Archive for the ‘Android’ Tag

Pentile – the downfall of Galaxy S?

I’ve been trying to decide for months now whether I want to get the HTC Evo or Samsung Epic. One of the biggest factors, the screen, is carrying me in the opposite way from what most would expect.  The Epic’s screen is being described as: “knockout”1, “Colors are as crisp as can be” 2, and “most important characteristics”3.  One really has to research more deeply before this term comes up: “Pentile”.

The rest of this editorial is a rehashing and commentary on the Ars Technica article on the topic.

If you examine the Evo and Epic screens side-by-side, particularly displaying text, you might notice that the Evo looks a little better.  The lines are straight and sharper; the Epic has an odd fuzziness at the edges.  It’s almost like you’re looking at one shadow-mask screen and the other one aperture-grille (I know it’s not a great comparison because of pixel technology, but it’s the best visualization I can come up with).

It turns out that while the Evo’s screen is made of the standard array RGB pixels, the Epic’s screen is made of an array of pixels, alternating between a double-width red with green and double-width blue with green.  What this comes down to is that some colors can’t be achieved within just one pixel and have to use two.  This is why letters don’t look as sharp.

So, while the Epic’s screen is great for playing games and watching movies.  For text-based activities, I think the Evo’s is the better screen.

http://reviews.cnet.com/smartphones/samsung-epic-4g-review/

http://www.androidcentral.com/sprint-epic-4g-review

http://www.engadget.com/2010/08/16/epic-4g-review/

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Thank you, Apple, for making my point!

This is my first experience as a blogger of Apple making a point for me, and now I’m all giddy!

Check out their press release from July 2 (http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2010/07/02appleletter.html), emphasis mine:

“To start with, gripping almost any mobile phone in certain ways will reduce its reception by 1 or more bars. This is true of iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, as well as many Droid, Nokia and RIM phones.”

Apparently Apple doesn’t even know what Android is!

Via SU: http://www.sprintusers.com/forum/showthread.php?t=209306

Sprint Evo: first impressions

I had a chance to briefly go one-on-one with the Evo. Here is what I learned:

– 4.3 inches (diagonally) is a lot of real estate. The phone nearly filled my field of vision.

– The phone is big. Too big to type with one finger, even when held vertically. However, I did a bit of two-handed typing in portrait mode and it was very pleasant. I’ve never been a landscape typer, so this was a neat find.

– The Evo is speedier than the Hero, obviously due to the processor and memory bump. Sadly, that doesn’t hold when actively using and switching between applications. In particular, I found that two of my pain points on the Hero – dialing and texting – are still painfully slow on the Evo. Much faster but not nearly instant like they should be. The dialer lag on HTC’s Sense interface is the primary reason I want a vanilla Android device.

– On the other hand, some activities that used to slow the Hero to a halt, like using Google Navigation, are now nice and speedy.

That’s all for now. If I get the Evo I’ll post a more thorough review.

“Droid” vs. “Android”

Android VS.  Droid

I’ve lost count of how many people have referred to “Android” the iPhone killer or that phone that runs “Droid,” and so here’s a quick disambiguation.

First, I have to congratulate Verizon for singlehandedly confusing the non-geek masses.  They wanted the name “Droid” so much that they went so far as to purchase the rights from George Lucas.

Android

Android: an operating system created by Google, runs on mobile phones and other devices.

Droid

Droid: a line of cellphones sold by Verizon Wireless.  They include the Droid (Motorola), Droid Eris (HTC, similar to the Hero on Sprint), and the Droid Incredible (similar to the EVO on Sprint).

To summarize, the HTC Hero does not run the Droid operating system, and there are currently over 40 phones running Android, not just the Droid.

Images:

First app: QuickVibrate

Thanks to KO_KJ who commented on my past post, I published my first ever mobile app on AndAppStore.com.  I was having some deployment issues last week, but I just did an online install and it seems to work. 

Also, I almost completed my Android Market registration (I actually paid and everything), but it turns out they want to keep your credit card on file.  I’m just not cool with that.  So for now, I’ll stick with AndAppStore, I’ll see if I get any takers at all.

Android Ringer App

Well I was about to publish my first Android app.  It was a simple gizmo that would toggle you between vibrate and normal.  You’d think someone would already have done that, but although there are dozens of apps and widgets that do approximately that, mine is the only one that I know of that does exactly that.  Anyway, I was about to publish and then it turns out that Google wants $25 to register with the market.  What?  To publish 5 lines of code?  (Yeah, 5 lines, go figure).

Anyway, just wanted to rant.  I was looking forward to displaying my work to the world, but looks like I’ll enjoy it in solitude for now.

– The Phone Critic

HTC Hero: 2 weeks in

After using the Moment for about a week, I’ve used the Hero for 2.  Given my hesitation, I’m pretty happy with that I’ve seen so far.  Here’s what I think:

Pros (as compared to the Moment):

  • The earpiece is much better.  Not as much raw loudness, but the sounds are louder and more vibrant.  Sound is fantastic, really. 
  • Screen sensitivity is much better.  A simple swipe is registered, as opposed to a hard press.
  • I personally prefer the trackball over the optical mouse.  It’s easier for me to control.  Especially when I have to go back one or two letters to correct a typo.
  • Access to 1x.  I can choose not to use 3G if I don’t want to, to save battery.  I couldn’t find this option on the Moment.
  • Keyboard accuracy and correction is far, far ahead of the standard Android keyboard.  It makes the device usable.
  • T9 on the dialer, for looking up contacts.  I know this is available through the Market, but it’s nice having it built-in.
  • Hardware keys and a dedicated search key.  ’nuff said.
  • So much smaller.  Again, preference.

Cons:

  • Dust under the screen.  It’s not as bad as I had dreaded, probably because I went through every device at Best Buy and found the one with the best looking build quality.  Some of the Heros in the cabinet looked like they were glued together by a kindergartener.
  • You never really hear the other side ring… it just says “dialing” and then they pick up.  It’s kind of weird.
  • Proximity sensor, or lack thereof.  I’ve been really self-conscious about this one.
  • The stock Android calendar is not available, and the HTC one doesn’t have a week view.  This is actually pretty serious for me.

Draw:

  • HTC Sense:  Personally, I don’t really find it useful, so I disable it.
  • Color depth:  I personally don’t particularly care.
  • Battery life: after conditioning, both devices lasted about 36 hours with moderate use.
  • Processor speed.  Really.  Boot-up admittedly takes a lot longer with the Hero… a lot longer.  But during usage, I found the speed difference to be negligible.
  • Reception: with all I read about the Moment having spotty reception and dropping 3G, I’m finding both phones to have about the same range of bars at home, and the same difficulty holding onto a 3G signal at work.

Hero or Moment: Lesser of Two Evils?

As you probably know, I have been lusting over Sprint Android phones for about four months now.  So why haven’t I gotten one yet?  After all, the Hero’s been out since mid October, and the Moment’s been out for nearly two weeks now.

If you read my previous post, you know that there are pros and cons to each phone.  However, according to various forums, including SprintUsers.com and Sprint’s own Buzz About Wireless, it looks like both devices were rushed to market, probably to compete with Verizon’s Droid.  Here are some of the problems that have been discussed ad nauseum:

Hero:

Moment:

According to Sprint, a patch for the Hero is in the works, and for the Moment in talks, so we’ll see what happens in the next few weeks.

An interesting post-script: because I’ve been wanting to get an Android phone, I put up a poll on SprintUsers (http://www.sprintusers.com/forum/showthread.php?t=197951).  Of the people who responded (duh), more than twice got the Hero as the Moment, but about 10% of Hero users are dissatisfied, compared to less than 1% of Moment users.  The sample size is 61 as of this posting, so make of it what you will.

HTC Hero vs. Samsung Moment: initial thoughts

I just had a chance to play with both phones side-by-side, and here’s my take:

I was dead set on buying the Moment because of the faster processor, hardware keyboard, and AMOLED screen. I’m not so certain anymore.

The keyboard was nice, but not fantastic. Coming from a Q9h, the layout is slightly different. Dedicated function key for smilies? Really? The slide mechanism seemed decent, but already a bit loose. Having used a Samsung slider before, I’m baised against them.

The error correction on the Hero seems much better than vanilla Android, at least on a “quick brown fox” test.

I was expecting the screen to blow me away, and it really didn’t. I played a couple videos on both phones and honestly much of the time I preferred the Hero. The colors seemed more vivid.

Processing power: 800MHz… that’s 2 times the power of the first computer that I had. And the phone still lagged. What?!

Call quality: I called home and my dad said both were equally ok. The earpiece on the Moment is signifincantly louder.

LED alerts… I can’t believe the Moment doesn’t have them! What good is a battery-saving screen if I have to turn the phone on whenever I am away.

Those of you who have used both phones or are trying to decide between the two – post your opinions!

30 minutes with the Sprint HTC Hero

Sprint HTC Hero

Sprint HTC Hero

The wonderful people at the Glendale Sprint store had a working demo unit available today, so I got the chance to try it out for about 30 minutes uninterrupted.

Feel

  • The phone had a good, solid feel.  Construction is well-done and there is no appreciable squeaking between the parts of the body.  It took me a couple minute to get used to the 4-button panel on the bottom, but it became easy enough.

Screen

  • The screen is gorgeous, but I suppose that’s expected in a post-iPhone era.  No complaints at all.

Responsiveness

  • Here I was somewhat disappointed.  There was an appreciable lag when performing just about any action that required a tap.  In-and-of-itself that’s ok by me, but the interface was not expecting such a lag.  For example, when tapping to launch an application, the icon would briefly highlight, and some seconds later the app would launch.  I would expect the highlight to remain, or maybe an hourglass or something, to tell me that the phone is processing my command.
  • Scrolling horizontally and vertically is just fine, so it looks like HTC worked that out.

Keyboard

  • The keyboard is actually better than I had expected, but worse than I’d like it to be.  I have relatively, but not overly, large fingers, and I wasn’t making a ton of mistakes.  Much better than iPhone’s first version.  Sadly, there is a split-second delay between the keypress and the letter selection, which makes for difficult long messages.  There is haptic feedback, which I thought was just the right strength.

Web browser

  • When it finished chugging, the display was nice, but it took far too long to process.  Compared to a WinMo phone it was fast and accurate, but compared to current standards, it falls short.  Zooming is also herky-jerky.

Conclusion:  I think I’m going to wait for the Samsung Moment.  Its processor is about 25ish% faster, and it’s a straight Android ROM.  While HTC did a fantastic job with the eye-candy, I really do think the hardware is not up to the task.  Oh yeah, and it’s got a hardware keyboard.