Yes… Can you believe it… I’ve changed phone again!
I’ve left the good ship Apple, and hoisting my Jolly Roger, jumped aboard the frigate Android.
My first impressions of Andriod (2.1) is that it is more powerful than iOS4, but perhaps not as polished. Clearly there are much better ways of doing certain things, and maybe Apple’s iOS (or iPhone itself for that matter…) are not as powerful, but you have to hand it to the guys down in Cupertino, they sure know how to give something ‘form’. That said, the Andriod OS provides a lot more flexability that iOS, and there are certain aspects of it which clearly surpass iOS.
At this stage I would say that I am 50/50 as to which is better, and I will be holding out my judgment until the Froyo update appears for my Samsung (next month I hope!)
Anyway, after wrestling with Android, these are my Tips ‘n Tricks to help you along your way…
Contacts & Calendar Syncronisation
Well forget doing a straightforward Contact Sync… it’s not going to happen with Outlook, at least not directly. The Samsung software is s**t, and there is no standard Andriod<->Outlook tool our there for free [Feel free to correct me if you know different! Ed.]
What I did was this:-
- Exported all my contacts from Outlook to a CSV file.
- Wiped my GMail contacts.
- Imported (using their standard tool) the CSV file.
- Android then auto-syncs the contacts.
Calendar syncing on the other hand is straightforward; Use the ‘Google Calendar Sync’ applet from Google (free) and that’s it! Android will sync back and forth with no issues.
After a little acclimatisation, I’ve found that the ‘Swype’ keyboard works really well. Just press and hold on any text input box to change the ‘Input Method’ to Swype. The tutorials (available by pressing the Swype button on the keyboard) really helped me a lot.
Desktop (or Winterboard for you iPhone users!)
Android has some nice features, some of which I think may be unique to the desktop on the Samsung version of 2.1, namely the ability to create folders, but not just folder that contain apps, but folders that (for instance) contain recently received files over Bluetooth, or Favourite contacts. In addition, you can add ‘widgets’ to the desktop (e.g. Facebook status, Twitter, Weather etc)
This is acheived by pressing and holding the left-hand context menu. You can exclude/include search areas within the settings pages (e.g. Hide Twitter contacts)
Navigation & Augmented Reality
Make sure you download the latest ‘Google Maps’ and ‘Wikitude’, the former now has turn-by-turn (complete with Street View integration!), and the latter lets you use your phone to find, for instance, a local ATM by holding your phone up and layering the information over the camera’s view. Google Goggles is also very interesting and uses the camera to provide information & translations (e.g. point at a foreign road sign!)
Secret Codes (not tested by me…)
Rooting your Device (for Android 2.1)
- update (this is the zip file you will need)
- First, install the correct drivers for the Galaxy S onto your computer.
- Connect your Galaxy S to your computer, and mount the internal storage drive.
- It’s easiest to find out which is which by taking out the ‘external’ Micro SD card under the cover (if installed), that way only one drive will appear when you mount the device.
- To mount, pull down your notification bar and select the “USB connected” notification, then tap Mount.
- Place the file (link above) into the Internal storage.
- Now you want to get into the recovery mode.
- Turn off your Galaxy, and hold down Volume Up and Home keys while pressing power.
- Hold all three until you get the opening image, and then release the Power key, but keep the other two held until you end up in recovery mode.
- To navigate, use the volume up and down to move the highlighted area, and the Power button to select.
- Select Reinstall Packages, and hit the power button.
- The file will install, allow it to do so and reboot.
- Once the Galaxy is rebooted, you should notice the SuperUser application in the app drawer. You’ve got root access, and the SuperUser applet will always pop up to ask if you want to permit an app to have root.
Once you have root, you can get some more interesting apps from the Marketplace – for instance, a screen capture app (yes… I know its built into iOS…) which works without having to use the SDK.
Rooting 2.2 (Froyo)
Simply visit here:-
Rooting 2.2 + Speed Fix (Froyo + Speed Fix)
This is a *really* good site, complete with a (non-megashare style) download link!