Posts Tagged ‘Update’

Nokia N9 paid apps: FM Radio (v1.1.3 update)

August 21, 2012

The FM Radio app was one of the first apps I’ve bought for the N9 and that I posted about in this blog.

Since my first post about this app, there were several updates and the app has evolved significantly with a major new UI theme and some important new features such as RDS support.

From version 1.1.2 onwards, there’s another new useful feature: FM broadcast recording.

In the meantime new language translations were added, one of them is my mother tongue: Portuguese!

Since FM Radio has changed significantly since my first video, I’ve made a new one that reflects its current look and feel.

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Firefox 14 lacks Android 3.x HoneyComb support

June 28, 2012

Mozilla just launched Firefox 14 for Android and I was eager to discover if the latest version was any good.

Unfortunately, unlike what’s written in the system requirements webpage, Firefox 14 is in fact not available for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 running Android 3.2 as you can see in the picture below.

This might be related to what some people call “the Android fragmentation”, but it’s really unfortunate that a less than one year old Android tablet is not able to run the latest software like Google’s own Chrome browser…

Samsung Galaxy S will not be updated to Android ICS

December 24, 2011

I’ve just read that Samsung officially confirmed it won’t update their 2010 flagship Android smartphone to the latest version of Android that was announced by Google a couple of months ago.

Although the i9000 was announced in March, it was first released in June of 2010 but only in a limited number of markets. For instance, in the country where I currently live in, Vodafone only launched it in late October of the same year.

This means a lot of people bought this phone, often attached to a 24-month contract, in late 2010, being currently within the first year of ownership.

Since Samsung will not continue to provide further support, most of these people will have to wait another year with a flagship phone running an older version of Android until they can renew their contracts and get another phone (probably not from Samsung again!).

This goes against the 18-month update commitment Google said they were trying to push along with their partners and makes me wonder if it’s really worth to buy an expensive high-end Samsung Android device, given their poor track record of updates.

On the other hand I do really understand why Samsung made this decision: their core business is to sell new smartphones!

Samsung probably guessed that most of the, let’s say 15 million, Galaxy S customers don’t really care or know what version of Android they are currently running, and the few that do really care about this are probably savvy enough to visit the XDA forum and sort this out unofficially with the community.

As I recently wrote, I sold my Galaxy S for a bunch of other reasons some weeks ago. If there was any doubt remaining in my head about if selling it was the right thing to do, after reading this disappointing news, I’m really glad now that I did, since this would be the ultimate “nail in the coffin”.

Merry Christmas!

Thoughts on Android 2.3.5 for the Galaxy S

November 24, 2011

As I mentioned before, I’ve been using for some time now the Android 2.3.5 update for the Samsung Galaxy S and it deserves some comments.

Good news first:

– The previously reported Android OS battery drain bug is apparently gone! This just means the phone does not drain the battery all by itself in a dozen hours or so, which was a huge problem. The Android OS process is now at a more reasonable 6% share of the overall battery consumption.

– The browser scroll now works properly as in any other smartphone in the market

Unfortunately, there’s a few problems with this firmware:

– As I said in the previous blog post, the TouchWiz launcher crashes randomly.

– The phone process is also crashing a lot, especially soon after the end of a phone call, as you can see in the picture below.

– The browser may now present a correct scroll behavior but the stability is worst than before, which is not good because the browser was never the most stable app in Android.

It wouldn’t be so bad if it did compensate the lack of stability with improved performance, but running the SunSpider javascript benchmark returned a result of 6505.1 ms which is a regression compared against the 6305.4 ms scored by Android 2.3.3.

Apparently stock browser javascript performance optimization is not a priority for Samsung, neither is improving the stability of the official firmwares they release for the Galaxy S.

Manufacturer’s custom UIs for Android

November 20, 2011

Since a couple of weeks ago all the attentions turned into the new Android 4.0 release, called Ice Cream Sandwich, and the new Samsung flagship model, the Galaxy Nexus, but some may have noticed that Samsung is apparently rolling out for some European i9000 Galaxy S handsets the Android 2.3.5 firmware update, available through Samsung’s Kies software.

While it is great to watch Samsung still providing support for last year’s flagship model, it’s quite disappointing to realize that this phone, one and a half year after being released, is still plagued with some issues.

One of the problems is that the custom TouchWiz UI was never really rock-solid stable. Even after installing the latest Android 2.3.5, the TouchWiz launcher occasionally crashes as you can see below.

It’s not as bad as in Android 2.1 or 2.2 when I had to pull the battery off the phone because it crashed completely, specially after playing a game such as Angry Birds for more than 15 minutes, but I believe there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done.

I really do not understand what’s the point in not using Google’s Android standard launcher and spend time, money and resources working on a custom UI like TouchWiz, offering a less good user experience, decreased stability and increased memory consumption.

The only Android manufacturer custom UI that seems to offer some benefits in the UX department, in my opinion, is HTC’s Sense UI although the memory consumption is probably even higher than in Samsung’s TouhWiz, but maybe that’s why HTC’s are very generous in the amount of memory they usually pack inside their phones.

Another Android Market issue

November 11, 2011

After complaining in September about not receiving the Android Market automatic update to the 3.x version, in late October I finally received Android Market 3.1.5.

The new Android Market 3.x is noticeably slower in my Galaxy S compared to the previous 2.x versions, but I convinced myself it didn’t deserve a rant.

Today I received another automatic update of the Android Market app, this time to the 3.3.11 version.

I didn’t notice much difference from the previous version except one really annoying thing: I cannot install apps anymore!

Every time I try to install something I just get the message pictured above that says that an error has occurred while trying to download the app because there is not enough space available on the device memory.

The thing is that, as you can see below, I have plenty of space, I have gigabytes of free memory so this is clearly and unfortunately just another Android bug…

Android browser kinetic scroll bug

October 31, 2011

One of the reasons why I started using other Android browsers was because of the kinetic scroll bug the Gingerbread update brought to my Vodafone branded Samsung Galaxy S.

As you can see in the video below, since the Android 2.3.3 update, the stock browser has a different kinetic scroll behavior. Instead of slowing down smoothly, the scroll now stops suddenly after a brief moment since the start of the scrolling, which I find annoying as hell…

Where is the Daily Briefing app / widget?

October 8, 2011

One of the most publicized feature of the Galaxy S smartphone was the Daily Briefing application (and widget). It was a Samsung exclusive pre-installed app that allowed the Galaxy users to quickly glance at the weather, the news, the stock market and at the calendar.

Most pre-installed software manufacturers put in their devices are usually not very useful, but in this case it was a pretty nice piece of code that actually served a purpose. And apparently a lot of people used it.

Vodafone, in the Gingerbread firmware update to the i9000 Galaxy S, simply removed the app / widget. Without a warning, or an explanation, Vodafone just made it disappear, one of the key features of the phone, the main Samsung app that appeared in most Samsung pictures of the model as you can see below.

Since it’s a Samsung exclusive app, if the user wants Daily Briefing back, he can’t find and install it from the Android Market and I can’t find it in the Samsung Apps store either, so the user will have to find an alternative on their own.

Galaxy S OTA firmware updates

September 24, 2011

One of the features that became common in the last years is the ability smartphones have to update their own firmware over-the-air (also known as FOTA). This allows the product manufacturer or the carrier to push new versions of the OS to the devices and to add some features or fix some security issues avoiding the need for the customer to connect the phone to the computer.

Some operating systems, like Windows Phone 7, only give a notification to the user (so the user still has to connect the phone to the computer to get the actual update), while others, like Symbian S60v5, allow the phone to download and install the updates all by itself.

Samsung did implement this feature on their last year flagship model, the i9000 Galaxy S. As you can see below the update process is always running using some megabytes of RAM and some CPU cycles:

The problem is that, as far as I know, in Europe, the i9000 Galaxy S has never received an update over-the-air, not even a single “update available” notification. The customer always has to use Samsung’s computer software (called Kies) to get the notification of the update and to be able to download and install it, so I’ve never seen any message other than the following one, stating that there are no updates available.

Samsung could have provided (as other Android manufacturers do) a contextual settings menu to allow the user to disable the update searching feature, so one could turn off the process that is consuming RAM and CPU all the time doing nothing.

Where is the Android Market update?

September 10, 2011

One of the cool Android features is the ability Google has to push the Android Market updates directly to the devices without requiring any user interaction.

Google announced back in July a completely revamped Android Market and it was said this update would rollout in the following weeks to the devices around the world.

The not so cool thing is that more than 2 months after the original announcement I still have the 2.3.6 version of the Android Market as you can see in the picture.

I asked other Android users and found out that none of them actually received the Android Market update, so they also have version 2.x instead of the fresher 3.x.

After some internet research I realized that most impatient users have installed the update by downloading it manually from some websites, but I personally prefer to trust the automatic update from Google rather than downloading it from some shady source.

I really don’t get why Google is taking so much time to rollout this update to everyone, they probably should offer a manual “search for updates” button to force it to update. I would also like to have the option to disable the automatic update feature.