Archive for January, 2010

Droid Dock – Quick review

I was asking my buddy if he liked his Droid dock, as I’m starting to use mine for my alarm clock.  His comments weren’t exactly praising.   Here’s his bullet summary:

  • Lighting is too bright in a dark room, even when dimmed
  • You have to push the Droid on and then pull it off, its not just a “drop on” experience
  • Pretty lame as a multi-media experience – you use the Droid speaker and there’s no audio out jack (other than the Droid itself)
  • Can use the phone by sliding up the screen and exposing the keyboard.
  • He was luke-warm as to recommending it to friends to buy

I just found this Youtube video which seems to echo my friend’s experience.  Thanks to AndriodCentral.com.

You can find the dock at Amazon.com.  It also appears that Amazon.com has a car mount for those turn by turn directions. (Just links, no referer id for me, etc)

–Ben

Add a Custom Alarm on the Droid, for the Alarm Clock

I wanted to make a custom alarm for my Droid, as I now use it as my alarm clock.  Unfortunately, its not as obvious as it would look.  Here’s what I did:

  • Make a folder in the root called “alarms” (either by tethering your Droid to the computer or using Astro)
  • Use RingDroid to cut up one of my audio files and put it as an alarm (or you can just place the audio file in the alarm folder)
  • Now it is selectable on the alarm list

Hope this helps you as well.

–Ben

Droid has more expensive components than Nexus One or iPhone 3GS says iSuppli

iSuppli came out for a bill of materials for the Droid and it has more expensive stuff in it than the other phones.  At least that can help us get over the touchscreen issue.

Here’s the comparison of costs:

As to the breakdown of costs: here’s a summary of what iSuppli says:

  • microSD – 16GB – $35
  • Display – $17.75
  • Touchscreen Overlay – $17.50
  • Camera – $14.25
  • Transceiver – $14.04
  • Processor – $12.90
  • 4 Gb Flash and 2Gb DDR Memory – $9.20
  • Bluetooth/WLAN/FM Transceiver – $6.50
  • 1Gbit NAND and 512Mbit Memory – $4.90
  • Battery – $4.25
  • Other – $42.82
  • Manufacturing – $8.64

For a whopping total estimate of $187.75

–Ben

Sources: iSuppli, Engadget

Droid touchscreen less accurate than iPhone, Eris or Nexus One

Looks like the folks at MOTO Development Group came up with an interesting test on touchscreens.  Unfortunately, it appears that Droid runs last of the pack when compared with Eris, iPhone and Nexus One. You can tell the ability of the touch controller to track a finger by the smooth lines.  MOTO’s article even has the end result pictures that tell all.  See the video below for their review:

DIY Touchscreen Analysis from MOTO Development Group on Vimeo.

Personally, I’ve been mad at the Droid on missing my input while trying to navigate some classified ads on ksl.com and craigslist.org.  I always attributed it to my clumsy fingers.  Now I have a much better excuse.

–Ben

Sources:  MOTO Development Group, Engadget

Droid Multi-touch – Multi-Touch to Majority of Motorola Devices

I don’t understand the quiet – almost the no comment attitude – of Google when talking about multi-touch in the states.  Many android devices support multi-touch – like the Droid – but only the versions off the shores of the US get it.  Rumors abound, but the most convincing rumors to me are that Google wants to keep the peace with Apple (or some other entity) and/or Google is worried about Multi-Touch patents.

Luckily it looks like we’re not totally dependant on google, as Motorola seems to be heading into Multi-touch enabling land for us.  He was quoted in Laptop Magazine as saying, “I think you will see us deliver multitouch in the majority of our devices going forward. There’s a complex set of factors, not all of them technical.”  I hope that’s a vote for the Droid, and I can’t imagine why not.

In the meantime, you can try out the Dophin Browser for multi-touch browsing.  Its not bad and it has pinch zooming.

–Ben

Source: Engadget via interview with Laptop Magazine

Droid does streaming media & sideloading from home via Volcano

Engadget just had a piece about the Volcano being demoed with a Droid.  It looks like it allows you to put your shows on your phone, even via 3G and play them when you want them.  Sounds like a good deal.  Video can be seen on endgadet.

You can also see the spin from Monsoon’s marketing of the Volcano.

Intriguing … but I really like my TiVo.  Do I need another box with subscription?

–Ben

Sources:  Engadget, Monsoon Press Release

Droid controls car – Chevy Volt and Onstar Partnership

Looks like the guys at OnStar and Chevy have made a really cool app for the Chevy volt.  It can interact with the car and also provide statistics.  Here’s the bullet point list I’ve teased out:

Telling the Car to do Something:

  • Change the charging status of the car
  • Start the Car
  • Lock/Unlock the Car
  • Honk the Horn

Checking the Car Status:

  • Electric Range
  • Miles Per Gallon
  • Battery Level
  • Charge Status
  • Driving Stats

You can download the Chevy Volt OnStar App for yourself from OnStar’s Demo website.

Here’s some engadget videos:

Video Above: Presentation Showing OnStar Chevy Volt App Interface in action (No Sound)

Video Above: Hands On the Chevy Volt App with Audio

My Interest is actually piqued.  I’d like to see where this goes (and if the volt is actually a nice car to drive besides being a technology novelty).

The one thing that I find odd is that OnStar’s corporate website is surprisingly silent.

–Ben

Sources:

Engadget

Chevrolet.com

Chevy Volt Official Forum

Chevy Volt Facebook Page of Videos

OnStar Demo Website

Fix – Droid MMS won’t send – Too many in queue

So it appears I’ve hit the first major Droid bug.  I tried to send a whole bunch of people MMS pictures of my new kiddo.  For some reason, it got stuck on several messages and said that there were too many unsent MMS messages and that I’d have to wait.

Here’s the issue:

  • If you contact has parentheses around the contact’s area code, then MMS might fail — and only MMS — texting and calling should work.  (Wow.  Talk about dumb bug)

Here’s the fix:

  1. Delete any thread (your conversation record) of anyone you want to send an MMS to.  (If you don’t it will put it in that thread and pull the number from the thread)
  2. Remove the contact’s number and retype it in.  The Droid will put the hyphens in, which is OK.  Oh, and make sure you change it for each of the ways you store the contact (such as GMail and Outlook, if its in both).
  3. Reset the phone.
  4. Do the MMS message.

Hope this stops someone else from cursing at their otherwise awesome phone, like it did me.

–Ben

Source:  Thanks to GearLive

Fix – IPhone app won’t start/launch/open

A friend of mine’s IPhone would not launch apps that previously worked for him, which appeared to be 3rd party applications.  Here’s a few potential fixes with notes:

  • Download a new free app (like google earth) and once you enter your itunes password, all is fixed

Reason:

“Taken from another forum:
The reason this happens is because every time a downloaded app is opened it checks for your itunes password for validation that you are authorized to open that app (as it may contain personal info). From time to time the iphone “forgets” your itunes password. You can fix the missing password by syncing the iphone with itunes or downloading an app from the app store and entering your password that way.”

  • The solution for this situation was the Application setting tab at top when the iPhone is plugged in and iTunes is running. It seems when an iPhone ( the same may apply for iTouch also ) with 3rd party apps is plugged into iTunes , iTunes runs a backup to restore the 3rd party applications if needed. If the ‘ sync ‘ box ( for applications ) is unchecked and the sync is run , the apps are ‘ removed ‘ from your iPhone although they still appear on the iPhone ( similar to deleting a program but leaving the shortcut to it ). When starting the 3rd party app , it begins to run but then just exits.
    The fix for this was simply running iTunes , plugging in the iPhone and going to the Application tab and ensuring the ‘ sync ‘ applications box was checked ( along with all the applications it backed up under it ).
  • The solution for this situation was the Application setting tab at top when the iPhone is plugged in and iTunes is running. It seems when an iPhone ( the same may apply for iTouch also ) with 3rd party apps is plugged into iTunes , iTunes runs a backup to restore the 3rd party applications if needed. If the ‘ sync ‘ box ( for applications ) is unchecked and the sync is run , the apps are ‘ removed ‘ from your iPhone although they still appear on the iPhone ( similar to deleting a program but leaving the shortcut to it ). When starting the 3rd party app , it begins to run but then just exits.The fix for this was simply running iTunes , plugging in the iPhone and going to the Application tab and ensuring the ‘ sync ‘ applications box was checked ( along with all the applications it backed up under it ).
  • 1. Authorize, de-authorize and authorize again your computer in Itunes.
    2. Sync all apps – chose ’specified apps’ and check them all for sync (the third party apps still won’t work at this point).
    3. After syncing, with the IPhone still connected, delete one third party app (you’ll notice this app will lose its check).
    4. Recheck this app in Itunes and (with all the other apps checked as well) sync again.
    5. With the Iphone still connected, try opening the app you just restored. It should work fine, no saved data lost.
    6. Test your other apps. If still not working, try repeating steps 3 – 5 with other third party apps until it fixes the problem. It took me 3 deletes/restores to get everything running again.

Hopefully one of these solutions works for you.  I hear there’s good success with the install a new app solution.

–Ben

Source:  Iphone App Ratings Forum