Friday, April 20, 2012

How much screen on time can I get? A test.

Doing nothing else. Just a static Google browser screen.

At 70% screen brightness
15 minutes equals a ~7% drop = ~28%/hr or less than 4hrs of screen time available.

At 30% screen brightness
15 minutes equals a ~5% drop = ~20%/hr or approx. 5hrs of screen time available.

At 10% screen brightness
15 minutes equals a ~4% drop = ~16%/hr or just over 6hrs of screen time available

Obviously all these numbers are relative to my other usage and are really just estimates as battery meters are far from precise (your phone is really guessing). Plus, they don't do decimals so I don't know if the drop was from 31.9% to 25.0% or 31.0% to 25.9% - hence my approximations.

But its still good to know and helps answer the questions "What's killing my battery?" and "Is this normal?"


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Must Have Apps for your Galaxy Nexus

I don't play many games so don't expect to find any listed here! These are in no particular order other than the order I notice them on my phone...which is basically alphabetical.

1. 4G Toggle (Free) - OK its not really an app, its more like a widget, but its really just a shortcut. And it doesn't even do what we all wish it would.... but if you are the owner of an LTE Galaxy Nexus and live or travel in iffy 4G areas. You need this widget. Its really just a shortcut to the screen that lets you switch between CDMA and LTE modes.... but it saves you about 3 steps going through the menus.

2. AirDroid (Free) - Forget the USB cable. Airdroid makes transferring files over wifi the way to go. Its not drag and drop but its easy enough to use and it works.

3. Better Battery Stats ($2.89) - If you are like MANY Galaxy Nexus users and find yourself running short on battery life, this app is a valuable tool for finding out why. I wrote an earlier post about the app and how to use it so I won't go into more detail here. I believe BBS is also available free for XDA members.

4. ES File Explorer (Free) - It is what it is. A file manager. It is simple, works well, works with Root, and its free. What more do you want?

5. Light Flow ($1.99) / Light Flow Lite (Free) - Take advantage of the multicolor LED notification light by assigning different colors for all your app notifications. The free version supports most basic stock notifications but if you want to set notifications for 3rd party apps like Facebook, Twitter, Skype, etc. you'll need to shell out for the full version.

6. Nova Launcher (Free) - Just like the stock launcher/homescreen, only way better. Fast, stable, and lots of options missing from stock. Some of the best features are 360 degree screen rotation, fully customize-able dock and dock icons, adjustable # of homescreens, ability to change animation when flipping between homescreens. There is Nova Launcher Prime ($4.00) which adds some more features like gestures and the ability to hide icons in the app drawer - which is nice if you have icon packs and other things that you don't ever want visible in your app drawer. The base version is good enough for me. I'd love to hide icons but not for $4.

7. Titanium Backup (Free) / Titanium Backup Pro ($6.58) - If you root and rom your device you cannot live without this app in my opinion. Titanium is the go-to app for backing up and restoring all your apps and data for users who wipe their device and install new roms. $6+ seems pricey for the pro version, but its worth it after the first time you try to manually re-install your apps one by one! The pro version allows you to install your apps/data all at once instead of going through one by one and hitting "ok".

8. TripIt (Free) - Trip it is a great app / site for keeping track of your travel plans. Its really useful for even the occasional traveler. You basically forward your confirmation emails from airlines, hotels, cruises, car rentals, etc. to Trip It, and automagically, the information appears in your account. Its visibile via the web or in app and is really nice to have every piece of information readily available in one place....from the price of your airline ticket to the phone number of the hotel you are staying at, to the departure time of your return flight. Its all there and easy to use. There is a "pro" service offered by TripIt that runs $49/yr and adds instant flight updates, tracks travel rewards, helps find alternate flights, and more. I don't travel much so the free service is plenty for me.

9. Volume+ ($1.99) - Speaker on your phone too quiet? Fix it with Volume+. This enables you to boost the volumes on just about all the audio outputs from speaker to headset. I think you can download it free from the developer's website too.

10. Wifi Tether (Free) - Need to tether that Touchpad you got in the firesale? Well, Wifi Tether is what I've been using since the days of my "OG Droid". I rarely am away from Wifi so I rarely need to tether, but its a great option to have. Requires Root - available on XDA Forums.


1. Beautiful Widgets ($2.79) - its one of the few apps I paid for but it is worth it. So many widgets, clocks, weather, and totally customize-able with downloaded skins. You can even make your own skin.

2. CalWidget (Free) - I like the stock calendar widget but it still doesn't display all day events.... which makes it worthless. There are lots of 3rd party calendar widgets, but I just like the options CalWidget has to offer....from widget size to background color and opacity, it just does what I want.

3. Circle Battery Widget (Free) - A minimalist, but customize-able battery meter. Change the color and size to match any theme.

4. Widgetsoid (Free) - Like the stock power control widget? Then you'll love Widgetsoid. There's almost nothing you can't control with these fully customize-able controls. From Wifi Toggle to CPU meter, to flashlight, to airplane mode. You can create a stock looking row off toggles and readouts. The options and colors are fully user configureable to fit with any theme.

That's it for apps and widgets. Hope you enjoyed my list.

- DnT

Sunday, April 1, 2012

4.0.4 where are you?

So, two days ago Google started rolling out some updated Ice Cream Sandwiches. Namely for the GSM Galaxy Nexus and the Nexus S. So where's the love for the LTE Galaxy Nexus?

Well, according to Google, the reason is that they no longer consider ANY CDMA devices to qualify as "developer phones". Now, lots of people read this as "Google no longer supports this device" but that is simply untrue. They are still developing and building the Roms for these devices, the difference is that they cannot push it directly to the phone, nor release it for users to install. The reason, according to Google, is that the technology behind CDMA devices (used by Sprint and VZW) require the carriers to "sign a key" that enables telephony functions. Because Google cannot DIRECTLY update these devices, they no longer consider them "supported developer devices". But rest assured, they should still receive timely updates like their GSM cousins. "Should" being the key word as we all have grown to distrust carriers, especially when it comes to timely updates. Nevertheless, its only been about 48 hours since the 4.0.4 Rom was released so I'm willing to be patient. If VZW hasn't pushed out the update by next Friday, I'll start steaming....if its not out by the following Friday I'll be leading the angry mob!

Relevant links:
Phandroid - CMDA Nexus support

Android Dev Dan Morril's explanation

- DnT

CM9 Update for HP Touchpad

Just a quick update on ICS for the touchpad. The Cyanogen team has started releasing nightly updates again. I recently installed the 3/29/2012 update. No problems. Runs smooth. Using the 4.0.4 build of ICS.

CM9 Official Nightlies

The only bugs I see in CM9 are the browsers (both stock and Chrome Beta) crashing/closing occasionally. Not sure what causes it but I am guessing its some sort of unsupported plugin. These crashes have happened on CM9 alpha 2, the 3/17 and 3/29 nightlies so its not something new I am seeing.

- DnT