I just wanted to mention my app for checking your Virgin Mobile Beyond Talk minutes. The app is called Minutes Checker Virgin Mobile and it is available via the Google Play app store. Tell all your friends that use Virgin Mobile USA. Thanks!
Lately, in my free time I’ve been working on learning how to build Android apps. This is mainly for my entertainment and so I can learn the Android SDK better. I want to be able to build real apps that I can monetize either through ads or purchase. To get there, I decided I should build some simple apps first. My first app is called Notes Worthy. It is a simple notepad-like app that lets you save a list of text notes. There are hundreds of these types of notepad apps in the Google Play Store but my version is very stable, pretty small, does just what I want and no more. It is very fast to add a note and not filled with useless features that complicate it. Feel free to try it. You can download it from my personal site or on the Google Play Store.
Because of some end of year travel, my side of the family celebrated Christmas early this year. The android phones as ipod touches that I mentioned in an earlier post have worked out great.
The key app to making this solution work for me is called Smart App Protector Free. It allows me to give this wifi connected handheld computer to my kids (both under 10) without worrying about what they might google or see on youtube or stumble across on the web. Smart App Protector lets me leave wifi on so they can have a text chat app with their cousins while blocking their access to youtube or google or the browser. I also have searching the market locked down because there are plenty of inappropriate apps there too.
Another nice solution I found is that I can leave their phones in airplane mode while turning wifi on (android 2.2) which makes it so the phone isn’t constantly searching for a cell tower to talk to (since the phones aren’t activated). This saves battery galore.
The kids both have their phones (LG Optimus Vs purchased for ~$50 new on black friday) loaded with game apps. They have also discovered how fun it is to be able to text their cousins and parents (and soon grandparents maybe).
I just wanted to follow up after my first post to say that the Android as an ipod touch has worked out great so far. I recommend this for other parents looking for a way to avoid buying a $200 ipod touch.
Your old android phone can act like an ipod touch for your kids. It has wifi, music, games, apps. You don’t need to have the phone activated to use it this way. I just bought 2 for $50 each (optimus v at target black friday deal) to use for my kids. They have been bugging me to get them an ipod touch but I wasn’t willing to spend the $200 per kid to make that happen. So, I spent $55 per kid instead. I downloaded ~25 games and an app to lock other apps so I can keep them off youtube and google. I copied over their kidsbop ripped mp3s and tada – android like an ipod touch for <$55. Christmas this year isn’t going to break the bank!
I finally rooted my Optimus V phone. The only reason I took the risk was that I was running out of internal memory and I needed to either get rid of some of the bloatware that comes on the phone or delete apps that I wanted to keep.
Then I used Titanium Backup * Root to force my ATT Uverse app to the sd card because it is the biggest app on my phone (13mb). I would have just removed the ATT Uverse app but sometimes I really want to remotely set my DVR to record something while I’m out.
After all that, I still have 47mb free.
I looked into adding Adobe Flash. I downloaded Flash apk 10.2 from some site because the market won’t let me install Flash 11. It installed OK. I tried to download the apk for version 11 but it would not install. Flash 10.2 might have worked but Crackle only works with Flash 11 so I gave up, uninstalled Flash 10.2 and called it quits.
I also looked into overclocking but I don’t think it is worth risking bricking the phone.
My 3g still isn’t perfect but it works most of the time. The biggest complaint I have is how it sucks the battery dry from time to time. I still use the free taob (toggle airplane on boot) app from the Market. I’m home most of the time so I’m on wifi and luckily wifi works great. As much as I’ve had problems with the 3g, I still am glad I got this phone at the $25/mo price when it was still available at that price.
I’ve been looking into getting the new Motorola Triumph or HTC Wildfire S or Optimus Slider. The cheaper 2 have the same problem – low internal memory like the Optimus V. The Triumph has other problems like the size is a bit big for my liking.
Ha, I posted that things were getting better for me. Then the next day I went out to dinner. In the hour and a half that it took to eat, my battery dropped from 85% to 15% on 3G only. My wifi was off. My gps was off. I never turn bluetooth on so it was off. Bummer.
Most of my time has been at home on wifi lately so I think I was just fooling myself into thinking things were getting better with 3G.
It has been a while since my last Optimus V post. I haven’t had problems in a long time. When I’m home I stay on wifi which works fine. Over the last few months, 3g has been working pretty well for me.
I have found that leaving wifi on while on 3g (away from home) tends to drain the battery pretty fast.
I think Virgin Mobile has changed their service in some way to help correct the problem. I haven’t had to reboot my phone in a while. I haven’t had to pull the battery in a while. I don’t know what they did but it seems to have seriously helped the issues.
I do use some app (taob – toggle airplane on boot) that puts my phone into airplane mode for a few seconds after a reboot. I’m not sure if it is still required but it doesn’t seem to be hurting anything.
Knock on wood; The Optimus V seems to be getting better for me.