Don't Miss Out. Customize Your Andriod Mobile

The whole point of owning an Android phone is to customize it to your personal liking (i.e., enhance your user experience). This site explains the things you should do to get the most out of your Android Smart Phone. If you are not interested in modifying what came out of the box, then you should consider an Apple or Windows 7+ phone (obviously other excellent choices).

To get started, please read my post Getting the Most Out of Your Android Phone.

Monday, December 12, 2011

My Battery (A Day in the Life)

 Battery life is so important in today's world of smart phones, multimedia, and social networking. For many of us, mobile phones pretty much act like mini computers or portable entertainment systems. Using myself as an example, during the day I rely on my mobile to:
  • Make/receive calls
  • Take/view pictures
  • Listen to music/podcasts
  • Watch movies and photos
  • Connect bluetooth devices
  • Surf the Internet
  • View maps and navigation
  • Play 3D games
  • Store files and other data (as if it were a USB stick)
  • Features like Wi-Fi, Mobile Data Connection, and Google Sync, are by default turned-off. I only turn them on when I need to use them. 
Given the broad range of activities above, I feel the Android battery life issue noted on so many forums is true and hard to swallow----we sort of get stuck in denial a bit. For me, I would be quite happy with one full day's use on a single charge.

Preferred Cyanogen CPU Governor
In my opinion, the best battery life I've been getting is when using Cyanogen mod 7.1.1 with the CPU range set 245-710 and the Conservative governor turned On. It gives me one full day of life-----but I am still testing it out as writing this.

Charge Source Matters?
A more puzzling phenomenon is that it appears the source of charging the phone also plays a role---at least on the ZTE Blade Gen 2 phone. If I plug the phone into my PC USB to charge, it takes twice as long but the battery seems to last much longer. If I use a wall outlet, the battery charges much quicker but the battery drops to about 80% real quick, too quick.

Also the USB charge option definitely makes the phone get hot during the charging time.

Battery Data/Tracking

Test 1

  • Cyanogen mod 7.1.1 with the CPU range set 245-710 and the Conservative governor turned On.
  • Auto Task Killer On
  • Autorun Manager On
  • Screen brightness on max and Bluetooth always On. 
  • With 30 minutes talk time
  • Six  SMSs, 
  • 30 minutes music with bluetooth headphones On
  • 20 min 3D game (NFS)
7am full charge (100%)
11am 94%
12:30pm 92%
1:30pm 88%
2:00pm 84%
3:15pm 82%
4pm 81%
10pm 63%

I feel this is excellent for low-moderate use.

Test 2
Coming Soon!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Root Your Android Phone (The Power of Full Admin Rights)

What is Rooting?
Rooting an Android phone simply means modifying your phone so that applications can have root (administrator) access to the Android operating system. Often these admin rights are called "Super User" access rights. Once you have Super User access, you have total control over your phone's operating system.

So the very first thing you want to do is "Root" your phone. In the old days this was quite challenging and you needed to be a computer programmer to get the job done. However, super-geek's with a passion to improve Android, created a one-click application called Z4 Root. This program will root your phone in minutes.

The only difference between your stock phone and the rooted version is that a Super User icon/app appears in your Apps Tray. And whenever a program that needs root access rights is installed, you'll be prompted to give it permission as the Super User or Admin of your phone. That is all it does.

Note: If you root your phone, it will void your phone's warranty. Which to me was no big deal. After all the warranty is usually a year max and I have hardly ever had the need to use one. Plus, the benefits of a rooted phone out weigh the risks.

Why Root?
Following are my top 4 reasons for rooting your phone:
  1. Remove 'bloatware'. That is remove unwanted stock apps that otherwise can't be uninstalled.
  2. Enable special apps that alter system files and functions to be installed.
  3. Make a complete back-up copy of your entire phone. And bring it back in its complete form or bring back select parts if needed.
  4. Install a Custom ROM. And enter the ultimate Android user experience.
Learn More (Simply Explained)
What Does Rooting a Phone Mean?
Download Z4 Root App

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Password Protect Sensitive File (Secure Photos, Videos, Docs, Free)

Let's face it we are very dependant on our phones these days. Often we store personal photos, videos, and documents that we would never want anyone else to have access to (just imagine if you lost your phone today, is there anything on it you don't want anyone to see?).

The topic of keeping your phone's files private is often referred to in different ways: hiding files, encrypting files, password protecting files, locking files, etc. And they are not all equal in terms of how safe your files are. For example, hiding files are pointless because they usually just change the name of the file. If any one changes it back manually (renaming via a file manager app or say on a computer) the file is no longer hidden.

I tried many free apps that claim to secure your files. But they either don't work, have flaws that a tech savvy person could use to open the files, or are just too complicated to use.

Best Free Recommendation
The absolute best free app I found, use, and recommend is File Locker.  It is powerful and so simple to use. You just locate the files, select them, and add a password to lock them. The app encrypts the file and even its file name. So no one can open the file without the password.  Any one who is snooping and finds the very long encyrpted names can't do anything to open the files. The best they can do is see that there are some files you locked---but only via a file manager app.

Note: Its so powerful, if you forget your password, you are screwed. But that is a small price to pay for the protection you get.

Getting the Most Out of Your Android Phone

Welcome Fellow Droidian
So you did some research (tv ads, Internet postings, talked to friends, read magazines and news papers, visited mobile stores, etc.) on the kinds of smart phones available these days. And despite your best efforts, you experienced the unexpected realization that just about everyone has a different opinion on which mobile operating system is best (Java, Symbian, Web OS, Bada, Android, Windows, and I-OS, etc.). Finally, after much debate you chose an Android phone.

Good Decision?
Now like most gadgets these days, you really can't be sure if you made the right choice until you actually buy it and try it. I say this because we live in a gadget-oriented-era full of marketing gimmicks. And no matter how many times we get 'burned' its too hard to resist the temptation to upgrade to newer technology.

In my opinion, an Android phone is a good decision when you consider the following:
  • Cost. Most Android phones cost less.
  • Selection. Android is not tied to any one manufacturer. So there is more choice (Samsung, ZTE, HTC, Micromax, Dell, Motorola, the list goes on and on). 
  • Customizable. Android is easily customizable. There are things you can do to it that other operating systems won't let you do (e.g., remove unwanted built in apps or install a custom version of Android by 'rooting' the phone and installing available free ROM Mods).
  • Number of Apps. The Android Market Place  has lots of free apps and lots of apps to buy that add functionality to your phone (including business productivity and popular games).
  • One Stop Synchronization for Google Users. Google is a world-wide powerhouse. They started with cloud based Internet services and later got into mobile technology. This is a key factor that distinguishes it from competitors because all Google services pretty much sync on Android phones seamlessly (e.g., use Google Sync and everything in your Gmail and Android Market is auto synced to your phone).
  • Technical Support and Innovation. There is an insane amount of devoted fans and developers out there working on improving Android on their own. So you can customize, jail-break, or modify Android and rely on thousands of virtual friends to help you do it (I will explain more about this in another post, for now, just know this will one day make you say WOW!!!!!!)
What Next?
Although you made a good decision, Android is very young and its taken Google quite some time to grow up. Its only now in 2011 with the release of Android OS code name "Ice Cream Sandwich" that we find what we had been really looking for all along is now right out of the box. 

So where does this leave you? You got an Android phone (most likely without Ice Cream Sandwich) and likely are not happy with the out-of-the-box features and are now ready to tinker a bit and customize it to suit your needs. Well, that is what this blog is all about! Stay tuned for upcoming posts (simple and easy to understand) on how to get the most out of your Android phone.

Kick It All Off: Root Your Phone 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

3D Action Games (Wow! Lots of Fun)

As you probably know, there are some fantastic 3D games available for Android. However, often you hear that they require high end phone specs, etc. Additionally, if you go to the Android Market and try to purchase one, you often get a message that the game is not compatible with your device and there is no option to try it out anyway.

Well, there is of course an alternative: You need a facebook account and have to agree to some permissions, etc (I just use a dummy Facebook account to avoid any hassles). Once logged in you simply:
  1. Download the .apk install file of the game you want to your PC
  2. Copy the file to your Android SD Card
  3. Open the file/install the game (and if required, use Wi-Fi to also download additional 3D graphics files, often about 90 mb).
That is it. And the best part is its not only free but it plays wonderfully on phones that they were not suppossed to be compatible with (of course there are exceptions).

I found that games like Asphalt 5 or Quake play perfectly on my ZTE BLADE.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Make A Copy Of Your Phone (Backup Now, Trust Me!)

In the past, I never took the importance of backing up systems, applications, or data seriously. And sure enough I later regretted it. The reason I ignored warnings was mostly due to the fact that it seemed so confusing to get the job done.

But in the world of Android it is amazingly simple. The best program to backup your ROM, system files, apps, settings, and data is Titanium Backup. This a very popular free app and there are many How To Guides which explain how to use it.

High Level Steps
  1. You must root your phone first (I explain this in my post on Rooting Your Phone).
  2. Download/install the free Titanium Backup app (I did not end up with the Pro version as the Free version did the job pretty well).
  3. Run the option to backup application and system data. About 5-10 minutes later you have a complete copy of your phone stored as a file on your SD CARD.
 Note: The Legend (referred to in some Guides) which explains the status icons of different backed up files, is now located under Menu>Help&Support>Legend.

Its just too easy to ignore! Imagine anytime you need to fix something, locate the file in the restore list and select restore.

More Resources
Step by Step Guide
App Review

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Maps and Navigation (Offline Maps Show You the Way Faster!)

Mod-Version of Google Apps (International Ready)
For a long time, I only used the Navigation and Map apps from Google. These are excellent apps of course and even though the International Voice Navigation has not been officially 'turned on' yet by Google, of course there is a mod-version and it is awesome (its the familiar turn by turn voice directions you've probably seen in cars for Europe and Asia). If your curious to try it (and I know you are) the mod-version is called "Brut Google Maps" and here is the download link.

Update Nov 14, 2011:  I just started using the Cache feature in the Brut version. It is excellent even though its not as comprehensive as downloading a map in Locus noted beow.

Basically, Google Brut stores all the maps/zooms you view while online in a SD CARD Cache and then let's you use them offline. So for example, if I want to see my local day to day area offline,  I first go online via WiFi at home, view the different local places, streets, etc and as I am doing so a copy is automatically stored. Then when I am offline, I can still see the map because its stored in  the SD Card Cache. 

Wait, Take It Offline with Locus!
Now, on a separate note, I always found it frustrating and expensive to use Google Nav/Maps via my mobile phone's data service (Edge, then 3G, then 4G, etc.). I mean it worked well enough but like everything else on mobile networks it tended to be a bit slow and you gotta be in range of a cell tower (otherwise you just see a GPS marker on a blank screen because no map-tiles can be downloaded to your phone).

Well, there is an alternative of course, just download the maps you need most. That is, you can store the maps offline and use your GPS to find where you are and where you want to go! Its much faster and its a growing trend these days as it is great for tourists and hikers.

Locus Free is an excellent app that let's you, among many other cool things, download maps to your phone. These can be pulled up and used along with GPS anytime.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

My Favorite Apps (Get to the Next Level For Free!)

As I have mentioned many times on my Blog, mobile phone users who choose Apple IOS or Windows 7 are buying into a proprietary system. These mobile platforms are wonderful but you kinda have to trust and rely on them to know what you as a user wants. In the world of Android its the other way around. You get the basics from Google and then you customize Android to make it do what you want.

The apps below enhance the Android user experience in a major way. Please note that a few require a rooted phone.

Must Have Apps!
Following is a list of my favorite Android apps. Together, they enhance your phone's features and the overall user experience---this is why I chose Android!. And they are all free!

Note:  The ability to transfer files wirelessly and play any video file (at 480x800 or less) alone is worth the switch to Android for me (saved me tons of time).

User Enhancement Download Link What Sold Me
Touch to Lock Screen Lock Screen Widget
  • Locks the screen by touch instead of pressing Power button.
Simple way to add tasks or reminders. Taskos To Do List | Task List
  • Very simple way to maintain a list.
  • Can set a reminder notification based on time/date entered.
Typing Text GO Keyboard
  • Keys are large and can be resized 1-5.
  • Layout is user friendly. I type faster with less mistakes.
Sending and Receiving Text/SMS

  • Received text message or SMS displayed on locked screen, with action buttons.
  • Grouped conversations in a bubble style.
Assigning Unique Ringers to Contact Groups Group Ringtones
  • Pulls the groups you created from Gmail.
  • Assign different ringtone (even custom ones I created or downloaded) to any group.
User friendly Internet Browsing Dolphin Browser™ HD
  • Excellent and intuitive user interface.
  • Speed
  • Plays Flash (in Desktop mode and with special flash player installed) just like on my home PC.
Read business documents
  • Opens standard Microsoft office documents.
Auto Kills Tasks Advanced Task Killer
  • Autokills unwanted apps that are open and draining battery power.
  • Saves battery power significantly.
Transfer Files Wirelessly Samba Filesharing
  • Amazing ability to transfer files to and from PC to Mobile.
  • No USB wire required.
File Manager ES File Explorer
  • Most powerful file manager out there.
  • Accesses directories at the root or system level.
Identify Music SoundHound
  • Listens to sound and can identify it (songs).
  • Super fast.
  • Displays progress on screen.
Music Player MixZing Media Player
  • Built in equalizer and gain settings.
  • Can assign individual equalizer settings to songs or albums.
  • Interface is very logical and makes managing music easy.
Video Player MX Video Player
  • Plays all formats (so no more converting video files to .mp4).
  • Ability to control size of video (full screen, stretch).
  • Remembers and resumes where you left off.
Simple Stop Watch StopWatch & Timer
  • Very simple and easy to use stop watch.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Better Internet Browser (Clever Browsing)


On my home computer, I am a die hard Firefox user. I was never a big fan of Google Chrome and Internet Explorer is just, well a bit dated.

On my mobile phone I tried the default Android browser and later switched to Opera. However, I found them to be slow and clumsy to use. After doing some research I found the Dolphin HD  mobile browser. And although I don't quite like the name, I love using it.

It is simple, intuitive, fast, and tends to play Flash content better too!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Installing a Custom ROM (Now I am In Love)

A Custom ROM (a.k.a Mod) is just computer tech geek talk for an aftermarket custom upgrade to your phone. Basically, tech savvy experts who are not satisfied with the current Android OS offered by Google create their own 'super version' of Android----its free and very easy to install. No typing commands or needing to be a tech genius here.

Note: Keep in mind installing a Custom ROM is very easy these days. It may sound complex or hard. But it is not. I have listed the steps and provided resources to help you. Do take the time to understand. Once you customize you will love the enhanced user experience---its like going from a cheap sedan to a sports car for free. I personally use the Cyanogen Mod 7 (stable version).

General Steps
  1. Super User Access. First you need to get special administrator rights called Super User. Getting this access is called "Rooting" your phone. There is a free app called Z4 Root which is a one button click that roots your phone. You know you have it when you see a special Super User icon (usually looks like a Android Ninja in your apps tray).
  2. Install the free ROM Manager app. 
  3. Back-up everything on your phone (all apps and data) using Titanium Backup Free. To learn how to use this awesome program click here.
  4. Use ROM manager to select a free Custom ROM, download to your phone, and open/install it. That's it!
You can see a great example of the Cyanogen Mod 7 being installed in a rooted ZTE Blade in this You Tube video.

Updated Dec 11, 2011:  In this post, you can see how one user found  Cyanogen Mod revived his phone and even made it feel more modern: 13 Ways CyanogenMod 7 Makes My Android Phone Feel Future-Proof.

About Custom ROMs (Simply Explained)
What Does Rooting a Phone Mean?
How to Backup Your Entire Phone
What is a Custom ROM?
Why Install a Custom ROM?
Cyanogen Mod ROM Review?
How to Choose the Right Custom ROM?
Best 5 Custom ROMs?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

How to Get Adobe Flash Working (Yes there is a way)

For higher end Android phones, you can easily get Adobe flash to work by installing their Flash Player 11 app.  However,  for people using lower or medium range android mobile phones which have lower processors (ARMv6 or ARM 11chip) Adobe chose to not support them (what a pain, no?).

Nevertheless, as always there is a modded solution that does support these phones. In other words, yes you can run Flash in your mobile browser even if Adobe does not support it!

Getting Flash Player Working on Lower or Medium Range Phones
Recently a Chinese developer modded the original flash player application and enabled support for lower end devices. It is the full version of Adobe Flash Player 10 (so its is not Flash Lite). But it tends to work best on rooted phones with custom ROMs. Some reports note that the app does work fine on most Froyo and Gingerbread based devices too but I can't confirm this.

Basically, its so simple to install the modded app, its worth m try. Here is all you have to do:
  1.  Use the link below to download the app as a .apk file.
  2. After download, use your File Browser to locate the file on your phone and open it.
  3. Follow the prompts to install, etc. 
  4. Reboot your phone. You now have Flash support on your phone.
Install Flash Player 2.2 Modded App

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Volume is Too Low (Here's How To Turn It Up)

Unpexpected Disappointment
I am a huge fan of podcasts, music, and watching all sorts of videos on my mobile phone. So I was really disappointed when I found that the maximum volume level on my Android phone did not drown out the external noise (you know people talking, moving cars, street noises, etc.) while on the move. 

After doing some research I found that this is a common problem on Android phones. If you are like me its a show stopper. I mean my user experience is supposed too be better than my previous  'un-smart phone'. It was frustrating but I did find a solution that continues to make me happy (JABRA BT3030 noted below). 

Volume Fixes
 There are two options to fix the low volume. One is through software and the other is through hardware.

There are apps out there that turn up the volume but at the expense of sound quality. These usually increase the audible gain or use an equalizer to improve the sound level. Honestly, this did not do the job at all for me because I still wanted the good sound quality---not a louder but slightly distorted sound. 
  • The best app hands down is MixZing Media Player.   It lets you set separate gain and equalizer levels for each audio file or a group of files. While this app is certainly helpful it can introduce distortion on some audio files which is annoying at times.
  • DSP Feature on Cyanogen Custom ROM. Dynamic range compression, equalizer, and headphone filtering. This is also helpful it again can introduce distortion. Plus, its available through a Custom ROM (an aftermarket version of Android which you may not be willing to install as it voids certain warranties of your phone, etc).

External hardware that amplifies the sound. So you get much higher volume without any loss in sound quality. There are too many products that do the job out there. The one I ended up buying is the Jabra BT3030. The sound quality is decent and the volume difference is massive.

Realize there are pros and cons and its annoying to have to buy something extra. But for me this is truly the best solution (especially while at the gym). I can answer calls, change tracks, change volume levels, and change the earphones. The external noise around me is cancelled out and I find it sometimes too loud.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Setting Up Custom and Group Ringtones (This Should Be Standard!)

As a smart phone, you would think its at least easy to assign custom ringers to certain functions (say when I receive an SMS, or email, or notification,  and I want my own custom ring tone to sound off). Additionally, I want the same kind of customization for individuals (e.g., wife alert) and  groups of contacts (co-worker alert). Well, once again out-of-the-box these functions are either not available or too limited.

This is OK as you can achieve the above using your SD card and a free app called Group Ringtones.

Adding Your Custom Ringers (mp3 clips or songs)
Assigning a ringtone is easy. But there is a trick to making the clips or songs available to select fro your list of choices.

Android looks for certain folders on your SD card for notification ringers. So one quick way to add custom ringers is to simply create a folder on your SD card as follows.
  1. Make a folder on the root of the SD card called "media"
  2. Inside "media" make a folder called "audio"
  3. Inside "audio" make 3 folders called "alarms" "notifications" and "ringtones"
You want to put your mp3's for text messages in "notifications", the rest I'm sure you can work out. To learn more click Tell Me More

Adding a Custom Ringer To a Group (mp3 clips or songs)
To quickly add a ringtone to specific groups in your contact list, I recommend the free Group Ringtones app. Its easy to use and does the job.

Text/SMS (What I Always Wanted)

If your like me, you expect Android Text/SMS to be smarter and better than your previous phones in the past. Unfortunately, this is often not the case.The default app to send and receive text/SMS is OK but there are way better free alternatives.

My favorite is Chomp. Simply put, you can use chomp SMS as a souped-up replacement to the built-in Messaging application, just with a heap more features and customizations. There are two key ones for me:
  1. Chat-style bubbles. You see the conversations in little cartoon like bubbles.So its easy to see who said what and when in a kind of grouped or threaded view.
  2. If your phone is locked and in sleep mode, any new text message is displayed right on the screen. Very useful because it lets you see the entire message right on the locked screen. It even includes buttons to take action on the message.
 Only thing I don't like is the Chomp app logo/icon. Of course, this is no big deal.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Google Sync (Get Into The Cloud)

 What is Google Sync?
Google Sync is truly amazing. Basically, imagine if all the important stuff (e.g., contacts, calendars, apps, etc) stored in your Google online account and mobile phone could be merged together and stored on a server---the Cloud as they say. It remains there and continues to be updated always staying in sync with each other. Then if you ever need it (let's say you lose your phone or buy a new one) it self installs in your new phone.
Blown Away!
Here is how I got blown away. I bought my phone, plugged in the SIM card and started playing with the menus. Eventually I added my contacts from my previous phone (stored on my SIM card). After some time, I put the phone down with Sync settings turned on. Later when I picked it up again, I found that the phone now had all my contact info from my Gmail account too---imagine all my email addresses which I never bothered to enter on my previous phone's contact list now at my mobile finger tips!

Then when I checked my Google account online, I suddenly saw all my mobile phone contacts (over 1,000) now stored in my Google account.

Never Lose Data Again
So I now have a master set of contact, calendar, and apps I installed in the Google Cloud. And I can pull it into any Android device whenever I need it.

To learn more click Watch Google Sync Video

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Battery Drain (Ouch!)

My Battery Drains Too Fast!
One of the biggest gripes Android users have is their phone battery does not last for long. This is particularly painful to anyone upgrading from a Java-based phone or similar phone with smart-like-features (e.g., email or web browsing etc). This is because these older phones were not really intended to function like a smart phone and generally had superb battery life.

Smart phones are meant to be always connected to the internet, GPS satellites, Bluetooth devices, social networking sites, and mobile networks. Also they are meant to provide high-quality entertainment (photos, music, videos, streaming TV, and games, etc.). All of this requires lots of power just like your PC at home or in the office.

So if smart phones are meant to act like a mini mobile computer, you would expect smart phone creators to ensure excellent battery life; otherwise what the heck is the point, right?

What You Can Really Expect
Well, its like the smart phone creators (including Apple, though some debate this) ignored the whole point is to use the cool phone features as much as you want while on the go.

The hard to swallow fact is with moderate usage of cool features most Android users should expect their battery to last for about a day to a day and half----and this only after taking the steps below to improve their phone's battery drain.

Best Methods To Improve Battery Life (as of Oct 2011)
Here are four proven ways to get more battery life:
  1. Limit Usage. Try to limit how much you use the phone's cool features (again this makes no sense to me because its the cool features that made you buy the phone in the first place).
  2. Automatic Usage Management. Install applications that automatically manage when the cool features turn on/off. The idea is to easily control when they are on (draining the battery when you need an app) and off (saving the battery when you don't need the app).
  3. Auto-Kill Apps. Install applications that are designed to repeatedly kill or turn-off apps that keep turning themselves on. So its a kind of loop (turn on...autokill...turn on...autokill again).
  4. Stop Apps from Auto-starting (Turning Themselves On). Install a special app that prevents other apps from being able to auto-start (so here you are preventing the loop noted in #3 fromever happening).
  5. Remove Bloatware. Get rid of the junk applications which come per-installed in your phone. You don't need most of them and even if you remove them, can always install them for free later.
Note:  In addition to reducing the display brightness, the most effective way to reduce battery drain is to remove unwanted apps and/or prevent apps from auto-starting. But in order to do this you must "root" your phone and pay for a special application called Autorun Manager (the cost us about $5.00. Trust me its well worth the money).

1) Limiting How Much You Use Cool Features
There are a number of Android phone settings that can increase the battery or juice drain on your phone. One example is the screen or display brightness. To learn how to change these settings manually on your phone, click Manual Settings.

2) Automatically Turn Cool Features On/Off
Cool features usually mean being connected to the Internet (things like GPS, email, Wi-Fi, social networks, etc.). If you simply must always be connected to the Internet world and do not want the hassle of frequestly playing with manual settings, then you can install apps designed to manage this for you. One of the best free apps is Juice Defender.

3) Kill Unwanted Apps
 Perhaps the worst thing about any smart phone apps is the fact that turning one off or closing it, does not in fact actually do so. I realize this make little sense, but most apps leave traces behind and/or simply stay partially on---all the time. Forcing them to turn off is called 'killing them'. One of the best apps to kill other apps is Advanced Task Killer. With this free app, you can tell your phone to keep killing any app over and over again. So no matter how many times the app turns on, it gets killed each time.

 4) Prevent Apps From Autostarting
Apps are designed to keep turning on and the setting to prevent them from auto-starting is not accessible unless you root your phone an install Autorun Manager.

5) Remove Bloatware
OK so when you buy a smart phone it generally comes with pre-installed apps (e.g., voice dialer, Car Home, Pico TTs, Genie Widget, etc). This is often called 'bloatware' because it is taking up unnecessary space and memory. This is similar to when you buy a PC and there is a ton of extras or trial software (e.g., antivirus programs, etc) that you don't want and end up uninstalling.

However, unlike PCs, it is very difficult to remove them or uninstall them in Android. And so they keep switching on automatically and unnecessary drain your battery. So basically you want to uninstall these unnecessary apps. There are two ways to do this:

Root Your Phone
 If you obtain admin rights to your Android phone, you can then manually delete the apps you do not need within the System/Apps folder. Click here to learn more about rooting your phone.

Install a Custom ROM
The best solution is installing a custom version of Android (a custom ROM). The benefits are huge. Its a game changer that will change your smart phone world and make you look cool too. The one I prefer is Cyanogen Mod.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

My Android Phone (running Cyanogen Mod 7)

This is the popular ZTE BLADE (Gen 2, 500mb RAM, LCD) version. Its most unique feature is its 480x800 screen resolution. Dell simply resells it under their own brand in India. It has many other names in other countries (e.g., in the USA is called San Francisco).

Note: While this is considered an entry level Android phone, you can customize quite a bit to give some of the higher end phones a run for the money. Out of the box I'd say it was just OK. But after customizing, I'd say this will be my phone for quite sometime!

This is my ZTE BLADE's current Desktop (after Cyanogen 7 install and other customization)