Android

Posted by Kiran

I have been asked many times by many people: "What is root and what is the advantage of having it on my phone?". I could reply by the standard answer that we so often come across on Android forums, that if you don't know what root is you probably don't need it. However, I personally find that response a bit offending — how is anyone supposed to learn new things if everyone who knows is unwilling to clearly explain?

Though I don't claim to be an expert, but my experiences in the past year with Android has taught me enough to understand what the pros and cons are with rooting an Android device.

Here, I explain the few points that you may want to consider before you decide to root your Android phone.

Posted by Kiran

This post is more a user's rant than an expert opinion. I have used Android for just about an year now and have wondered why certain things were the way they were. Having moved to Android from Windows Mobile 6.0, the first thing that struck me as odd was the lack of flexibility for the users to install their applications into the SD Card. That meant that the users were confined to whatever Internal Storage was available on their phones and more often than not that was very limited.

As soon as I bought my first Android phone, I started fishing around for a solution to this problem and found it in Apps2SD+ (now called Legacy Apps2SD+ or, at times, Apps2EXT). However Apps2SD+ needed root access and was tricky to set up. It took every bit of my technical acumen to understand and execute the steps it entailed. It was also risky and could have easily bricked my phone!

Hence when Google released Froyo with in-built support for Apps2SD I had high expectations. The Froyo Apps2SD turned out to be a disappointment though. I believe that Google got the design of their Apps2SD solution wrong, and although I can think of a few reasons why they might have chosen the design that they did, I cannot help but think that they could have done a better job.

Posted by Kiran
Update (07-Sep-2012): Seesmic has now been acquired by Hootsuite and they say "Consumer users of Seesmic are encouraged to explore new tools, apps and features available at Twitter.com". Effectively, what they seem to be saying is that general users should go and find some other client that suits their need and Seesmic will no longer be around for long. With that, I suppose, this comparison is now moot since Seesmic will soon cease to exist as a great option for general users looking for a powerful Twitter Client.

When I first started off on Twitter, Tweetdeck for Desktop was my preferred client. I found it to be extremely user friendly, feature-packed and intuitive. Once I got my HTC Desire though, I realized that the best way to use Twitter is through my mobile phone. Twitter is all about instantaneous sharing of views and opinions and my phone allowed me to do just that; it soon became my primary platform for Twitter usage and I longed for an equally feature-packed Twitter client. I longed for Tweetdeck for Android.

Though I initially used HTC Peep, the in-built Twitter client on my phone, once I discovered Seesmic for Android, there was no looking back. Seesmic had everything I was looking for and was the perfect client for me.

That is why when Tweetdeck finally got around to releasing their client for Android, I found myself in a dilemma. Should I stick with my new found loyalty to Seesmic or should I go back to Tweetdeck?

I decided to compare the two with regards to the functionality that I use most and here is what I found.

Posted by Kiran

Ever since I moved to Android from Windows Mobile, I have been complaining about the Android Platform's seeming limitation in handling Calendar reminders. The fact that the Android Calendar gave me only one 5-minute snooze option always troubled me and I have written about this annoyance in the past too.

I promptly bought Calendar Snooze, an application available in the Android Market which allows users to choose the duration of time for which the reminder must be snoozed, and even recommended it in one of my blog posts.

When I noticed that Google had neglected to include the feature in their much hyped Android 2.2 (Froyo) as well, I couldn't understand why Google chose to ignore such basic functionality.

However, in all my eagerness to lambast Google at their oversight, I seem to have neglected one design feature of the Google Calendar, which renders the snooze option redundant.

Posted by Kiran

Android is a powerful Mobile OS and it is growing. However, as I had earlier mentioned you'll need to install applications from the Android Market to tailor its behavior to your liking.

Here are some of the applications that I use frequently. These are the ones that have helped me tailor my Android experience just the way I like it.

The applications listed below are those that you can make use of without any tweaks to your phone. You do not need to be Root on your phone to run these.

Posted by Kiran

Early this year, I was looking out for a new phone. After looking around for quite a while, I finally decided to go with the HTC Desire.

Before the Desire, I had another HTC phone — the HTC TyTN running Windows Mobile 6.0. Given that I have always been — right from its Pocket PC days — a Windows Mobile devotee, my PIM is mainly based out of Outlook and Exchange. Windows Mobile 6.0 integrated beautifully with Outlook and using both of these together was extremely convenient.

Hence, moving to Android wasn't an easy decision. However rave reviews received by the Desire and the fact that I was unconvinced about the suitability of future Windows Mobile Platforms, made me take the plunge into Android.

Now that I have had my Desire for almost three months, I thought I should write about my first impressions.