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.