HTC Desire

Here’s a quick tutorial for new Desire owners on how to install Android applications (.apk files) onto your HTC Desire:

  1. Download Astro File Manager from the Market
  2. Connect your phone to computer in disk drive mode (connect to USB cable, select Disk Drive from the options that appear on the phone, press Done)
  3. Copy the APK file to the SD card (anywhere you like)
  4. Disconnect phone from computer (remembering to Safely Eject first)
  5. Open Astro and browse to the file
  6. Select the file and choose the Open App Manager option
  7. Press the Install button
  8. If you get a message saying: “Install Blocked. For security, your phone is set to block installation of applications not sourced in Android Market”, go to Settings > Applications > check the box which says Unknown Sources

Notes

  • Make sure that any apk files you download are from a reputable source
  • If you’re concerned about phone security then turn the Unknown Sources option in Step #7 off again after installation

HTC Favourite Contacts Widget

When you start using your Desire you’ll notice on one of the homescreens there’s a widget called Favourites that allows you to quickly access contacts that are in your Favourites group.  If you have any other groups e.g. Friends, Family etc, you can use any of these groups instead of Favourites too.  Here’s how:

Setup
If you don’t want to use the Favourites group, or if you’ve removed the Favourites widget from your homescreen then follow these steps:

  1. Remove the widget (hold-down and drag it to the Remove area that appears at the bottom).
  2. Add it again by pressing the Add button (bottom-right) and select Widget > People > The style you prefer.
  3. When prompted select the group you want the widget to use, or create a new group

Adding Contacts

This is the easy part

  1. Press the placeholder which says Add contacts or press the + sign at the bottom of the widget
  2. Select the contact you want to add
  3. Select the action that should be performed when you select that contact from the widget

Removing Contacts

  1. In People find a person you want to add to the widget and touch their name to view details
  2. Press Menu > then select Edit
  3. Press the Groups dropdown option
  4. Uncheck them from the group that the widget is using (default is Favourites)
  5. Save the contact

Final Words

I’ve written this up as a response to a few people that emailed me about removing contacts from the widget.
If anyone else has any questions then feel free to get in touch using the details on the right (Get In Touch section in the sidebar)

HTC Favourite Contacts Widget

HTC Favourite Contacts Widget

Contact Group Management

Contact in the Friends group

music

When you open the Photos app you may notice that some pictures from other folders on your SD Card are shown as albums.  Likewise with the Music app, where you’ll find audio files that aren’t neccessarily music (game sounds and so on) appearing in the application.  Here’s how to prevent folders you specify from appearing within those apps:

NOTE: Steps 1 – 6 look long, but it’s basically downloading a tiny zip file and extracting on your computer somewhere.

  1. Download the nomedia file from here
  2. On your computer make a folder called nomedia somewhere.
  3. Copy the file from step 1 into your nomedia folder
  4. Extract the nomedia.zip file.
    • Windows: Right-click > Extract All -> Follow the prompts
    • Mac: Double click
    • Linux: Right-click -> Extract Here
  5. You should see a new file called .nomedia in the same folder, or in a subfolder called nomedia
  6. If you see the .nomedia file skip this step.
    If you don’t see the file you’ll need to make sure you can view hidden files using the instructions below:

    • Windows – in My Computer, select Tools from the top menu (if you can’t see the top menu press ALT on your keyboard) -> Folder Options -> View tab -> Hidden Files and Folders -> select Show hidden files and folders
    • Mac – use the Hidden Files Dashboard Widget
    • Linux – in File Browser go on View -> Show Hidden Files (tested in Ubuntu)
  7. Connect your Desire in Disk Drive mode
  8. Copy the .nomedia file
  9. For any folders you dont want displayed in the Music and Photos applications, paste the .nomedia file in the folder
  10. The no media file works recursively – meaning that you don’t have to put it in all the subfolders too. Just put it in the top-folder and any subfolders will automatically be excluded.

Obviously to make it work for any new folders you add, you just need steps 7-9.
A more elegant solution would be an app that adds/removes the file for you in any folders you tell it to.  For now though, this is the only solution that I’m aware of.

If you run into any problems, or find a better method please feel free to share!

desire2

Some users have found that when they try adding a widget to the homescreen, none of the HTC widgets are available (Friendstream, Mail, Music etc).  This is a problem commonly caused by MyBackupPro when you create a backup of “Android Home” and then later restore it.

In order to make all the widgets available again just follow these simple steps:

NOTE: By following these steps, all your homescreens will be restored to default and you’ll have to set them all up again

  1. Open Settings
  2. Select Applications
  3. Select Manage Applications
  4. Scroll down to HTC Sense and select it
  5. Press the Clear Data button
  6. Press the Home button and you’ll see a white screen saying HTC
  7. In a few seconds the default homescreen will load up with the Desire wallpaper
  8. You should now be able to configure all your homescreens and add HTC widgets

HTC Desire

Introduction

DarkDvr over at XDA has written up an excellent post on how Li-Ion batteries (which is the kind of battery that the HTC Desire uses) work and how to use them properly.  DarkDvr has kindly given me permission to publish his post on this site (thanks man!).  So here’s all the information which should help you get the most of your battery!

The Information

So after noticing how much of a difference people get in their battery lives, I’ve decided to do some research and make a guide-line that will give us all we need to know about properly using our batteries. First part is a general information and usage techniques for LIBs, second part is taken from Google materials on Android-powered devices (G1, Magic, Droid, Nexus One, etc).

Sources:
Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium-ion_battery
BatteryUniversity http://www.batteryuniversity.com/parttwo-34.htm
Google IO Conference 2009http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUemfrKe65c
Electropaediahttp://www.mpoweruk.com/life.htm

General Lithium-Ion Battery (LIB) Usage:

  1. Discharging your LIB fully (or less than 2.4 Volt per cell) is bad for the battery. Every time you do that, it can be said that small part of your battery (some cells) dies (they forever lose their charge). Do not store your batteries depleted, there’s a high chance they will die completely or will become very “weak”.
  2. You cannot restore bad LIBs by overloading/heating/praying. You gotta go buy a new one. They DO degrade overtime, some cells naturally lose the ability to gain/give electricity.
  3. Although it is said that LIBs do not have memory, it’s not entirely true. LIBs have gauges that monitor performance of cells, and if you do a lot of small charges, it won’t let those gauges to monitor a full battery potential, causing an invalid indication of charge level. A complete charge/discharge should be made when battery capacity seems reduced, that will calibrate gauges and they will provide your phone with correct charge level status. A full charge/discharge cycle should be done every 30 (or so) partial charges.
  4. LIBs have a shelf-life. Do not buy them to store them. Use them early, use them often, they will die whether you use them or not. Do not buy LIBs to use them in 6 months/year/etc, buy them right before actually using them.
  5. LIBs have short lives (in comparison to NiCa batteries, etc). You should expect to buy a new battery in 2-3 years after being manufactured. It is caused by internal oxidation and there’s nothing you can do to stop or prevent that.
  6. Worst LIB treatment is to keep it at 100% charge level at high temperature (think laptop/phone under direct sunlight, like car dashboard).
  7. Best LIB treatment, or LIBs “favorite” charge level – 40%. That’s also the usual charge level you buy them with.
  8. LIBs don’t like heat. For example, while always at 100%, typical LIB in a laptop, at temperatures of 25C (77F) will lose 20% (twenty percent!) of full capacity per year. That capacity loss is reduced to 6% (six percent) at 0C (32F), and increased to 35% loss at 40C (104F). So, keep them cool (LIBs like fridges), don’t let your devices sit in the sun or overheat at charge. Also, keep in mind that while in use, battery will be significantly hotter than phone/outside environment.
  9. LIBs like frequent partial charges/discharges more than they like full charges/discharges.
  10. Car “fast-chargers” overtime degrade your battery a little, as they give too much energy to the battery too fast (high voltage). Trickle-charge (USB) is best. They do provide an initial higher capacity charge (high-voltage), but do degrade the long-term battery capacity. General idea is that the slower the charge – the longer (long-term) battery will serve you.

HTC/Google-specific advice:

  1. Although this part is somewhat controversial, they do recommend having a complete, full FIRST charge to be made. If time allows, a preferred time for the first charge is 12 hours. This may have more to do with the OS than the battery.
  2. Battery on a Android device, in average, will last about a full day with normal use (some videos, mail, calls). That’s what you should kind-of expect.
  3. Speaking in averages, “idling” 3G/EDGE connection (when phone is sleeping and no data is transferred through 3G), drains almost no energy. Just a little more than having 3G/EDGE radio off completely. So when no apps are using 3G, you don’t need to keep it off.
  4. Same goes to WiFi connection – although it’s on, if there is no data flowing through it, it uses almost no energy.
  5. At full throughput (100% data flow), EDGE is using significantly more energy than 3G. 3G is much more energy-efficient than EDGE.
  6. WiFi is using more energy than 3G (when both are at 100% use), but since it transfers files much faster and then goes to “sleep”, it’s actually recommended to use WiFi whenever possible. Since it’ll “sleep” more often than 3G, overall it will use much less battery than using 3G.
  7. Some bad apps or widgets can use android’s “WakeLock“, keeping CPU at 100%, screen always-on, or both. I myself have encountered such widget (I won’t mention the name, it’s in the market) that used a WakeLock to keep CPU spun-up at 100% all the time. That makes a huge impact on battery life. My advice – use a CPU profiling app to monitor the CPU – make sure that CPU slows down by itself when it’s not used. So, beware of such widgets/apps.
  8. Android (at least on Nexus One) slows down CPU when not in use by itself, as a built-in feature.

Credits

Thanks again to DarkDvr for his original post on XDA-Developers

Introduction
Last week I held a poll for readers to vote for their favourite applications. Here’s a summary of the results:

Results

#1 – ASTRO File Manager

Price: FREE
Size: 2.0MB
Market Link: Click here
AndroLib Link: Link
Description:
Astro File Manager lets you organise and manage all the files on your SDCard. You can copy/move/delete files. Open files that you may have downloaded, or install applications that you’ve downloaded on your computer.
It also has the option to backup/restore your applications and a task manager.
Screenshot and QR Code:
Astro File Manager QRCode

#2 – Barcode Scanner

Price: FREE
Size: 395kb
Market Link: Click here
AndroLib Link: Link
Description:
With Barcode Scanner, you can use your Desire to scan a barcode on your PC screen which then lets you quickly download an application, or visit a website. For example, try scanning the QR code in the right-hand column and you’ll see that your phone lets you view the mobile version of MyHTCDesire.
You can also scan barcodes on CDs, books, and other products, then look up prices and reviews, or search for a word in a book and find where it occurs.
Screenshot and QR Code:
Barcode Scanner QR Code

#3 – Dolphin Browser HD

Price: FREE
Size: 2.4MB
Market Link: Click here
AndroLib Link: Link
Description:
Dolphin Browser HD is a brand new version of Dolphin Browser, the most popular browser on Android market. Powerful, Fast & Elegant. Only applicable on Android 2.0+ platform.

  • Versatile Add-ons
  • Multi-touch Pinch Zoom
  • Thumbnails Flick Menu
  • Tabbed Browsing
  • YouTube Downloader
  • Gesture URL Commander
  • Bookmarks Sorting

Screenshot and QR Code:
Dolphin Browser HD QR Code

#4 – Twitter (Official Google Application)

Price: FREE
Size: 2.1MB
Market Link: Click here
AndroLib Link: Link
Description:

  • Discover what’s happening right now, anywhere in the world with the official Twitter for Android app.
  • Realtime search, trending topics and maps show whats happening now everywhere and nearby.
  • Tweet, send DMs, share photos, videos and links to your friends and the world.

Screenshot and QR Code:
Twitter QR Code

#5 – Cubed Music Player

Price: FREE
Size: 253kb
Market Link: Click here
AndroLib Link: Link
Description:
³ (aka Cubed) Music Player puts a 3D twist on the music player for Android phones. Play in either portrait or landscape mode (if you have the setting). It supports every feature for listening to music on your phone (standard player, Playlists, Shuffle, etc.) plus a few more like the ability to grab album Cover Art, match concert events of artists in your music library with Concerts³ app extension, plus a few cool ways to display your music and visually theme it [via AndroidTapp]
Screenshot and QR Code:
Cubed Music Player QR Code

#6 – BeebPlayer

Price: FREE
Size: 237kb
Market Link: This application is discontinued and no longer available in the Market. I’ve uploaded the latest version here – you can install with ASTRO (the #1 app)
AndroLib Link: Link
Description:
This application lets you view the the BBC iPlayer programmes. It has the option to view a low-quality version if you’re using your mobile internet, or a high-quality version if you’re on WiFi.
Screenshot and QR Code:
BeebPlayer QR Code

#7 – HandcentSMS

Price: FREE
Size: 1.8MB
Market Link: Click here
AndroLib Link: Link
Description:
Handcent SMS Android App offers enhanced text messaging capabilities. Send & receive texts from full app or popup interface (similar to SMS Popup), send & save MMS contents (Picture Messages), T9 style keyboard, add your text signature, search texts, change the theme, font packs or background, Android notifications, ringtones and vibration patterns, even cooler… speak your text or have them read back to you! [via AndroidTapp]
Screenshot (from AndroidTapp) and QR Code:
Handcent QR Code

#8 – Nexus One 3D Gallery

Price: FREE
Size: 667kb
Market Link: Not available in market. Download from here, install with Astro
Description:
An alternative to the default Photos application, taken from the Google Nexus One phone.
Screenshot and QR Code:
Gallery 3D QR Code

#9 – Layar

Price: FREE
Size: 1.4MB
Market Link: Click here
AndroLib Link: Link
Description:
How cool is it to launch an app, turn in a certain direction, and see a historic landmarks on the virtual screen, then learn more about it. Or see how close others Tweets are to your vicinity, find a house or play a game. Layar Reality Browser Android App is one of the coolest ideas to hit the Android phone! Augment reality using the phones camera and location-based data to find local businesses, historical facts, Flickr photos, Tweets, and more. [via AndroidTapp]
Screenshot and QR Code:
Layer Augmented Reality BrowserLayar QR Code

#10 – Spotify

Price: FREE
Size: 1MB
Market Link: Click here
AndroLib Link: Link
Description:
Spotify opens up your Android phone to a world of music. Unlimited, unrestricted, instant access to your favourite tunes.

Requires Spotify Premium! [via AndroLib]
Screenshot and QR Code:
Spotify for AndroidSpotify QR Code

The Runners Up

  1. Aldiko Book Reader – link
  2. Apps Organiser – link
  3. MyBackup Pro – link
  4. Advanced Task Manager – link
  5. WaveSecure – link
  6. Laputa II – link
  7. CoPilot – link
  8. FotMob – link
  9. Soundhound – link
  10. Juice Defender – link

Credits

A special thank you to every single reader who voted, and who took the time out to email me their favourite games and applications

Introduction

If you’ve used an Apple iPhone, you’re probably familiar with iTunes.  Whether you love it or hate it, you know that it’s a handy way of quickly transferring audio and video to your iPhone without much difficulty.
When you get a Desire and look for a software CD, you’ll find it doesn’t come with one.  This is because there is no “official” Android equivalent of iTunes.  However, there is a really handy application (free of course) which does a really good job of managing music between your computer and phone, DoubleTwist.

Getting Started With DoubleTwist

IMPORTANT: For your phone to be picked up by DoubleTwist you need to mount it as USB.  When you connect your Desire to the USB cable select Disk drive and press Done

DoubleTwist is a free piece of software that works on both Windows and Mac.  Just visit the website and download it for free, then install it.

When you first run it you’ll be asked to register an account.  It’s quite straightforward, and when you’re done you’ll be ready to start managing music.

Adding Music and Videos to DoubleTwist

To your media to DoubleTwist, you have a few options:

  1. Add your existing music files.  If you have music and video files on your computer then you can easily add them by going on File > Library > Add to Library and browsing to the location of your existing media.
  2. Import your existing iTunes playlists into DoubleTwist.  By default iTunes playlists will be viewable under the Playlists option, but you won’t actually be able to send them to your phone until you import them.
    To import go on File > Library > Import iTunes Playlists
  3. Amazon Music Store – DoubleTwist integrates with the Amazon Music Store so you can buy music from within the DoubleTwist application.  The Amazon Music Store is an alternative to the iTunes Music Store and you’ll find plenty of music there.

Sending Music to Your Phone

Now that you’ve got your music library into DoubleTwist, you can easily transfer it to your phone.  There’s a couple of options to do this too:

  1. Drag and Drop – the simplest way to do things.  Drag one (or more) songs from the Library onto where it says HTC Android Phone (a ‘+’ icon will appear)
  2. Sync A Playlist – if you imported playlists from iTunes, or created your own from within DoubleTwist then you can use this option.  Just click on HTC Android Phone in the sidebar.  Check the Sync Music box.  Choose whether you want to sync all playlists, or ones you specify.  Click the Sync button

Drag and Drop Mode

Sync Playlist Mode

When your music is sent across, DoubleTwist automatically organises your songs into a folder called Music, with subfolders for each artist and then another for each album.  I find that really handy and far more convenient than managing files on your SD Card manually.

Notice the folder stucture, Music/Artist/Album

Sending Video to Your Phone

You can add video to DoubleTwist in the same way as you did with music.  To send it across you just drag and drop.  DoubleTwist automatically attempts to optimize the video for your phone and its screen size, whichs sometimes takes a while and can even result in a larger file size than the original you’re trying to copy.  If you find this a problem then copy video directly to the phone.  In the meantime I’m going to see if I can find the best way to convert video for your HTC Desire.

Bonus Features

Along with an easy way to manage your music and videos, DoubleTwist also has some great extra features:

  1. Amazon Music Store – the Music store lets you browse and purchase music from within DoubleTwist.  Once purchased you can sync it to your phone too.
  2. Android Market Browser – DoubleTwist lets you browse around the Android Market place from your computer.  It also shows additional information about the application such as size, version number, and a handy QR code so you can download the application on your phone quickly.
  3. Podcast Search – find and view/listen to popular podcasts.  As far as I know you can’t download and send podcasts to your phone, but someone correct me if I’m wrong.

Amazon Music Store

Android Market Browser

Final Words

I think DoubleTwist is amazing.  It’s free, and it provides a very easy way of managing your media on the HTC Desire (or any other Android phone for that matter).
As I’m no expert on video, I’ll have look at the best way to convert video for the HTC Desire and find out if the increase in file size is normal.  I assume it is because it uses a different video format (i.e. converts from avi to mp4).

Let me know if you’ve tried it, or if you know of any better alternatives. Enjoy!

A couple of hours ago Google discussed the new features that will be part of the new software update for their Android phones (Froyo) in the Google IO Developer Event.

The features include:

  1. Apps on External Storage – this will allow you to install applications to your SD card, meaning you’re no longer restricted to the built-in 140MB that the Desire offers.  Instead, if you run out of space you can just buy a larger capacity memory card.
  2. Dalvik JIT – without getting into much technical detail, this modification means that your phone will gain a speed boost of 2x to 5x higher than its current speed.
  3. Kernel Memory Management Boost – sounds a bit complex, but what it means is that it will handle applications running in the background a lot better so it’ll be quicker to switch between apps
  4. Voice Dialing Over Bluetooth – simple enough.  Use a bluetooth headset to dial contacts
  5. Data Backup – you can now backup all your data including application data (preferences, saved games, accounts etc).  This makes it a lot easier to format your phone, or to transfer everything to a new phone
  6. Web Browsing – Google claim that Froyo’s web browser is the FASTEST mobile web browser! On top of this they’ve added the V8 Javascript engine from their desktop Chrome browser, which means that interactive websites will run a lot smoother.
  7. WiFi Hotspot – make your phone act like a WiFi hotspot.  This means your laptop or computer will be able to connect to your phone via wireless and use your phones internet connection.

Plenty more stuff too, which if you’re interested in you can read about here

Adobe Flash

Flash player isn’t on the above list because it’s not actually part of Android.  It’s an add-on, but Adobe have confirmed that it will be available for Froyo.  The screenshot below shows the message I got when visiting the Adobe website on my HTC Desire:


Release Dates
Google have said that a public release of Froyo will be made in June.  This gives them enough time to polish off the update, and make sure that everything works as it should.
From today the 2.2 SDK is available to developers who can start updating their applications to make use of the new features such as being able to install to the SD Card.

For the Desire, we’ll be waiting on HTC to create a HTC Sense version of Froyo.  No timescale is given yet, but we can only hope that it’s not too long.
The impatient will most likely be able to get a Vanilla version (no HTC Sense) version from Modaco or XDA when the June release is out for the Nexus One.  You’ll need a rooted handset for this of course.

Final Word

It’s been a great day for Android.  I’m very pleased that the Applications to SDCard feature is included, I’m sure it’s the most important for most of us.  It’ll be interesting to see the performance boost too, and I’d really like to see how well the Flash player runs games.

No doubt HTC already have a test version of Froyo, and I wish they’re all working away at it as fast as possible so that we’re not waiting too long for this update to become available on the Desire.

gameloftlogo2

Until now there haven’t been many 3D games for Android.  Most of us have stuck to our puzzle games, and the few 3D games out there such as SpeedForge3D and ToonWarz.  However, today Gameloft tweeted some exciting news for all you gamers out there:

We announced 10 HD games for Android smartphones: they’ll be live Friday through Gameloft’s wap & website

The games are as follows:

  1. Tom Clancy’s HAWX
  2. Asphalt 5
  3. Real Football 2010
  4. Hero of Sparta
  5. Gangstar – West Coast Hustle
  6. Modern Combat: Sandstorm
  7. NOVA: Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance
  8. Let’s Golf
  9. Assassin’s Creed
  10. Dungeon Hunter

View the video of the games here:

Looking at Gameloft’s pricing for iPhone games, you’re looking about £3-4 for a game but here’s hoping for introductory discounts!
I’m personally interested in Let’s Golf and Dungeon Hunter, but no doubt I’ll end up buying all of them before long.

Tomorrow Google are going to be announcing Froyo, and we’ll find out if we can install applications to the SD card.  Then we just need HTC to release the software update for us Desire owners and all our phones can be filled new games without the worry of running out of free space.  Good times 😀

hotmail_logo

Hotmail offer a free POP3 service which allows you to receive all your emails on your HTC Desire. If you have a @hotmail.com address then it’s really easy.  You just enter your email and password in the Mail application and it does the rest of the setup for you.

If You Have A @live.com or @hotmail.co.uk Account:

  1. If you have a @hotmail.com email address then stop here.  Read the first paragraph of this article, because that’s all you need 😉
  2. Open the Mail app on your Desire
  3. If you already have another email account setup then press Menu > More > New account
  4. Select Other (POP3/IMAP).
  5. Select Manual setup at the bottom
  6. Enter the following settings:
    Protocol: POP
    Email address: your email address
    Username: your email address again (full)
    Password: your account password
    POP Server: pop3.live.com
    Security Type: SSL
    Server Port: 995
  7. Press Next and the Outgoing server settings screen will appear
    If you get an error message at this point double-check all the settings above.  Make sure your username is the same as your email address.
  8. For the Outgoing Server Settings use the following options (bear in mind quite a few of the boxes will already be filled in for you):
    Login required: Make sure it’s checked/ticked
    Username: Your full email address
    Password: Your Hotmail password
    SMTP Server: smtp.live.com
    Security Type: TLS
    Server Port: 25
  9. Press Next
  10. Give it a meaningful Account name (this just comes up on your Accounts list – it’s not displayed on outgoing emails)
    In Your name enter your actual name – this is what will appear as the “From” value on outgoing emails
  11. Press Finish Setup
  12. Your account is now setup.  You can press Menu > More > Settings to configure options such as:
    1. Disable the “Sent from my HTC” signature
    2. Change how frequently your Hotmail account is checked
    3. Change how you’re notified of new email
    4. Loads more, just have a look yourself!

FAQ

  1. I get “Cannot connect to the mail server to verify your account information.  Your server is not responding” message when I press Next on the Outgoing Server Settings screen
    A: Try server port 587 instead of 25

Final Word

This article is a response to many people who’ve asked me how to do this on their Desire.  I’ve always pointed them to webpages with the Hotmail POP3 settings but thought it’s about time I wrote it up as a step-by-step.

If you have any questions, notice any errors, or have extra information regarding this guide then please post in the comments or send me an email. Thanks!