Archive for the Cell Phone Category

TMobile (LG) G2x Android Phone – First Impressions

Posted in Android, Cell Phone on November 12, 2011 by marksun

I bought this phone today, finally giving up my Samsung Vibrant for this Android smart phone.  There are lots of reviews out there describing the many features of this phone, 4G/3G/2G, wifi, bluetooth, front and rear facing cameras with front facing flash, hdmi port, etc…  so what I’ll talk about here are my first impressions.  This being an Android phone, the experience of this phone as an actual phone will be the last thing to talk about.

The screen interface is fast,  intelligible, and looks pretty good. Connecting the phone to the home wifi with wpa2 is straightfoward.  Binding my Plantronics BluTooth headset was painless (remember to get the MAC address of the phone if you have MAC based security enabled on the router).  A widget containing a row of buttons provides a simple and clear way to enable/disable wifi, bluetooth, GPS, google data synchronizing, and screen brightness.  This is a nice feature which provides easy control of the major energy hogs.

This phone has direct support for wifi tethering in a very capable looking Settings widget.  Set a checkbox to enable tethering, maybe set a wpa password, and the phone becomes is a wifi access point for your laptops providing Internet access through it’s 4G network link.  The  micro USB port can also be connected to a laptop USB port.  Now the laptop can use the phone as a USB modem.  Wow.  I haven’t done any performance testing and there aren’t too many high speed free rides in the networking world but this reflects potential to deliver some computing and networking options to itinerant web junkies.

I read some scary stuff about the GPS on this phone, but it looks to me like LG worked the bugs out and fixed it.   Google Maps  seems to engage the GPS smoothly once the GPS came up.  The GPS did not seem to come up immediately … maybe the birds weren’t overhead or something at the time, but after a time the cobwebs cleared and things started to work.  On average, a position lock can take several minutes. From the specs I have seen this phone uses AGPS or assisted GPS… a cell network connection may be necessary to to assist the GPS to locate satellites.

I downloaded a basic GPS app (GPS Status) which provides a functional compass rose display of satellite coverage, signal strength, lat/long, elevation, and navigation uncertainty calculation in meters to provide a very good monitor of GPS performance. Looks good.  I also downloaded a geocaching app called c:geo, which interfaced seamlessly with the GPS.  I downloaded Google Sky which also ties into the GPS.  (If you’ve ever wondered what that bright star out there is, Google Sky will likely be able to answer that question – hold your phone up against the night sky, and you’ll see your star.   Any star you can see in the light polluted night skies of Honolulu is bright enough to have a name.)

There were no problems downloading apps although  I was using the phone with the wifi option enabled instead of 4G.

Stability.  I got the system  to the point where no controls worked on the screen, the power button was locked out and the only way to recover control of the phone was to open up the back and pop the battery.  The problem was caused by trying to engage the BluTooth headset in the middle of a call.  Powering up the headset in the middle of the call means that the phone has to decide which device drivers will handle the inbound and outbound  audio, or something.  Whatever, messing with the headset in the middle of a call invites trouble.

Anybody know how to back up a phone?

System crash aside, the G2x shows signs of refinement in most aspects of basic operation.  Why is that surprising?  Users do crazy stuff that make developers cringe, like turning on a BluTooth headset while a call is being established, or turning it off at some odd time, or trying to websurf, download, and whatever  while talking at the same time.

Finally I do note that in the phone call screen, controls are placed to select between BluTooth, speaker, and handset operation.   I have noticed that not all BTs are created equal.  It’s nice to be able to take a call by turning on a BT headset, but that doesn’t always work and as noted, there may be some risk in such a maneuver.  I guess I’ll just probe the limits carefully to figure out what works and what doesn’t, and then avoid doing what doesn’t work in the future.

Battery: this phone has a 1500 mah (1.5 AH) Li-ion battery.  To charge in a reasonable amount of time, the supplied charger is a 5V 1A brick.   It takes longer than 1.5 hours to charge so figure it’s putting out a bit less than that 1 amp.  No matter really with li-ion.  It will charge of the computer USB but expect that most USB ports can provide no more than 500 mah so charging takes twice as long off a computer relative to the brick.

4″ LCD screen
•Android 2.3.3 GingerBread
•8 megapixel camera
•1.3 megapixel front facing camera
•4G HSPA+ 14.4Mbps capable
•1 Ghz Nvidia Tegra 2 AP20H dual-core
•1080p video recording
• 4G data speed
•8 megapixel camera
•wifi hotspot and USB tethering
•HDMI output
A-GPS – Assisted GPS may require network connectivity to work ?
3.5mm headphone jack.  I have noticed that not all plugs fit well and some pop out, i.e. cannot be used.

Specifications

Buying a New Tmobile Smartphone

Posted in Android, Cell Phone with tags , on August 27, 2011 by marksun

I’m looking at upgrading my Tmobile Gravity and considering my options. Tablet aside, there’s the Samsung Galaxy-S ($150 upgrade), HTC Sensation ($270 upgrade, dual core), Mytouch ($270?, dual core). The choice seems to be between the Galaxy-S and the newer dual core phones which are faster. The downside of the Galaxy is its single core processor, it may be more prone to freezing when multi-tasking.  Pros:  cost, the screen is possibly the best around, former #1 Tmobile smartphone. From the reviews it seems the HTC is now #1.  Pros:  dual core,  camera flash, 2.3 Android Gingerbread OS, multi-tasking doesn’t freeze phone). Cons on the HTC expensive, speakerphone is not so hot, low volume, battery life, battery sucking features like a flash for the camera and dual core processor. From a feature/tech standpoint, the HTC seems to be the top phone. User reviews are consistently positive. Battery life is inversely relational to computing power – that’s just how it is.  The #1 “con”  in reviews is battery life with speaker phone performance the #2 downside . Hard to say from the reviews but the Galaxy S may have a better speaker phone.  But is the HTC worth nearly double the price of the Galaxy?

Bluetooth headset pairing

Posted in Android, Cell Phone, note to self with tags on February 26, 2011 by marksun

Put the phone into bluetooth mode and ready to discover devices.

Plantronics Headset.  Start with power off.  Hold power button down until flashes blue/red.  On the phone, activate discovery process.

Galaxy S Crash! – Sorry Process System Not Responding, Force Close or Wait

Posted in Android, Brokanic Archive, Cell Phone, Computers on October 24, 2010 by marksun

The first time I saw the  Android OS system crash, there was an error  “Sorry Process System not Reponding, Force close or Wait?”  The Galaxy S ground to a halt while D (the wife and user of this phone) was messing with her messed up contacts .   Stuff would hang , so nothing.  Settings>Call Settings would hang.  Checked the  Task Man (task manager for viewing running, sleeping, or active processes), there was a whole page of active processes.  My first thought, maybe zapping them will help?  Result:  no, killing the proceses does not help.

Time to reboot.

The first crash lead to my first reboot on an Android phone.  Google for a procedure, then  the two button reset (pres Volume UP + On button at the same time)… also known as  a “soft” reset.  The “hard” reset wipes the data – not my first option.   For most of us, that kind of reset is to be avoided at all costs.

The soft reset got the  phone to reboot without losing any data.

Could I also have powered off the phone (with the power button)? In this case no,  the phone would not respond to a normal power off.