Android Tablet: What to get? – Asus EeePad leads the pack.

I am currently in the market for a Android tablet and are busy doing my homework.  Originally I was considering the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 but over the last couple of days the ASUS EeePad Tranformer caught my eye. It has an optional keyboard in which the tablet/screen docks into.  This transforms the tablet basically into a netbook.

Here is a Youtube video of it:

You can also plug in a USB keyboard and mouse which is cool.

What I do not like is that the USB ports sit on the keyboard dock.  It would have been cool if the USB ports would have been on the tablet itself so that one can add a keyboard and mouse without the dock.

The Asus EeePad Transformer goes on sale next week in the US for $399 which is not bad.  Lets hope we see this here in SA at a reasonal price.  I would love to get my hands on one of these babies to review.  Asus SA, @asus_za, .. how about it?

 

 

HTC Desire OTA update rolling out in South Africa – MTN network

UPDATE: Do not apply these updates if you are running non-stock HTC software ROM’s, even those that are based on stock HTC ROMs. Rather get an updated ROM from the group/person that made your ROM that include these updates.  There is a real posibility that you might brick your phone if you apply these to non-stock ROM’s.

I have just noticed that there is a HTC Desire System Update rolling out in South Africa.  Even though I run a rooted upgraded ROM (version 2.2), based on the official HTC ROM, I was also given the OTA download.  So I am not sure whether this System update will take you from 2.1 to 2.2. 

The version number is given as 2.29.405.2 and it is a 28.87MB update so I suggest you do it over a WIFI connection if you do not want to incur any mobile data costs. My build number before the update was 2.10.405.2.

You can check for the update from the Home Screen pressing MENU button then Settings / About Phone / System software updates / Check now.  

I can only check on the MTN Network so am not sure whether it is available on any of the other mobile networks.

HTC Desire – problems with proximity sensor — [Fixed with solution]

Since earlier today I started experiencing problems on my HTC Desire with the proximity sensor.  For those that does not know, the proximity sensor switches the screen off when you receive or make a call and places the phone against your ear.  When the call is completed and you remove the phone from your ear, the screen become active again.

In my case the moment I make or receive a call, the screen gets disabled.  I do not even have to put the phone against my ear.  It also means that the touchscreen is disabled and all buttons are disabled which means I cannot end the call, switch on the speaker or enable the keypad. None of the buttons, even the power one works. When the call gets ended by the other party the the screen will be enabled again. The only way to get a working phone again when there is nobody on the other side to end the call is to remove the battery.

What I also find weird is where the sensor should be, top left next to the HTC logo, is nothing.  Does not matter how I look at it, there is just the black strip.

I have found some form of work around by using the earbuds and making/receiving calls like that.  This is not ideal but it is a working solution.  

I have searched to see if there is some app that can disable the proximity sensor since I do not really need it but have found nothing.  So if anybody knows of an app that can disable the proximity sensor then I would appreciate the link. If you have any other suggestions, please comment below.

Update: Based on the comment from Bob Peers, I used a vacuum cleaner and vacuumed over the top area of the phone.  This must have suched all the dust out of there since the sensor is now working as it should be.  Who would have thought it is something so simple. Thanks again Bob.

8pen keyboard on Android — how does it stack up.

Earlier this week the 8pen keyboard went free for Android and I decided to give it a try. Below is a screenshot of the keyboard in typing a tweet in Tweetdeck.
You will notice that all the letters is in capitals, that is because I am starting a new sentence and it automatically put the keyboard in capitals.
The most difficult part is remembering where all the letters are and in what direction you have to move your finger.  To type an A you start at the center, move to the right block and then top block and then back to the center. For the R you will move your finger across 2 lines (the red and blue ones) and then back to the center.  For O you will move across the yellow line and then back to the center. 
What you do not see on the input screen above is that as you type, word prediction will be offered and it works fairly well.  It even have voice input if you have that enabled on your phone.  I have been using Swype for a while and will have to see if I can get the same speed out of this keyboard as with Swype.
If you running Android then head over to the Market and give it a try.

Ubuntu upgrade to 10.10 – nVidia problems and how to fix.

Today I took the plunge and upgrade from 10.04 to 10.10 on one of my machines and had 2 problems.  The one was self inflicted and the other one is a known issue with the nvidia-96 driver which does not work with Xorg 1.9.  So you may wonder why I use a old driver like nvidia-96 .. well because I have a very old nVidia GFORCE2 MX card in the machine.

I did the upgrade from a downloaded alternate iso which was mounted as a loop device.  The fetching of packages (all 1754 of them – yes it is machine that has been upgrade since 7.04) went fine but halfway through the install the machine totally locked up.  I did a hard reboot and expecting the machine not to properly boot,  I was dropped in recovery mode. I ran sudo dpkg --configure -a and the installation continued at the point where the machine froze.

When the install was finish, I rebooted but XServer had problems with the nvidia-96 driver. It loaded the driver ok but I could not get any resolution higher than 1024×768.  I did some googling and came across this post http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2010/10/nvidia-96-driver-ubuntu-10-10-fix/ which I then promply did and now I have again a machine that run at 1280×1024 resolution.

When my machine froze halfway through the install, I was expecting the worst and already thought that I would have to do a fresh install.  Well that was not necessary and this is what most Windows users do not get.  When  a WIndows upgrade fails like that, there is almost a 100% chance that you will have to do a fresh install.  On Linux there is always a way to recover. 

Now onto my other machine to upgrade .. should be more plain sailing since it has newer hardware and Ubuntu 10.04 is a fresh install on that box.

 

HTC Desire — upgraded/updated to Android 2.2 – How To!

I have decided to not wait any longer for HTC / LEAF to get Android 2.2 on my phone – HTC Desire.  And surprisingly the process was fairly simple.  For the time being I have decided to stick with the stock HTC ROM which can be downloaded from here (http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=773997).  This works if you are coming from a stock Android 2.1-update1 phone. So what did I do

  1. Ensure that your phone is plugged into power.  You do not want your phone to die in the middle of an update.
  2. Rooted my phone with Unrevoked — very easy if you run Linux
  3. Did a Nandroid backup just in case — Nandroid come with 2 above.
  4. Rename the downloaded ROM above to update.zip and copy to the root of your SD Card
  5. Switch your phone off.
  6. Power on into recovery mode. (Hold volume minus while powering on the phone)
  7. Select Recovery Mode from menu that come up. (Volume key to scroll and Power key to select)
  8. Select install from sdcard (volume key to scroll and press touch button to select – [the round button at the bottom of your phone])
  9. Scroll down to confirm that you want to install from SD Card (again volume key to scroll and press touch button to select – {what is this button called})
  10. Now be patient and just wait .. do not touch anything.  In about 10 minutes you should have an Android 2.2 phone with all your data intact.

This instructions comes with no guarantee but it worked for me so there should be no reason why it should not work for you.  Oh and when you boot and there is not HTC boot sound .. that is a feature of this ROM .. there is a small update from the link above if you want the sound back.  There is various add-ons at the same link above.

The one small issue I have at the moment is that the Swype keyboard I am using is not working properly.  Keypress typing works but not swype typing. 

Please comment and let us know your experience and mileage.

Happy updating and thanks for nothing LEAF


 

Believe it .. HTC responded again … but am not hopeful at all.

Yesterday I posted the response from HTC on my Open Letter.  I was not happy with their answer and here is what I responded with.

Suzanne, to be honest, your reply is meaningless and does not address the issue. I want to know what will be done regarding the pathetic support that is given to HTC Android users in South Africa by Leaf? I am currently advising all people to stay away from HTC Android phones in South Africa via my blog, twitter account, facebook and word of mouth. This is not due to the HTC products that is bad but purely the support and service from your agent Leaf in South Africa. Why should the upgrade takes so much longer in South Africa than other countries across the world. Regards

Surprising they again responded and here is it for your enjoyment.

Dear Marius Bock,

Dear Mr Marius ,
Thank you for contacting HTC. 

Kindly be notified that your Issue has been escalated to the next level of which we are going to make sure we keep in-touch with Leaf and make sure all HTC users are on the same level with anyone else around the globe,however , the delay in the 2.2 was due to software conflicts that were discovered while testing the software for the Middle East and Africa not just South Africa and currently we are working hard to bring it as soon as possible and we really understand that we promised to deliver it sometime ago.
Leaf is an official HTC retailer in Southern & Sub Saharan region and whatever is provided they deliver.

If you have any other inquiries, don’t hesitate to contact us again. 
Please note that you can contact us via support line which is a toll free number 0800 982 773. For further details, please go tohttp://www.htc.com/europe/CA_Hotline.aspx , Thank you so much for using HTC products. 

Respect & Regards,

James Namauka

HTC Technical Support Team 
http://www.htc.com


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 10ZACW41ENA000006.

Sincerely,

Suzanne

Well it has been escalated not that I have any idea what that may mean.  And why do we have software issues if the rest of the world does not.  Are we so special in this part of the world … I think not.  This is my response.

I do not understand at all.  Why should there be any software conflicts in Africa .. this just does not make any sense.  Our cellphone networks are not that much different than other GSM networks across the world.  I get the distinct feeling that these reasond are just thrown around to hide a bigger issue, like lack of support from Leaf side.

I would like to be proven wrong — come on, surprise me.

Response to Open letter to HTC re HTC and Android support in South Africa

Yesterday I blogged about the Open Letter that I have send to HTC.  Well, I received a response from them but as they say, it is not worth the paper it is written on.  

Here is the response I received.

Dear Marius Bock,

Dear Mr Marius
Thank you for contacting HTC.

Please kindly accept our apologies for the experience we have put you thruogh.We sincerely regret all the inconviniences we might have caused you.Not even a single HTC supporter like you deserves this .However,note that HTC is currently working hard on bringing you the latest upgrade of your phone,unfortunately we do not have an EXCAT date at the moment since we are still working on it.We would like to thank you so much for your understanding and your patience.

If you have any other inquiries, don’t hesitate to contact us again.
Please note that you can contact us via support line which is a toll free number 0800 982 773. For further details, please go tohttp://www.htc.com/europe/CA_Hotline.aspx , Thank you so much for using HTC products.
Respect & Regards, 
Ntando. 
HTC Technical Support Team
http://www.htc.com

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 10ZACW41ENA000006.

Sincerely,

Suzanne

HTC

From the above I would assume that “Ntando” is from Leaf since it is a SA Tollfree number that is given.  “Suzanne” is probably from HTC and I have notice that she has nothing to say.  This is just such a big farce at the moment.

 

HTC – Open Letter to HTC regarding LEAF and upgrade availability in South Africa

Open Letter to HTC
I want to lay an official complaint about your (HTC) agent, LEAF in South Africa.
The Android 2.2 upgrade for HTC Desire is available for users around the world for a couple of months already.  However here in South Africa we are still waiting.  Everytime that Leaf get contacted for an answer on when it will be available, they have some excuse and it is never the same.
As more and more applications in the Market depends on Android 2.2, this situation is getting unbearable. 
What is happening now is that more and more user roots their phone and install some custom ROM to get Android 2.2.
Most cellphone user in South Africa has reached the stage where they refuse to get an Android HTC cellphone due to the problems in upgrading the device.  If something drastic does not get done then I am afraid that HTC Android market share will drop to close to zero.
I trust that this will get the attention and action it needs.
Very unhappy HTC Desire user.
Marius Bock

HTC Desire rooted — very easy .. now to upgrade to another ROM.

I just got fed-up with the time Leaf (HTC agent in South Africa) take to roll-out the upgrade to Android 2.2 in South Africa.  So I have take the plunge and decided to go the manual way.  

First step was to root my phone.  And this was so easy.  Download Unrevoked 3.2.1 for my HTC Desire – the Linux version.  Unzipped the tar file, ran the executable and plugged my Desire into the USB (make sure USB debugging is enabled).  Hit the OK button and away the process went.  Phone was re-booted a couple of time and after about 3 minutes I have a fully functional rooted device.  

Have installed ROM Manager and made full backups of my phone as it is at the moment.  

The next step is to find a suitable Android 2.2 ROM and here is were I need some advice.  I am looking for an official HTC Desire 2.2 ROM that has been rooted.  I have searched XDA and found some but do not know whether they are the latest versions.  Any direction and URL’s will be appreciated.

Off to go do some more research.