Gingerbread Hits AOSP

Gingerbread is the latest version of Android (version 2.3).  It’s currently unknown whether or not the HTC Desire will be getting it.  However, the good news is that the source code for it has just been released on AOSP (Android Original Source Project), which means that it’s available for developers to download, tweak and compile for use on devices.  We can expect custom ROMs to start being released over this weekend for the Desire from talented developers such as AdamG and RichardTrip who you can find in the Desire Development section of XDA-Developers.

Kindle For Android Version 2 Released

This morning users with the Kindle application will have received a new update in the Android Market for this application.  The new update brings a series of new features, 2 of my favourites being scrolling through pages using the volume keys, and having the store accessible within the app instead of opening a new browser window.  The full list of changes is as follows:

  1. Newspapers and Magazine
  2. Zoom into images
  3. Integrated store
  4. Share progress via Social Networks
  5. Application now installable to SD Card
  6. Bug fixes
  7. I’ve noticed a Grid view, which I’m pretty certain wasn’t in the previous version

Need for Speed Shift Now in the Market

EA games has just released their Need for Speed Shift game into the Market.  The official description being:

THINK FAST! DRIVE FASTER! OPTIMIZED FOR ANDROID™! Drive 20 awesome cars including the BMW M3 GT2, Lamborghini Gallardo, and Pagani Zonda. Features 18 tracks in 3 stunning locations, Quick Race and Career Modes, 3 difficulty settings, and physics-based accelerated 3D graphics.

I guess they’re a little late as the latest console version is Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (also available on iPhone), but any 3D game being added to the Android Market is welcome by me.

If you want it, here’s the QR code for you to download it from the Market:

PlayStation Application for Android Coming Soon

Unfortunately, it won’t let you play PlayStation games on it, but it’s still useful in the sense that you can access your PlayStation Network (PSN) account to see your friends statuses, learn about new games and share news via social networks.  Whilst that doesn’t sound like a lot, we’re promised lots of new features to come.  You read more about it on the Official PlayStation Blog

Changes to the Android Market

The past few weeks have introduced several new changes to the Android Market, most of which you’ve already noticed but here’s a summary in case you haven’t:

  1. Application descriptions can now be up to 4,000 characters long
  2. There’s a field for recent changes
  3. The refund time for applications is 15 minute instead of the previous 24 hours
  4. There’s a new tab for Similar applications
  5. The biggest update is a new UI for the Market, which I haven’t received myself but I’m told should be available shortly.  Here’s a preview of it on YouTube:
    <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWdex2J43Jo">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWdex2J43Jo</a>

Facebook Application Receives A New Update

As you can tell, this week’s mostly been about application updates. People on Facebook can enjoy a new update to the Facebook application which allows:

  • Chat
  • Push notifications.  This is a lot better for battery life because it means the app works in the same way as Talk or Gmail.  Instead of having to connect to the server every so often to check if there’s any new updates, Facebooks servers themselves send out an update to your phone as soon as the update becomes available.
  • Some bug fixes

Google App Inventor Beta Now Open to the Public

If you missed the previous announcement, App Inventor is a way for anyone to develop Android applications using a simple web browser based interface.

You learn more about it, and signup to start using it here

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!

For those that don’t know what Twitter is, it’s a really good way of keeping up-to-date with people, companies and basically anyone with a Twitter account.

Basic Jargon

Tweet – a short message posted by a Twitter user.  Limited to 140 characters.  It’s public and viewable by everyone (unless you choose to make your Tweets private)
Retweet – A Tweet repeated by another Twitter user.
Hashtag – a keyword within a Tweet.  It’s created by prefixing a word with a # symbol e.g #android.  Searching for a hashtag will bring up all the Tweets which contain that word
Mention – if someone mentions your Twitter account in their Tweet.  To mention you prefix the username with an @ symbol e.g. @mihtcdesire.

How does it work?

  1. You sign-up on Twitter for a free account
  2. You find the people you’re interested in
  3. You press the follow button on their profile
  4. Plus you can post your own Tweets too, so your followers will find out any updates you have to share.

That’s it.  You just view your Twitter page and whenever someone you’re following posts a Tweet it’ll appear on that page.

For HTC Desire Owners

Of course as a HTC Desire owner, your phone plays very nicely with Twitter.  It comes with the “Peep” application.  You can use this to sign into your Twitter account, and whenever someone you follow posts a message you’ll be notified pretty quickly.  You can reply to messages, or retweet something you want to share with your own followers.  If you’re not fond of Peep, there’s alternatives in the Market including Google’s official Twitter app (called Twitter), Seesmic, Touiteur and so on.

Why Use Twitter?

  1. Fresh information – as soon as something major happens that you’re interested in, you’ll find out very quickly
    For example, if you’re following the MiHTCDesire Twitter account, then you’ll know within minutes whenever there’s a new blog article
  2. It’s simple – as explained above, it’s really simple and easy to use.  To be honest, I’d never used Twitter until starting this website, but when I did use it I found it so easy to share news, ask readers questions or even forward on questions I couldn’t answer personally to get replies from other Desire owners.
  3. It’s relevant – you choose the people you follow.  Before following them you can check their profile page to see the kind of tweets they post.
    For example, MiHTCDesire is dedicated to the HTC Desire so I’ll post Tweets that are solely related to that.  I know the last week saw a few big tech headlines such as the new Xbox 360 Slim, and the release of iOS4 but of course that’s not the focus of that Twitter account so it wasn’t posted.
  4. Plenty of people to follow – a lot of people, and even massive companies have a Twitter account which they keep up to do with the latest news and info.  Some even offer special promotions via Twitter.
    For example, HTC, Vodafone, O2 and even Google have their own Twitter account
  5. It’s concise (and generally precise) – for each update Twitter restrict you to 140 characters to write your message.  That means no ramblings or long-winded essays which could easily be condensed into a much shorter for example “Use Twitter, it’s awesome”.
  6. More information – A lot of people, (myself included) will post more stuff on Twitter than on a dedicated website just for convenience.
    For example: when I hear about a new application it’s quick and easy to write a few words about it on Twitter and share with everyone.   For that kind of thing it’s not exactly worth writing a whole new article.  Plus I hate writing long pieces on my phone and only blog from my computer, whereas a Twitter update is much similar to just writing a simple text message.

Drawbacks

The main drawback of Twitter I’ve found is some of the mundane things that people post.  On my personal account, I follow a web designer who sometimes tweets links to excellent web-related articles and news that he comes across, which I find really useful for my work.  Unfortunately a lot of the time he only posts really petty updates about his life “Picked a snot today, stretched at least 35mm”.

Conclusion (in 140 characters)

Twitter is a great way of getting the latest info. It’s like a custom newspaper, but the headlines only. Plus it plays nice with the Desire.