Top 10 Home Replacements (Bottom 5) – Easy Android Facelift

So you are sick of the main menu of your phone, you want to change it up a little but fear the idea of rooting your phone.  There is a great option for Android phones that will allow you to change the menu system that loads when you press your home screen.  There are a countless Home Replacement options, so I will just give you a Top 10 list here – in the form of a countdown to make it dramatic.

Name: 10. Claystone Launcher
Description: What sets Claystone apart from the others is that it has a really cool icon stacking capability that has a neat 3D look. Aside from this the features look pretty standard, but I recomend it if you are looking for something a little different. Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/embed/fNMW18_aPmE
Download Link: http://goo.gl/OsIeU
Name: 9. Slidescreen
Description: Slidescreen is a completely different home screen. It presents you with your information first. You will see your Facebook information, RSS feeds, Twitter, Etc on the home page. You have the ability to slide the center clock bar up and down to see more of one or the other. To access your apps you simply have to press the menu button. It also has a cool option for your top 8 apps at the top of the app list.
Download Link: http://goo.gl/IdF0q
Name: 8. Launcher 7
Description: Launcher 7 is an Android launcher that gives your Google powered phone the look and feel of a Microsoft Windows Phone 7 phone. It has the ability to scroll up and down through the main menu, and access your app list by swiping to the right. It’s very true to the original and even comparing the 2 side by side shows very few differences. The developer is really good about keeping it updated too.
Download Link: http://goo.gl/D7LHE

Name: 7. Regina 3D Launcher
Description: Regina 3D is a launcher that at a glance looks a lot like all the other launchers, until you go to switch between the different screens and you will find that it has a 3D cube effect, much like a desktop computer can have. Looks really cool to show off to your friends, but it does get a little old after a while.
Download Link: http://goo.gl/egA0Y
Name: 6. vLauncher
Description: vLauncher has a clean look to it that reminds a lot of people of the iPhone interface. One of the main pros to this launcher is that all of your icons are on your home screen, you don’t have to open a tray to see them, plus without all the widgets and extras it runs very fast, even on an older device, like me…
Download Link: http://goo.gl/yqMKO

So if you like these and want to try them, follow the links and download them to you phone.  After they are installed the next time you press the home key it will ask you if you want to load the current launcher or the new one.   You can also set one as a default by checking the check box.  So check them out and stay tuned for the top 5…

Some “Best of the Best” accessories for your Android phone:

0

Enhanced Apps2SD – “Why Root?” Part 2

So with Froyo (Android 2.2) and up you have the ability to move some of your apps to the memory card to save that precious storage memory on your phone. But what if you could move ALL of your apps to the memory card? With a rooted phone you have a couple more options with Apps2SD.

First you have the ability to “force” apps to go to the memory card.  Therefore, if the developer hasn’t set it’s permissions for it,you can movie it over to the card anyway.  This works great in most situations, unl;ess you are dealing with a widget, or a home replacement app (like ADW or Launcher Pro) because they typically stay in memory, and you could break the app by doing this.

The second option is to actually re-partition your SD card (which does erase your data) and create an android partition right on the SD card,so you could move ALL of your apps over to the card and leave the internal memory for your android installation.  This option can significantly speed up your phone because you will have a tone of free space for the system to run in.

For information on either of these options I recommend doing some research on some of the various message boards out there, especially  XDA Developers, because that’s where all the experts tend to hang out.

Some “Best of the Best” accessories for your Android phone:

0

Amazon Appstore Free App of the Day – Paper Glider (7/10/11)

Although the ratings weren’t all that great I did give it a try this morning.  It is really just a game where you glide a paper plane past various backgrounds.  It does have some cool power ups and the graphics are nice, but I got bored of it after a few minutes.  Definitely worth a try for the low low cost of FREE – But remember, it is only free today  7/10/11.
From Amazon:

Some “Best of the Best” accessories for your Android phone:

0

Amazon App Store Free App 7/9/11 – Days Left Widget Pro

Have a big event planned and constantly end up counting days on your calendar?  Fortunately for a robot, it’s a simple calculation, but unfortunately for a human things just don’t calculate that quick.  Fortunately there is the “Days Left Widget Pro”, which you can get for free – today only – on the Amazon App Store.

Basically the app is a widget that allows you to set a date, of anything you want to remember, and have a countdown for that event anywhere on your phone’s screen.  Seems kinda handy and you could use it for anything from a birthday, anniversary, vacation, oil change or whatever else you have going on. Whatever the reason you can’t go wrong with it for free, but remember that it’s only free today!


Some “Best of the Best” accessories for your Android phone:

0

Age of Zombies – FREE Amazon App of the Day 7/8/11

Today’s free app of the day from Amazon is a great one.  Age of Zombies is a zombie shooter where you are thrown back in time to fight zombies.  Not just regular human type zombies, but caveman zombies and dinosaur zombies.  Because contrary to popular belief cavemen and dinosaurs did coexist (completely made up lie).

Here’s the official trailer for the game from our friends at Halfbrick:

To download the app for free (today only 7/8/11)  go here and install Amazon App Store, or follow the QR links below:

Some “Best of the Best” accessories for your Android phone:

0

Wireless Tethering – “Why Root?” Part 1

As discussed in the article “Root – The "What?” “Why?” “How?” Article", the first mentioned reason why you would want to root your phone is to be able to share the phone’s internet plan with your computer(s).  Computers love internet access. They almost need it anymore, with the increased popularity of apps like Google Docs, and other web based software.  Plus you humans with your addictions to things like Facebook you need the internet access as much as the computers do…

So you have a couple of options.  Pay your carrier an additional fee to use the same internet plan on another device, or take matters into your own hands and unlock the phones capability to do it on it’s own.  This process is called rooting and is discussed briefly in the above mentioned article “Root – The "What?” “Why?” “How?” Article".  Remember the disclaimer portion too, that the process is a software modification that can cause damage to your phone if you don’t know what you are doing.  You can’t blame me if you mess up your phone doing this.

As you can see from the program screenshots, the main program is pretty simple. The far left image shows that the  app loads up to a screen where all you have to do is press on the center icon and it will create and stop a WiFi network right from your phone.  The 2nd and 3rd screens are images of the settings available to the program where you can set up passwords and adjust things like the channel. The final partial screenshot is an example of what the widget looks like, so if you just want to start and stop the network, you just have to click the widget – kinda like turning te built in switches on and off.

A couple of disclaimers:  Speeds will very based on your carrier’s network. I have seen as high as 12MB on 4G, or 2 or 2MN on 3G. Also, this might not be available in the market through your carrier. Carriers have been blocking this app left and right.  Obviously because if you are using this app they aren’t getting their money from you for the “extra” service. Depending on your carrier, you may also get a message asking you to stop.

So check out their website and if you have any questions, post them in the comments.

Download links:

Android Market Link:
https://market.android.com/details?id=android.tether

Remember: If this doesn’t work try the below link for the Google Code site to download it directly.

Google Code Website Link:
http://code.google.com/p/android-wifi-tether/

Remember: To install the downloaded .APK file follow the directions at: http://www.oldandroid.co.cc/2011/07/installing-non-market-apps.html

In Use Photo:

Some “Best of the Best” accessories for your Android phone:

0

Fieldrunners HD launches at midnight FREE for 24 Hours – 7/7/11

UPDATE! As seculated this is the free app of the day for July 7, 2011.

Top selling iPhone game Fieldrunners will be launched on Amazon App Store tonight at midnight and will be free for the first 24 hours.  It is a tower defense sort of game that appears to be pretty promising…  Will it be the free app of the day for tomorrow, or are we looking at a bonus free app?  So remember to check it out 7/7/11.

Some “Best of the Best” accessories for your Android phone:

0

Easy Ways to Improve Battery Life.

You may have noticed that your Android device likes to consume a lot of battery.  You don’t have to tell me about it.  I am always thirsty for a nice fully charged battery – on the rocks, shaken not stirred… Delicious…

Well back on point.  Battery life, and what you can do to keep it charged.  Well it all starts with your charger.  If you pay close attention to the fine print on the charger you will see a little number on there that tells you the wattage of the charger.  Even though the chargers have the same end (most have micro USB) you will not get the same performance with a different charger.  Especially for these gigantic screened newer models with all the newfangled features like 3D and dozens of built in types of wireless technology.  If you lose your charger you will need to find something similarly rated to get the best performance out of your battery.
The next thing to keep an eye on is the notification area at the top of the screen.  the more things that are up there the more processes are probably running on your phone, and the more things running, the shorter your battery life will be – along with the performance of the phone taking a hit too.  As you can see by the screenshots below there is an app called Advanced Task Killer running.  Although it is an app that claims to improve your battery life, remember that if it is always running in the background then it will have to take some sort of hit to your battery.  Also – with the improvements made to the Android OS a task killer is no longer useful. It is all built in to the OS. So if you have one, uninstall it now. 
For a more detailed look at all of the applications that are running in the background navigate to “Settings” – “Applications” – “Running Services”.  This will give you all the details of what is currently running in the background in real-time.  If you constantly see an app listed here that you don’t uses a lot consider uninstalling it.  You have to weigh the pres and cons of these apps.  Also keep in mind that the above and below screenshot was taken on an HTC phone, so your results may vary.
One other place that you can go to to lessen the drain of you battery is under “Settings” – “Accounts & Sync”.  This gives you a list of what data is synchronized from the web into your phone.  Things like your Google data will show up here, along with Facebook, weather apps, stock widgets, etc.  If you don’t use it, uncheck it.  See the final screenshot below:
So before you give up on your Android phone, or take it in for service because the battery isn’t holding a charge, try these simple tips.  You will definitely notice an improvement in your battery life.

Some “Best of the Best” accessories for your Android phone:

0

Installing Non-Market Apps

So you found a cool app you want to try out, but when you click on the download link it doesn’t take you to the familiar grounds of the Android Market.  A great example of this is the Amazon App Store application.  It makes sense that you wouldn’t find a link to this great application on the Android Market, because it is a direct competitor.  Another great example is the large number of apps that are available on http://code.google.com.

The first thing you are going to need to know is that out-of-the-box the Android system won’t let you install anything non-market.  BUT, there is an incredibly easy workaround to this problem. All you have to do is select the little “Settings” icon from your main menu, and choose the “Applications” menu.  Once you are there you will see a little icon that looks like the below image.  Along with a little checkbox labeled “Unknown Sources”.  This would be that quick fix. 
Just check the box and you are all set.  
Next, simply load up your browser to one of the above mentioned sites and click download.  You will notice that the file being downloaded ends in .APK.  This is the standard format for an android application.  If you find that it is a zip your best bet is to hook up to a computer and unzip the file.  You can also do this with a few different programs, right on your phone. Just fire up Android Market and search for unzip.  If you decide to go that route you will also want to look into a File Manager app, so you can view your memory card – especially the “Downloads” folder.
This is a great trick that doesn’t force you into hacking/rooting your phone at all, and a relatively safe trick too.  Post up a comment if you have any questions.
0

Root – The “What?” “Why?” “How?” Article

(Me in my younger days.)

So you bought yourself a nice little android phone and are wondering what more you can do with it?  I mean you are probably already bored with the hundreds of thousands of apps that are available to it, let alone the amazing built-in capabilities it already has, like the calendar and email and browser.  So what more can you do with it?

Before I get ahead of myself and jump into the “Why?” portion of the article, I want to tell you a little about what rooting your phone actually is. The wonderful humans that put together Wikipedia define Rooting as:

Rooting is a process that allows users of cellphones and other devices running the Android operating system to attain privileged control (known as “root access”) within Android’s Linux subsystem, similar to jailbreaking on Apple devices running the iOS operating system, overcoming limitations that the carriers and manufacturers put on such phones.

Therefore Rooting would be the equivalent of that little popup you get in Windows 7 (Or Ubuntu/Linux) when you want to make a change to something.  The difference is that in the world of cell phones you can’t just accept a change and be done with it, because it is blocked by the manufacture. I don’t think that it is blocked to take away you humanly freedoms, or to take away the fun of it.  It’s there because people are dumb by nature and if phones came out without any sort of security on them they would all get messed up by the end user…

So now onto the “Why?”.  Although it seems like I have a million reasons, I have it narrowed down to the 5 greatest things you can do with a rooted phone.  I will look at each of these in more details over the next few days.

1. The ability to use your phone’s internet on your laptop. (for FREE)
2. Enhanced Apps to SD.
3. Over/UnderClocking
4. Custom Roms.
5. Get apps not “approved” for your phone.

Sounds pretty cool, huh?  You are probably asking yourself, “How can I do this to my new shiny Android phone.  Well before you just jump right in, keep in mind.  Doing this may void your warranty, and/or disable your device – and by disable I mean brick your device.  And yes, the name means just what you would think. Turn your phone into a brick.  Also keep in mind that I have seen a lot of you humans attempt to root your phones successfully. As long as you follow the specified directions for your make and model you will probably be fine, but either way I am not liable for any damage – besides… I am a robot anyway. Who takes advice from a robot…

So the moral of this article is that you will need to do a little research on directions for you specific make and model.  A great place to search is the XDA site. There is a section for a majority of all phones released in the US, and around the world. So do up the research and post any questions you might have.

0