Archive for the 'smartphone' Category

I Have Cupcake 2

After saying it was coming, then delaying it, then people claiming to have gotten it, then those claims being debunked, then some people installing the UK version, TMobile has apparently finally begun shipping the Android 1.5 “Cupcake” update to US G1 owners.

This afternoon, I downloaded and installed the update by hand, a process that took maybe 5 minutes (tops). The instructions claim that there’s a risk of causing damage to your phone (bricking it, most likely); I followed them verbatim and didn’t have any issues.

So far, it’s really good. I doubt I could live without the hardware keyboard, but I was also really annoyed that I had to open the phone to be able to type even the simplest “ok”. The soft-keyboard completely solves that, and while I’m still in the process of calibrating my fingers, it’s worked well enough so far. The suggestions seemed accurate and have already saved me some pecking time.

Other than that, there seem to be a lot of spit and polish updates, and a few new features. The T-Mobile forums have a full list of changes. Since I have iPhone envy, I immediately turned on the screen transitions. I also played briefly with the video recorder, and also just made sure that I can play music through my Bluetooth headphones. I also turned on the auto-rotations, but I’m not sure I’ll keep them.

In short, if you have a G1, I’d say you check out the update now — don’t wait! (But, then, I’m impatient.)

In the Hotspots 0

As I was traveling and attending ZendCon earlier this week, I realized that it would be mighty handy to have a T-Mobile Hotspot account. There was a hotspot at the hotel that I ended up charging to my room (the conference wireless was incredibly spotty and I needed to get on the VPN, so my company paid for it), and there were hotspots in various other places we wandered through, like the San Francisco airport.

In the past, I’d seen a flyer advertising an upgrade to my phone data plan that included unlimited wifi access for an additional $10/month (my unlimited data plan is $20/month). I decided to look it up while at the hotel, and, much to my surprise, I discovered that T-Mobile is now offering combined unlimited GRPS/EDGE data and Wifi access at any of their hotspots for just $20/month (what I was already paying).

My current theory is that this is a (pretty smart) stopgap to compete with the 3G networks while they build out one of their own (having somewhat recently acquired airspace for it). I think it’ll work for now.

Getting your Flow on 1

Speaking of enhancing the Windows Mobile UI, today I found FlowFX, a .NET Compact Framework library for creating multi-form Windows Mobile applications with some neat effects. It’s also any entry for OpenNETCF’s September coding competition to create user interfaces that, “[make] the user completely forget they’re using a Windows Mobile device.”

Hopefully there are some more entries!

Living with Windows Mobile 2

With the recent iPhone price reductions, it’s been hard to resist throwing away my slightly irritating Windows Mobile-based T-Mobile Dash in favor of a shiny new iPhone. And Apple’s new smartphone has lots to love– like a lovely interface, BSD subsystem, x86 architecture, and hordes of developers writing nifty applications.

Thou shalt not covet: not as easy as you might think. But in spite of all the compelling reasons to break my piggy bank, I’ve decided to stand firm and be content with what I have. Well, content might be pushing it: I’ve also decided that Apple fan-boys shouldn’t be the only ones to get pretty screen-shots and devoted myself to changing it. Or some of it, at least — I can’t help with the hand models.

My first victim is the home screen for Windows Mobile, since that’s my primary interaction point with my phone. The default home screens are — well, let’s call them professional. (That’s a nice way of saying bland.) Luckily, the home screens are simply XML and graphics; easy to change.

Without further ado, here are screen shots of the original home-screen and my first stab at creating a prettier one. I still have some work to do, but I’m pleased with how it’s coming along.

(Screen-shots taken with Smart SS.)

Tomorrow I’ll hopefully be obtaining a copy of Visual Studio .NET, so I’ll be able to start making software modifications as well. And then I’ve started on some browser-based applications. Time to change the world!