Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Official ADP1 1.1 firmware

I had earlier posted about the software update for my ADP1 device, it seems that was not the official software update. That supposedly contained the software that was provided as part of holiday gift phones that were given to Google employees.

Finally HTC has provided the official software update and it is available here. Please go through the page and the software upgrade should be easy. One things that I faced was that I had setup the USB device into mass storage mode, one needs to set in debug mode. Select Settings->Applications->Development->USB Debugging. This option should be enabled and then the phone will be visible to adb and fastboot.

Another issue that has cropped up with this software upgrade is the fact that to start with Google Latitude is disabled. It seems it is just a software option and can be very easily enabled by using instructions here.
1) Connect your Rooted G1 to your PC via USB and run 'adb shell' (or use the G1 Terminal App no the phone)
2) su
3) cd /data/data/
4) sqlite3 settings.db
5) .dump gservices (to see all your current settings and check if maps_enable_friend_finder already exists)
6) INSERT INTO "gservices" (name,value) VALUES('maps_enable_friend_finder','1');
7) .quit
8) exit

Now the Join Latitude button will be shown in Maps again, no need for a reboot.

If it doesn't appear make sure you have the values
<boolean name="FF_SHOWN" value="true" />
<boolean name="SHOW_MY_FRIENDS" value="true" />

in the file /data/data/

Hope that helps.

Friday, February 20, 2009

SMS Backup: Application review

Here is an interesting useful application that I got after I asked a question on android developers group. I had almost started developing this application that would backup the SMS messages on the device to the GMail account.

Essentially the application is called SMS Backup, one can search this application with this string in android market. Once downloaded and installed you need to setup your google account in the application and make sure that google account is IMAP enabled.

After this simple setup, your SMS messages would be backed up to the GMail account under a label SMS. This also can be changed from the application settings.

Currently it seems that the restore functionality is missing. I would have liked to have that functionality as well.

I would still recommend this application to everybody.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Tracks: Application Review

Finally an application that I was long looking for. I used to use sportstrack application on my N95 to log my GPS tracks and use the logging data for photo tagging. There did not seem to be any equivalent application on the Android.

The application My Tracks solves these problems, one can start the application and it will log all the GPS information. I find the application simple. At the end of the track recording the application would upload the track to google maps and google docs. One can use the data for any purpose after that.

The application also provides option to log statistics while the upload of the track and one has access to this data also on the google. The application can run in background and in limited use that I have done with it, did not seem to overburden the battery.

The application has features of exporting maps via KML files or GPX files which comes handy since I use gpicsync for photo synchronization. The only strange things is that these options are buried under "Share with friends" option. I can live with that.

I would recommend this application to pretty much everybody.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

RC33 equivalent upgrade for ADP1

T-mobile in US has just pushed RC33 upgrade for G1 devices, now the RC33 equivalent upgrade for ADP1 has been made available. One can download from following places.

The installation procedure is very simple, download the zip file above to your desktop. Then connect your ADP1 to your PC and mount its SD card as a removable drive on your PC. To do this, just connect the phone using the USB cable and then click on the "USB connected" notification, from there you can click on the mount button to mount the SD card to PC.

Now the phone's SD card is visible on your PC. After that copy the above ZIP file to the SD card and rename it to

Now disconnect the phone from PC and shutdown by pressing the power button. Once shutdown completely, press home and power button simultaneously. Keep home key pressed when you release power button. You will see a triangle with a exclaimation sign on the screen. Press Alt-L and you will see a text menu.

Now press Alt-S to apply the update to the phone. You will see following messages.
Installing from sdcard...

Finding update package...

Opening update package...

Verifying update package...

Formatting BOOT...

Extracting radio image...

Formatting SYSTEM...

Copying files...

Writing BOOT:...

Installation complete.

Press Home+Back to reboot

On pressing Home+Back the phone displays
Writing Radio image...

If you encounter an error with following text in it
assert getprop(”ro.bootloader”) == “0.95.0000″

Then you need to download a nocheck image which can be downloaded from below location.

After that you may see the image of an integrated circuit with an arrow and then the phone with power up with the familiar android logo. Once the phone powers up, you are upgraded to the RC33 equivalent version. To verify the upgrade, go to settings, About Phone and check the build number, it will show holiday_devphone-userdebug 1.1 UNLOCKED 130444 test-keys.  Another sign of the fact that the phone is updated is a new menu item called System updates in the About phone menu.

So, go ahead, upgrade and have fun. I have just done this and I will post if I see any thing significant or intereating.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Locale: Application review

The cool thing about android is the number of interesting applications that are available from Market they may be simple but do interesting things. Here is one such application that I downloaded and installed recently.

Locale is an application that can customize your phone based on your location, time and many other parameters. For example you can automatically send out a tweet when you are at a certain location. You can change the screen brightness, ringer and other stuff.

From what I have seen till now, I like this one. Let me give it a try for couple of more weeks before I pass judgement on it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Unexplained running out of space on phone

A bug has been seen on android phones where the device runs out of space. The space occupied on the phone can not be explained by the applications installed and other usage of space.

Here is the email thread where this discussion has taken place.

In nut shell, here is what seems to be happening.
When some applications is uninstalled (or some other activity that deletes files), the system unlinks the files. If the phone goes to sleep before these files are cleaned up, these unlinked files are not removed.

The work around for this bug can be done by creating a scenario where the system unmounts/mounts the un-checkpointed filesystem since at only unmount/mount time the unlinked files are cleaned up.

So here are the steps that one can follow.

  • Shutdown the phone

  • Power up the phone

  • Wait for the phone to get to Home screen i.e. enter unlock code etc. if required.

  • Shut down the phone (before it goes to sleep mode)

  • Turn on the phone again, this should result in the files being deleted.

Optimizing the phonebook

After playing with my android phone and a user device (rather than a developer device), here are my notes on optimizing the phone book.

  • Older phones and SIM card based phone books generally have multiple entries for one individual for work phone, home phone etc. You should go through and collapse all the entries for one individual into a single entry.

  • The is best done using gmail''s contact option rather than on phone

  • Go through all the addresses that you use with gtalk i.e. people with whom you chat, make sure these addresses are part of your google contacts. Once you do this, if these users have put photos in their gmail settings, you will see these as picture ids in your contact book.

I have to say, once you do all these, the phonebook in android phone becomes much better than anything else that I have seen on phone. The best part is that I don't have to manage people's picture ids and they can change their own picture ids.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Application review: PostBot

I installed application PostBot from the android market and it is really cool for posting to your wordpress based blogs. The blogs could be hosted on or at your own website.
The application supports multiple blogs, adding images and multiple categories. It does not support adding tags to posts.
Overall an interesting application you like to blog while being mobile.Way better than some of those SMS based blogging softwares.

Test post from android application

Test post for creating a post from android phone,


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Android, Airtel India and Calendar

Right from the day one, I started facing this strange bug on phone calendar. Any alert that I put in the calendar would go off 3:30 hrs before its scheduled time. I tried to find what was going on and I would some issues with Automatic Network Time from Airtel Network.

When your date and time settings are set to "Automatic" the time zone goofs up at times and because of that the alert goes off at a wrong time. The resolution to this problem is to manually set the time and time zone to IST.

After that I have not seen the problem at all.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Uploading phone book to GMail Contacts

The G1 or Android developer phone both require a gmail account to work properly. The phonebook on the phone is automatically synchronized with the associated GMail contacts. Once anybody acquires a phone, the first thing that is needed to be done is to put your phonebook to google contacts. Here is what I did and it worked.

Most of the phones allow the phonebook to be synchronized to Outlook, that should be the first step that you take. Once you are in the outlook or outlook express, export the phonebook to a CSV format.

Go to GMail contacts and import this CSV file. After successful import, you can cleanup the phone book on your computer. Now as soon as you powerup the phone and it connects to google, the phonebook will be synchronized to your phone. From there on it is a two way automatic sync so one does not need to worry.

Import Error

Many times when you try to import the CSV file to GMail, you will get a message saying that "an unknown error has occurred". Following work around can be tried and it worked for me.

On the top right menu in Gmail, switch to Older Version of gmail and then perform contact import. After that it works and gives you messages on how many contacts were imported and how many could not be imported.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Android Developer Phone 1 -- first impressions

I finally got my android developer phone 1, I would say that I am impressed with the software. I have used phones from most manufacturers except the most notable exception of iPhone and I would have to say that this phone probably is right there at the top. I use google services for most of my stuff and this phone, as is expected, integrates very well with google services.

The setup of the phone was very easy, I just had to pop in the SIM card from Airtel in India, setup the GPRS settings and then I entered the details for my google apps account. This becomes the primary google account for the phone and all the other stuff like calendar, google talk etc. are used from this account.

Following are the most notable interesting things that I found about the phone.

  • GMail

  • Google Calendar

  • Google Talk

  • Read only integration of Google Docs

  • Google Maps with street view

  • Contacts integration with GMail contacts

  • Email app for additional email accounts (POP3, IMAP)

  • Android Market

  • Barcode reader app and its intergation with Google search

There are things that need improvement and most probably would be improved in future.

  • GMail (not the Email) app needs to have option to add more accounts. It is very common to have one GMail tied to Google Apps and another one Currently one needs to choose one of these as GMail while other one as to be setup in the Email app. The Email app does not have option for Archive and some of the other GMail specific features

  • GMail needs to have option to accept and reject invitations sent through the calendar

  • Google Talk needs to integrate with Orkut and may be at a later date Facebook

  • Docs should be editable -- probably limited by the processing power on the phone but would be good to have

  • Service that would generate notifications for feeds registered in google reader. For reading itself the webbased stuff is good enough.

I will add most stuff as I use the phone more. Overall I think I like this phone and would recommend to anyone who uses google services.  For users in India I would suggest rather than buying T-Mobile G1 and worrying about unlocking etc., they can register themselves with android market and buy the Android Developer Phone 1.