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.)

WARNING: WHEN USING SKYPE, UNLESS YOU'RE ON WI-FI, YOU WILL BE USING UP YOUR DATA ALLOWANCE. EVEN UNLIMITED PLANS HAVE "FAIR USAGE" CAPS THAT ARE SURPRISINGLY LOW. MAKE SURE YOU MONITOR YOUR DATA USAGE OR YOU WILL BE HIT WITH A BIG BILL.

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!