This morning Rovio announced the news that the full version their long awaited Android game is finally available; and on top of that they also announced that the game is completely free of charge (but contains adverts).

Anyone running a rooted phone with adblock enabled obviously won’t even get the ads, but if you want to support Rovio then you will be able to buy an ad-free version in the near future.
Rumour has it that the ad-free version will be released on the Android Market after they’ve pushed 10,000 free copies (I’d be surprised if that number isn’t already reached) but only time will tell.

Download

They’ve currently submitted the free version to the Android Market, so it will be available on there within 24 hours.  In the meantime, they’ve also published a copy of it on GetJar but unfortunately their servers are currently down due to the overwhelming demand of this game!

Just to make things easier for readers, I’ve uploaded the game and you can download it from here

UPDATE: It’s now in the Android Market, here’s the QR code (click it if you’re browsing on your phone):

Froyo

Several readers have recently reported that they’ve managed to run out of free space, even with the Froyo implementation of Apps2SD.  The way Google implemented it was poor to start with, but what makes it worse is that many apps in the Market still haven’t been updated to allow installation to SD card.

This guide shows you how to force all applications to be installed to your SD card.

Requirements

  1. Phone running Froyo
  2. ADB installed – how to

Instructions

  1. Ensure you have debugging enabled on your phone (Settings > Applications > Development > USB Debugging > Turn On)
  2. Connect your phone to USB
  3. Open Command Prompt/Terminal
  4. Type: adb shell pm setInstallLocation 2
  5. Press Enter
  6. That’s it!

FAQs

  1. My widgets keep disappearing, help!
    To prevent widgets from being removed, you’ll have to move their associated application back onto phone memory – to do this see FAQ #2
  2. How do I move certain apps back onto phone memory?
    You can move any application onto phone memory by going to Settings > Applications > Manage Applications > On SD card, select the app you want and press Move to Phone
  3. How can I revert to the original settings?
    Just open Command Prompt/Terminal and type: adb shell pm setInstallLocation 0
  4. Any other hidden commands?
    There’s one more to force all apps to install to phone memory, but I doubt you’ll ever want to use it: adb shell pm setInstallLocation

[via Androinica]

Yesterday I received the letter below from O2, it comes only a week after receiving a text message saying:

You’ve gone over your data allowance on your mobile.  You need to cut down or get a bigger Bolt On to keep using the internet.

To be totally honest, I can’t remember even using so much data in the past couple of months.  The most data usage on my phone is emails which definitely don’t require a huge data allowance.  I can’t even remember last time I used YouTube on it, none of the apps I’ve installed have been that big, and I tend to use WiFi for browsing because 3G is sluggishly slow at work anyway.

As they wrote in the letter, they could just completely disable my mobile Internet if I happen to go over my data allowance again (supposed to be “unlimited*”), which I guess is better than getting a huge bill, but is still quite ridiculous when I can’t even seem to recall using that much data in the first place.

On top of that, from what I’m told by readers on Twitter, the O2 data allowance limit should only apply to new customers whereas I’m 10 months into my contract.

Either way, I think that O2 have really taken the Boris with this.  When Vodafone introduced their 500MB limit there was an outcry, but O2s policy seems to be even worse.
With Vodafone you can receive up to 3 warnings, and then have to pay £5 for an extra 500MB, with O2 they can decide whenever they want to cut your data connection and that’s it.  The only alternative is to pay £15 extra for 3GB – not gonna happen!

I’ve spoke to O2 this evening, and they definitely haven’t been able to increase my data allowance so I’ve requested my PAC.  I’m switching to GiffGaff, who are a subsidiary network owned by O2, but they promise unlimited data – they just don’t want people using it for tethering so don’t use it as a WiFi Hotspot!  One of the advantages of GiffGaff is that you’re not tied into a contract. You could try their service, and if they aren’t up to scratch, or if they unfairly change their terms like O2 or Vodafone then it should be pretty easy to move on to another network provider.

Unlimited – At giffgaff ‘unlimited’ means ‘unlimited’, so play fair and play nice, so it stays that way.

Here’s the letter from O2:

Today I received my 16GB MicroSD to replace my now full 8GB.  Normally to transfer contents it’s quite straightforward – just copy everything to computer then back onto the SD card (or from SD to SD if you’ve got a card reader).  However, if you’ve got a rooted phone running apps2sd (also known as Apps2Ext) then there’s slightly more work involved to make sure that you end up transferring all your apps too.  The method below describes how I managed it, and under that I’ve listed a few alternatives…

Requirements

  1. Rooted phone
  2. SD card with ext partition
  3. ADB installed – how to

Instructions

  1. Make sure you’ve still got your old SD card in
  2. Create a new folder on your computer called SD Card Backup
  3. Create 2 subfolders, one called FAT and another called EXT
  4. Connect your phone to computer and set to Disk Drive mode
  5. Copy all your SD card contents (FAT partition) into the FAT folder
  6. Open Command Prompt/Terminal on your computer
  7. Type: cd<space>
    Make sure you use a space character, don’t type <space> and don’t press Enter yet!
  8. Drag and Drop the EXT folder into your command window, and you’ll notice that the full path to your EXT directory appears
  9. Press Enter
  10. Set your phone USB connection to Charge Only
  11. Type: adb pull /sd-ext/app .
    Don’t forget that “.“!
    Press Enter
  12. Wait while all your apps are copied into your EXT folder
  13. Once copied, insert your new SD card and use the same method you previously used to partition your new SD card as you want
    I use the Amon RA recovery, flashed using Unrevoked.  My partitions are: 4GB ext, 32MB swap (not really needed) and the rest as FAT
  14. Connect your phone via USB again
  15. In the command window, type: adb push . /sd-ext/app/
  16. Wait whilst all your apps are copied back to your ext partition
  17. Copy all your FAT files back onto the FAT partition

Alternate Methods

  1. Use Linux.  Mounting your SD card in Linux will mount your ext partition too.  It’s then a simple case of just copy and pasting your files from old SD to computer, then computer to new SD
  2. Titanium Backup.  You can use Titanium Backup’s Batch feature to backup all the apps to the phones Fat partition, then copy the backups to new SD and do a batch restore
  3. MyBackupPro – similar to Titanium Backup, MyBackupPro allows you to backup all apps and their data, then restore them.

Why My Method?

I chose doing it the adb way because it doesn’t involve copying everything onto the SD card first – otherwise you’re waiting for everything to be backed up to SD, then to computer, then back to SD and then restoring using Titanium/MyBackupPro.  It’s also good to have a copy of your apps saved on your computer just in case something goes wrong with your phone or SD card.  If you already have adb installed, then it’s really quick to just run the adb command and grab all your apps.

Froyo

Annoying Orange, in more ways than one

Froyo has been available for many Orange customers for over a week, but people who were on software version 1.15.61.10 were made to wait until yesterday (1 October) before being offered this update.  Reason being that Orange had to first release an update which allowed customers to upgrade from 1.15.61.10 to 1.22.61.1

You should now be able to get the 1.22.61.1 update by going on:
Settings > About phone > System software updates -> Check now

After installing that update, you should be able to check again and receive the Froyo update too

Manual Download and Install

In case you don’t get the 1.15.61.10 to 1.22.61.1 update then you can download it directly from the HTC servers – link and then install using the tutorial here

This simple guide shows you how to install an official update file for the Desire.  This doesn’t involve rooting, debranding or anything of that sort.  It’s the equivalent of manually installing an OTA update for your phone.

Note: It’s worthwhile backing up all your data before installing any update (even if you’re installing an OTA) just in case it does perform a wipe.

  1. First of all you’ll need the update file
  2. Make sure the update file is called update.zip – rename it if you need to
  3. Copy this file to your SD card – make sure it’s in the top-level, not in a folder
  4. Turn off your phone
  5. Hold down Volume Down and press Power.  You should end up in the HBOOT menu
  6. Select Recovery (move down with Volume Down, select with Power button)
  7. You should now see a screen with a red exclaimation mark
  8. Hold down the Volume Up button and press Power
  9. Select apply SD:update.zip

Last week Google announced that they’d be enabling paid apps in more countries.  They’ve announced today that they’ve added support for 20 countries, and another 18 will be added in the next two weeks.

The 20 new countries that can enjoy paid applications are:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Hong Kong
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Russia
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan

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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Explore our development resources developer.htc.com

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.