Archive for T-Mobile/HTC G1

Samsung Vibrant is NOT my new Android Phone (Part One)

Samsung Vibrant
Samsung Vibrant

Samsung Vibrant (CBS Interactive)

Well, just two weeks ago I finally upgraded my Android Phone — twice. I had the original Android phone, T-Mobile’s G1 by HTC. Perhaps you’ve heard of HTC? They make the Evo 4G for Sprint, too. That phone sold out in a day or two, nationwide, when it was released in early June. You may also recall back in early March that Apple sued HTC and HTC sued Apple in May for various patent infringements, and each requested that the other not be allowed for sale in the US. (I find it amusing, in the previous link, that they wonder what would happen if both companies won and neither could be sold in the US.)

But, as I’ve done before, I digress.

So anyhow, two weeks ago today I went to T-Mobile to get the Samsun Vibrant. The Vibrant is the T-Mobile version of Samsung’s four new Galaxy S series of Android based phones: the Epic 4G (Sprint), the Captivate (AT&T), and Fascinate (Verizon) are the other three .

As I’ve mentioned before, Android is Google’s operating system for smartphones. Most people identify the Motorola Droid for Verizon as the only Android phone, but, in actuality, it is just one of many Android based phones on the market.

Samsung Vibrant

Samsung Vibrant

So I got the Samsung Vibrant which has HD video capability, TV output for video, and come preloaded with the entire James Cameron film Avatar, and the videogame The Sims. None of these features interested me at all. I was just interested in getting a faster and up-to-date Android phone since the G1 was stuck at version 1.6 while the latest Droid phones used version 2.2.

A few items ticked me off with the Vibrant.

The Contact Manager. First thing I noticed was the address book. The basic Android contact manager was great as it stored all the contacts on Google’s Gmail servers, making them accessible on any Internet connected computer, but the Vibrant, while having capability to do the same, also allowed your contact info to be stored on the phone instead of on Google’s servers, and storing on the phone is the default setting. I couldn’t seem to find any way to change the default, so if I wasn’t careful I’d wind with some contacts on the phone, but not on Google.

Furthermore, I had trouble setting the default phone number for my contacts. With the basic Android system it was quite easy, but the Samsung version made it more complicated, and even if you set it, there was no guarantee that you could just simply auto dial without being offered the option of using one of your contact’s other numbers.

Tomorrow I’ll continue discussing the other problems I had with the phone, and which phone I replaced it with.

Thank yous: Thanks to @gmalhotra23 @OnADge @Alltop_tech for retweeting this post.

Trouble with Windows 7 and the T-Mobile G1

HTC Dream (T-Mobile G1)

I don’t have any complaints with Windows 7 whatsoever. Really I don’t, but I have read about some people experiencing a problem accessing the G1’s SD card with Windows 7.

Okay, I experienced this problem too, but, luckily, I knew how to fix it.

What happened? I was connecting my T-Mobile G1 Smartphone to my computer to backup the memory chip in the phone. For your information, the G1 was the first phone to use Google’s Android Operating System for smartphones. Today’s leading Android based phones are Verizon’s Droid, Google’s Nexus One, and T-Mobile’s new Samsung Vibrant.

But, as they say, I digress.

HTC Dream (T-Mobile G1)

HTC Dream (T-Mobile G1)

Shortly after upgrading to Windows 7, I attached my G1 to my PC via the docking station, and then I “mounted” the SD card in the G1 by selecting “Mount” option from the G1’s notification panel.

Now, for those who don’t have a G1, you “mount the SD card” — sounds ‘dirty’, I know — so you can transfer files to and from the SD or memory card in the phone to your computer.

But, now, with Windows 7, one time I attached my G1 via its USB cable (or docking station) I saw a notification on my computer’s desktop that Windows was “installing a driver” for the “HTC Dream”. (For your information, HTC is the company that makes the G1 for Google and T-Mobile. Dream is HTC’s model name for the G1).

I had never seen this happen before, but I thought it was cool because I was thrilled that Windows 7 was capable of recognizing so many devices when they were attached to the computer.

My thrill was short lived.

Once I mounted the card, and I double clicked the “Computer” icon on the desktop, I expected to see an icon, as I had in the past, that represented the SD card in my phone.

The icon wasn’t there.

I unmounted the card, remounted it, and, again, no icon for the card visible after double-clicking the Computer icon.

Uh oh!

This meant I wouldn’t be able to get my files the old fashioned way. Instead, I would have to remove the card from the phone and insert it into the memory card reader on my desktop computer. That would work, but I would prefer being able to just access he chip by attaching the phone to the computer as I always had.

The Fix. Here’s the solution for anyone who has experienced this problem, too.

  1. Right-click the Computer icon.
  2. Click Properties.
  3. Click Device Manager.
  4. Locate “HTC Dream” on the list. You may need to double click a few items on the list to reveal the HTC Dream listing. I think I found it under “Other Devices”.
  5. Double-click HTC Dream.
  6. Click the Driver tab.
  7. Click Update Driver.
  8. Select “Mass Storage Driver”.
  9. Click OK to close out the dialog boxes.

Now when I connect my T-Mobile G1 via its USB cable or dock, and then mount the SD card, I am able to access the G1’s memory chip and transfer my files without a hitch.

T-Mobile G1 Battery Life Accessories

I purchased a T-Mobile G1 w/ Google Bronze phone (that’s the G1 in white shown at left) back in February of this year, and I’ve been pretty happy with it. For 2 decades I’ve had run-of-the-mill cellphones. (Have we had cellphones in the mainstream for two decades now?) I like it because the data plan is cheaper than that of the iPhone. (Economy and efficiency all the way). The only disappointment has been the battery life. Some times, when I have a not-so-great Internet connection I can actually watch the battery level decline while phone tries to access the page.

So I’ve been looking for ways to improve my battery life without erasing all my apps and shutting down features I’m not using at the moment to only have to turn them back on again less than 30 minutes later.

I searched here and there online until I turned to Buy.com to make my purchases. Here’s a list of the items I picked up and why.

SEIDIO Innocell 1400 Extended Battery for T-Mobile G1

I decided to get an extra battery: the SEIDIO Innocell 1400 Extended Battery for T-Mobile G1 (shown at left). It’s supposed to provide 15% more power than the stock 1150mAh battery. It’s not a big increase, but I figure carrying an extra battery will help out. I can just swap batteries when one dies.

SEIDIO Innocell 2600 Extended Life Battery for HTC T-Mobile G1 (with Battery Door)

Of course, there is the massive SEIDIO Innocell 2600 Extended Life Battery for HTC T-Mobile G1 (with Battery Door) (shown at right) which provides 125% more power than the stock battery. The drawback, in my opinion, is the added thickness the battery gives to the phone. Some people have said the speakers sounds a bit muffled because the larger battery casing places the speaker opening further away from the speaker. Additionally, I like carrying the phone in its stock sleeve in my pocket, and I don’t need a bulkier phone in my pocket.

T-Mobile HTC G1 by Google Desktop USB Battery Cradle

I also purchased a T-Mobile HTC G1 by Google Desktop USB Battery Cradle (shown at left) so I can charge both the phone and the spare battery in the evening. There’ s a bit of a compromise here since the cradle charges the phone via a USB connection to a computer — the purpose here is to allow you to synch your phone’s data files etc while it charges — while an AC adapter is used to charge the spare battery. I would have liked to charge both phone and spare from the AC adapter, but I guess I’ll have to get a USB power adapter for charging the phone on my night table. Or have both charge in my home office by the computer. Hmm, I’m still mulling this part over.

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Android 1.5 Update (Cupcake) Delayed

Bonnie Cha at cnet news reports:

T-Mobile USA announced on Monday that it’s still finalizing the build to “ensure optimal functionality and smooth delivery” so it has delayed pushing out the over-the-air update by one week. The carrier said it expects all G1 owners to have the Cupcake update by early June.

Well, I will have to start anxiously waiting again next week.

More news stories regarding the Android 1.5 update delay can be found here.

The image above can be added to your G1 boot screen by following instructions at zenthought.org. I haven’t tried it myself, so be careful if you decide to try it yourself.




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Google Android Will Update This Week

It’s been a while since I discussed Google Android on this site, Sept. 16, 2008 to be exact, but I have been keeping an eye on it. (I bought one in February).

Currently, the only phone using the Android operating system is the T-Mobile G1 manufactured by HTC.

Last week T-Mobile announced they would start distributing the long awaited “Cupcake” or v1.5 update. (An update was previously released in February 2009). Here’s an excerpt from their announcement:

T-Mobile is delighted to announce the upcoming release of Android 1.5 with ‘Cupcake’ coming soon to the T-Mobile G1,” T-Mobile wrote in a statement late last week. “We plan to begin sending out the update starting the end of next week. As with previous software maintenance releases, the update will be randomly sent ‘over the air’ to T-Mobile G1 customers. We expect everyone will have their update by the end of May.

The earlier update many fixed some problems, but added few new features. The new “Cupcake” update will have several new features — some of which, like a virtual keyboard, are highly anticipated by owners of the device. Here is a list of new features to be found in the update:

  • On-screen soft keyboard
    • Works in both portrait and landscape orientation
    • Support for user installation of 3rd party keyboards
    • User dictionary for custom words
  • Home screen
    • Widgets: Bundled home screen widgets include: analog clock, calendar, music player, picture frame, and search
    • Live folders: Allows viewing of SD card contents without opening an application.
  • Camera & Gallery
    • Video recording
    • Video playback (MPEG-4 & 3GP formats): Previously only possible via a free Android Market download
  • Bluetooth
    • Stereo Bluetooth support (A2DP and AVCRP profiles)
    • Auto-pairing
    • Improved hands free experience
  • Browser
    • Updated with latest Webkit browser & Squirrelfish Javascript engines
    • Copy ‘n paste in browser
    • Search within a page
    • User-selectable text-encoding
    • UI changes include:
      • Unified Go and Search box
      • Tabbed bookmarks/history/most-visited screen
  • Contacts
    • Shows user picture for Favorites
    • Specific date/time stamp for events in call log
    • One-touch access to a contact card from call log event
  • System
    • New Linux kernel (version 2.6.27)
    • SD card filesystem auto-checking and repair
    • SIM Application Toolkit 1.0
  • Google applications
    • View Google Talk friends’ status in Contacts, SMS, MMS, GMail, and Email applications
    • Batch actions such as archive, delete, and label on Gmail messages
    • Upload videos to Youtube
    • Upload photos on Picasa

Additional features include a more refined user interface, animated window transitions, keyboard clicks or vibrates if desired, and an accelerometer for rotating applications onscreen. The camera will have a faster startup time, and faster shutter speed (image capture), while the GPS features are supposed to have faster response times. (GPS navigation wasn’t suitable for driving, and the route didn’t recalculate if you changed your course. Improved GPS functionality was available from third parties such as Telenav.)

Google has released a video highlighting the improvements and enhancements (shown at top) found in the Cupcake update. T-Mobile has released an Android 1.5 with Cupcake video as well. Many G1 user videos can be found on YouTube.

And in case you were wondering, Cupcake is a codename for the update, and the codenames are alphabetical. The next update will start with the letter “D” and some, like Rob Jackson at Phandroid, are speculating it will be called “Donut” to be followed by “Eclair” in keeping with the dessert theme.

What is Twitter all about?

tour_1

A few weeks ago, someone asked, “Twitter. I don’t get it. How does it work? And what’s the point?”

I’m not going to pretend to be any sort of expert here but here’s what I had to tell them at the time. Perhaps I’ll elaborate more later, but I’d be happy if those of you who use Twitter would post your thoughts and answers to this question in the comments area below.

Anyhow, on to my answer.

Tweetdeck

Tweetdeck

There are many ways to use Twitter. One great thing is it is free to use. You can use it to keep in touch with friends or you can use it as a simple business communication tool. You can SEND and RECEIVE short messages either with your cell phone (SMS Text), from the Twitter web site, or from stand alone tools such as TweetDeck.

Twidroid

Twidroid

The mobile phone option is great if you’re on the go and can’t get to a computer. Some people worry that they’ll get too many text messages, but Twitter allows you to control who can contact you, what sort of messages get through, what time of day they are sent, and what’s the most messages you want in a day. Personally, I find SMS aspect to be too slow, so I use the Twidroid app for Android on my T-Mobile G1 smartphone. On the iPhone, Twitterific is a popular choice.

Twitterrific

Twitterrific

Plus Twitter allows you to receive messages through an email account in addition to or as an alternative to your cell phone.

Another advantage is there’s no address book to manage with Twitter and no need to update addresses. Twitter coordinates the connections between you and your followers for you. And people can opt in or out whenever they like. And your contact info is private.

Services like TweetLater.com allow you to have a summary of your daily messages and replies emailed to you.

Using the friends and cell phone option, let’s imagines you’ve registered your cell phone with your Twitter account. Then your friends could choose to “follow” your Twitter account. So let’s say you’re meeting a group of friends one day, and you have a change of plans, you could send one text message to your Twitter account, and then Twitter would forward a copy of that message to all your friends.

Or let’s say you’re producing a play, and you want to create some “buzz” about your latest production. You could tell people to “follow” your Twitter account to receive updates about the show on their cell phone or by email. So let’s say 300 people are following your Twitter account, you send out one message to Twitter and it forwards it to all 300 people. And if all goes well some of them will forward or “Retweet” to their friends and followers.

There’s more to it. You can send messages to everyone or to specific people.

But you can only communicate with people who chose to follow you, and whom you permit to follow you.

So if you want to talk to strangers, you can, but all they know about you is your user name and what you say in your messages. Even if you are sending messages from your phone, no one sees your phone number.

Some celebrities use Twitter to let their fans hear what they are up to. Many of them setup their accounts so their fans can receive messages from them, but can’t send messages to them.

So readers and Tweeters, what have you to say on the subject?  Please comment below or send me Tweet. List your Twitter address, if you like.




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