10% of my phone’s storage is bloatware

Irremovable bloatware. I find this pretty offensive and will definitely be more careful next time around when buying a phone. Not only do they take up useful space (10% of it!), some also run in the background and use up the battery too. And they clog up the app tray with garbage. And they also trigger default app prompts at times, like Telenav vs. Google’s Navigate.

I do not want to root my phone to get this stuff off either. I shouldn’t have to. Computers have this kind of thing too, but at least you can uninstall it!!

Here are the biggest offenders:
Think Free Office – 9.18mb – I don’t use it, or want it.
Qik – 8.88mb – Cute, but I don’t want it.
Layar – 4.12mb – I don’t use it, or want it.
Amazon MP3 – 2.92mb – I have used it, but can do without it.
Slacker Radio – 2.64mb – I don’t use it, or want it.
TeleNav – 1.97mb – I don’t use it, or want it.
Double Twist – 1.97mb – I don’t use it, or want it.

Others:
News & Weather 0.90mb, Visual Voicemail 0.70mb, Media Hub 0.67mb, T-Mobile TV 0.34mb, and there are many more smaller ones too.

Read my Samsung Galaxy S 4G Reviews here:
http://mattsoreco.com/samsung-galaxy-s-4g-review-part-ii/
http://mattsoreco.com/initial-samsung-galaxy-s-4g-review/

Finally Settled on Some Task Apps

It took me a long time to find something that works for me to organize both my Google calendar(s) and a todo task list together on my Android phone. For the longest time I had set up a makeshift todo calendar in Google, but really the Google Calendar isn’t great at task based items.

I was always hesitant about using Google Tasks because of the lack of integration with Android’s native calendar. It made for 2 separate lists, which adds complexity and resistance.

With the help of 2 apps, I can now combine both calendar items and task items and view them together on one simple list.

The first app is GTasks by Dato. It’s a simple interface that integrates with Google Tasks. It makes for viewing, adding, and checking off new tasks very fast and easy.

The second app is Android Agenda Widget by Everybody All The Time. This hooks into both the Android calendar and GTasks and displays a complete list of items on one of my home screens. Both appointments and tasks display in one merged list for a very easy view of the day’s items. And each item can be clicked on and managed with only the one click. Very simple.

For the longest time, I kept a paper notepad with me at all times. It’s a good practice to carry a notepad for when it’s not possible to access the phone or computer. But I was finding that I didn’t efficiently get items off the paper list and into the calendar(s). And I was probably using it more because it was easier than entering something on my phone. But now with GTasks, it’s very easy (and faster) to enter the item right into the app on the phone. So now the paper notepad is just in case of an emergency (and not an extra step).

When I’m at the computer, everything is synced seamlessly. So there are no duplicate or conflicting lists to deal with.

There is one small thing. Google Tasks doesn’t allow for recurring tasks. I saw a feature request thread on their forum and they said that they are going to be working on it. Once that’s in place, my system is complete. Until them, recurring tasks/reminders still have to live in a Google calendar (not task list).

Samsung Galaxy S 4G Review, Part II

I had the phone for almost a week now. I wouldn’t say buyer’s remorse kicked in, but the things I mentioned in the previous post are holding true.

The lack of a LED indicator light stinks. It seems like such a minor feature to add. I wonder why they made a decision not to include one. The indicator is a feature of Android that they are ignoring.

The bloatware continues to stay on my nerves. Especially since they run in the background and use up memory. I want none of it. Not one of them I found helpful or I’ve found better apps in the marketplace already. Let the customer decide for crying out loud!!!

For the longest time I didn’t really understand the http://damnyouautocorrect.com/ meme. The G1 used Android’s standard keyboard. It would suggest words, but not automatically change or insert any. The basic keyboard was brilliant in it’s simplicity. Therefore, I found nothing but a headache with both the Swipe and Samsung keyboards. Son of a @$!^#! I finally found that turning off almost all of the AI crap works best for me. I spent more time correcting the auto-corrections than doing anything else. Chalk this up to another instance of Samsung insisting on things rather than giving the customer the choice!!!

There is a bug with the browser bookmarks. If you import bookmarks with apps like GMarks, they don’t get added to the browser bookmarks tab, rather they are added to the “most visited” tab. I don’t know if this is another instance of Samsung monkeying around with the base Android browser or not, but apparently importing with GMarks is not an issue for other Android phones. The reason I suspect they did monkey around with something is because the bookmarks preloaded on the phone could not be deleted from the browser. I needed another bookmark manager app to delete the bookmarks that I DIDN’T WANT!!!

Another issue is with the music app. Again I don’t know if it’s another instance of Samsung monkeying around with the base Android app. But the music app is inaccessible to other apps like CardioTrainer. One of the beauties of Android is having apps work together harmoniously. Here I found two cases where they don’t at all.

Bottom line is create the hardware and leave the operating system alone. Offer your own enhancements via apps, but don’t force them on customers.

All of that said, I’m still happy with the phone’s performance and storage space. I can live with the above, but I expected more. I know what to look out for next time. Next time I might splurge and get the latest Google endorsed phone (e.g. Nexus)–with no third party monkeying.

Initial Samsung Galaxy S 4G Review

I finally decided that my 2+ year old G1 phone needed to be replaced. I loved that phone. It was simple usability wise and after the kinks were worked out of Android, it was very reliable. But as newer and more powerful apps came along, I spent too much time deciding which apps I want vs. ones I REALLY want as the internal app space wasn’t big enough.

I went to the T-Mobile store with 2 phones in mind; the G2 or the Motorola Cliq. I thought I needed a physical keyboard since my accuracy using the G1’s virtual keyboard was abysmal. I really didn’t like either the G2 or the Cliq’s physical keyboards.

So I played around with the Samsung Galaxy S 4G for a little bit. I had no trouble at all with the virtual keyboard. I guess the processing speed and the screen’s sensitivity made a real difference.

I dismissed the Cliq pretty quickly given that I didn’t like the keyboard at all and I didn’t like the way it flipped open either.

It came down to the Galaxy S vs. the G2. The G2 was $50 more and had a slightly smaller screen. So I decided on the Galaxy S.

I think I’m still in the happy stage of the purchase and buyer’s remorse hasn’t had a chance to creep in yet… So here is my initial review.

Pros:

  • It’s incredibly fast. Not just the 4G speed, but fast in loading webpages, apps, etc. The sales guy said that 4G vs. 3G isn’t very noticeable, but I’d notice the processing speed. That much is very true.
  • It’s crisp and clear.
  • It has Android 2.2–which I think all other “pros” can be attributed to.
  • The keyboard is responsive and accurate.

Cons:

  • No LED indicator light!! Had I known this before, this little detail might have been a deal-breaker. So I have to actively check the phone to see if I have new texts, e-mails, etc. whereas almost all other phones have a blinking LED light as an indicator.
  • To wake the phone up, you need to do 2 separate actions. First, hit the power button, then swipe the screen. I much preferred the G1 where you simply hit the menu button twice. I like to judge the usability on how easy it is to use and navigate the phone one handed. This complicates that a little. It can be done one handed, but awkwardly. Also the power button is on the side, so if you have the phone on a desk, it’s a little awkward to hit the button on the side, then swipe the screen (whereas the G1’s menu button was on the face of the phone for an easy 2x tap if it was on a desk). I remember I bought Keyguard Disabler a while back, so I had to go and install it on this phone.
  • You have to swipe the screen to answer a call. I much prefer a physical button.
  • It’s loaded with a ton of bloatware that can’t be uninstalled. I HATE this. Let me get rid of stuff I don’t want!!! To make it worse, these apps can’t be moved to the SD card (feature of Android 2.2).  And to make it even worse, they run in the background and pop back up even after killing them. Needless to say I’m looking in forums to see if anyone had any luck removing them (without any crazy hacking).
  • I don’t know if this is a feature of the phone or Android, but the auto-brightness feature was utterly useless and highly annoying. I had to shut that off. I don’t know what triggers it uses to brighten or dim, and I don’t think the programming did either. It was all very random.

By the looks of it, there seem to be a lot more cons than pros. But the speed, amount of space (internal and SD card), and Android 2.2 are keeping me happy at the moment. I haven’t been able to test other things out fully. I know the camera doesn’t have a flash, but I knew that I don’t really care. If I want to take better pics, I use a real camera.

More to come…

Kindle for Android

I downloaded the Kindle for Android a few weeks ago and am just now kicking the tires. I’ve ordered a book, and I’m about half way through.

I didn’t know what to expect regarding the ease of reading on the small G1 screen. I’m half-way through a light read, and the screen size is not an issue at all for me. Neither is the mechanics of the app.

There were some e-book readers on the market already, like Aldiko, but the book selection stunk. Kindle has a huge selection of books, and ordering (and getting them on the device) could not be any easier.

I give this one two thumbs up. I will definitely be reading more books on my G1.