Posts Tagged ‘Android 1.6’

Fun Android Apps: ADW.Launcher

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

I was looking at a review of the Xperia X10 and came across an app I hadn’t heard of, ADW.Launcher. It was mentioned as a workaround to the 3 home screen limit on the Xperia. I installed it and found it to be quite useful. As I mentioned last week, the Eclair upgrade for the Xperia has been delayed. One of the improvements will be additional homescreens. Since it will take another month to get the update, the ADW.Launcher will fit in nicely.

At some point the ADW.Launcher was a rooted-phone-only app. It looks like it was added to the Android Market over the summer. There are already over 100 supplemental apps to change homescreen configurations in specific ways. The launcher is available to both Android 1.6 and Android 2.X phones. See the QR Codes below to download the app.

ADW.Launcher – Android 1.6
ADW.Launcher – Android 2.X

In honor of the release of Iron Man 2 on Blu-ray today, I installed an Iron Man theme. It features a prominent Android icon decked out in Iron Man’s armor, and the Google search widget encased in gold. The Google icons like the Android Market and Maps are also altered in the theme. It is pretty fun, and easy to navigate. You can install it with the QR code below.

As I find more apps worth sharing I will post them here at Padgett Tech. There are plenty to choose from. If you have any favorite apps, be sure to mention them in the comments.

Xperia X10 Getting Eclair Update In September?

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Sony Ericsson

Update: Eclair update delayed until the end of October. Learn more

Sony Ericsson’s UK Twitter account has been pretty active regarding the upcoming upgrades. According to the tweet by @SonyEricssonUK, the Xperia X10upgrade to Android 2.1 could occur by the end of September. I say could for the benefit of the US fans. The UK folks should indeed be getting the upgrade “by the end of September.” The other markets will follow suite, while the update will slip into Q4 for those in the rear.

Looking at the above tweets, it shows that September is indeed the month for 2.1. Looking at the second tweet we can see that Sony Ericsson is still having to fight off rumors of multi-touch being part of the update. They’ve been saying for months that the hardware is incapable of multi-touch, yet the rumors have hung on.

The question remaining for the US Xperia owners is whether AT&T has us in the rear or near the front of the line for the upgrade. I had a chance to ask Sony Ericsson some questions last week, and naturally asked about the upgrade plans. I was told that Sony Ericsson is limited by contract with AT&T to not leak any information about AT&T’s upgrade schedule. Apparently AT&T is worried someone might find out they are going to release 2.1 even though by then everyone else will have Froyo. I can respect Sony Ericsson’s position though, as they are bound to the terms agreed to with AT&T. The UK branch doesn’t seem to have such restrictions however. Let’s hope that the US is included in this upcoming round of updates.

As exciting as all the talk about 2.1 and even Froyo is, it is important to remember something about the version of 1.6 on the Xperia X10. It is not the stock version by any means. Sony Ericsson has done a lot of work to modernize the older OS, and there are some Froyo-Esque features like Timescape and Mediascape. The UI masks the OS pretty well. There are some limitations, like the inability to install the new StumbleUpon app (2.1 and above only). These minor issues should be solved with the 2.1 upgrade. Also coming is a patch to convert the video camera to HD. This will also help. The still camera is already at 8.1MP, but the video camera was stuck in WVGA. I’m looking forward to the HD upgrade.

What about you? If you have an Xperia X10, is Android 1.6 really that bad? Are you excited about the upgrades? Let me know in the comments.

Xperia X10 Mini – First Impressions

Monday, July 12th, 2010

I just received a Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini to review. While a full review is on its way, here are my first impressions.

Since the device is not yet available in the US, the contents of the box are subject to change. In the review unit box, there was a wired ear bud headphone/hands-free device with a 3.5mm jack, not the proprietary Sony Ericsson connector. There was a mini USB cable for charging and data transfer, as well as a wall adapter with a USB input. Several alternative case backings were included, showing the various ways you can skin the phone. I am assuming this is for evaluation purposes though, and won’t be in the final box. I’ll look into it and report back. There is an instruction book included, but there is also a tutorial on the phone itself.

My first impression upon taking it out of the box was that this is a really small phone. I thought the HTC Aria was small, but as you can see in the pictures below, the Aria towers above the X10 mini.

In the above images, the Xperia X10 mini is shown side by side with an HTC Aria and an iPhone 3G. The iPhone is clearly the largest, while the X10 mini is the smallest. The X10 mini is notably thicker than both the iPhone and Aria though.

Even though it is really small, I found it still felt like a good fit when I put it up to my ear as if I were making a call. The phone is designed to be used with one hand, with customizable shortcuts in each of the four corners. I found these to be pretty useful.

The main problem I’ve had so far involves inputting text. I am still tinkering with the settings, but the text input takes some getting used to. You type the letter, then choose either the first or second letter on that key, or choose the down arrow for additional choices. The drop-down menu also includes the option to type outright. I tend to default to this method for speed.

The Xperia X10 mini features Sony Ericsson’s Timescape application, a unique UI that shows your Twitter and Facebook accounts in a fun way. I was impressed with the videos of the feature, and found that it is every bit as cool in real life. In function it reminds me of the Xbox 360 version of Facebook, which I prefer over the real thing. Sony Ericsson takes the concept much further than the Xbox though, and adds quite a bit of style. I am looking forward to playing with this feature a bit more.

There has been a lot of negative talk about the Xperia X10s using Android 1.6 instead of 2.1 or even Froyo. Based on my early research and viewing the various videos available, I wasn’t too concerned. Sony Ericsson’s UI was able to mask some of the potential shortcomings. In practice, I think my initial findings proved to be true. While I noticed there were some apps missing in the Android Market, there wasn’t a terrible difference in functionality between the HTC Aria running Android 2.1 and the Xperia X10 mini running Android 1.6. When the 2.1 update comes around later this year, the Sony will likely surpass the Aria.

Overall, my first impressions of the Xperia X10 mini are very positive. Some of the problems I’ve had are simply due to being used to other UIs like Sense or Motoblur. Once I get used to Sony’s UI I expect to be able to maneuver easily through the apps. I will be covering this phone in more detail soon, as well as the Xperia X10 mini pro. I am going to spend some time getting to know the device in the mean time. I am pretty impressed with what I’ve seen so far though. I am looking forward to learning more.