JellyBalls

JellyBalls

Pop same colour balls. Eye-candy graphics, multiple game modes & global scores.

Author: HyperBees Ltd.
Price: $0.99

Review

The folks at Hyperbees were kind enough to send me their new Android title, JellyBalls.  It’s a take on the popular colour-matching genre, with some added extras to make it stand out from the rest.  I’d guess you’re all familiar with this type of game so instead of going on about what you’re supposed to do, I’ll highlight how it differs from its competition:

  • Design – sometimes I’ve found Android games have excellent gameplay, but they look horrendous or sometimes the in-game grahpics are well done but the menu system is a mess.  JellyBeans has it just right, they’ve thought through all the design aspects and made a game where the design is consistent (though nothing spectacular I’ll admit) from start to finish.  The animations are great, and the balls actually bounce when on the screen like jelly beans.
  • Gameplay – there’s plenty of game modes to choose from.  I prefer the “Get them all” mode which has an element of puzzle/logic built in, it makes me think and often plan out the moves in advance to make sure I achieve the desired goal.  For normal mode I’ve never really understood if there is a trick to it, and instead tend to click at random and hope for a fluke.  The gameplay is smooth, the levels get gradually more difficult and I’ve found myself playing this game throughout the week during my commute even if it’s only for a 4 minute local train.
  • Social Features – it’s becoming the norm for games to include some form of socialising method within the game.  JellyBeans uses ScoreLoop to allow you to submit your scores to the leaderboards and view your score ranked against others (including global, country, friends and scores submitted in the last 24 hours)
  • Pricing – at 99cents (60-70p?) is a fair price for the game.  It seems to be a standard price for Android apps/games and this is the kind of game that’ll keep you occupied during those little moments of time that just aren’t long enough to get anything useful done in

The Bad

  • no save games – the main thing lacking from JellyBeans is the ability to continue a game after you quit.  Ideally I’d want to start a game, stop for whatever reason and then carry one where I left off.  From the level of updates to other games HyperBees have published I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s one released for this game enabling game saves in the near future.

The Verdict

4.5/5

It’s a top game and probably the only one of it’s genre that I’d even consider playing thanks to it’s puzzle game mode.  It’s professionally designed, developed and published at an affordable price.  It’s an addictive little gem which has already proven to be very useful for a bit of a time waste.

Market Description:
JellyBalls is an eye-pleasing casual game where you pop same colour balls.
Enjoy multiple game modes and hours of gameplay. Compete with friends through global leaderboard. Includes 5 arcade and logical modes.
The classic favourite takes on a whole new dimension.
Screenshots (click to enlarge)
Screenshot Screenshot
Download
JellyBalls

A few networks have now released the long-awaited Froyo update during the past week so here’s a quick summary of which networks it’s available on:

Unbranded Handsets – since early August
Vodafone – released on 23 August
Orange – Re-release on 1 October. History: released 21 September.  Pulled the update on 23 September.
T-Mobile – Available since 20 September.  History: originally released on  19 September, then pulled due to including German apps.
O2 – Re-release on 29 September. History: released on 6 September, then pulled due to bugs.  Rereleased to a few users on 23 September as a test, public release during week commencing 27 September.
Three – not even confirmed that they will be getting Froyo.  Seem to be mixed responses from staff, all contradicting one another
Virgin – not heard anything yet

The update was also made available for the Asian devices since 30 August

People who bought the phone from a network and received an unbranded device should have had the update since early August.  The network release dates are for branded phones.

It’s quite a shame to see networks such as Three letting their customers down already.  Even if they can’t specify an accurate release date, it would be useful just to officially announce whether they’ll actually be releasing Froyo or not.

The update mechanism for Android is a major letdown.  Although you could blame the networks more than HTC, it’s still a shame that users are made to wait weeks and even months for an update from a network provider, instead of a general release direct from HTC for all phones.  It’s one area in which the iOS is superior, one update that becomes available to everyone at the same time – straight from Apple.

Updates

  • 23 September – O2 re-released Froyo
  • 24 September – received confirmation that the 20 September T-Mobile update doesn’t have German apps.  Thanks to
  • 25 September – confirmation that O2 release was a test, and public release will be during week starting 27 September.  Thanks to impy81
  • 25 September – confirmation that Orange have pulled the update since 23 September – no rerelease scheduled. Thanks to ash (in the comments)

As you’re aware, Froyo has been out for owners of unbranded phones since the start of August.  Now it’s been one and a half months and in that time we’ve seen a couple of networks releasing the update such as Vodafone and O2 (who pulled the updated shortly due to bugs) but users of other networks have still been waiting for this update.  T-Mobile say they’re still well on track for a late September release, rumour has it that Three may not even be getting the update (can’t confirm as even the Three staff seem to be contradicting themselves) but today the spotlight falls on Orange who promised a mid-September update and when they failed to deliver decided to push the blame on HTC.

When Froyo was released, conorfromorange (PR Manager for Orange) posted a Tweet on 2 August saying:

We are working with HTC to bring the 2.2 Android update to Desire customers as soon as we can. This process normally takes about four weeks

Since that date, their customers waited patiently (or impatiently in some cases), the 4 weeks came to pass at the start of September and still no update.  That’s fair enough considering 4 weeks was an guideline, not a fixed release date.

After, since the start of September, conor has posted several Tweets that seem to be blaming HTC for the delayed update and not themselves:

27 August (link):
Android fans there has been a delay in receiving the 2.2 Froyo update from HTC, & we now expect it to be available mid-Sep. Apologies

7 September (link):
@CKrypt1 Hey, mid-September for Froyo as previously tweeted http://bit.ly/cnqpux

15 September (link):
HTC told us they’ve had issues with the update, but these are now resolved. So we’re just waiting for them to give finl partner approval

15 September (link):
Apols for the delay guys. We’ve been told to expect it shortly – think days rather than weeks!

BUT, when a MyHTCDesire reader decided to email HTC to find out why they were holding up Orange and their Froyo update, HTC replied with an email clarifying the situation and denying the accusations coming from Orange about it all being HTCs fault:

Dear xxx, Thank you for your email. The upgrade is authorised for release for unbranded devices at the same time it is released to network providers. In this case, Vodafone and O2 have had the new software for the same amount of time as Orange have had. I apologise for the incorrect information they have given you. The software is in their hands, it is their responsibility to release it to their customers. If you have any further questions, please contact me again. To send a reply to this message or let me know I have successfully answered your question log in to our ContactUs site using your email address and your ticket number XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. Sincerely,

Martin

HTC

Want to see what others are saying? Have a question to ask other HTC fans?

Become a fan of HTC facebook.com/htc
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The message from HTC clearly states that Froyo has been available to ALL mobile networks since HTC released the unbranded version, which would be the start of August.  They also go on to say that customised and releasing the update is the responsibility of each network provider, not HTCs.

Additionally, when the reader who sent the email above called Orange a few days ago, he was told that the update is still being tested and would be released in 2 weeks which contradicts conor’s promise of “days rather than weeks”.

To be clear, the issue isn’t that the update has been delayed.  Delays for any software-based products are to be expected and even HTC are known to slip up – when I was on my HTC Hero they were promising Android 2.0 last December, then said that wouldn’t be released and they’d release 2.1 in January instead and even that wasn’t released until June, by which time I’d long sold the Hero and got the Desire instead!  The concern is that why are Orange constantly blaming HTC for the delay when HTC have cleanly denied being responsible?

In all fairness, if Orange keep to their promise of a few days then they’ve still done a better job than the other networks. Only Vodafone have made a successful release so far.

Personally, I really think the networks shouldn’t even be allowed to brand their phones.  If it was done within a reasonable timeframe and actually improved the user experience then it would be a different story.  When it’s the first major update to one of the best phones available at the moment, and customers are being forced to wait before receiving an update that’s been available to their friends with unbranded phones for 2 months just so that networks can cripple the update with their own bloatware then it’s really unfair on those customers.  It’s a poor of way of taking advantage of the lack of alternative that the customers have.  All the networks do it, so it’s not as if people can threaten to leave and join another network.

Are you on Orange, and have you heard any news from them regarding Froyo?  I’ll try contacting conorfromorange to see what he has to say on the issue.

It’s not very often I post about individual apps or games, but this is a rare occurance on account of one of my favourite iOS games finally being released for Android.  It’s called Fruit Ninja it’s just massive a frenzy of fruit slicing action.  There’s no demo on the Market. but it’s worth trying at only $0.99 (60-70p?) – don’t hold it against me if you don’t like it!

Download (click the code if you’re reading on your phone)

Video

Screenshots


PSFreedom

IMPORTANT: Sony have released the 3.42 update which patches this exploit.  If you want to retain the ability to jailbreak don’t install this update!!!
Instructions are available here on how to avoid the update and still play online.

As mentioned in the Twitter article yesterday there’s an open-source exploit available for the Sony PlayStation 3 which lets you run Homebrew software on it.  This hack has now been ported to Android – this means you can now connect your phone to your PS3, run the jailbreak and be able to run homebrew.

Note

In order to use this you need to Enable PSFreedom first to launch the jailbreak on  the PS3.  Whilst it’s on you won’t be able to use the normal USB capabilities of your phone (adb, file transfer, charge etc), but straight after running it you can disable it.

Requirements

  1. Sony PlayStation 3 on the 3.41 firmware.  DO NOT UPDATE TO 3.42 (see here)
  2. A rooted phone running OpenDesire 4.0.4 – link
  3. Either: Enable PSFreedom Homebrew (link) or Enable PSFreedom BDMV (link).  BDMV is the one for backups.
  4. Disable PSFreedom (link)

Installation

  1. Copy the Enable PSFreedom File and Disable PSFreedom file to your SD Card
  2. Reboot the phone in recovery mode
  3. Select “install zip from SD Card
  4. Select the Enable PSFreedom file
  5. Reboot your phone

Uninstallation

  1. Reboot the phone in recovery mode
  2. Select “install zip from SD Card
  3. Select the Disable PSFreedom file
  4. Reboot your phone

How To Use

  1. Turn off your PS3 (unplug or turn off the switch on the back)
  2. Connect your phone via USB cable to the PS3 (make sure you’ve got PSFreedom Enable on using the Installation steps above)
  3. Restore power to the PS3 by turning the switching on or plugging the cable back in.  Don’t turn on yet
  4. Press the Power button and then QUICKLY press the Eject button.  If you do this right you’ll know because it takes a few seconds longer to start up
  5. In the Games section of the XMB (Cross Media Bar) you’ll see two new options.  If it’s not worked, repeat steps 1-4.
  6. Disconnect your phone and run the Uninstallation instructions to restore normal USB functionality

FAQs

  1. Do I need to repeat this every time I want to run the exploit?
    Yes, as it’s a soft-jailbreak the jailbreak needs to run each time you turn your console on.  There’s no harm in leaving your phone with PSFreedom Enable on if you don’t the USB features for a while.
  2. Will it only work on OpenDesire?
    For now yes.  The exploit needs to modify the kernel and for now it’s only been done for the OpenDesire one.  We’ll probably see the hack coming to other ROMs in the near future
  3. Can I Run Backups?
    Yes, if you use the BDMV file.  There’s a Homebrew Backup Manager which lets you install the contents of game disk to your hard drive.  After that you still need a disk in the drive (any disk) to launch the game.  Please be sensible with this and use it for games you own.  More detailed instructions (and warnings) on this here (first post, scroll down to the FAQs on backups).

via PSFreedom

Angry Birds

It’s been a while since I did the first “This Week On Twitter”, but last week was quite an exciting week for Desire owners so here’s a round up of a weeks worth of Tweets!

Angry Birds Beta is now in the Market


One of the top selling iPhone games is now available for Android.  It’s still in Beta, so there might be bugs but I’ve been playing it for the past few days and had no problems with it whatsoever.  You can download the free Lite version using the QR code, the full paid version is not yet available.

Froyo Available to South-East Asia and Hong Kong HTC Desire Owners

Froyo

Readers who’re based in the above locations can now enjoy their Froyo-flavoured Android update.  If you’ve not received the update already, just go on Settings > About Phone > System Software Updates > Check Now and the update should appear ready for you to download.

Friendstream and Peep Back Online

Last week Google changed the way in which 3rd party applications can access the Twitter service.  Previously there were 2 methods, Basic Authentication and OAuth, with OAuth being more secure of the two.  Late last year Google announced that they’d be getting rid of Basic Authentication and only allowing OAuth.  App developers were told to update their apps to use OAuth, with another public reminder in June.  Most developers did this, but HTC either due to neglect, or an agreement with Google that they’d still be able to use Basic Authentication decided not to update their Peep and Friendstream apps.  So when Google disabled Basic Authentication last week, Peep and Friendstream went down for a couple of days.

This issue was then resolved without the need for any OTA update, so I’d assume Google have permitted HTC to carry on using the Basic Authentication method.

How To Force Apps to Install on SD Card Without Rooting (on Froyo)

This is an article from another website which shows you how you can move any app to the SD card on Froyo without having to root your phone.  You will need adb setup on your computer to follow this tutorial.  Click here to visit the guide

What’s App Instant Messenger Now In Beta

The popular iPhone (also available on S60 and Blackberry) instant messenger application is now in beta for Android.  Although the interface is very simplistic, it seems to work quite well.  You can download it by visiting this link on your Android phone browser, or download the apk file from here

Thanks to MyKeymoo for the heads up

PSGroove being ported to Android (PSFreedom)

There’s been a lot of development on this, and due to not owning a PS3 my understanding might be a bit flaky – do correct my if I get anything wrong: a few weeks ago a jailbreak for the PS3 was announced which lets you run homebrew on your PlayStation 3 console using a rather expensive USB dongle.  This was known as PS Jailbreak.  More recently it was announced that another team of developers had managed to release some open-source code known as PSGroove which does the same thing as the PS Jailbreak, except that PS Groove is free but you need certain USB hardware to run the code.  Another developer then ported PSGroove to the Nokia N900 which has the necessary USB controller, and called this project PSFreedom.  Now, the developers at XDA are working on hard on getting PSFreedom to run on Android phones (Desire included).

Basically: if the developers succeed then it’s going to be possible to jailbreak your PS3 for free using PSFreedom from your Android phone.  You can track the development of this project here

MyHTCDesire Breaks Another Bandwidth Barrier

For what start off as a very small blog, it’s now exceeding 100GB traffic a month which is a huge milestone for me.  Just want to say thank your to all the readers who’ve been reading and promoting this site!

I found this article last week, which list a series of secret commands for Android phones. Bear in mind that that codes were obtained from a Samsung Galaxy i7500 so some may not work on the HTC Desire.

Please be careful as it’s not always possible to undo the effects of a code (e.g. factory reset).

*#*#4636#*#*

This code can be used to get some interesting information about your phone and battery. It shows following 4 menus on screen:

  • Phone information
  • Battery information
  • Battery history
  • Usage statistics

*#*#7780#*#*

This code can be used for a factory data reset. It’ll remove following things:

  • Google account settings stored in your phone
  • System and application data and settings
  • Downloaded applications

It’ll NOT remove:

  • Current system software and bundled applications
  • SD card files e.g. photos, music files, etc.

PS: Once you give this code, you get a prompt screen asking you to click on “Reset phone” button. So you get a chance to cancel your operation.

*2767*3855#

Think before you give this code. This code is used for factory format. It’ll remove all files and settings including the internal memory storage. It’ll also reinstall the phone firmware.

PS: Once you give this code, there is no way to cancel the operation unless you remove the battery from the phone. So think twice before giving this code.

*#*#34971539#*#*

This code is used to get information about phone camera. It shows following 4 menus:

  • Update camera firmware in image (Don’t try this option)
  • Update camera firmware in SD card
  • Get camera firmware version
  • Get firmware update count

WARNING: Never use the first option otherwise your phone camera will stop working and you’ll need to take your phone to service center to reinstall camera firmware.

*#*#7594#*#*

This one is my favorite one. This code can be used to change the “End Call / Power” button action in your phone. Be default, if you long press the button, it shows a screen asking you to select any option from Silent mode, Airplane mode and Power off.

You can change this action using this code. You can enable direct power off on this button so you don’t need to waste your time in selecting the option.

*#*#273283*255*663282*#*#*

This code opens a File copy screen where you can backup your media files e.g. Images, Sound, Video and Voice memo.

*#*#197328640#*#*

This code can be used to enter into Service mode. You can run various tests and change settings in the service mode.

WLAN, GPS and Bluetooth Test Codes:

*#*#232339#*#* OR *#*#526#*#* OR *#*#528#*#* – WLAN test (Use “Menu” button to start various tests)

*#*#232338#*#* – Shows WiFi MAC address

*#*#1472365#*#* – GPS test

*#*#1575#*#* – Another GPS test

*#*#232331#*#* – Bluetooth test

*#*#232337#*# – Shows Bluetooth device address

*#*#8255#*#*

This code can be used to launch GTalk Service Monitor.

Codes to get Firmware version information:

*#*#4986*2650468#*#* – PDA, Phone, H/W, RFCallDate

*#*#1234#*#* – PDA and Phone

*#*#1111#*#* – FTA SW Version

*#*#2222#*#* – FTA HW Version

*#*#44336#*#* – PDA, Phone, CSC, Build Time, Changelist number

Codes to launch various Factory Tests:

*#*#0283#*#* – Packet Loopback

*#*#0*#*#* – LCD test

*#*#0673#*#* OR *#*#0289#*#* – Melody test

*#*#0842#*#* – Device test (Vibration test and BackLight test)

*#*#2663#*#* – Touch screen version

*#*#2664#*#* – Touch screen test

*#*#0588#*#* – Proximity sensor test

*#*#3264#*#* – RAM version

via AskVG