Do Android smartphones and tablets dream of electric sheep? Who knows. Soon, however, your Android gadget may well be doing something else. A Berkeley Professor Enlists Android Phones in Search for Black Holes, and is trying to get them to BOINC away their dreams…
Archive for the ‘Android’ Category
A few days ago, I mentioned having problems with the CyanogenMod OTA Updater tool. What I described happened just before “ivendor” released his Release 1 of CM 10 for the Samsung Galaxy S+. So I had to upgrade again… and this time the OTA Updater worked flawlessly. Here’s the proof, in the form of a series of screenshots:
I still have no explanation for what what went wrong the first time; I can only affirm that it worked splendidly this time around. With just a few clicks, the update was downloaded and installed, and the SGS+ rebooted into the new version without further intervention. Easy as it may be to use ClockWorkMod Recovery, it’s even easier to use the CyanogenMod OTA Updater. Kudos to the developers!
Six weeks ago, I installed CyanogenMod 10 on my Samsung Galaxy S Plus (SGS+). Not because I needed it for personal use, but mainly to use the machine to demo a few features during the workshops I give on mobile apps.
One of the nice features that CyanogenMod 10 brings is the OTA Updater. OTA means “over the air”; the OTA Updater will update you CyanogenMod 10 to newer versions without having to go through the complete update procedure for the first install.
Or at least, that’s how the OTA Updater is supposed to work. In my case, it didn’t work. Why? No idea. Was it because I was running beta 2, and needed to install beta 3 and beta 4 ? The OTA Updater told me it had (slowly) downloaded beta 3, but there was no trace of it after the download. Downloading beta 4 within the tool did not work, trying to do so immediately provoked an error message.
So I did the update – to beta 4 – the ‘old’ way. With ClockworkMod Recovery on the machine, that is actually almost as simple as the OTA Updater is supposed to be. Just download the required file on you computer, copy it to the SGS+, restart the SGS+ by booting into recovery, then tell CWM to install the downloaded file. Wait until CMW tells you it is done, and reboot the SGS+. Done. Who needs the OTA Updater anyway?
A year ago, I wrote about AIDE, a more or less integrated development environment on Android for developing Android applications. I haven’t tried it since, even though it should work better now on my Galaxy Tab 2. Besides AIDE, there are other options as well, just check the Google Play Store.
But I am tempted to have another go at it, if I can find a bit of time. Reading a blog post about “My Development Setup… Working with an Android Tablet!” made it clear (as if that was needed) that tablets are indeed on their way to be become the new PC, even for developers. The author promises to update his experience with this setup regularly, so let’s heed his lessons and at the same time experiment a bit ourselves. Yes, you can develop Android apps this way, but much more is possible – Android is Linux-based, remember, so anything Linux can is theoretically possible.
No, not “just a Kawasaki”. I’m referring to Guy Kawasaki, a longtime Apple Evangelist, and an interview about “11 Reasons Why Guy Kawasaki Thinks Android Is Better Than Apple’s iOS“. I have been telling my friends the same thing; now I know that I share my preference for Android with one of the staunchest Apple fans ;-)
I just finished upgrading my Samsung Galaxy S Plus (SGS+) to ivendor‘s latest version of CyanogenMod 10 for this machine. And by latest I mean really latest: the beta 2 was published only yesterday ;-)
You may know that this phone is no longer in daily use (there’s a SGS3 for that), but the SGS+ is still very usable. I hope to prove that by using it for a bit of application testing, screenshots for courses, etc. Android 4.1.2, in the form of ivendor‘s CyanogenMod 10, should help me keep up with essential apps on a more or less bare smartphone (at least compared to the Samsung TouchWiz environment on the SGS3).
For my own use, I’ll just add that I have to use the combination of the power key and the volume-down key to capture what’s on the screen – CM10 writes the PNG file into the
Pictures/Screenshots folder on the internal memory card.
Login trouble? Yes, for a long time it was impossible to log into the Android Evernote application. I did spend a lot of time trying to find out what was wrong. Having just ‘upgraded’ my Yarvik tablet to a splendid Samsung Tab 2 10.1, I thought the trouble was caused by my new machine, which includes a currently unused 3G SIM-slot…
I have yet to find an explanation, but it seems that the problem was (is?) caused by Evernote: No connection found after reinstallation. I’m not sure the matter is completely solved, even though several posters say they are now able to login. I could login too, after many retries over the last 36 hours. But when I tried to change to a second account ( I have a personal as well as a professional account), I had to click the “No connection found” found about a dozen times before going through with the login. As fas as I can tell, the application seems to think my 3G connection is not active (which is correct), but has problems to switch to the (very available) WiFi connection. Let’s hope my logins last until Evernote finds a solution ;-)
For the record: as a low-budget machine, the Yarvik tablet (a model TAB465EUK – GoTab Exxa 9.7″) was/is reasonably usable. But after a failing screen and no more Yarviks in stock at my dealer, I had no choice but to replace it. So why not really UPgrade, eh?
The bad news, of course, is the discovery last week of a vulnerability in the Android kernel for certain Exynos processors used in several Samsung smartphones. Not that the Galaxy S Plus is using such a processor – but since a few weeks I’m the owner of a Galaxy S III (S3), and that model could be attacked through the hole found by XDA member Alephzain! Amazingly, no word of this problem, nor word of a solution, can be found on the official Samsung websites in the US or Belgium. Let’s hope they do what they promised: get an OTA patch out as soon as possible. If you’re really worried about this problem, head over to Project Voodoo for a temporary solution…
The good news is that my Galaxy S III (I suppose I better write SGS3 in the future, that’s easier to type) has already received the Android 4.1.2 update yesterday. Downloading the full update happened during the night, after a bit of manual prodding on the “Check for updates” setting; the installation itself took a handful of minutes and went without a hitch.
I bought my SGS3 in Germany, so I cannot confirm that the update wave has already reached Belgium or the Benelux… Not that there is anything inherently wrong with Android 4.1.1 on the SGS3, but it is nice to see the multi-window feature in action!
Are you currently running some kind of custom ROM on your SGS+? If for some reason you want (need!) to downgrade to the latest official Android version for this smartphone, fear not. Here are the instructions on “How to upgrade the Galaxy S Plus I9001 to Android 2.3.6 build XXKQI“, at least for European users (for the corresponding versions in other parts of the world, see the XD-Developers website on the subject).
The most difficult part of this guide? Well, for me that is finding a friend with a Windows PC – apparently there is no way for Macintosch or Linux users to run the required non-smartphone software to flash the SGS+ ROM. Not really smart, Samsung!
I have just upgraded the CM9 on the SGS+ to Beta 4, as described on the XDA Developers site. Nothing special to report until now, except for the fact that I’m getting good at reinstalling apps with the “App Backup and Restore” app from InfoLife LLC. But since that is a very useful app there is no harm in mentioning it, au contraire!
Android developer ‘gnufabio‘ has borrowed code from the official Android 4.2 version and created versions of the standard 4.2 Clock and Keyboard apps for Android 4.1 and 4.0+ respectively. Since the Clock app on my SGS+ wasn’t working anyway, as I mentioned earlier, I did install both apps over CM9 versions. You do have to follow the instructions and uninstall or freeze the originals, if you don’t want too much trouble (oh, and installation is through recovery mode: just drop the files on the root of your file system to find them easily).
End result of the operation: the Clock app still refuses to work (but I expected that, given that now the app is running on the wrong Android version), and the Keyboard works OK – but I have yet to discover the gesture support ;-)
The CM9 beta 2 wasn’t exactly 100% stable: I have had days with no problems, and days with several unexpected reboots! All in all, I prefer CM9 (or should I say Android 4?) to the standard Samsung 2.3, but CM9 isn’t yet ready for release to users who just want a working smartphone.
Anyway, yesterday evening I installed CM9 beta 3 onto my Galaxy S Plus. We’ll see if this version is better behaved… Until now I have not seen the message that the Clock stopped working, so that counts as a plus ;-) More good news: the phone now announces itself to Windows XP as a “composite USB device“, and activating the USB Mass Storage makes the ‘sdcard‘ and ‘external_sdcard‘ available on the PC.
For the start of this story, also read my previous post.
Over all, it seems that the beta 2 user interface is a bit more responsive and less prone to unexpected temporary freezes of 10, 20 or even 30 seconds. But after using it for about 15 minutes, just after opening the Google+ app, the machine froze completely; only a removal and reinsertion of the battery restored normal functioning. That was yesterday morning; today the SGS+ has experienced what I call a “sudden death”. I had been using it for almost an hour, when suddenly and without any warning the phone turned itself off…
Other than that, there isn’t much to report. I did replace Trebuchet with the Nemus Launcher; I have no measurements to support my impressions, but Nemus feels so much lighter, swifter, and is a bit more configurable on the home screen. Try it and see what you think.
In the mean time, the Clock app continues to report its shutdown after each reboot of Android.
Last night, I upgraded my Samsung Galaxy S Plus (SGS+) to arco68‘s CyanogenMod 9, specifically CM9 beta2. You can find the required files and instructions on the XDA Developers Forum. If you want to go the same way, you may have to try a few versions of the ClockworkMod Recovery tool; I’m using version 22.214.171.124, which runs without a hitch for this purpose on my phone.
This means the phone is now running Android 4.0.4. I do hope this version brings a bit of stability to the platform. Yes, I have been using the phone with CM9 beta1 for several weeks now. Yes, I use it relatively intense: on my daily train commute – at least an hour and a half every day – I try to listen to streaming radio (TuneIn Radio) while reading RSS feeds (gReader) and a fair bit of web browsing (Opera). Add more of the same (plus an occasional game ;-) at lunch time or at home. Contrary to my experience with CM7 on the ZTE Blade, until now CM9 wasn’t that rock solid: Android has rebooted spontaneously at least half a dozen times, I have had to remove the battery at least as many times if not more, and the Clock program had days where it “stopped working” every few minutes as soon as I activated the screen.
So I’m hoping for a better experience from now on – I’ll keep you posted!
PS. I’m also – still – hoping for an official CM10 release for the SGS+…
1. Last night, gReader (for Android) was updated. The latest version is much more responsive than the one that provoked my remarks yesterday – and yet it managed to crash on me when the data connection on the train became unstable. Nevertheless: serious progress.
2. I’ve have been forced to note the demise of Freecard…