Android Studio Debugging with Nexus 4 Google Driver

Recently I’ve been thinking of dipping my toe back into the world of Android app development and discovered that there is a new IDE on the block in the form of the Android Studio.

I installed this on my (Windows) machine, which isn’t a speed demon by any stretch of the imagination, and tried to run a “Hello World!” program on the emulator but it was taking 10 minutes for the emulator to start and it was still just showing the android boot screen, so I decided to try it out on my Nexus 4.

I followed the standard advised steps, enabling USB debugging and setting the USB mode to PTP, but the phone didn’t appear when I connected it and went to Run the package from Android Studio.  Further, the drivers wouldn’t install properly.  Advice seemed to be to go to Device Manager and install from <sdk>\extras\google\usb_driver\ – but there was no usb_driver folder there.  However you can  install this from the “SDK Manager” from the Android Studio toolbar.

Screenshot of Android Studio toolbar highlighting SDK Manager button
SDK Manager button on Android Studio toolbar

This will open the SDK Manager which seems to contain optional components that you can install alongside the Android Studio.  In this case I was looking for the Google USB Driver which is listed under “Extras”.

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Take a Screenshot on your HTC Desire S / Evo 3D

I know you can take screenshots with Android 4.0/Ice Cream Sandwich, but I discovered a week or so back that, having upgraded my HTC Desire S to HTC Sense 3.0 (on Android 2.3.5) I can now do this without an ICS upgrade!

Here it is from the horse’s mouth: it seems all you have to do to take a screenshot on your HTC device is hold the power button and press the home button. Your screenshot will be captured and saved to your gallery.

I actually took my first screenshot on my Desire S following the upgrade to HTC Sense 3.0 by accident!! I was on a website in the browser and pressed something that made a message come up “Screenshot saved to Gallery”. What!? Screenshot?

Yes, it turns out you can take a screenshot on HTC Sense 3.0 (and presumably HTC Sense 3.5). I have since got myself an HTC Evo 3D (which comes with Sense 3.0) and verified that the same process works there, the only difference is that it saves to “Camera Shots”.

Much thanks to Andrew Girdwood, whose post  “How do you take a screen shot with your HTC Sensation” I came across on a Google search as his comments section was where I first discovered the answer.

HTC Desire Headphone Issues

This is just a random puzzling issue.

I recently went to work without my iPod headphones which I’ve been using with my HTC Desire to listen to music during work, so I tried some others I’d picked up over the summer courtesy of Continental Airlines.

For some reason when I put the headphones in the sound went all echoy and when I tried to fix it the tracks would randomly skip forwards, skip backwards and skip through tracks. I also noticed the headphones icon at the top included what looks to be a headset microphone.

Turns out I’m not the only one… users on Android Forums have been reporting the same issue. Very disappointing from a top-of-the-range Smartphone.

HTC Skimming on Quality to Cut Costs of Flashy Smartphones?

I really like my HTC Desire (purchased from Mobiles.co.uk about 2 months ago) and intend to blog a proper review soon.  There are niggles that I have with it but overall I’m very satisfied with it. One major pain in the backside though, is the micro-USB port used both for data transfer and for charging. In a word, it’s shit!

When I first got the phone it didn’t take more than a few days to notice that the connection was loose and it would shut off mid-charge etc. Not good. After leaving my charger in a hotel I bought a replacement from Argos. This was better but still has issues.

It was after this that I realised that the data cable for my work phone, a Nokia 5230, also had a micro-usb connector on the end. Guess what: it seems to fit perfectly!

So are HTC just cutting corners by supplying shit peripherals

?

HTC Desire: WANT!!

I realise I haven’t written anything here in a while but I thought recent developments warranted a post.  Basically my mobile phone contract with Vodafone is up for renewal.  My contract expires at the end of May and I’m already into my "eligible for upgrade" period.

I have decided on a phone. I want an Android phone. I simply MUST have an HTC Desire. So much that I already want to start writing apps for it!

Things looked good at the start of April when it was available on T-Mobile for £15/month and £129 up front for 24 months.  This came with 300 minutes, unlimited texts (they say 300 but you get a choice of flexible booster free and mine would go on unlimited texts)  and "unlimited" (1GB) data.  This is much better than what I’m currently paying Vodafone £30 a month for!!

Unfortunately while the plan is still available on T-Mobile the price of the phone was hiked to £191 fairly quickly.  It’s still a very competitive contract, and still better than what Vodafone were offering, but I was already nervous about taking out a contract on a network known (to me) mostly for shit signal, based partly on my experience with them about 6 years ago, so I went to do more research.

I’ve spent a lot of time researching the best deals from all networks (except O2 who don’t stock it yet, but I’ve found ways round that) from at least a dozen retailers.  Really it would be a waste if I kept this information to myself and didn’t share what I’d found out with the world (or the 3 random people who happen to stumble on this blog over the next year and probably don’t even speak English).

Anyway, to got a long story short(er), I’m going to post a summary of what I’ve found over the next couple of days. Keep your eyes peeled.

N96 Firmware Upgrade on Vodafone UK

As I write this I’m on hold with Vodafone customer services (tech support) trying to find out when they’ll approve/build a version of the new v30 firmware for the N96.

For those not familiar, when Nokia update their firmware, the updates can only be downloaded by those with generic (unbranded) phones. If your phone comes from a network, it will have a different product code depending on the network. When you run Nokia’s Software Updater it reports back what code you have, and if your network haven’t approved an updated version of the firmware, you don’t get any upgrade.

Vodafone haven’t approved an update for the N96 firmware since v11.018 which was released in September 2008. The problem is that there have been several updates since this time to fix poor performance and other issues, including two major updates in May and July which I really want to get hold of.

So I’m trying to get a call centre to tell me when Vodafone are going to get their fingers out of their arses. What do you think of my odds?

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Copy and Paste on N73

I’ve had this phone for over a year now and have, to my shame, only just figured out how to copy and paste.  I had an inkling it could do it because there’s an option in your call log to “Use Number” where one of the sub-menu options is “Copy”; which just made it more frustrating that I couldn’t figure out how to paste!!

Anyway, it turns out to be an amazingly simple mechanism using the edit key (the one on the bottom left with the pencil icon on it – I knew it had to have some purpose!!). Thanks to some person called Walker for his generic guide to Symbian Series 60 functionality.

Copy: To copy text to the clipboard, hold the pencil/edit key until Copy appears on the screen above the right soft-key and scroll using the joystick to select the text. When you’ve selected the text to copy, just hit Copy.

Paste: To paste text from the clipboard, move the cursor to where you want to paste and hold the pencil key until Paste appears on the screen by your right soft key.

When it appears and then press the right soft key to paste.

£169 iPhone Still £169 Too Expensive

O2 have slashed the cost of owning the Apple iPhone (8GB model only). It’s down from £269 to £169. The same deal is also available at the Carphone Warehouse. Good news I’m sure, but you’d still have to be mad to pay a penny for the damn thing on top of the £35 × 18 = £630 of a minimum contract when you can get Nokia’s N95 8GB (which I have been seriously coveting for months) for “free” at that price (then again, without any kind of data plan that’s extortionate too).

Maybe if my N73 breaks I’ll consider upgrading, but since I’m spending a tenner a month on pay-as-you-go I can’t really justify jumping to £35/month for the N95 8GB or to £44 a month for an iPhone.  Maybe if I hold out long enough…

“This generation does not want an archive of music” – Vodafone

Vodafone‘s head of internet and content services made this bold, and rather hasty, claim in promotion of MusicStation, Vodafone’s new subscription music service, which offers unlimited music downloads – downloads which all become useless the inst ant

you stop making regular monthly payments to Vodafone.

“This generation does not want an archive of music. We offer unlimited music on a rental model – no-one has done this in the marketplace, and certainly not the iPhone.”
Al Russell, Vodafone’s head of internet and content services

Maybe this blogger, in his early-to-mid-twenties, is too old not part of whatever Mr Russel means by “this generation” any longer, but the last thing I want is to pay over £100 a year (£2 a week) and have nothing to show for it at the end should I decide to change networks. I’ve always avoided subscription-based download services like Napster for exactly this kind of reason (even they now offer Napster Light: a pay-per-download service). I will use it if it’s included free when I happen to take out a Vodafone contract (which I might have to if they’re the only network to get the N95 8GB which I desperately want, just not at £50 a month!), but MusicStation will not be a factor in my decision.

Perhaps Vodafone should take a look at the experience of Bango who manage, among other services, The Sun newspaper’s download service.

Trusted brands are keen not to be tarred with the subscription brush. For example, The Sun newspaper that uses Bango to power the pay per downloads on Sun Mobile, print “No subscriptions – No hidden charges” on its ads to reassure consumers it is not a subscription service. Mobile operators have also expressed a desire to move away from this type of payment as subscriptions are a major cause of consumer dissatisfaction.
Network for Online Commerce – Pay-per-download gaining popularity…

The ‘archive of music’ as Mr Russell describes it, is the modern equivalent of the CD collection. It doesn’t make a difference if you only listen to the CD once in 5 years, you keep it because you can.  It comforts the inner-hoarder in all of us. The long and short of it is, I think, that we do want it.

The push for subscription based downloads has nothing to do with what Vodafone’s (or anyone else’s) consumers want, it’s all about the interests of the big service providers and record labels, and any push towards this should be resisted. It will by this consumer anyway.

Nokia N95 8GB on Vodafone UK by Christmas

The good news is that Nokia’s new “N95i”, or Nokia N95 8GB as it looks like being officially dubbed, is going to see a UK release this side of Christmas. The bad news is that it seems to be a Vodafone exclusive. This is not good news for anyone that was hoping to get a good deal on it as, in my experience anyway, Vodafone seem to be much more expensive than O2 and Orange in terms of tariff deals (although to be fair they’re all getting more expensive for handset prices).

What’s the big deal with

the new N95 8GB anyway? Well, there are a few tweaks to the N95 formula: for a start I’ve wanted a phone equipped with WiFi for a good while now, but while the N95 met this criterion it apparently ate batteries, so the new 8GB version Nokia are releasing has a bigger battery as well as an even bigger 2.8″ screen (very useful when using the wireless to browse the internet) and has 8GB of internal flash memory instead of an expansion slot. I really badly wanted an N95 but I’ve been hanging off until this comes out, though I may be hoping for too much for Vodafone to have it available on a £30/month tariff before Christmas (the busiest time of the year for mobile phone sales).

Ah well, maybe I can get one in the January sales?

For more info on the N95 8GB see the Nokia or “tweaks” links in the post or see this Dialaphone blog post.