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.