Figuring out Android internals

My first task was to change the ringtone to music I used to have in my Windows phone. A simple search let me to a guide with this information:

Music/ – Media scanner classifies all media found here as user music.
Podcasts/ – Media scanner classifies all media found here as a podcast.
Ringtones/ – Media scanner classifies all media found here as a ringtone.
Alarms/ – Media scanner classifies all media found here as an alarm sound.
Notifications/ – Media scanner classifies all media found here as a notification sound.
Pictures/ – All photos (excluding those taken with the camera).
Movies/ – All movies (excluding those taken with the camcorder).
Download/ – Miscellaneous downloads.

These are under the media folder located in the microSD card. As soon as the Android phone is plugged to a PC, a USB Mass Storage device is detected and drivers are installed.

My second task was to have the ability to browse the storage card within Android (kind of File Explorer on Windows Phone). I found Astro file manager and installed it.

My third task was to find applications I used often in other environments and install them into the device. TweetDeck, Foursquare, Skyfire, Retro Radio and Google Reader came to mind. Facebbok and Twitter apps came pre-installed.

Fourth task. Figure out why is my device losing signal in my house. This is ironic because I used to laugh at the iPhone 4 when all the articles of bad reception popped up a week after it was launched. Several sites started posting funny pics about it. Well it is just bad luck as my Windows Phone has better reception. I figured out spots where I can leave it and let it get some signal.

The situation prompt me to ask a question on Twitter. 2 mentions came back quickly pointing out about WiFi calling. This is why Twitter is so awesome!

So my fifth task was to research about Wifi Calling and try to make it work. Well this wasn’t as trivial, as I needed to follow these steps:

  1. Download the Android SDK and install
  2. Install USB drivers – but seems that this method did not work properly in my machine
  3. Download proper X64 USB drivers
  4. Download the T-Mobile Wifi-Calling App
  5. Plug in the G2 to my PC
  6. Enable usb debugging option in the device
  7. Open the Device Manager, find out the new device that has no drivers and update it with the ones you just downloaded
  8. Open the command prompt window and change the folder to “tools” under the android SDK folder
  9. Issue adb commands:
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Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7600]
Copyright (c) 2009 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.

C:\Users\Oscar>cd C:\Users\Oscar\Downloads\android sdk\tools

C:\Users\Oscar\Downloads\android sdk\tools>adb devices
* daemon not running. starting it now on port 5037 *
* daemon started successfully *
List of devices attached
HT09XR207992    device

C:\Users\Oscar\Downloads\android sdk\tools>adb devices
List of devices attached
HT09XR207992    device

C:\Users\Oscar\Downloads\android sdk\tools>adb install WiFiCalling.apk
2565 KB/s (3478662 bytes in 1.324s)
        pkg: /data/local/tmp/WiFiCalling.apk
Success

C:\Users\Oscar\Downloads\android sdk\tools>

I installed the Wi-Fi application but seems that T-Mobile has not enabled it on their end. I will wait and post as soon as I get any success using it.

Enjoy your [soon to be] Android phone.

From Palm to Windows Phone to Android

I have been a hardcore Windows Phone user (formerly Windows Mobile, and CE) for several years, mainly because it was very easy to  synchronize directly with Outlook and Microsoft Exchange. The GUI has been pretty nice since the first releases and resembled Windows in a way.

Windows Phone let me transition from a Windows CE PDA (Toshiba E335) which was a great jump from the Palm m125; years 2006, 2003 and 2001 respectively. By the end of 2005 I wanted a true PDA/Phone that wasn’t as bulky as the HP iPaq. T-Mobile launched the SDA (HTC Torando) which to me was a godsend. It had Wi-Fi (WPA-PSK support) and bluetooth,  running Windows Mobile 5.0. It could play MP3s, Video and synchronize with Outlook/Exchange. The form factor was similar to a dumbphone. It was one of the best phones I have ever owned and prompted me to create a web page with streaming broadcasters posted here.

In early 2007 I bought a T-Mobile Dash (HTC Excalibur) and was able to live with it for 2 years running several cooked Roms (thanks to XDA forums). I had the opportunity to run Windows Mobile versions 5.0, 6.0, 6.1 and 6.5. The latest was the most stable one and the fastest considering the outdated hardware. Many people thought it was a Blackberry.

In 2009 I bought the HTC Touch Pro 2 (HTC Rhodium) Runing Windows Mobile 6.0. I wanted to keep it stock as much as I could for warranty purposes but  had problems with the clock and was never able to sync up properly. I decided to go ahead and install a cooked ROM. Since then It as been running different releases of the Energy Rom. I was happy about the capabilities of the phone but had too many OS reliability issues. A reboot every day was not out of the norm, and in some cases several of them on the same day.

Last week I decided to pursue the Android route; T-Mobile just delivered me a brand new HTC G2. The phone is by far the fastest and the most intuitive phone I have ever owned. It is running Android 2.2 and integrates seamlessly with Exchange, Gmail, Facebook and Twitter. There are tons of applications for Android and includes Text-to-Speech directions integrated within Google Maps. Android is light years ahead of Windows Phone 6.5.

I still will try a Windows Phone 7 device and have very high expectations about it.

Next post will be about the Android SDK and how to root the phone to push an application.