The Official Android Thread, V2.0

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The Official Android Thread, V2.0

Post by DAE_JA_VOO »

There's been much need for an Android thread, and I've been getting nagged to start one up :P So here goes.

Rooting:

Rooting is essentially the act of giving yourself admin access to your own phone. When you buy an Android phone, you're not exactly the admin of your phone, you're a user. This limits you in a few ways, so you might want to root your phone in order to give yourself FULL access to your device. Once rooted, you can really do whatever you like with the phone. Don't like having to press the power button to wake up your phone? Change it. Little things like that.

One thing to remember, though - rooting voids your warranty. On the other hand, the tech guys at MTN/Vodacom probably don't know a thing about Android OTHER than how to update the software, so I doubt anyone will know anyway.

The upside, however, is that you can just "unroot" if you need to take your phone in, so in the end, you don't really have anything to lose.

Each phone is rooted in a different way, so there isn't a "one-size-fits-all" rooting guide, but here are guides for a couple of phones:

HTC Dream/G1
HTC Tattoo
Nexux One
HTC Desire
SE Xperia X10
Motorola Milestone (Droid)

Those are just a few :)

Before I forget, this first thing I recommend doing once you've rooted, is download and install an app called "ROM Manager" from the market. In this app, do a "Flash Recovery". This installs a recover mod to your memory card, and with this mod, you can flash to different ROMs on the phone itself, with no need for a PC. You can do nandroid backups here too. More about this in the following section.

Recovery ROMs (Thanks to KB for this subsection :) )

Recovery ROMs are very useful. They make it easier to install a new ROM or reinstall an old ROM. There are a number of Recovery ROM developers but one of the best developers is undoubtedly Amon_RA who has written recovery ROMs for many different phones. His ROMs allow you to format the different partitions on the phone and create EXT partitions to speed up performance (Android is of course Linux). These are just a few of the options available to you.
Here is a feature list for his Hero recovery ROM
full ADB access in recovery mode
Awesome Care-Bear version! (Blame packetlss for talking me into it )
Busybox v1.15.3
HW-Key navigation (volume keys + CALL-ANSWER) option
Extended menu :
Reboot system now :: reboot your phone
USB-MS Toggle :: enable/disable USB mass storage (use when the phone is connected to your PC)
Backup/Restore (recovery partition not included!)
Nand backup :: Make a Nand backup
Nand + ext backup :: Make a Nand + ext backup
Nand restore :: Restore a Nand backup
BART backup :: Make a BART backup (Nand + ext)
BART restore :: Restore latest BART backup
Flash zip from sdcard :: Flash a zip update file from your sdcard
Wipe
Wipe data/factory reset :: Wipe /data and /cache
Wipe Dalvik-cache :: Wipe Dalvik-cache both on /data and ext
Wipe SD:ext partition : Wipe the ext partition on your sdcard
Wipe battery stats : Wipe the battery stats in /data
Wipe rotate settings : Wipe the sensor settings in /data
Partition sdcard
Partition SD :: Interactive SD partitioning
Repair SD:ext :: Repair the ext partition
SD:ext2 to ext3 :: Convert ext2 to ext3
SD:ext3 to ext4 :: Convert ext3 to ext4
Other
Fix apk uid mismatches :: Does extacly that
Move apps+dalv to SD :: Moves all apps and Dalvik-cache to sdcard (This will NOT enable apps2sd!)
Move recovery.log to SD :: Moves the recovery log file to your sdcard. (Use when you want more detailed recovery log information)
Power off :: Powers off your phone
Scripts available from console :
Nandroid v2.2.1 : enter "nandroid-mobile.sh" to start.
BART v1.0.1 (Backup and Restore Tool) : enter "utility" to start.
switchrom.sh V1.1 : enter "switchrom" or "u" to start.
sdparted v0.6 : enter "sdparted" to start.


ROMs:

A ROM contains the OS that's on your phone. By changing ROMs, you change the Android OS that's on your phone to another one that's either a different version, or has specific apps installed, or is optimized for a certain use, etc. The stock Android version that comes on your phone is made for a vast array of people, so it'll almost certainly include a whole lot of stuff you don't care about. By downloading and installing a custom ROM, you can have what YOU want from your Android phone.


GoldCard

A GoldCard is a modified SDCard which allows you to put the original unbranded ROM on a career branded phone (installing the original HTC Desire ROM on an Orange HTC Desire). Normally, if you try to execute a HTC ROM updater with a Orange phone, you'll be stuck after 4 or 5 clicks on next. With a Goldcard in your phone, you can archive the process.
You can't install a ROM built for an other device just using a GoldCard (installing a Nexus One ROM on a Desire is not possible).
GoldCard is only needed if you have a carrier-branded Desire, even for rooting process. Unbranded phones never need it.
Be sure to keep your GoldCard because it will be needed for each ROM modifications. You can use a GoldCard as a normal SDCard without problem. However, if you create new partitions for app2sd, your GoldCard will ruined.

Functionally :
Create a GoldCard is easy. It will take you 30 minutes. Not all SDCards work to create a GoldCard.

Instructions can be found here

(Took the goldcard section from XDA. I didn't write this part)

*edit* Anakha56 - A possible quicker method for a GoldCard: http://www.klutsh.com/dlfiles/GoldCardTool-0.0.5.rar


Managing an Android phone's bandwidth usage:

The beauty of Android is it's web integration. Google, Facebook and twitter are so closely tied with the phone and that's amazing. The problem, however, is that this EATS bandwidth. And here in SA, Bandwidth = money, lots of money. So what I've done is stop my phone from using bandwidth when I'm on the data connection, but go crazy on the WiFi connection. Since I have WiFi here at home, that works out pretty well for me. So here's what you do. Jump to Settings-> Wifi and networks -> Mobile Networks, and uncheck Enable Always-on. Then, I suggest you create a shortcut on your homescreen somewhere to Settings-> Accounts and Sync so that you can easily disable background data. Furthermore, I would recommend disabling notifications your facebook and twitter apps, and manually update those things. Doing this, you can save yourself a fair bit of cash. On a few occasions, I had enabled my data connetion and within a few minutes, my phone had downloaded 10MB, sometimes even 15MB. That's 30 bucks, and that was probably for facebook profile picture updates.


Recommended apps

For starters, here's a list of apps that I feel are absolutely mandatory for Android users:


SetCPU for Root Users
- This app can be used to govern your CPU. For example, when my phone's screen is off, the CPU is not allowed to go faster than 384Mhz. This save battery power.

Image


Brightness Level
- Another battery saver. You should have your screen's brightness as low as comfortable in order to save battery power. This is a quick switcher for when you need your screen brighter.

Image


Dolphin Browser HD
- Significantly better than the default browser.

LauncherPro Beta
- Replacement launcher, and easily my favourite Android app. Lightning fast, multiple docks, etc. Can't live without it.

Image


APNdroid
3G Watchdog
- Use these two guys together to save yourself from suicide. You can set your phone to disable the data connection once it's gone over XMB.

Image



Extended Controls
- Paid app, but totally worth it.

Image



ASTRO File Manager
- You need a file manager :P

Image



Those apps, in my opinion, are pretty much mandatory for any Android user.

Then, the apps that aren't mandatory, but I recommend them:


doubleTwist Player
- Awesome media player that's got a desktop client which allows you to subscribe to podcasts and stuff.

Image



COL Reminder
- I'm very forgetful, so this one is very important :P

Image



Wheres My Droid
- I hate it when I can't find my phone. So now, I send a text from another phone to my phone containing the words "Where's my droid" and it'll ring until I find it. If I text the words "GPS my droid", it replies to the text with GPS coordinates and a link to google maps. Also a great app this.


Network Monitor
- Self explanatory name. Monitor your data and Wi-Fi connections.

Image



AppBrain App Market
Install apps from the web and create lists like this one. VERY cool.

Image



twicca BETA
- Without a doubt, the greatest twitter client on the face of the earth. I LOVE this app. All it needs is support for multiple accounts.

Image

Image



Seesmic for Twitter
This is another twitter client, but it supports multiple accounts. I only use this to make quick posts to one of my accounts.

Image



Audioboo
This app essentially allows you to make status updates or tweets in audio format. Very cool.

Image



ShootMe (Screen Grabber)
Screenshot app. Requires root.


FolderOrganizer lite
Also a very important app for me. Tough to explain, but essentially allows you to manage your apps, as well as change their icons. Look at the 4 icons on my home screen, some are apps, some are links, etc:

Image

I'm not sure what more to cover in this post. I think I got around, a fair bit :P Anyway, let the Android chatter begin :D

Hope this helps some of you :) If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask :)

Keep well,
Ett
Last edited by DAE_JA_VOO on 13 Jul 2010, 10:20, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Official Android Thread, V2.0

Post by Anakha56 »

Hot damn! That is one long post :P.

Right so before anyone asks why we now have 2 threads, well the reasoning behind it is that DJV will keep his updated whereas the other one died a slow, lonely death :P. If you have any problems please feel free to pm me :).
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Re: The Official Android Thread, V2.0

Post by Ron2K »

Stuck.
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Re: The Official Android Thread, V2.0

Post by DeathStrike »

@Ronk thanks for the stickiness.

@DJV. you are the man. When i get my android phone i will be posting pics and everything.. quick question. does android come with built in screen shot program?
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Re: The Official Android Thread, V2.0

Post by Anakha56 »

Nope, Android does not come with a built in screen capture program. You need to use the proggi DJV linked in his first post ;).
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Re: The Official Android Thread, V2.0

Post by Anakha56 »

Well I wont be rooting my Android tonight, my lovely g/f took the MicroSD --> SD converter out my car last night and did not put it back. So I now have the card reader at work with the converter at home *sigh*. I have played around with the idea of mounting the SD card while it is still in the handset and formatting from there but I dont think that is a good idea :P.
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Re: The Official Android Thread, V2.0

Post by DAE_JA_VOO »

Ron2K wrote:Stuck.
Why thank you! :D
DeathStrike wrote:@DJV. you are the man. When i get my android phone i will be posting pics and everything.. quick question. does android come with built in screen shot program?
Another small annoyance about Android. If you want to take screenshots and your phone is NOT rooted, it's a hell of a mission. So root, and taking a screenshot is as simple as shaking your phone (literally).
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Re: The Official Android Thread, V2.0

Post by RuadRauFlessa »

Any aps for connecting to a VPN?

And possibly Remote Desktops to Servers? Would be great to connect to one of our servers over a weekend if need be without having to whip out the old laptop.
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Re: The Official Android Thread, V2.0

Post by shiv »

How do you buy Android apps in South Africa?
Hope it's not credit cards...
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Re: The Official Android Thread, V2.0

Post by KillerByte »

Anakha56 wrote:Well I wont be rooting my Android tonight, my lovely g/f took the MicroSD --> SD converter out my car last night and did not put it back. So I now have the card reader at work with the converter at home *sigh*. I have played around with the idea of mounting the SD card while it is still in the handset and formatting from there but I dont think that is a good idea :P.
Anakha just mount your SD card, it won't do any harm formatting it in the card.

I have lots of experience rooting and flashing.

@Dae I will be PMing another section to you, please put it into your post.
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Re: The Official Android Thread, V2.0

Post by KillerByte »

shiv wrote:How do you buy Android apps in South Africa?
Hope it's not credit cards...
There are apps that will make your phone appear to be in another country, then you can use your CC to buy apps.
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Re: The Official Android Thread, V2.0

Post by shiv »

KillerByte wrote:
shiv wrote:How do you buy Android apps in South Africa?
Hope it's not credit cards...
There are apps that will make your phone appear to be in another country, then you can use your CC to buy apps.
Thanks for the reply.
Unfortunately I don't have a credit card.
Any other means?
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Re: The Official Android Thread, V2.0

Post by KillerByte »

AFAIK you will need a CC.

I have asked Lancelot to lock the other thread. I have also put a link to this thread in my opening post.

I have no problem with better threads being made. Android is all about community development, I just want people to benefit from the information.
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Re: The Official Android Thread, V2.0

Post by DAE_JA_VOO »

shiv wrote:How do you buy Android apps in South Africa?
Hope it's not credit cards...
As KB said, you need to enable paid apps in the market first by rooting and using one of those apps.

Once that's done, you need a Google Checkout account, for which you need a credit card :)

AFAIK, there's no other way to pay for apps.

EDIT: Added a section about recover ROMs to the first post. Content provided by Killerbyte :)
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Re: The Official Android Thread, V2.0

Post by DeathStrike »

nice. this thread is getting more amazing every time i visit. ah. i can't wait to get an android phone. i never really new how great it is to have a screen shot program on a smartphone till i saw your posts DAE. then again who wants to see screens of a winmo phone anyway. :P

And here is a post from lifehacker:
To mount an Android phone via USB and get access to its files, you have to connect it, turn on the screen, swipe down your notifications, and hit a screen button. Install the doubleTwist Player (or another free app) to simply plug-and-transfer.

The previously mentioned doubleTwist player app for Android is intended to sync up nicely with the doubleTwist media manager on a PC or Mac, but you don't need to grab the "iTunes for Android" if you don't want. You don't even need to use the doubleTwist player on your Android—it's just the one free app we've found that automates the USB mounting process. Install it, and the next time you connect your Android phone to any computer, your microSD card will mount as any other USB storage would.
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Re: The Official Android Thread, V2.0

Post by RuadRauFlessa »

Any cool apps for tethering?
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Re: The Official Android Thread, V2.0

Post by KillerByte »

many but from what I see they need a client app on the PC to function.
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Re: The Official Android Thread, V2.0

Post by ryanrich »

DAE, when using Set CPU, have you verified that it actually downclocks to the specified speed? I set up my profiles similar to yours, but earlier this morning my battery percentage was under 30%, but when I went into OS Information the CPU speed was still jumping up to 998...

Any ideas?
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Re: The Official Android Thread, V2.0

Post by DAE_JA_VOO »

Interesting, I have just noticed the same problem. I didn't bother to check, I just assumed it would work, but it isn't.
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Re: The Official Android Thread, V2.0

Post by ryanrich »

Yup, no good indeed, shall have to do some googling... :)
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Re: The Official Android Thread, V2.0

Post by DeathStrike »

dam. ok then. so either the phone info can't display the down clock? or the app don't work?
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Re: The Official Android Thread, V2.0

Post by DAE_JA_VOO »

Yeah, one of those two. Not too much of an issue though. I've got a pretty good system in place to save battery power, so if this app isn't ACTUALLY doing anything, that's not really the end of the world. I'll do some testing over the next few days though, and give you guys some feedback :)
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Re: The Official Android Thread, V2.0

Post by DAE_JA_VOO »

Okay, I'm over this DJ Droid ROM. I took my phone off charge an hour ago, and I've got 84% battery. Do you know why? Because my phone's been downloading data, permanently. Same thing happened yesterday; by 3pm I was at 30%. I'm moving over to LeeDrOid.
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Re: The Official Android Thread, V2.0

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DAE_JA_VOO wrote:Okay, I'm over this DJ Droid ROM. I took my phone off charge an hour ago, and I've got 84% battery. Do you know why? Because my phone's been downloading data, permanently. Same thing happened yesterday; by 3pm I was at 30%. I'm moving over to LeeDrOid.
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Re: The Official Android Thread, V2.0

Post by Prime »

KB, What Version of Android are you running on your Hero?

I am giving Leaf a Month and one or 2 more phone calls before I cave and root or at the least unlock it to accept OTA updates.
I have already HelloPeter'd them, Still waiting on a response.

Dae, are you still running roms with Sense?
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