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G1 update and lots of links

I have been learning a lot on my G1 lately. With the stock ROM that comes from Mr Ted the G1 is the second best mobile phone I’ve used to date. The iPhone gets the nod as the best. Window Mobile at this point is irrelevant. It will be interesting if Microsoft can regain their spot. They had lots of phone manufactures making devices for Windows Mobile but the trend is moving towards Android. The iPhone get’s the nod over the G1:
– smoother more responsive user interface
– ability to load an incredible number of apps utilizing the devices whole memory space
– availability of apps
– hands down the best, fastest mobile browsing experience to date
– terrific multimedia support. Music just plays and is prioritized above all else!
– the whole iTunes is a love it or hate it. Generally I hate it but it does allow you to quite easily buy music and add it to your device! Even over the air now …

So I started exploring the world of “cooked ROMs” for the G1. There are so many out there it’s amazing. XDA Developers is definitely THE home of the cookers. This is true whether your Windows Mobile or Android. There are a large number of dedicated, enthusiastic and quite clever folks that put out ROMs for phones that the manufacturers forget about, or even WON’T do!

I thought of writing my own guide to this and then I found one that had everything . This guy has done a great job of capturing the process in great detail. Kudo’s to him!

After all this is done you may want to update your Radio. This will get you around the whole Roger’s 9-1-1 debacle. Rogers truely could not have botched this worse if they had tried. And the whole nonsense about we “protect your safety above all” is a transparent excuse to cover up what is incompetence.

Once on the EBI1 Radio Rom you are ready to look at a ROM that supports this. I found a Cyanogen based ROM on XDA developers that supports EBI1 . This ROM is amazing. Here are just a few of it’s features:
– supports the EBI1 Radio!
– Android 1.6
– is a Rooted ROM
– A2Dp streaming bluetooth works perfectly with my car stereo! Yay at last.
Loccy’s updated browser
– no WIFI tethering support but that can be easily added. It does support USB tethering
– no HTC sync. I am using Companion link now to Sync my Outlook with Google contacts and then the phone from there.
– has Apps2SD built in (more on this later)
– includes reboot in the main phone options menu!

If I had a wishlist for this ROM:
– add WIFI tethering
– change the dialer into the HTC one that searches contacts
– add HTC Sync

So with this new ROM in place I have found some game changing improvements!

Apps2SD

If there was only one change this ROM brought to the party this one is game changing. What it does is allow all programs to be installed directly to a section of your SD card. Now this is not perfect. You have to partition the card and decide on an amount that you will dedicate to this (I read 1.5G is the max you should use, no idea if this is true or not). And you have to have enough because backing up, restoring, moving SD cards is really not as easy as it should be. If your main system is linux maybe this would be a breeze but mine isn’t. Live CDs might be an option. You basically create three paritions on the card. A linux swap, an apps area (ext2, sometimes ext3), and lastly a FAT32. The major downside of this is that you can not remove the card from the system, you can not put a different card in the system, and moving between cards is challenging at best. Some of the recovery ROMs give you an option to partition the SD card for you otherwise you are looking at typing some commands. See below for the list of commands. Here’s an article on manually partitioning the card . The apps2sd Wiki can provide you with more answers

Loccy’s updated browser.

This browser supports multi touch and is MUCH faster than the stock 1.5 browser. What a HUGE difference.

Android 1.6

Android 1.6 has some nice improvements over 1.5 One of them is a much improved market place. It now does a much better job of showing when updates are available, has a nice GUI and just overall feels better. Now if they would ass screen shots of the apps!

Summary

With all the improvements in place the gap between Android and the iPhone has closed significantly. Add to this the new Snapdragon based Android phones hitting the market quickly and the iPhone could be in for a run. For now, for me the iPhone is still the best, but the G1 is my second best! Add to that the ability to customize, unlock the phone, upgrade the memory card, carry spare batteries etc Android is what’s in my pocket!

Some Android programs I love

One of the great things is now with Apps 2SD I can load many more programs!
4 in a Rom – a great connect 4 game
Advanced Task Manager Free Arron La – this is a must have for closing programs and the like
aldiko – a fabulous ebook reader. Very well done, nice user interface
AliceGig guide – an incredible program that checks for concerts for bands on your SD card in your area. Fabulous idea! I love the integration
Android LCBO – check for products in your local LCBO stores
Aloqa – location aware on steroids! Fabulous
Babe of the day – what more can one say!
bar code scanner (for QR codes) – I always looked for something to do with those odd patters on web sites
Bars and clubs – a great location aware ap
Battery status free Adroid Apps – incredible. Provides short cuts to all power management settings as well as current battery level
Battleship – from Cyberfusion a simple recreation of the old battleship game
beautiful home screen – a fabulous home screen customization that I love!
Better Keyboard – a great on screen keyboard. Save sliding out the keyboard all the time
Blood alcohol – simple program to guess your blood alcohol level.
boobs babes and butts – 🙂
Bubble Puzzle – from Ammi software
CC Cinema – a great movie player that is just plain elegant. The fast forward and rewind is soooo smooth and slick. You just drag your finger over the screen. I am amazed Apple hasn’t thought it this
Compass – a simple but functional app
Copilot Live – an almost perfect navigation software. The only thing missing is navigation to a contact. Other than that I love it
Cribbage pro – Fuller systems inc
Dopewars – remember that old game from the 70s
Droidlive – Internet radio
pkt auction for ebay – an ok ebay interface. Nothing like the iPhone one. I hope ebay does their own soon.
ebay (only in the US so far)
ES File Explorer – Simple, easy to use it just works
Euchre – from Byte Sequencing
facebook – not as good as the iPhone missing the nice fluff, no video upload and picture upload has some issues with large files
foursquare – an interesting way to update your location on twitter/facebook
find me – a kewl program for remembering a location and even adding to your contacts, texting etc
foursquare – a program for updating your location to your facebook/twitter
froggergee – a frogger game, ok but not great
fring – multi platform instant messaging and VOIP!
gmail notifier – a great program to allow you to control what happens when a new gmail comes in. You can differentiate between gmail and other notifications
GPS Status eclipssim – a simple GPS status app
handcent – a great text message ap. It makes it look like the iPhones and replaces the crude messaging ap built into Android.
inrix – current traffic conditions in your area. Not bad.
iMusic – download mp3s directly over your phone!
iTweet – a great twitter ap that includes the ability to add pictures and locations
Jewels – a great Bejeweled game
Kaliber – a great desk alarm clock for your bedside
LED scroller – a kewl program to display a message on the phone for noisy places
market suggest – goes through your apps and suggests more for you!
Military Madness – a recreation of the 1980’s military SIM game. I love it
my tracks – simple track saver with google support.
Market Enabler – a program that let’s you trick the marketplace into thinking your in a different country. Currently in Canada for example there are NO PAID APPs. WTF!
Maverick – a good outdoors navigation program
netcounter – display how much data you have downloaded
Flixster Movies – fabulous program for rating and finding movies and theaters near you. With location awareness. I love it
opentable – an app to find restaurants with available reservations in your area.
phonefinder – from Evin An send a text message to your phone and it will send you back the location of your phone
google places – location aware places near you!
profile manager – a great auto profile changer
Quickpedia – a Wikipedia interface
ring extended – a program to make it easier to add any media file to your notifications or ring tones
reversi – a simple reversi game
RunGPS – a great exercise GPS program
Robodefense – a good tower defense game.
rush hour – a great implementation of this old board game
Shazam – a fabulous innovative program to find a song you might hear on the radio or whatever. Incredible.
Shop savvy – a thoroughly innovative idea. Scan a bar code using the camera and it searches the web for what the product is, any reviews, where it might be for sale near you (not all that populated for Canada). Very kewl!
shopper from Google, scan a bar code upload to twitter
solitare zentech – simple Solitaire game. It just works
system monitor Skwid – simple program to show you how busy your CPU is and how much battery life is left. Works very well for programs that might be running away.
speedtest – a simple speed test utility for your internet connection
stripclub iPlace
sunmoon – an app to show you sunrise sunset, moon condition etc.
titanium backup – saves the app/data for your whole phone! No need to keep resetting things up
ultimate stopwatch – a simple count up/down stopwatch with nice graphics
whac a mole – a hilarious wac a mole game
wardrive – note locations of WIFI locations with GPS support
wifi analyser – see all the access points and there channels
Wordpress – finally! Update your wordpress blogs on the go
Weather Eye – a great weather ap
Yelp – a super restaurant find and review ap with location awareness. Very well done.
yellow.ca – a super location aware interface to Yellow.ca

Android command prompt sutff

Partitioning your SD card manually

Reboot and enter recovery
Enter console
#parted /dev/block/mmcblk0
if you get an error about not being aligned to cylinder boundaries this is a problem with how Windows formatted the card, just enter (inside parted)
#mklabel msdos

#print (to verfiy we know what size card we are dealing with, the details should be straight forward)
rm 1
rm 2
mkpartfs primary fat32 0 7200
mkpartfs primary ext2 7200 7700
mkpartfs primary linux-swap 7700 7732

#print (to verify we have the 3 partitions)

Example for my 4GB card

#parted /dev/block/mmcblk0
#print (to verfiy we know what size card we are dealing with, the details should be straight forward)
rm 1
rm 2
mkpartfs primary fat32 0 3420
mkpartfs primary ext2 3420 3932
mkpartfs primary linux-swap 3932-3964

Clearing the ext2 area

rm -rf /system/sd/*

Using ADB to remove system apps

adb remount
adb shell
cd /system/app
mv yadda.apk yadda.original
exit
adb push new.apk /system/app/NewApp.apk

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February 8, 2010 - Posted by | Android, Uncategorized

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