Tagged: settings

Alternatives to the Android Market

So you have an Android phone that you want to be able to make your own, or you may feel a little restricted by Google’s Android Market.  What other options are out there?  I do a lot of talking and linking to things in Android Market, but I also talk and link a lot about the Amazon Appstore. The Amazon Appstore (among others – see below) is an alternate place to download apps for Android and along with the below list gives you the freedom to get your apps from anywhere.

I will cover a handful of app stores below. Feel free to check them out and comment about your experiences.

Name: SlideME App Store
Description:
SlideME is a great alternative to the Google Android Market, and is the site that has made recent (geek gamer) news because of the user yongzh getting booted out of Google’s market and pulling all of his apps and moving over to SlideME and releasing them for free. He is the author of the (insert-classic-system-here)OID games like, NESOID, SNESOID, GameBoid. Just for those apps alone you should go check out the SlideME appstore.
Download Link: http://goo.gl/P8VoU (SlideMe.org)

Name: AndSpot.com
Description:
AndSpot takes a unique approach to the idea of an app store. One that all you power users out there will love. They have a monthly service that gives you UNLIMITED Android app downloads for a low low monthly rate of $8 per month. It is in Beta so you have to sign up for it and wait to get an invite.
Download Link: http://goo.gl/2EEMd(AndSpot.com)

Name: Aproov
Description:
Aproov is a web based app “store” that specializes is only Free apps. This is great if you are someone that spends a lot of time looking through the regular market’s free section and struggle with it because it is not designed for just free apps, where this app store is designed just for that.
Download Link: http://goo.gl/Y930E (Aproov.com)

Name: OnlyAndroid (Mobihand.com)
Description:
OnlyAndroid is an app store that has an option that is similar to the Amazon Appstore. It offers a “deal of the day” on an android app or service. Although it is not a free app, but it also does include services, for example the deal for today (7/29/11) is a 15 month subscription to the SmrtGuard service which gives you data backup and a lost phone finder service for 50% off. It is definitely a site to keep tabs on because they might offer a great deal on that certain app you have been eyeing.
Download Link: http://goo.gl/kNGYB (onlyandroid.mobihand.com)

Name: Amazon App Store
Description:
Amazon Appstore is the alternative appstore that I am obviously a huge fan of mainly because of the feature they offer every day that gives you a FREE app that you can just download. No strings attached. They have a great selection of apps and almost all of the apps have a sale price that is cheaper than the “normal” Android Market.
Download Link: http://goo.gl/BRkOt (Amazon.com)

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

0

Android Debug Bridge (ABD) Beginner’s Guide

ADB (Android Debug Bridge) is a fancy tool that Google has made available to Android users and developers. It is part of the Android SDK (Software Development Kit).  Basically it creates a connection (Bridge) between the Android and the computer. It was originally used as a tool to achieve root on the phone, and to be able to do some additional functions, similar to a linux command line.  A lot of the same commands can be done on the phone through a terminal emulator program (right on the phone), it is so much easier to be able to type it all on a full sized keyboard (plus it makes you feel more like a computer nerd).

Although all of this may seem a little complicated at first it is very simple to setup and use.  At the bare minimum you just have to download the software, install it (I usually install it to c:android), change a setting on your phone (See “Phone Settings” below) and plug the phone and computer into the USB cable. A very simple installer has been put together entitled ADB for Dummies by AndroidSamurai that provides an installer that puts all the files in the right places.  There is a simple command you can do to verify that everything is installed properly.  Open up a command prompt (Start -> Run -> CMD) and switch to the “Tools” folder (wherever you installed the above mentioned software) and type the following command:

adb devices

You should see a long string that will be the ID number of your phone.  You don’t need to memorize it, you just need to see it there to know that the computer properly sees the phone. If you don’t see it, it is most likely an issue with a driver.  Go to the manufacturers site, or simply search google for the manufacturer and the word driver.

Phone Settings – Another troubleshooting step is to make sure the phone is setup for the USB connection. To do this all you have to do (on the phone) is:
Settings -> Applications -> Development -> USB Debugging (Make sure it is checked)  That’s it!

Once you have it installed there are a few cool things you can do with it. Let’s say you want to make a backup of all the apps on your phone.  All you have to do is key in this command:

adb pull /data/app ./

This will backup all the .APK files so you can reinstall them at a later time.  So now lets show you how to do the restore.  Put your APK files all into a single folder (c:apps), navigate to that folder and type in this command:

adb install *.apk

How about changing your boot logo?  Easy as can be…  Find a boot animation on the web that you want to use, and make sure it is a .ZIP file (that you have no need to open or modify, because it probably won’t work if you do) and rename it bootanimation.zip.  Copy the bootanimation.zip file to your “Tools” folder inside your Android SDK installation.  Finally type the following 2 commands to copy it to the phone:

adb shell mount -o rw,remount /dev/block/mtdblock3 /system
adb push pirate_bootanimation.zip /system/media/bootanimation.zipck/mtdblock3 /system
adb reboot

 Watch the phone screen and you should see the new boot logo!

So this is a brief look at what ADB does, and how to get it.  For more information check out the official Android ADB site and learn all you can on it.  Also remember to backup before messing around too much.  We are not responsible for data loss!


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

0

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

As promised, here are the Top 5 of the Top 10 Android Home Replacements/Launchers that we will be reviewing. As with any sort of  "Top" list, don’t take it as the definitive list because new apps come out all the time, and I am probably missing some great launchers – I am an old robot after all…  So here is my list of the top 5:

Name: 5. Zeam
Description: Zeam is a minimalistic launcher alternative for phones running Android 2.2 and above. It has a lot of the cool functions available to the larger launchers, but it will run great on just about any hardware.
Download Link: http://goo.gl/IayVN
Name: 4. ADW Launcher
Description: ADW.Launcher, beyond tweaking your android desktop
Opensource home replacement app
-Customizable application drawer (old one or iphone/galaxy one)
-Customizable drag&drop action buttons
-Unveil the Dockbar flicking-up the app-drawer button and drop UNLIMITED shortcuts/folders!
-Themes
Download Link: http://goo.gl/V3Pnb

Name: 3. Launcher Pro
Description: – Super-smooth scrolling
– Animated screen previews (like Exposé or HTC Sense)
– Up to 7 home screens
– App drawer (2D and 3D!) with a fly-in effect and smooth scrolling
– Scrollable shortcut dock
Download Link: http://goo.gl/QmCit

Name: 2. Home++
Description: New home, new lifestyle
Branching from the stock home app, Home++ offers more
* 3rd party animated widgets & scrollable widgets support
* Drag&drop uninstall
* Bookmarks
* Workspace looping
* 3~7 screens and a screen switcher
* lazy load app drawer by default
Download Link: http://goo.gl/xH9KC

Name: 1. Go Launcher EX
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/LBpRp

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.

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