Archive for July 10th, 2011


I recently decided to try Gingerbread, in the form of the popular Cyanogen Mod 7 on my HTC Desire.

How did I do this and what was the end result?

First off, it requires a rooted phone with recovery installed. In my case I had previously rooted the phone and installed ClockWorkMod recovery 2.5.0.7 so that I could upgrade to Froyo, and since 3 were dragging their heels with the OTA update.

You can see how I did the root and upgrade here: Froyo at Last. Remember, you do this at your own risk and I’m not responsible if you brick your phone.

So, my phone is rooted and has recovery installed. Next I installed ROM Manager Premium from the Android Market.

Why did I pay for this? Put simply, it’s because it gives you instant access to lots of different ROMS, not just those from Cyanogen, and all available for download to your SD card, ready for you to install.

There are also a number of other useful features, such as backing up your current ROM prior to any upgrades. I can’t recommend backing up enough before attempting anything like this, as you can restore your phone back to it’s former glory in minutes.

So, my phone is now backed up, and I’ve chosen my Cyanogen ROM and downloaded it to my SD card. I chose the latest at the time, 7.0.3, tough I believe this has now been superceded by 7.1.0-RC1.

Be aware that the Google Apps are not included in the standard build, and you will be asked by ROM Manager if you want to download them. If you don’t, it means no Maps, Navigation, GMail or even Market, so I did.

In ROM Manager, choose ‘Install ROM from SD card. Choose the ROM you just downloaded, and follow the on screen propmts.

Your phone should boot into recovery and start the firmware upgrade automatically, rebooting into the new F/W once completed.

If you have included the Google Apps, you then go into the setup wizard and put in your credentials as you would a new phone. If you didn’t, you’l get a pretty much a vanilla Android front screen.

Ultimately, I rolled back from this ROM because it does not include the Sense UI, which is one of the things that I love about my Desire, and it left me feeling that I was missing certain things that I wanted to have.

HTC are now possibly rolling out a version of Gingerbread for Desire soon, so I may wait for that and see if it satisfies my  upgrade needs.

That said, there are a few other ROMs out there other than Cyanogen, so I’ll have to keep looking and see what I can find.

Have fun trying a new ROM, but remember, if you brick it, it’s your fault, not mine!

Android vs IOS

I recently obtained an older 1st gen iPhone as a spare, and thought it would be interesting to compare the Android and IOS operating systems.

I know that immediately people will say ‘How can you compare a 1st gen iPhone with a relatively new Android device.

Well, truth be told, I’m not comparing speed, since I know the Android device, an HTC Desire will (Should) be faster.

What I’m more concerned with is how do the standard apps stack up in terms of functionality, and how does the phone make me feel?

In fact most of the standard Apps don’t really operate that much differently, so things like Contacts, phone, calendar, maps, weather and web based mail, such as Hotmail or Gmail, or work very similarly, and with those, I couldn’t find anything that made either platform stand out for me.

However, despite being a big Android fan, I can say the iPhone, despite being an older model, does have some features that the Android based phones would do well to pick up on.

Firstly, and quite importantly, the iPhone standard on screen keyboard is much better than the Android one. I haven’t had a chance to properly try the keyboard in Gingerbread, but I know it is an improvement on the Froyo standard keyboard.

That being said, the iPhone is better still, in that it is simpler and more accurately detects the key pressed. There are better Android keyboards available, such as Swiftkey (My favourite at the moment), SlideIT and Swype. For me I’d still go for the Apple keyboard.

The next item that I think the iPhone does better is Exchange email

I run my own Exchange 2003 mail server, and the Android mail client will only let me see my emails in plain text format. The iPhone client lets me see them in their full glory, as intended by the sender, images and all. Why can’t my Droid do this?

Apparently Exchange 2003 doesn’t support HTML emails via Activesync, but if the iPhone can do it, why not the Droid.

I am upgrading to a later version of Exchange anyway, but that would be a big step to take just to get HTML emails on my Droid. Harrumph.

Finally, nobody has yet, IMHO, been able to surpass the iPod, and despite a great attempt by HTC, which now allows you to sync your iTunes to your HTC device, the iPod functionality of the iPhone is still streets ahead.

What does the Android do better then, I hear you ask. Well for me the Sense UI provided by HTC is much slicker than the iPhone interface. I may change my opinion if I get to play with a later iPhone, and if so I’ll update this but for now that’s where I’m at.

In fact, the standard Froyo and Gingerbread interfaces are, for me at any rate,  better than the iPhone UI.

Why is this? Well, I mentioned earlier about how the phones make me feel, and with the iPhone, I feel like it is somebody else’s device that I’m just borrowing. It feels restricted, and I don’t like that.

The Desire, on the other hand feels like it is a blank canvas you can customise to your hearts content, and I feel like its mine, and not just on loan from Steve Jobs! The Droid has proper multi-tasking too.

That’s why, despite the good features of the iPhone, which is an iconic piece of design and a standard setter, I will always plump for the Android device, simply because of the way it make me feel.

These are my opinions, feel free to comment!