Speeding up your Rooted Android phone

I know, it’s been a long time since this blog was updated, but I’ve found something so juicy and newsworthy I found a reason to add a new blogpost.

So here goes, answer the following simple questions:

  • Do you have an Android-based phone?
  • Have you rooted your phone?
  • Does it lag when starting or switching between apps?

If you answered no to either of the first two questions, move along, nothing to see here. However, if you answered yes then this post is for you!

I was browsing my RSS feed, which among other topics, includes the Phandroid site feed and I spotted an interesting article about an app the claims to remove the lag on all Android phones.

Now, with most apps that claim to do miracles, you need to take them with a pinch of salt, and even more so, if you have to pay for said app. However, Google’s app store policy of 15 minutes after purchase for refunds made me less hesitant to try this out, as well as the R12 (ZAR) app cost.

It’s a small app, with only one permission (run at boot) so nothing scary there. The reviews so far have pretty much all been glowing. Good start.

So I purchased the app and had it download and install on my phone. It’s not very complicated. Once you open the app, you enable the entropy seeder and check the start automatically on boot option. That’s it, you’re good to go.

Seeder - Screenshot

So I switched back to my home screen and started firing up some apps. My phone has been on all day, I’ve been using it (no reboot) so some might say well apps are cached in RAM. But even so, they were quicker to switch to as well as being much more responsive. The notoriously laggy Facebook application (which is now native, in parts) was quicker to switch to and use. Okay, I thought – good start.

Now, how about a cold boot? So I rebooted the phone and immediately noticed that the pin and lock-screens were quicker to appear, and were responsive even during at-boot applications which were loading in memory (of which is Onavo for 3G traffic monitoring, Go Launcher EX to replace the standard launcher, Usage Timelines for showing CPU usage and Lookout for malware scanning and lost phone detection).

The usual lag during boot waiting for the launcher to become responsive wasn’t there. I could quickly fire up Facebook, Whatsapp, UberSocial, the default Camera app, the photo gallery browser and Astro’s file explorer were quick on the draw. Even switching back to the home screen and opening up GO SMS to view my SMS/MMS (which, while feature rich, is much laggier than the stock-standard SMS viewer) was near instant.

I had some app updates pending that I still wanted to install and during their install (which, again is notoriously laggy on this phone, not only because of the installing, but also post install scanning by Lookout and AVG are usually blocking processes), the phone was responsive during the install and post-install process and was usable, which it most certainly wasn’t before. Two thumbs up for that.

Some might say it’s the placebo effect. I dare you try it yourself and prove me wrong. I use my phone often enough to know when there’s a distinct difference in load/lag times of the various apps I use.

The team at LCIS that did the research and testing within the Android OS to figure this out and build this app deserve the props.

Seeder app – recommended.

In case anyone is wondering – my phone is a rooted HTC Desire running Cyanogen Mod’s CM7.2.0.1 (built on Android 2.3.7 Gingerbread)

If you go through the comments on the app in the Play store as well as on the XDA forum post you’ll see this performance improvement is more noticeable in older versions of the Android OS (i.e pre Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean). So if you’re running the latest stock Android OS (or a custom ROM built on top of the latest AOSP) you probably won’t see much, if any, improvement.

UPDATE: I’ve tried this on my wife’s HTC Wildfire (which is unbelievably painful to use because of how slow it is, but somehow she manages) and it has made a noticeable improvement almost eliminating all lag between switching applications, back to the desktop and opening new apps.

Layars: Augmented Reality Browser

No, not a spelling mistake – Layars is going to change the way you browse, with your mobile phone.

Forget the new iPhone 3G S with it’s amazing (cough) copy/paste, video recording and MMS sending capabilities. Layars are the future.

It’s a new type of browser that uses your mobile phone’s camera, GPS and built-in compass to add more detailed mapping and information about the area you’re seeing through your mobile phone’s camera.

What is Layar?
The World’s First Augmented Reality Browser. Layar is a free application on your mobile phone which shows what is around you by displaying real time digital information on top of reality though the camera of your mobile phone.

What are layars?
Layars are the equivalent of web pages in normal browsers. Just like there are thousands of websites there will be thousands of layars in our application. A layar is the digital view that is added to the camera view. This is the first time that so many brands use one application to provide an augmented reality service on the mobile phone.

They’ll be releasing their product in the Netherlands first and only on the Android platform on the G1 and HTC Magic. They say they will be targetting the iPhone 3G S next and what ever other mobile phones come to market with the required capabilities.

Still interested, want to know more, then check out the video demo below and go take a look at their website, blog or follow them on Twitter.

[via Cherryflava]

Technology and accessibility

It’s something that many do not necessarily think of unless their (or their client’s) target market consists of visually impaired people but it seems the likes of Facebook and one group of Finnish developers are taking it to the next level.

Facebook announced today that they are working with the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) to provide a better-suited interface in Facebook to allow those visual impaired users better navigate the site and get as much use (and ease of use) out of the Facebook patform as others.

A group of Finnish developers at the University of Tampere in Finland are attempting to address the issue of bringing Braille to touch-screen mobile phones.

They came up with two methods of presenting Braille. The first requires test volunteers to swipe their fingers across the screen to read each of the six dots in the 2 x 3 matrix in Braille.

The second method generated a sequence of six dots, each 360 milliseconds apart, when the user taps and holds on the character. It turned out the volunteers were more comfortable with the latter option, though not without some learning and getting used to. – source CNET

Take a look at the CNET post for more details about this.

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Make Your Own Ringtones

Are you one of those who likes changing their ringtones to your favourite song of the moment? Do you have that song you always liked but could never get on your mobile phone? Are you worried about subscription services that will hook you in after you’ve downloaded that one and only song from their service?

Yeah, I know, this is starting to sound a little like one of those infomercials. Well it’s not, it’s just me rambling.

Well there seems to be a painless, easy and FREE way to do it (and according to their registration details they’ve been around for at least 3 years). It’s not a subscription service, you don’t have to even provide your mobile number, carrier, or even your email address.

It’s called (very original) MakeYourOwnRingtone.com – It’s got a nice intuitive interface that’s easy to follow – simply click the upload (eject icon) button, pick your favourite song you want to convert (it appears to cater for a number of MP3, WMA and OGG source formats), wait for it to upload, select the start and end point and if you’re feeling adventurous, play with a few settings, click the Make Ringtone button and your file is downloaded to you in the selected format. Easy as 1, 2, MP3 🙂

make-your-own-ringtone-console2

I’m not really one of those that changes their ringtone every second week or really bothers about ring tones, in fact my ringer is set to vibrate first before ringing and some of the times it’s permanently on silent vibrate anyway – but I was asked my opinion of the website and it’s service and about mobile ringtones, so here’s my 2 cents. Maybe you’ll find it useful too.

If you have any problems, be sure to read their FAQ section for help. [via Connie]

Do you go iPhone or do you go G1 Android?

Google’s phone the G1 running it’s Android OS has been released recently and it’s hailed to be the iPhone successor/killer – but upon further investigation and actual use of the phone it would appear you might be better off holding of for a G2 or the G1 v2.0 instead.

To find out why, read Erick Schonfeld’s post on TechCrunch where he explains his experience with the G1 in comparison to the iPhone and you’ll quickly see that, even though the G1 has some nice features and those missing on the iPhone, there are still things that need a little work before it really does become the competitor or successor of the iPhone.