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Archive for August, 2013

Free Space

What are we looking at here? This is the free space of the various mount points of the phone. System is the OS (Android 4.0.4 in this case) and SD should be fairly self-explanatory.

The 147MB data segment is the space for storing apps. It’s supposed to be 512MB, but HTC did something funky… and a lot of the default apps take up space here, so there is really not a lot of space for third party apps. The first thing you do when installing a new ROM on the Desire is to create a new Ext partition, and start linking parts of your data mount to it.

As with all things Android, there’s a choice of what to move off to your partition: Apps, Data and Dalvik Cache. Moving Apps to Ext is essential, but at the same time, doesn’t help much. After four or five apps, I’m still out of space on my Apps partition.

Mounts2SD

I decide to move Data but it doesn’t help much. This screenshot shows the result after moving data – and data still has 128MB used of 147MB. Surprise surprise – Dalvik Cache is also stored in “Data”.

Post Data Move

Unfortunately, moving Dalvik Cache pretty much hoses your performance. It contains pre-compiled byte code and loading that off SD card takes a long time. Apps start taking between 10 seconds and a minute to start-up.

I’m caught between a rock and a hard place. Truly awful performance, but plenty of space for apps. Or moderately poor performance and no space for apps.

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Honed Android Set-up

My android set-up has been tweaked and honed over more than three years. It is really a bit more than the original HTC Desire is capable of coping with.

Home Screen

The focus of my home screen is communication. Two email apps – Yahoo and Gmail, Viber (messenging), Facebook Messenger and LinkedIn. My phone calls, SMS and a shared calendar are a fifth, sixth and seventh way of communicating respectively.

Screen 3

Primary Widgets

Screen 2

This is primarily for enabling and disabling WiFi and 3G to conserve the battery. It’s one swipe to the left and then one button press. It’s not quite as convenient in Windows Phone, even using Quick Settings.

Games!

Screen 4

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Switching to WP8

My Android Background

I’ve owned a HTC Desire for almost 3 years (100 years in dog smartphone years) and it has been quite an experience.

  • It was never particularly brilliant at being a phone. Calls would often drop, or never make it through at all.
  • The Desire had a bug that meant that replying to an SMS sometimes sent your response to someone else. If you had a mistress, I imagine that could have lead to some difficult conversations… :)
  • The amount of storage for apps was ridiculously limited. It was supposed to be 512MB, but somehow HTC managed to reduce that to 147MB. There are a few ways around this limitation.
  • The last official OTA update was to 2.2 – Froyo. Yup, not even Gingerbread. The official (7.2) Cyanogenmod release did get you to 2.3. But apart from unofficial roms, that was it.

Fixing (some of) the issues

I finally installed a beta Icecream Sandwich (4.04) rom, but now the phone crashes a few times per day. Downgrading to 2.3 did not fix this crash. Generally, the crash isn’t problematic, but as my phone is my alarm clock, when it crashes overnight, I get to sleep-in.

I stayed with 4.04 as some apps, including the modern, greatly improved google keyboard, simply don’t support Gingerbread.

Also, it is laggy as heck.

Phone usage

  • I do use the phone/SMS functionality so that isn’t optional
  • Non-phone communication – I have Y! Mail, Gmail, LinkedIn, Viber installed
  • Internet browser
  • Alarm-clock – I have fairly specific requirements here and Alarm Clock Plus works really well for me
  • Evernote, Dropbox
  • TODO list (Wunderlist)
  • Music Player
  • Games

Why WP8 ?

I’d be happy to stick with Android, to be honest. But:

  • None of the current flagship android phones are particularly tempting, e.g. Galaxy S4, HTC One, Xperia Z …
  • It costs £100 for an unlocked smart phone (Lumia 520) !
  • It covers most of my use cases

Experience so far

  • So far it has been pretty snappy. The specs are not a million miles away from the Desire on paper (1GHz CPU, albeit dual core and more recent I guess, 512MB of memory), but even so, it’s a far nicer experience
  • I’m covered with most apps – Mail, LinkedIn, Shared (Google-linked) Calendar, RSS readers, Browser, …
  • I’m disappointed with the enhanced alarm apps. There is a limitation in WP8 which means that alarm apps can’t work correctly in the background and in any case, have limited access to the volume. I’d like to have an app that begins by vibrating and then have a sounds that slowly increases in volume. Maybe I could simulate this with an appropriate tune?

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