My first task was to evaluate a showroom stock set of applications, before hacking on the machine, and then to add posted packages from the Android Market.
These applications were provided as part of the distro. I have sorted them putting first the ones that are most important to me. Each of these programs has an entry (icon) in the desktop menu, and you can make similar links on the desktop itself. With just these apps, 65Mb of flash memory remained for adding more.
This is the unnamed web browser provided with the distro, which is [said to be] based on Webkit. It is quite good, particularly on pages for which the web designer has avoided a fixed screen geometry. It has a feature to squeeze pages to fit, by overriding inconvenient designer settings. On my HTML test suite it performs almost perfectly, and on one challenging page it rendered standards-compliant HTML and CSS correctly so the page fits neatly on the (landscape oriented) screen and the drop-down menus drop and the links can be followed. (The menus are done entirely using CSS 2.1.) See also Opera Mini and Steel.
Performance on a simple test of file rendering: Where v1.0 refused to download some formats, v1.5 would download anything, but except as noted it was unable to play the same formats that v1.0 could not play.
Moviesapp can't handle it.
Open Withthe Movies app, it gives me a blank screen
Apparently all the browsers (including Opera Mini and Steel) use common infrastructure with a cache shared among all browser variants, and with similar or identical quirks and limitations, particularly as to multimedia.
I picked up a fact about the browser (in release 1.0, looks similar in v1.5): images are downloaded and rescaled appropriately to display the unzoomed page. The zoomer expands that rescaled image: it does not scale the downloaded image to the zoomed size. That means that you cannot improve the resolution of an image by zooming. On the other hand, text is re-rendered and (if appropriate) re-wrapped at the zoomed size, not as a picture of text would be handled.
I have one objection to the browser. Almost all of the acronyms in this document are tagged with <ACRONYM> tags giving their translations, but these are inaccessible when the document is viewed with the Android browser. Desktop Opera would pop a tooltip showing the Title attribute if you hover over a tagged acronym, which is distinctively marked. (Still present in v1.5.)
It has been reliable and effective so far. Setting an alarm is simple. Apparently there can be arbitrarily many alarms. You can set the alarm to repeat on any subset of days of the week, or to not repeat. Alarms can be put in abeyance, which is the fate of a non-repeating alarm which has gone off (it does not just vanish as it would on Maemo). I have not (yet) figured out how to set an alarm sound other than the provided beeps or the rooster. See also the Calendar, which has an alarm feature.
The dialer dials the phone: with the display closed you
get a pad of 12 touchable keys, or with the display open you dial on the
keyboard. You can also refer to the contact list
for dialable numbers,
or to your
favorites which appears to be a list of contacts ordered
by frequency and/or recentness of dialing, or to the call history so you
can call back a random person you recently talked to. If you press the
green call button it's a direct jump to the dialer, so you don't need
a shortcut on the desktop.
How do you send
(dial codes) while on a call? For example,
Enter your account
number followed by the pound key. With the phone closed the dial
pad is replaced by a call progress icon, and there is no menu option
to bring the pad back. You can, however, dial with the keyboard.
With older versions of Android (
tested on v1.0) the normal input
method was not used, so Alt-3 (#) and Alt-8 (*) were sent as digits, which
makes it hard to use an automated menu system, specifically to set up your
carrier account. This has been fixed in v1.5
Cupcake and there
is supposed to be a menu option to restore the dial pad also.
Cupcake has a voice dialer, reached by holding down
Call key for over 1 second. It did not seem particularly
accurate at recognizing my voice. Fortunately it displays the number
you have recited or the contact's name and number, but unfortunately
it doesn't seem to recognize
OK to dial it; you need to touch
the keyboard to place the call (or to cancel and try again).
See also the
section of the networking page.
This is a custom displayer for a database of information about people you interact with. It is easy to add a new contact; there are table slots for all kinds of information including multiple phone numbers, e-mail address and mailing address; and the program allows you to give custom labels to detail rows if needed. The contact list is integrated with the dialer, mail programs and SMS manager; you can dial from the contact list or compose a SMS or e-mail message, and in the dialer and mailer you can refer to the contact list.
This app is designed to sync contacts with the Google cloud. I am going to have to figure out how to divert it to my own cloud server. For the moment I have set it to sync contacts manually, which I never do.
I found the configuration GUI to be easy to navigate and to use. Whereas elsewhere, particularly on other cellphones, I have to seemingly search every menu category to find the item I want to set, there is enough descriptive text here that I've been able to go right to the desired item. A similar configuration GUI is used in all (most?) of the apps.
However, this is a
Gnome-style configuration system: there are choice items which obviously
are not hardcoded (or do not need to be), but which also do not appear
so as to be settable by the user. For example, in desktop Opera
I can tell it exactly which application should perform each mime-type
and whether Opera or the app will handle downloading. Most if not all
of the existing configuration could be handled interpretively through
an obvious XML
ontology, and every configuration display should include a
button that includes a file containing stanzas for every last nitpicky
potentially configurable item.
The maps application has been a joy to use. The application is a custom UI improving on the familiar web-based Google Maps service. There is plenty of screen resolution to show the maps. There are four modes:
I don't know where the traffic data comes from, nor how recent or precise it is, but if reliable it's going to be useful, perhaps more useful than the local website for traffic and drive-time advertising.
See also the GPS section on the networking page.
This application is a custom UI for obtaining add-on software. The Android Market is an organized site where developers can distribute applications. Cost varies:
You are used to downloading and installing software by transferring a file to your machine and installing it. The Android Market works a bit differently, and not understanding this, at first I thought the UI was broken. When you order software it is put on a queue. A background process handles downloading and installing it. When this succeeds it will post a notification.
By now there is so much stuff posted on the Market that reviewing it linearly is useless. Use the search feature. I checked out the four most popular apps, and each had been downloaded over 2.5e5 times, which implies that more than 2.5e5 G1 phones have been sold in the first five months (or a lot of people download the same app repeatedly, not likely). For interest, these apps (none installed on my phone) are:
The player can recognize and play tracks in MP3 and Ogg
Vorbis formats (plus others that I don't use). According to
General Tips support page, the player can perform
any of WAV, MID, MP3 or WMA formats as ringtones (they don't mention
Ogg, but since all the ringtones coming with the distro are
Ogg . . . )
But as for video, none of my test files could be played.
See the list of types tested, under
The player can accept local
filenames or remote URLs passed to it over the D-bus interface from
another program such as the browser. The browser knows to do so for
MP3 URLs, but for Ogg it will download the whole track and you then have
the option to open the cached copy.
The player cannot recognize any M3U playlist sent in by the same route
as an audio track. It also cannot handle URLs in playlists. However if
a M3U playlist containing filenames is discovered by the library function,
it can be played. These are relative filenames, relative to the playlist.
this forum posting about playlists (2009-02-25), developer Dave Sparks
says that playlists including
are currently not supported but this will be improved in a future release.
Evidently this future release is not v1.5
Cupcake, since a playlist
(on the local machine or on the web) containing
still cannot be played.
The player can continue to play music even if the screen's lamp is turned off. For the rest of the machine this is a normal nap, in that a security code is needed to wake it up (if so configured), but the CPU is just not asleep. You can also exit from the player GUI and the backend will continue to perform the content. To control playback, open the player again, go to the playlist panel, hit Menu, and select Playback. This gets you to the player GUI.
On a desktop player there would be a volume control, but this is a cellphone. Use the +/- rocker key at the southwest corner. The volume of whatever is playing (media, voice chat or ringtone) will be adjusted.
Apparently the way the library works is, it searches the SD card for music files and makes an index. It does this unobtrusively (unlike the indexer on Maemo, which on a big SD card can lock up the UI). Some file formats, such as Ogg, can include titles and artists as part of the file, which the index will show. The Menu key takes you to the Library, where you can pick a list of artists, albums (directories), songs or playlist files.
A big problem for me is, earbuds are bad for my ears. I would like
to provide my own wired headphone, and fortunately there is a choice of
adaptors that can be purchased -- see under
I would really like to use Bluetooth
but that won't happen until the next
For streaming audio, it tries to connect to the server but hangs forever. Tested on KUSC.org live stream, iTunes (MP3) variant. The other three formats on that page provide a playlist in the player's unique format (M3U for WinAmp), none of which can be interpreted.
Starting in v1.5
Cupcake, the player can send audio via
and it is sensitive to
commands such as skip or repeat tracks. See also the
Bluetooth section on the network
See also the
on the hardware page.
I have not used it, but it looks reasonable. When events begin you can ask it to alert you with sound, vibration, or both. It can show one day, one week or one month at a time, and it can show an agenda view. As with contacts, the calendar is normally synced with the Google cloud. I will have to figure out how to divert it to my own cloud server.
The camera software can automatically focus the camera and can adjust the aperture. To take the picture you press a dedicated button on the north side. It is not too swift; it needs one to two seconds after you press the button to choose the aperture and focus, before it captures the actual image. I have not yet evaluated the picture quality but what I see so far is rather good for a webcam. The documentation warns you that this application eats battery, since it needs to continuously capture viewfinder images and show them. The pictures are deposited in a DCF compliant directory structure beginning with DCIM, on the removable SD card. You can mount the G1 on a desktop or laptop machine using the provided USB cable, and use your favorite desktop software to organize the photos.
See also the
on the hardware page.
To use it, open the application; after a second or two a viewfinder image will appear. Aim to the start point and click on the film icon; it will start recording and the icon changes to a dot in a circle. Click on that when finished. The file is deposited in /sdcard/dcim/Camera/video-$date-$time.3gp. It is recorded at 4 frames per second (or maybe 5 fps). The mime-type is video/3gpp. According to this Wikipedia article comparing MPEG-4 and 3GPP (suggested to be relocated, don't be surprised at a broken link), 3GPP is a simplified version of the MPEG-4 container format; the video stuffing may be MPEG-4 part 2, H.263 or MPEG-4 part 10 (AVC/H.264); audio may be AMR-NB, AMR-WB or AAC-LC. The compressed file size is approximately 35 kbytes/sec or 9 kbytes/frame. (The scene was very compressible.)
This app first appeared in Android v1.5
The photo viewer does a nice job of showing images that are on the memory card. There is just one problem: I download journal issues that include illustrations, graphs and pictures of text (equations), and the photo viewer's indexer includes them (247 of them, the first time through) with the real photos, and spends time to make thumbnail images of them. Fortunately it's smart enough to organize the photos by directories, showing a representative thumbnail from each one, so I can ignore the irrelevant ones.
Perhaps I would like the photo viewer better if I could have some control over organization. The browser does well showing my photos with HTML indexing.
It's a four function calculator with infix operators,
e.g. (1+2)*3=9. There is an
advanced operator set with sin, cos,
tan, ln, log10, infix exponentiation, factorial, square root,
constant pi and e, and parentheses. I'm weird; I prefer
The application organizes
SMS conversations into
threads, which can be reviewed or deleted as a unit. You can send
SMS from the contact list.
Unlike with the mail client or dialer, you cannot refer to the contact
list from the
SMS application itself.
You can attach various kinds of content, such as a photo, to a message,
for which the sender and recipient pay extra.
You may configure the system to play a ringtone and/or to vibrate when a
SMS comes in.
I have not finished learning what the Email client is doing and what it is trying to accomplish, but so far I have had some success and some failures.
First, my department has a secure IMAP server (port 993) and SMTP server (port 587), requiring TLS and authentication; they also accept connections on ports 143 and 25 and offer, but do not require, TLS and authentication (providing restricted service without them). But the host certificate is signed by our private certificate authority. I have not (yet) found out how to add our root certificate to the official CA collection, and so the host certificate is unverifiable.
To receive mail with
IMAP in this
situation, in the account setup dialog you need to first request
The mailer will then configure port 993 by itself. It will silently ignore
the problem with the certificate, but even so it will establish a
connection and send over the userID and password. If you request
always, the unverifiable certificate becomes a fatal error.
The user interface for reading mail is better than others I've seen on handheld devices. It is possible to have multiple mail accounts and multiple mailboxes (folders) per account, a feature I use. However, I have not (yet?) discovered how to order a message to be moved from the inbox to another folder.
While a POP-based mail reader has a compulsion to download all the messages to the handheld device and clear them from the server, IMAP is more user-friendly and the Android mail reader takes advantage of it, not like the warmed-over POP reader on Maemo for the Nokia N810. Also, unlike Maemo's reader, the Android mail reader holds open the connection to the server until the application is closed, which is how it's supposed to be done.
However, when I marked messages for deletion they were not deleted on the server, and though I manually asked for the message list to be refreshed, a new message delivered on the server did not become manifest on the mail reader.
Worse, the mail reader (and also the send client) requires you to save your password on the machine for the convenience of any thief who steals your G1. This violates my and my department's security rules. Unless I can figure out a reasonable solution, I may have to give up using the Android mail reader.
On the sending side, similar to receiving, you need to set up
(Not SSL, not
Sign-on Required and fill in your loginID and password, yuck.
It can make the connection and do the
upgrade on ports 25 and 587 (the rule on 587 is that STARTTLS is the
only action offered on the initial connection). However the mailer did
not seem to be able to connect to 465 (deprecated), where it's supposed to
immediately but apparently doesn't.
Once you get the account set up, the composer UI is easy to use. You can consult your contact list for recipients.
The message that is sent has some unpleasant features:
The message-id is 24 bytes of hash (likely 120 or 144 bits), dot, the sending time in decimal UNIX seconds, @email.android.com. I've assigned a perfectly fine hostname to my machine and there's no way to configure it, here or elsewhere.
In the EHLO dialog the G1 identifies itself as
not as the user's assigned hostname. The specific
name gets 3.9 points in SpamAssassin (
scores a lot less), typically causing the message to be identified
Since the message is sent from a known residential DSL address, the server goes into full zombie bot defense mode. Much of this is bypassed because the client authenticates, but when the mail is delivered SpamAssassin is not aware of the password authentication, and it is very sensitive to the RBL listing, so the message goes in the spam pile. This is not Android's fault, but does kind of put a crimp into using e-mail. A proper solution is to use a VPN, but so far there isn't any client for Android.
However, the address range for T-Mobile's cellphones is not on the RBL (for the moment), and so if I turn off WiFi and send mail through 3G, it is treated normally, not as probable spam. This was tested with the K-9 mail client, but I'm virtually certain that the effect would have been the same from any e-mail client on the phone.
My department has a webmail service, which the browser can use and has used successfully.
See also the Gmail reader and the K-9 mail reader. With K-9 is a table of mail settings for both K-9 and Android email.
For legal and political reasons my mail cannot go through the Google mail service, and so I have not done anything with the Gmail reader. Other people report that it works well. See also the generic Email reader.
According to initial reports, Android was going to have a multi-protocol IM client, but the delivered client only talks to Google Talk -- not to my XMPP server.
blog reports a conversation with Ruslan Zalata, a developer on
Talkonaut. Ruslan says that
from basic setup
of Android by request from T-Mobile. He attributes it to the carrier's
desire not to cut into SMS
usage, which they can charge for. Similarly he attributes the lack of
which originally was announced, as an accomodation to the carriers as it
directly takes away from their billable business.
I invested 3 minutes in watching a rather pointless video. The conclusions are: The swf codec works. The phone has enough CPU power to put the video on the screen in what looked like full resolution. But the codec is not integrated with the regular media player. It is amazing how much garbage is available on the Internet, and how much a photo or video could be improved if the cinematographer followed the basic guidelines of his art.
According to a HTC FAQ on the G1's YouTube app, it supports H.264 and H.263 video content. The YouTube app can show streaming video using the http or rtsp protocols with mime-types video/mp4, video/3gp, video/3gpp, video/3gpp2.
These applications were obtained from the Android Market.
This is a true generic text editor. It is assumed that you will be working with files on the memory card, but you can inspect any file for which you have read permission. However, for security reasons you cannot write the system files.
Just what it says: a shopping list. It was reasonably easy to use. You can put checkmarks on items you have found. My one objection is that I can't re-order the list after making it; I like to presort the list according to location within the store. Workaround: begin each item description with the aisle or section number.
In addition to the grocery list, this app can be co-opted as a
This is a toy app making the phone look like a tricorder from Star Trek. But if you're such a stodgy fart that the Star Trek theme bothers you, you'll miss the real usefulness of this app: it shows actual sensor data, and is the only (known) app to show all this information in semi-raw form.
This page shows the local acceleration; for normal phone users this will be dominated by gravity. The accelerometer is described in detail on the hardware page.
Here you get a nice display of the local magnetic field in units of micro-Tesla. The magnetometer is described in detail on the hardware page.
The tricorder has readouts on this page for the ambient light level, object proximity, and ambient temperature. But no data is available from the host hardware, hiss, boo! Particularly, it needs to know the light level to adjust display lighting. (See also T-Mobile My Account.)
Direct and separate readout of the coordinates returned from your cell tower, and from GPS. The phone's GPS radio and daemon are described on the networking page.
This is the hoped-for wardriving application! This page reports the identity and signal strength of the cell tower you are using, plus all WiFi networks whose beacons have been noticed. A real tricorder would also give the azimuth to the access point, but of course on the actual hardware this is impossible . . .
This app is going to be a regular part of my phone's collection.
This is an instant message client, just for the XMPP/Jabber protocol. While it has some rough edges, it has one big advantage over all the competitors: it works, and it will connect to my server. Comment posters say it also can do Google Talk. A disadvantage is that it can only connect to one server at a time. I don't need multiple accounts, but some people do.
A good feature is, you can close the UI but it has a backend that will keep running. When your chat partner sends a message the backend will post a notification, including a ringtone and vibration if so configured. If there is a network interruption the backend will reconnect, within reasonable limits, if configured. I wonder if this eats battery? Probably not; occasional TCP keepalive packets can't be that expensive.
This SSH client can
log in to a shell account over an encrypted channel to another host
that runs a SSH server. At present
there are no known exploits against
SSH; standard and reliable
crypto algorithms are used, such as AES (Rijndael). The program appears
to provide a reasonable platform for ncurses operation; limited testing
less work properly. There are a few
special keys; here's a quick reference:
Camera Button Shortcut: you can make it send Escape when the camera button is pressed.
A co-worker was thinking about replacing a Windows Mobile smartphone with a G1. At a T-Mobile retail store she tried out their demo phone. She downloaded and installed ConnectBot from the Android Market, connected to her account at the UCLA Mathematics Department, and was so impressed that she bought the phone and a contract on the spot.
Bible displayer with search, navigation and bookmarks. You can download your choice of 25 Bible translations (including various English, Chinese, Spanish, and at least 6 other modern languages, plus Vulgate (Latin) and original Greek), 6 dictionaries and 1 commentary. A different application can display the Koran.
Checks for updates to apps you got from the Android Market. It also has a GUI to show details about all applications, particularly their size and permissions, and to uninstall them. There are quite a lot of interesting little items which do not show up in the apps icon collection. I'm going to keep this small (160kb) app. (The Settings-Applications section has similar functions but aTrackDog is somewhat more convenient to use, in my opinion.)
Shows the semi-raw data from the GPS daemon, including the identity and location of the available satellites. It also has an incidental readout of the magnetic heading (compass) and the gravitational acceleration.
Lists, deletes, renames, opens your files.
Intended for saving passwords in an encrypted file under control of a master password. Later I plan to implement gpgview, so the encryption will use a public algorithm and hence can be decrypted elsewhere, but for now I'm using this one.
situations such as
near the coordinates of
the church on Sunday morning and corresponding settings such as
ringer silent. There is a matching set of default settings
to be applied when the situation ends. There are a few gotcha's with this
application that trip up comment posters:
Settings made with the general system setting app may be changed when a situation comes up, and will be changed back to Locale's default setting. For permanent changes you need to change the Locale default as well as the general system setting.
GPS eats battery. If you have a situation that depends on location, Locale has to wake up every three minutes to check where you are, and it turns on the GPS for about 20 seconds. This puts a very noticeable load on the battery, though it is not as bad as continuous operation like leaving the map displayer open. It is best to intersect a location with a time interval, as short as possible.
One of my major complaints about the Android browser is that there
is no way to group bookmarks into categories, or even to sort them into
an order other than the most recently made one first. The
app from the Android Market can adjust the order. Highlight a bookmark,
then use the on-screen arrow buttons to move it up or down one step at a
time or send it to the beginning or end of the list. You can also
follow a bookmark, delete it, or add a new one. Very handy.
(But you can't edit an
existing bookmark; for this, in the browser hit Menu - Bookmarks and
long-click on an item. One of the choices is to edit.)
For those with no popular culture exposure, in the Sudoku game the playing board is a 9x9 matrix and each cell can hold one of 9 values (digits from 1 to 9). Your goal is to fill in values so that each row, each column and each of the 9 3x3 tiles contains no duplicate values. The game software or hardcopy puzzle book presets around 1/3 of the cells. There are four well-defined difficulty classes. Depending on the player's skill and the difficulty setting, a game takes 15 to 60 minutes to finish.
This game software is fairly easy to use. A game can be saved and finished later. You can mark tentative digits, distinguished from definite moves. The help page covers the UI but not game strategy. One minus feature: the software is ad-supported. But the ads are static text, not graphics and not animated.
I think I'm going to keep this game.
Sudoku has a problem that occasionally it corrupts
itself and its state table, so that it will unexpectedly jump to show the
solved game, or show other strange behaviors, and once it is in this
state it's almost certain that you won't be able to finish subsequent
games either. The cure is to use Settings - Applications - Manage
Applications - (scroll to and click on Sudoku). On the resulting form
Force Stop, then
Clear Cache (in that order), and I
generally rebooted afterward though it ought not to be necessary.
Instead I've changed to
Andoku from the Android Market, which
was not available when I first got the G1. It has a nice user interface,
and I'm getting to like it better than the original
This is a
RPG: imagine the six year
old brother of
Warcraft, i.e. scaled down to fit on the cellphone, with much
less demanding graphics and control over the character, and with
a much less elaborate combat and interaction schema. Evaluated on those
terms I think it's reasonably good; in particular, I found the
help documentation to be adequate. While I have kibitzed
WoW I have never played it
myself, so my recommendations should carry little weight with experienced
gamers. I'm still getting to know Dungeon Wonders and I need some time
to decide how well I like it.
This is a maze game, under the mythos that you have a server, N terminals, and pipe-like wiring pieces. You're supposed to use the available parts to connect every terminal to the server. It sounds stupid but actually it's kind of addictive.
Your G1 offers a Bluetooth HID service, so that it can act as a keyboard and mouse (touchscreen and/or trackball) for another Bluetooth-aware computer or embedded system. I didn't actually install this, but it may be useful in the future.
Drawing app. It's kind of nice, but controlling the line with your fat finger is going to take practice. I was able to reproduce promptly the doggerel favicon of my work site, but the quality was not better than what I already have, which is not saying much. If you hit Menu - Pen, you get a color picker and a slider to adjust the pen diameter (round only), or you can engage the eraser. I tried using a paper clip as a stylus (the original curved part, not the end of the wire or a section bent by me that might have sharp cracks in the plating), but it was not effective: probably not enough contact area to be recognized as an active touch.
This is a webserver, a port of the Jetty server which is written in Java. See more discussion of why I have it and what I hope to get out of it, in the hacking page.
This is an alternative to the provided generic e-mail reader. It has its own account database with your password stored in plain text on the phone, but many behaviors are similar to the distro's product and I suspect it shares some infrastructure, similar to what the three browsers do. However I like K-9 better, because it is able to move messages between folders (a feature I use a lot) and it actually deletes messages that I tell it to delete. Its strategy is to download up to 25 headers at a time to the phone, limiting memory use; the body and attachments are downloaded when you read the message. I believe I would use K-9 a lot, if it weren't for the password issue.
Here's a table of mail settings for both K-9 and the Android email client.
||Email ||143 ||TLS ||OK
||Email ||143 ||SSL ||OK
||Email ||993 ||TLS ||Fails |
Nextstep in setup
|Email ||993 ||SSL ||OK
||K-9 ||143 ||TLS ||OK (see below)
||K-9 ||993 ||SSL ||OK (see below)
||Email ||587 ||TLS ||OK (spam)
||Email ||25 ||TLS ||OK (spam)
||Email ||465 ||SSL ||OK (spam)
||K-9 ||587 ||TLS ||OK
||K-9 ||25 ||TLS ||OK
||K-9 ||465 ||SSL ||OK
Starting with K-9 version 0.112 it connects using TLS or SSL
but then sits there and fails to actually read the mail headers.
Eventually the GUI shows a note
Read timed out. This worked
in earlier versions.
The Android email client, when sending using any port
combination, identifies itself as
localhost in the EHLO
response. This wins the message 3.9 points in SpamAssassin, which
when combined with the credits for sending from a residential
IP address and sending
mail (actually mixed/multipart with a text/html and a text/plain
variant), with typical settings the message gets tossed as spam.
K-9 identifies itself as
localhost.localdomain, which has
a much smaller score.
Can make text, voice or paint (drawing) notes. Can send notes as MMS or as e-mail (via Google Mail).
I tried it and it was nice, but I think I won't keep this one since
Note Everything and
Textedit cover my note taking needs.
This will sync your email, contacts and calendar from your corporate MicrosoftTM ExchangeTM server to the G1. I wouldn't be caught dead on Exchange, but a lot of people will want this app. This is a free trial version; I'm not sure what you get if you pay or lose if you don't.
Alternative web browser. Cute, it rotates the display to portrait or landscape if you turn the device that way. Like an adventure game it starts with a blank screen. To navigate to your first URL, just type. Long-click on the background to get the zoomer and a reload button. I can well imagine that someone could grow to love this UI, but I just found it frustrating. I think I'll stick with the Android browser.
Uses the phone's magnetometer for a compass display. Not bad, but the GPS monitor and the Tricorder duplicate different aspects of this function, so I think I won't keep this one.
Comment posters say this stopwatch is better than the others. Well, it looks very spiffy, and works, with a nice UI, but unfortunately a stopwatch is not what I need.
Account management on the G1. This app has a
lot of cool information beyond the hand out for payments, such as
usage levels and patterns. It also has detailed battery information
unavailable elsewhere, including the battery temperature (in degrees
Fahrenheit, hiss, boo). Unfortunately it uses your
SIM to authenticate,
so first, you need to suppress WiFi and use cell data, and second,
you need a
provisioned (provisionificated) for the G1; a Sidekick plan will
not do. Thus this app is useful to me only for the extra battery info.
Opera is my preferred browser on desktop machines, and I had a good experience with the Opera browser for Maemo-1.x, which they dumped.
The Opera and Android developers should work together to improve these points:
Every browser in the world seems to have its own bookmark stash. Browser developers ought to pick a common format, a common local file location, and a common protocol for cloud storage and retrieval of bookmarks. And pigs ought to fly, too.
The address box should use the standard input method. I wanted
alt character (a tilde) and had to use the
dialog, which does pop over to a full page text entry box
using the standard input method. Hiss, boo.
Why, when playing audio tracks, does Opera Mini have to connect to global-4-lvs-usa.opera-mini.net? It seems to be using this site as a proxy for the download, but why?
It can pass a MP3 file direct to the player for streaming, but not Ogg or Wav. The Android browser has the same issue.
It made rather a hash of my nice standards-compliant page with the drop-down menus implemented in CSS-2.1. Its idea of rendering tables for the handheld device differs quite a lot from the desktop model -- you know, a rectangular grid of cells -- which the Android browser can do pretty well.
The trackball has a lot of trouble with twitchiness, not seen
in distro-provided apps. For example, it will jump to the top of
the page at random intervals, and usually you have to press the ball
twice to get a selection to
I'm disappointed; I liked Opera for Maemo-1.x much better -- and I also like the Android browser better.
Multi protocol IM client. Well, that's a disappointment. There is no dialog to specify the server manually and, particularly, to warn it that TLS is going to be required.
First it starts chattering with 18.104.22.168:443 (no name, not pingable, https protocol). And that's all it does. What do you want to bet, that host is a proxy? That it doesn't tell us about? In any case, use of an outside proxy violates my security rules, and it would not be able to talk to my XMPP server anyway since it doesn't know how to get on the firewall's whitelist.
Not only that, the UI froze waiting for me to try another server and the window manager killed it. Other users have posted similar complaints that it freezes at random intervals during chats.
This app is going to get de-installed. See also Jabiru and the distro's IM client.
This app copies various useful stuff to a directory on the
memory card, or restores it. Other people report that it works for them,
but it didn't seem to copy anything for me, even though I think I inferred
the requirements (busybox and a link for
cp). Since there are no
error messages, nor any setup instructions, it's kind of hard to figure
out what went wrong.
Since I need to do backups, I extracted the APK file by hand on my
strings on the DEX file, and discovered that the
copy commands are all right there, so I didn't have to do any research
on what files to back up. I copied them into a
shell script for backup
(view it or save to a file, and edit to taste).