow and see!

In the meantime, here's a great video unboxing from Tracey and Matts Blog:

Cheers, Rob.