My private little G1/Android wish and hit list

First of all, I have to say that I like the phone a lot. While you may get an impression from the rest of the post that I have a lot of beef with the phone, that’s really not the case. The very fact that I can compile a short, coherent list of things that I think could be improved upon, made me realize how little there is to be wishing for. And none of the problems is a deal breaker. It’s not like the phone is missing Copy&Paste or MMS ;). It does almost all I expected it to do (even in version 1.0), but since a few of my colleagues is looking forward to get one I thought I’d throw in a list of the little annoyances that I have faced using it, so they might verify how important the drawbacks might be to them. I am not sure how many of those can be addressed with third party applications but, for sure not all of them can, and I would definitely love Google to step in and provide a system-fix for them at some point.

The Wish List

Look for wireless networks more aggressively

Basically I find that very often I am still talking to the cell network when I could perfectly well be connected through a Wi-Fi. Turning Wi-Fi off and then back on again corrects the problem. This is annoying on a couple of levels. I have 3G turned off to conserve battery, It not noticing the Wi-Fi actually slows me down quite a bit, not to mention using up the precious data from the data plan (it’s only 500MB on the G1 plan in Poland)

Fix the battery problem

I mean really… 1 day is the best it can do when I do pretty much anything during the day with it. I could live with it being a little bit bigger if I didn’t have to fear it will die on me before the evening. I realize that this is because we have background apps, but perhaps you can introduce a CPU throttle technique that will slow down the operation when the horse power is not really needed. Perhaps something the next gen hardware will have to address.

Allow me to have multiple identities

The first thing you do when you start the phone is linking it to a Google account. That provides you with a really nice integration of Google calendar, mail & contacts. And it’s not just setting up apps for it. The whole system is aware of your identity and any app that wants to (and that you allow it to), might use them as a service. For example, a to-do list is able to schedule events in your Google calendar and setup mail notifications and send over mail invites your contacts to a meeting. It can reserve a time in your calendar for shopping that your wife has asked you to do. that’s great but… why is my phone fixed to a single Google identity? And yes, I realize that I can send email to and from multiple mail accounts and access other calendars through the browser. That’s not the point. I want BE adam.najmanowicz AT cognifide.com when I’m at work and BE adam AT najmanowicz.com when I’m leaving the office. I have a perfectly fine 8GB card sitting idle in it that could easily store a number of identities and swap between them. I want to be able to manage multiple calendars conveniently and have applications like to-do lists tied to them. Come on Google, even Windows 95 could do it! Introduce multiple profiles with easy switch!

Application uninstallation directly from the App drawer

Android Marketplace is a great repository that you can get plethora of apps quickly. It’s a blessing… and a curse. It’s a major pain in the rare to hunt the apps that you want to remove on the mile long list of apps that additionally re-populates after every uninstall without keeping track of where you left off while removing the previous app.
In the perfect word I could long-tap an icon and additionally to dragging it to the desktop I could drag it to some uninstaller corner.

The “Must haves”

That’s as much for anyone else as it is for my reference should I need to reset the phone to factory settings.

DroidWiki

A wiki like notepad. Supporting some basic wiki mark-up and links between notes. Brilliant idea, great implementation, perfect placement for a wiki!

Useful switches

This is what you will use to turn your Wi-Fi off and on again when it will fail to connect to the Wi-Fi again.

Astrid

Versatile and powerful, yet simple and elegant to-do list

Skype (Beta)

Naturally if you are using the Skype network. This is a native and group chat supporting Skype client.

Twidroid

So far my client of choice for Twitter. This is indispensible if you’re a part of the twitter craze.

The weather channel

Weather channel gizmo that allows you to check the weather for any area in the world at any time.

ConvertAll

Convert any unit to another.

Tricorder

For the geek cred.

Conclusion

Again, I need to reiterate, this is the best phone I’ve ever had. Having a full physical QWERTY keyboard and a browser with me all the time has definitely changed my life. I’m much more organized. I can track stuff much better and I have my priority list and my schedule always with me accessible from web as well as from the phone. The integration with Google apps is a tremendous selling point and none of the issues is a real deal breaker for me. Yet, this is the stuff that I will look up to in the following system releases.

Posted in Android, G1, Gmail, Google, GSM, Mobile, Rants
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Long story short. Bought G1 lately so I’ve decided to bring peace to my tormented contact list once and for all. Editing in Gmail is… adequate. I’ve been able to import most of my contacts – naturally countless of those were duplicates as I integrated my mail contact list and my phone contact list. Where gmail contacts list editing excels is at allowing you to merge those.

It’s incredibly convenient:

gmail_merge_contacts

And fairly deadly to the merged contact. Once those contacts are merged and you save them but later try to come back to them to re-edit, I’ve noticed that whenever I select them for editing after that, they don’t pop up for the task, but instead the previously selected contact is being opened for editing. I can see the details of such contact, it synchronizes with the phone perfectly, just the editing won’t work.

Browsing through gmail support groups I’ve found out that a lot of people have this problem but somewhat it eludes Google. People suggest that clearing up cookies or history worked for them. No luck here.

What did the trick though was exporting all of them to the Google CSV:

gmail_merge_contacts2

 

Deleting all the contacts and then importing them back. Unfortunately once you do that all the associations they’ve had with the groups that youv’e defined are gone, but at least you can edit them again!

Posted in Android, Gmail, Google, GSM, Mobile, Solution
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Nokia N95 – Just because I’m cheap!

Some time ago, with a little help of TDI some time ago I’ve successfully switched all my outgoing calls to Voipdiscount, while at the same time moving my incoming calls’ number to mobile provider through a Sagem base station, all of this nicely integrated in a Linksys SPA3102 gateway in a way that a regular person grabbing a phone at my desk cannot realize that at the current moment it’s a hybrid not really having much in common with the POTS, they expect to be using. All of this effectively reducing the monthly phone spending to a negligible monthly fee, just in time when my eldest starts to spend hours on the phone – great!

Consequently, one of the main reasons behind my getting a WIFI enabled Nokia was to use Voip as the primary outgoing calls channel, so after we got (one for each of us TDI and me :) ) it was a mildly shocking experience when I discovered that Fring as a Voip solution is, to put it gently, seriously lacking in voice quality. At the same time I’ve found out that the Nokia seems to have SIP support built in, but up till today it seemed that there is no way to force it to work with Voipdiscount – the Voip provider that most of us in here (that actually switched to Voip at home) use. But that problem’s gone now. As of today the Nokia is officially a Voip solution of choice also for the Betamax services (the operator behind VoipDiscount, VoipStunt and about a dozen other services that simply put differ only by the site template, while effectively linking to one backbone).

Definitely for TDI’s benefit – but perhaps anyone else will find it useful as well… the configuration goes as follows:

  • Service Profile: IETF
  • Default access point: Your preferred wireless network
  • Public username: sip:[username]@voipdiscount.com
  • Use compression: No
  • Registration: When needed (use always on if you want it to stay connected all the time) Call type selection screenshot
  • Use security: No
  • Proxy server
    • Proxy server address: sip:sip.voipdiscount.com
    • Realm: voipdiscount.com
    • Username: your username
    • Password: your password
    • Allow loose routing: Yes
    • Transport type: Auto
    • Port: 5060
  • Registrar server
    • Registrar server address: sip:sip.voipdiscount.com
    • Realm: voipdiscount.com
    • Username: your username
    • Password: your password
    • Allow loose routing: Yes
    • Transport type: UDP
    • Port: 5060

And the best thing of all is the integration of the Voip within the phone, you pick your number like you usually would – either by typing it form the keypad or by selecting it from the address book, and THEN the phone asks you by which means you want to connect to your destination… BLISS!

 

Posted in GSM, Mobile, Nokia, Symbian
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