mobile


I am really unhappy that Google’s Android 7 started living with its own life against its user will. Android 7 will turn on and off Bluetooth connectivity on its own and scan the area itself, even that you turn off the Bluetooth device by hand. It looks that you have no control over your own phone anymore! Shame on you Google! Really poor design idea ๐Ÿ™

Update: I have reported this issue to Google Security Team, they got interested, so this does not seem to be a “standard feature”.. maybe a phone design flaw or firmware/microcode bug..

Why only NEXUS devices are sensible choice for Advanced Android Users and Developers? Because NEXUS device vendors provide source code and device drivers.

This makes is possible to re-compile and re-create any customization of the Android by advanced users and developers. The most popular among them is CyanogenMod based on AOSP (Android Open Source Project).

Why is such customization really necessary? Because Vendors does not keep up with the Android development, their releases are flawed, contains unwanted modifications, quite often development is abandoned just after product release.

I know that Drivers Development is time and money consuming task for Vendors. Still, providing source code for device drivers would make it possible to run alternative and/or customized OS, also prolong device life for second-hand users in poor countries. Vendor sells the device anyway and Users can make fixes and customization. Why this Win-Win scheme is so hard to achieve in reality? Is really enforcing sales with mass garbage so important?

Another HALL OF SHAME entry goes to Google for missing reliable Voice Dial functionality. It is over 5 years of bleeding edge development of Android, thousands of people in the most powerful IT corporation on this planet, most advanced Text-To-Speech and Speech-To-Text engines available, and still, no reliable Voice Dial function. People that use phone to work simply need a Bluetooth or Wired Headset that is able to correctly dial a designated phone number they want to make a call. These are daily work basics. Learn from Apple iPhone. Until these basic functionalities are provided first I see no reason to introduce thousands of not-yet-working or never-working-will-one-day-fix stuff that only create false image of endless possibilities, potentially, but not at all functional in the real world scenarios..

I have Accessibility, Text-To-Speech, Voice-Input, OK-Google, Google Search, Handsfree, Voice Dialer, Google Voice Typing, Offline Speech Recognition, Bluetooth and Wired Headset Support. Still, it is impossible to dial a phone number via Headset that would not involve touching the phone. Really sad ๐Ÿ™

Update: After several days of struggle (using unsupported flashing tool and ripping the firmware from an official software that declined to work) I have managed to run Android 6.0 (7.0 is already out) on my mobile. Here Google seems to have replaced “Voice Dial” application with “Google Search” and now you can ask Google to dial a number for you. Well, it only works when you are online, and now Google knows exactly what you do all the time. What a breakthrough! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sony Xperia phones are my favorite. Very good and durable electronics, amazing photo camera, nice utilities on top of standard Google Android OS. I have also always respected Xperia for allowing users to unlock their phones for Open-Source Firmware Customization on this amazing hardware..

xperiacompanionfail

Unfortunately, Sony seems to have this habit to make a bad decisions, so amazing hardware is not always followed with a good software. This is why Open-Source Customization is so important. I have already found several nice devices with a really bad firmware. What is more, this corruption seems to spread, and Sony blocks factory firmware restore for an unlocked devices with their official Xperia Companion utility. This means unlocking a device does not only Voids a Warranty, but also silently makes it Impossible to Go Back to a Stock Firmware! This is really bad idea.

emma

Luckily smart people tends to predict and help each other out. Developer team of Sony Mobile released EMMA utility (nice name by the way) that allows you to re-flash mobile that is unlocked in case something goes wrong or you simply want to get back to a stock firmware.

Open-Source Firmware Customization will become a standard, even for large enterprises, with mutual benefit to their customers, because looking at the big picture we are part of the same eco(no)system..

Today is my last day with HBO in Poland. I could not even imagine how bad can commercial mobile application be until I found HBO GO PL Android. This is such FAIL that I am not going to pay anymore for this crap. I have waited over a year for things to get better. I bet most of the 5 star ratings are fake. You don’t give a shit about user feedback, so users will to the same with you. Goodbye HBO..

Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 18.02.41

On the other hand Netflix has just entered Polish VoD market with a far better application. They responded to my feedback in less than minute and implemented suggested (localization) changes in two days. Now that is good cooperation! Learn from that!

I have just reported several issues and ideas related with this nice Google Hangouts Android application:

  • The name Hangouts is not popular and hard to remember. Abandoning “Google Chat” or “Google Talk” was a bad idea. People tend to remember short names and popular words such as “Skype” or “Viber”. This may be funny but people really cannot remember “Hangouts” well.
  • Receiving calls is misleading. There are several different ways to answer an incoming call in Hangouts. Most common way is to press a button and then drag it onto an icon that is not visible until you press a button. Another way is top view pop-up which could have color buttons in addition to small icons. Older people have problem with this. Average non-geek user simply needs Green Answer and Red Reject button.
  • Hangouts would be simpler to use and more popular if it worked just as an ordinary Phone Call application. Non-geek users have this habit already on how to use Phone Call application, that Hangouts should leverage.
  • Hangouts voice/video call should be available directly from a Contact Book if gmail address is present. Just as phone call.
  • There are Android devices that offer hardware phone buttons (such as LG Wine Smart). Green Connect and Red Disconnect buttons should be also available to perform actions in Hangouts.

These simple ideas arised from observing older people trying to use Hangouts to videocall their family members..

You can enter Service Menu on Xperia devices with code:

*#*#7378423#*#*