Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 18th Mar 2012 21:23 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless This past week and this weekend I've finally found the time to enter into the colorful world of custom Android ROMs. After figuring out just how insanely great and awesome ClockWorkMod Recovery is, I set about to figure out what the best Ice Cream Sandwich ROM is for the Galaxy SII. While the answer to that question became clear quite quickly, this answer also gave rise to a whole bunch of other questions.
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Where all the love have gone?
by dsmogor on Sun 18th Mar 2012 21:36 UTC
dsmogor
Member since:
2005-09-01

Guess what is on the horizon?

Reply Score: 2

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

And just stick to the Android phones from Google.

Or buy superior stuff like an iPhone or a Windows Phone.

"Superior" is a subjective concept. It depends on what you expect from a phone, and what you are ready to bear from your OS.

As an example, for my own purchases, I first consider that paying more than €400 for a phone is crazy, and that phone hardware should be built in a robust fashion that can survive half a dozen falls every week without requiring users to purchase ugly cases. I also strongly value physical keyboards on my handsets. This pretty much rules out anything running iOS or Windows Phone 7 already.

Without that, there would also be the issue of software : my phone is an electronic agenda and a communication tool before anything else, and I like its home screen or its lock screen to reflect this by being a readily available source of information. I typically set things up so that I can get very quickly to a summary of upcoming agenda entries and past notifications. And from this point of view, WP7 offers an average to poor performance, while iOS is simply awful.

Coming next in my priorities is battery life, which should preferably be good enough to survive a week-end without a power adapter, which means about 3 days of intensive texting and light web&youtube browsing. Bad luck : every single popular smartphone OS sucks in this department. In less popular circles, Blackberry OS, bada and Symbian do provide good performance on this front, but bada does not come on a device with hardware keyboards anymore, and buying Symbian-running hardware means putting money in Nokia's CEO and shareholders pockets, which I'm not interested in.

This pretty much only leaves Blackberry OS. Or, if I can get over the battery life issue, there's also Android. Each has its set of pros and cons, which is different from what iOS and WP7 have to offer.

As you can see, liking iOS or WP7 is a matter of priorities and taste more than one of intrinsic superiority.

Edited 2012-03-18 22:41 UTC

Reply Score: 9

tonny Member since:
2011-12-22

Agree. I still stick with my e63 as almost everything I need just in there. For productivity/functionality it's on par with my android, IMO. And it has qwerty keyboard. And the price is right (unlike US$ 300+ android phone with physical keyboard).

Android manufacturer just think about how to sell many-many phone. They don't/can't think about what user need.

Reply Score: 1

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Excellent post. I will say that the battery life on my HTC Arrive is far and away better than any Android or even BlackBerry I've owned. In fact, I'd say the last time I had a smartphone that lasted three days like this, was my trusty old Treo 650 in 2005-2008 that I should never have let go.

Of course, I'd be in phone heaven if someone out there would release a rugged or Mil-Spec phone that could dual boot WP7 and ICS, and last more than 24 hours on a charge. I know that will never happen, as Microsoft surely wants to keep other OSes off of its phones. But I'd settle for a good quality rugged phone with either OS, and the battery life of my current unit.

Reply Score: 2

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Of course, I'd be in phone heaven if someone out there would release a rugged or Mil-Spec phone that could dual boot WP7 and ICS, and last more than 24 hours on a charge.


I really, really, really miss my first cell phone ever, the Panasonic TX-220. It was a ruggedised phone, all encased in nice feeling rubber, with various shock-absorbing materials inside. That thing survived a lot in the years I used it:
- fall off hip while riding mountain bike, bouncing around on pavement
- fall off second floor balcony onto pavement
- fall down 2 flights of cement stairs
- various falls onto various flooring surfaces from varying heights

Unfortunately, the only other ruggedised phone I've seen since are a Motorola flip phone. ;) I would love to have a 3.5" smartphone with a hardware keyboard, ruggedised to withstand drops onto cement, without any external/extra cases or whatnot.

Reply Score: 2

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11



Hrm, there's no mention anywhere in that article that covers why they are considered "rugged", and there's no readily apparent rubber anywhere in the images. Would have to do some research. My biggest requirement for a smartphone, though, is a hardware keyboard. An onscreen keyboard does not cut it when using an SSH client.

Reply Score: 2

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Coming next in my priorities is battery life, which should preferably be good enough to survive a week-end without a power adapter, which means about 3 days of intensive texting and light web&youtube browsing. Bad luck : every single popular smartphone OS sucks in this department.


With a little tweaking on your part, and possibly the purchase of an extended battery, you can get an Android device to last 50 hours+ of phone, SMS, e-mail, web browsing, and even light gaming. Changing the CPU governor, adding an applet to control when/how the various radios turn on, tweaking the screen brightness and auto-shutoff, etc.

My 3.7", single-core 1 GHz Xperia Pro running Android 2.3.4 gets 50 hours of usage on a regular basis. It's only when I whip out Great Little War Game for an hour or two that battery life dips into the sub-20 hour range. ;) And I use the web browser, SSH, and e-mail throughput the day.

Reply Score: 2

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I take note of this ;) I've been eyeing the Pro's "Mini" cousin as a potential next phone for some time, since it seems to combine fast enough hardware, a nice price, a small and robust form factor, and reviews mentioning a battery life of one to two days which apparently is as good as it gets for a mid-range Android device. If tweaking can get me above that, it would make the thing more interesting...

Edited 2012-03-19 17:35 UTC

Reply Score: 1

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

I'm debating getting the Xperia Mini Pro (2011) for my wife, as an upgrade to her ancient LG Eve. The screen and keyboard are about the same size, but the hardware/software is a *huge* upgrade. Just waiting for our "early upgrade fee" to drop below $100 to make it worthwhile. It's a nice looking piece of hardware. And there's a *very* active modder community around it (such that searching for information on "Xperia Pro" is littered with about 10:1 info on the Mini Pro).

Reply Score: 2

Johnnybutternuts Member since:
2012-03-20

I have recently received the Xperia Mini pro from Rogers (I live in Canada) free on a two year term, with no data plan needed (ie just voice). I can confirm that the solid reviews it has received (search the web) are spot on. It is a great phone - fast, small, screen looks great, keyboard feels great.

I don't usually like to support Sony either but the Sony Ericcson branch is really supporting the modding community right now. Free easy bootloader unlocking, releasing specs etc. Plus they're supposed to release ICS by the end of this month for this little guy, which is nice.

The only issue is that the screen is quite small, but if you don't do a lot of text reading or gaming on your phone (ie if you use it mostly as a phone) then I can tell you it is great.

Reply Score: 1

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Just curious, is the Rogers version unlockable? Meaning, can you use the official Sony-Ericsson method for unlocking the bootloader in order to install other ROMs?

I have the Fido Xperia Pro, and they've removed the option to unlock the bootloader using the official methods. ;) The only way to unlock it is to use fancy software you have to pay for (although there's a couple of people on xda-forums that will help you do it remotely).

Reply Score: 2

Johnnybutternuts Member since:
2012-03-20

I cannot actually confirm that, as I haven't unlocked my bootloader. Sorry. I've only had the phone about 2 months. On another note I had a really hard time finding cases for it but have managed to find two. If you're interested I can send you some links if you're having a hard time too.

I can also vouch for the decent battery life on the phone- I get about 2 days of moderate use out of the phone, although I don't use 3g/4g at all, just wifi when browsing.

Reply Score: 1

Johnnybutternuts Member since:
2012-03-20

Looking at my phone now, my hidden service menu on this Rogers Xperia min pro says 'bootloader unlock allowed: no' - so yes, looks like evil Rogers has not allowed any kind of unlock to happen. I've looked into the 'testpoint' method of unlocking, however it looks like that only works when bootloader unlock is allowed, or else can bring trouble. From everything I can find online, Wotanserver is the only way to unlock and flash. Looking at wotanserver's website lately though, it looks like you can use their services for free right now due to a anniversary promo they've got going on... if you do get onto that Phoenix can you let me know how the flashing works/doesn't work for you?

Thanks
JB

Reply Score: 1

Johnnybutternuts Member since:
2012-03-20

Okay, now I am fully hijacking this thread (sorry - maybe PM me after this post) but setool 2 software seems to be the only way. Wotanserver might work too. Am not sure... the following video is surprisingly straightforward and informative...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sn-Vubgka1M

Let me know if you try any of this!

Edited 2012-03-22 03:37 UTC

Reply Score: 1

helf Member since:
2005-07-06

I beg to differ on WP7 phones. Don't talk out your ass, especially since an HTC WP7 handset = HTC Android unit. I have an HTC Arrive and it has a really REALLY nice physical keyboard and has taken a ridiculous number of falls. I beat the crap out of my phones. I had to get a new back plate due to the old one getting so bent up falling on my gravel driveway it wasn't staying in place well.

I'll agree on the iPhones. My sister has an iPhone 4 that she dropped in her office on carpeted floor and shattered the back glass.

Reply Score: 2

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Apologies. I didn't know about this little piece of hardware, which Morgan also mentioned earlier, but it seems indeed quite nice by my hardware standards, although a little expensive with respect to competition.

Edited 2012-03-19 18:27 UTC

Reply Score: 1

helf Member since:
2005-07-06

Sorry, I think i was a bit harsh :p

Yes, its really nice but rather expensive. But it is still the only Sprint WP7 handset I believe.

Reply Score: 2

aliquis Member since:
2005-07-23

If he don't want to get a Nokia Symbian phone because it would give Nokia money which is bad for some reason (switch to WP?) then it doesn't make much sense to get a WP phone from someone else since... obviously he dislike WP / doesn't want it / want something else.

Reply Score: 2

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

If he don't want to get a Nokia Symbian phone because it would give Nokia money which is bad for some reason (switch to WP?) then it doesn't make much sense to get a WP phone from someone else since... obviously he dislike WP / doesn't want it / want something else.

It's not that bad ;) I sure resent what Nokia did when they dropped all form of hardware and software innovation to fully go WP, and I tend to put part of the blame on Microsoft for that, but in the end Nokia are the main culprits of that move. Even if money was passed around, people who have respect for Nokia's products could have rejected it.

As far as I'm concerned, Microsoft's inflexible approach is the biggest problem of the Windows Phone platform for now. If I want cheaper and smaller phones or more detailed information on my home screen, developers and OEM cannot give me that like they do on Android because Microsoft dictate too much of the hardware and the software of WP7 phones.

I am also aware that this inflexible approach is a key part of the Windows Phone ecosystem and that Microsoft are unlikely to give it up any time soon, though. So for now, it seems that the situation is blocked.

Edited 2012-03-20 08:13 UTC

Reply Score: 1

aliquis Member since:
2005-07-23

Why do you think you'd break the Lumia?

If it's too high speced for you (screen and glass?) I guess you can get something simpler. Even from Nokia to.

Reply Score: 2

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Why do you think you'd break the Lumia?

Maybe I wouldn't break this one, I trust Nokia to build robust hardware and that polycarbonate shell could protect the glass well enough if it keeps the phone light. The problem here lies more in the lack of physical keyboard.

Since I have first tried it out, I have kept thinking that putting today's touchscreen technology on a phone form factor is a mistake. It is expensive, needs large screens and fast hardware that both eat lots of battery, and takes lots of screen estate for the simplest things. I do believe that touchscreens have the potential to become a proper button replacement in a few years, once they all support such things as hovering ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q73bHn9xus ) and haptic feedback ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ovwSxcJdTE ). For now, it seems to me that it is a loss. Since manufacturers leave me no choice, I do have to deal with the touchy stuff in the end, but I still ask for a hardware keyboard to type on as a minimum.

And then, of course, I have issues with Nokia in particular, as discussed in more details above.

Edited 2012-03-20 07:58 UTC

Reply Score: 1

aliquis Member since:
2005-07-23

and buying Symbian-running hardware means putting money in Nokia's CEO and shareholders pockets, which I'm not interested in.
Why not and won't you have the same problem with kinda all phones? Maybe not with a government ran Chinese one?

Because they ditched/will ditch Symbian and switch to WP?

Hard to fault the shareholders on that. The CEO I can see. Regardless they could both need the money I suppose. Nokias stock haven't had a happy ride. I doubt too many stock holders are happy but there's some morons who still think it's all brilliant.

Reply Score: 2

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Why not and won't you have the same problem with kinda all phones? Maybe not with a government ran Chinese one?

Because they ditched/will ditch Symbian and switch to WP?

Hard to fault the shareholders on that. The CEO I can see. Regardless they could both need the money I suppose. Nokias stock haven't had a happy ride. I doubt too many stock holders are happy but there's some morons who still think it's all brilliant.

My gripe is pretty much there. The shareholders for putting Elop where he is, and Elop for messing up with the company so badly in order to give Microsoft the dedicated OEM which they desperately wanted.

Take Nokia before Elop. They have the most diversified phone production in the industry, and manage to still produce stuff of good quality (especially from a robustness point of view. Their phones running s40, Symbian, and Maemo/Meego, can pretty cover the needs of everyone buying a phone, except if they're into capacitive touchscreens. They are in the progress of making software development for all these phones much easier by unifying them under the Qt development framework. One big issue : Symbian is stagnating. Bugs don't get fixed, the touchscreen interface takes ages to be completed, and worse the Symbian team tries to slow down the progress of other branches by messing with the internal politics of the company. Worse yet, absurd signing requirements do not help mobile software development, a growing source of revenue, to rise on the platform.

When you own the world's largest phone company and have a problem with the world's most widespread phone OS, what do you do ? Well, you swallow your pride, spend a month enumerating what exactly is wrong, try to reason the team on the high-priority nature of these fixes, kick the most annoying fellows out and hire better replacements if needed, and then you refactor the parts of the code base which have become unworkable and fix the damn thing -- while keeeping compatibility.

Many major players of the OS market have had to do something like this at some point in the lifetime of their product, where old decisions started to slow down the progress of new ideas. Symbian probably did not even require as much work as Windows or Mac OS, which were both successfully rewritten while keeping good enough compatibility in the process, because the whole kernel design did not have to be thrown away.

And what did Nokia do ? Deprecate one of their most successful OSs, running in the phone industry's most diversified range of hardware, in order to roll out a newborn OS on lots of touchscreen slabs that offer no benefit (except maybe build quality) over any other similar phone out there.

Either they were being incredibly stupid, or someone got a good paycheck from Microsoft for this. I tend to lean towards the latter hypothesis, but either way I can't financially caution that. Maybe once they have lost enough money and become yet another minor WP7 OEM they will realize how much of a bad idea this was, though it will probably be too late at this point.

Edited 2012-03-20 07:53 UTC

Reply Score: 2

elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

Coming next in my priorities is battery life, which should preferably be good enough to survive a week-end without a power adapter, which means about 3 days of intensive texting and light web&youtube browsing. Bad luck : every single popular smartphone OS sucks in this department. In less popular circles, Blackberry OS, bada and Symbian do provide good performance on this front, but bada does not come on a device with hardware keyboards anymore, and buying Symbian-running hardware means putting money in Nokia's CEO and shareholders pockets, which I'm not interested in.


The main culprit isn't the smartphone OS, it's the 3g/4g radios. If you want your phone to last a weekend with texting and light web browsing, disable 3g. 3G+ enabled Symbian and Blackberry phones are not immune, although Blackberry has an inherent advantage in that it doesn't need to maintain a constant data connection if you're on a BIS/BES plan.

I spent a week in Cuba and brought my Nexus One to use for calls and texting, data wasn't an option so I disabled it. Phone went 5 days before I needed to charge. When I travel up to the cottage or somewhere for the weekend with my Galaxy Nexus, I set it to 2G which is sufficient for checking emails or light data use, and the battery will last the weekend.

I agree with your general point that smartphone battery life sucks in general, and while optimizing the OS can help, there's only so much that can be done when there are multiple radio transmitters of various types drawing juice from the battery constantly at a time when everybody seems to want slimmer and sleeker phones. Disabling those radios that aren't needed can work wonders.

Reply Score: 2

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

By most of your requirements, the discontinued HP Pre3 probably would have been right up your alley. That is the phone I have (bought one on eBay and used it to replace my BB).

I am quite happy with it - even knowing it is probably a dead-end as far as software goes. The one mark against it - doesn't seem very tough. I have not dropped it but I don't suspect it would survive many drops. The battery life isn't stellar, but it generally makes it through a weekend if you are mostly just using it for voice and email. It meets all your other requirements admirably though.

Edited 2012-03-22 18:32 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Really ? I had heard that battery life was one of the problems of the original Pre, have they managed to solve it in subsequent releases ?

Reply Score: 1

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

I wouldn't say the battery life is good, but it is definitely better than the pre/pre2. There is a utility called Govnah which lets you adjust the min/max clock speeds and a few other kernel settings which not only help the battery life, but make the phone perform much better when under load (i.e. it runs faster when your using it, but much slower when sleeping).

I routinely go 2 days without charging using this, but to be fair the phone spends most of that time on my home wifi and I mostly use it for email and SMS. I probably spend less than 15 minutes a day actually talking on the phone.

If you are hard on the phone (a lot of browsing, talk time), making through a whole weekend without a recharge would be pushing it.

Reply Score: 2

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

As much as I enjoy my Windows phone, I'm inclined to think you are totally clueless. From what little I've seen of ICS, I'd say Android has finally blown all the other mobile phone OSes out of the water. Thom's writeup only serves to strengthen that position in my eyes.

I'm going to be on the hunt for an ICS compatible off contract phone now.

Reply Score: 3

nej_simon Member since:
2011-02-11

And just stick to the Android phones from Google.

Or buy superior stuff like an iPhone or a Windows Phone.


So why would WP7 be superior to android? Last time i checked WP7 didn't support bluetooth file transfers, NFC, dual core CPU:s, keyboards, high resolution screens, tablets etc. IMO WP7 is way behind Android.

Reply Score: 2

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

WP7 is not so much superior/inferior, it's simply a different animal, just like iOS.

Just to clarify a few things from your post:

Dual core CPUs are coming with the next round of hardware, though so far I haven't seen the need. My single core 800MHz WP7 phone runs circles around a friend's dual core Tegra2 Motorola Photon with Gingerbread. He's desperately awaiting the official ICS release for his phone just to get rid of the bugs and sluggishness.

By "keyboards" I assume you mean Bluetooth keyboards and not, for example, the built in physical keyboard on my WP7 phone. Bluetooth keyboard support was inferred for the Mango update but was left out for some reason. I would love to see this, even though the physical board on my phone is great.

On a 3.6 inch screen, I can't imagine having a resolution higher than 800x480; the pixels are already impossible to distinguish without taking off my glasses and holding the screen two inches away. It appears as sharp to me as the iPhone 4 screen. That said, bigger screens with higher resolution are coming with the next hardware bump.

Tablets are the real target for Microsoft, and I'm curious to see how well the OS fits in that sweet spot between phone and desktop computer.

I'd say WP7 is a bit behind Android, but not "way behind" as you put it, as all the things you complained about are slated for the next release. If we were going to wait two more years then I could agree with you.

The biggest problem they have right now is marketing and market penetration in particular. Perhaps, if it lives up to expectations, WP8 will start gaining ground. If it takes a step backwards like Windows 8 has though, I doubt it will be sustainable.

Reply Score: 2

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Dual core CPUs are coming with the next round of hardware, though so far I haven't seen the need. My single core 800MHz WP7 phone runs circles around a friend's dual core Tegra2 Motorola Photon with Gingerbread. He's desperately awaiting the official ICS release for his phone just to get rid of the bugs and sluggishness.


Heh, you really picked the worst dual-core CPU to compare against. Tegra2 is so horribly memory-bandwidth starved that the GPU is hobbled beyond words. Even Tegra3 is memory-bandwidth starved, hobbling the GPU. Pick a dual-core SoC (even a lowly dual-1 GHz one) from just about anyone else, and you'll see a huge performance increase compared to Tegra2.

Reply Score: 2

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Fair enough, I only picked the Photon because I got to use it for the first time yesterday at work. From what I recall though, the HTC Arrive is almost exactly the same hardware as the HTC Evo Shift, and I've also played with one of those. I still feel that WP7 beats Android devices with the same or similar specifications, and gives more recent devices a run for their money.

And the best thing is, it has all this smoothness and speed without sacrificing battery life. That was the biggest draw for me personally, and it's a great feeling to be able to go two to three days without plugging in my charger. That means I'll get a longer overall life on the original battery, and keeps the resale value higher when it is time to upgrade.

Reply Score: 2

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Oh, I don't doubt that WP7 is smooth on the hardware it ships with. It's one of the benefits of controlling the hardware specs ... you can optimise the hell out of the software. ;) I've heard great things about the smoothness, fluidity, lag-free-ness, etc of WP7, and that the hardware is nothing special to speak of.

It's just trying to compare it to a crap SoC like Tegra2 is funny. ;) There are several single-core SoCs that beat the dual-core Tegra2 even in Android-land.

Reply Score: 2

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

And just stick to the Android phones from Google.

Or buy superior stuff like an iPhone or a Windows Phone.


Until Apple releases an iPhone with a hardware keyboard, they will remain the inferior option. Simple as that.

Haven't used a Windows Phone 7 device yet, but at least they offer the option of a hardware keyboard.

Unfortunately, the portrait keyboards on RIM devices are crap compared to a good landscape keyboard, so those devices will also remain inferior.

Oh? You don't need a hardware keyboard? Guess there's no such thing as "The One True Smartphone For Everyone".

IOW, everyone has different needs; thus everyone needs a different phone. So why bring up "the superior iPhone" when it's obviously not for everyone?

Reply Score: 2

VenomousGecko
Member since:
2005-07-06

Back in August there was an announcement that Steve Kondik, the founder of CyanogenMod, had joined Samsung. You may just get your wish after all, Thom.

<Edit> Adding links to sources

http://www.engadget.com/2011/08/16/cyanogenmod-founder-joins-samsun...

http://www.androidpolice.com/2011/08/15/steve-kondik-aka-cyanogen-j...

</Edit>

Edited 2012-03-18 22:02 UTC

Reply Score: 5

Absolutely.
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Sun 18th Mar 2012 22:05 UTC
Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:
2006-07-14

I'd also like to note that cyanogen himself ( Steve Kondik's nickname) is actually employed now by samsung.

http://www.theverge.com/2011/08/15/samsung-hires-cyanogenmod-founde...

They also sent over free galaxy II's to the cyanogenmod team. Which explains why the galaxy II was so quickly supported after release.

If the Galaxy Note was supported, I'd definitely bite.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Absolutely.
by MORB on Mon 19th Mar 2012 02:08 UTC in reply to "Absolutely. "
MORB Member since:
2005-07-06

I'd also like to note that cyanogen himself ( Steve Kondik's nickname) is actually employed now by samsung.

http://www.theverge.com/2011/08/15/samsung-hires-cyanogenmod-founde...

They also sent over free galaxy II's to the cyanogenmod team. Which explains why the galaxy II was so quickly supported after release.


Reading various comments from the people who are working on the SII port of CM9 it doesn't seem samsung actually provides much support to CM, if at all. They had to do quite a bit of reverse engineering to make things work. Samsung haven't released their ICS kernel sources yet, so CM9 have to use samsung's pre-built kernel from the official version of ICS.

Among other things, this is why they had lots of trouble to make video playback work, and why video recording still doesn't work.

As a SII owner myself, I'm just puzzled by what samsung did to their version of ICS. The hardware and physical design are fantastic, and then they ruin it by doing all ugly mess on top of ICS. They even go to the trouble of altering the default theme for no good reason, replacing stylish monochromatic icons with ugly multicolored ones, replacing the blue color with puke green, etc.

Samsung's version of ICS and their version of gingerbread before that both feel like they don't belong on that phone. CM9's look and feel is on the other hand a perfect match.

Too bad it's not just like that out of the box.

Edited 2012-03-19 02:11 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Absolutely.
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 19th Mar 2012 04:00 UTC in reply to "RE: Absolutely. "
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Yet there is a CM9 build for the galaxy II, and not for any recent Motorola phones . That isn't by chance. I understand Samsung doesn't do everything for the CM team, but it doesn't /hasn't done nothing either.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Absolutely.
by player911 on Mon 19th Mar 2012 17:55 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Absolutely. "
player911 Member since:
2012-03-19

Motorola has nothing to do with Samsung. If your wondering why Motorola has little dev support and no custom roms, perhaps you need to Google why no one likes Motorola.

*hint: because they lock and encrypt their bootloaders so developing isn't possible.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Absolutely.
by phoenix on Mon 19th Mar 2012 18:05 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Absolutely. "
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Motorola has nothing to do with Samsung. If your wondering why Motorola has little dev support and no custom roms, perhaps you need to Google why no one likes Motorola.

*hint: because they lock and encrypt their bootloaders so developing isn't possible.


Correction: developing isn't easy. Despite all the locks, encryption, and other crap that Motorola puts in the way, devs have found ways around them on just about every Moto Android device.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Absolutely.
by Moredhas on Mon 19th Mar 2012 20:34 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Absolutely. "
Moredhas Member since:
2008-04-10

People don't like Motorola because in the past ten years they haven't released a phone that doesn't fall apart in six months. My last (in both senses of the word) Motorola was the Motorola Backflip. I am insanely careful with my phones, compared to most people, and the hinge gave out on mine, which is apparently not a warranty issue. Mine lasted me a total of five months, nobody else I knew with a Backflip had theirs last more than four. Similarly, my customers' Milestones, Dexts and Backflips also lasted no more than six months. (To Americans, Milestones and Dexts may be better known as Droids and Cliqs).

Reply Score: 2

it was even better when nothing worked.
by stabbyjones on Sun 18th Mar 2012 22:31 UTC
stabbyjones
Member since:
2008-04-15

I ran off the experimental builds from December.

Video playback/capture crashed, GPS didn't work, there were only basic settings you could set. (Rotate didn't make it to the launcher till march.) I had hell with cell drop outs that required a reboot every few hours to restore.

It 'worked' but only if you could handle a heap of things not working. I went from stock to cm7 to cm9 and I couldn't go back after installing these builds.

By Feb pretty much everything was perfect for daily use and I've been on the same ROM since the start of March.

I will buy my next phone from any company that has the insight to roll with cyanogenmod. I thought Samsung would be close after hiring cyanogen but I guess I shouldn't hold my breath.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by agnus
by agnus on Sun 18th Mar 2012 22:55 UTC
agnus
Member since:
2006-05-10

"Differentiate with hardware instead."

That does not make sence from the manufacturer point of view. When you are Samsung you want your clients to interface with "Samsung" not "Google". Especially on touch screen devices, software is the king. If you depend on the stock "Google" interface you make your self vulnerable to competitors with higher manufacturing capacity willing to undercut you at the price level.

There is a reason why Apple is able to command such a high premium for their devices. It is the same reason Microsoft is thriving while PC hardware manufacturers are struggling.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by agnus
by JAlexoid on Mon 19th Mar 2012 01:16 UTC in reply to "Comment by agnus"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

I agree that it's their interest to keep their devices as much their own as possible.
Here, however, Samsung did not build on advancements over ICS. They did build on advancements in Honeycomb. Their TouchWiz is built over 1.x and 2.x style, like it or not. However Samsung's ICS ROM brings nothing from ICS. I just hope they will pick it up with later updates.

By now, I am rooting for Sony. Xperia S looks very nice and has a style that "clicks" with ICS.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by agnus
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 19th Mar 2012 04:06 UTC in reply to "Comment by agnus"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Differentiating by hardware *does* make sense for samsung, they are the largest manufacturers of OLED screens. The software they change to differentiate themselves makes their products worse, not better. This leaves them open to getting killed by another manufacturer that doesn't do anything else other than ship stock android. In the end they might all be screwed like the pc manufacturers, but making your product crappier than everyone elses just makes you into this generations packard bell.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by agnus
by dsmogor on Mon 19th Mar 2012 09:58 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by agnus"
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

Still they and even more intrusive HTC are the kings of Android, not Asus nor Acer nor Lenovo.
They know that without a software expertise they will not matter in the future. Too bad their aims and schedules are not aligned with Googles. Getting GSIII ready must suck most resources hence poor quality of ICS upgrades.
This actually makes the fact that the Note's update have been pushed back more comforting.

Edited 2012-03-19 09:59 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Comment by robojerk
by robojerk on Sun 18th Mar 2012 23:07 UTC
robojerk
Member since:
2006-01-10

There's too much temptation for handset manufacturers to get greedy. They see the walled garden approach Apple has done, and want to copy it. All they want from Google is Android compatibility. They don't want to be just hardware makers. Then add the greedy wireless companies bundling their software onto the handsets since they are the true customers of Samsung, HTC, MOTO, etc...

I hope that Google uses Motorola to make exceptional hardware that can marry with Google's software. However Google seems to be going through a growing phase where they aren't sure where they are going towards.

Reply Score: 7

RE: Comment by robojerk
by WorknMan on Mon 19th Mar 2012 03:55 UTC in reply to "Comment by robojerk"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

There's too much temptation for handset manufacturers to get greedy. They see the walled garden approach Apple has done, and want to copy it. All they want from Google is Android compatibility. They don't want to be just hardware makers. Then add the greedy wireless companies bundling their software onto the handsets since they are the true customers of Samsung, HTC, MOTO, etc...


This is right on point. For better or worse, if you try to differentiate on hardware, then Android phones become just like PCs, where margins are razor thin and its a race to the bottom. Plus, from what I've read, carriers demand the bloatware because they don't want to have a bunch of Android phones in their store running the exact same software, and looking/feeling the exact same way.

The unfortunate side effect of this is that the way most people experience Android is with all of this vendor bloatware and carrier crapware added to the OS, which is the equivalent of buying a new Windows PC that's loaded down with crapware, and has 20 different apps running in the system tray. And so of course they complain about how slow and laggy Android is, as compared with the smoothness of iOS. But if you do the Android equivalent of formatting the hard drive and reinstalling Windows from scratch, then it's fine. Hell, even Gingerbread on my Droid Incredible runs smooth as a baby's ass with CM7.1.

My point here is that you really shouldn't judge Android from an 'out of the box' configuration, unless you have a Nexus phone. But even then, a stock configuration pales in comparison with a custom rom like Codename or AOKP, and makes the iPhone look like a toy by comparison.. In other words, if you want to get the most out of Android, you really need to root and install a custom rom. Otherwise, if you're just going to use it like an iPhone, might as well just buy an iPhone, which is a great phone for tech tards, because 'it just works'. It's not nearly as functional as Android, but most people wouldn't know what to do with all of that power anyway ;)

Edited 2012-03-19 03:57 UTC

Reply Score: 3

CyanogenMod is not pure-ICS either
by JokeyRhyme on Sun 18th Mar 2012 23:53 UTC
JokeyRhyme
Member since:
2010-05-28

Just to clarify, CyanogenMod is not a stock Android 4.0.x ROM. They make modifications in the same way that manufacturers like Samsung and HTC do.

The difference is they stopped modifying the look 'n' feel of Google's Android (not since CyanogenMod lost the custom rounded status bar that it had in its pre-Froyo editions).

The CM team add functionality: their launcher of choice is typically more configurable than Google's, for example. They also fix bugs that aren't fixed upstream (although they do submit patches upstream to Google).

It takes the CM team weeks and sometimes months to take Google's AOSP source code and determine what the next CM will add.

I am a massive CM fan, and I'm glad I'm not running stock Android. CM is sort of like an "Android+": Google's UI with just a few more wisely-chosen options thrown in.

Reply Score: 3

AnythingButVista Member since:
2008-08-27

I agree. In fact CM is as bloated, if not more, than many manufacturer ROMs. Many will argue that CM's extra software is useful, but the truth is if you are looking to trim down the weight on your phone and actually have more storage space for software YOU really care about, them CM is not for you.

Reply Score: 2

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

System storage is separate from user app storage in Android. Thus, it really doesn't matter how "bloated" the Android system install is, as it will not affect the amount of storage for user apps (/system vs. /data partitions).

And, there are various apps available in the Market (Play) that allow you to partition your SDCard and use it as extended storage space for user apps (Link2SD for Xperia devices, for instance). Using these apps is better than the generic "Move to SD"/"App2SD" that comes with Android, as the extra partition is mounted as part of the OS, meaning you don't lose access to your apps when you connect to a PC via USB. ;)

Reply Score: 2

Miui V4
by CoolGoose on Mon 19th Mar 2012 05:58 UTC
CoolGoose
Member since:
2005-07-06

You may want to try miui v4 . They just got an "official" release for galaxy 2 and even if there are some samsung apps still in it's a completely different experience.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Miui V4
by Neolander on Mon 19th Mar 2012 07:16 UTC in reply to "Miui V4"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Each time I look at an MIUI review or video, it looks like an attempt to create an Android-based iOS clone for people who like the later but want to use the former, while keeping some platform-specific twists.

Do I get it right, or is there something more to it ?

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Miui V4
by CoolGoose on Mon 19th Mar 2012 07:29 UTC in reply to "RE: Miui V4"
CoolGoose Member since:
2005-07-06

Imho.it has some.nifty tricks by default like local.ftp.server on one.click and.overall it's a polished unified interface. I dob't care if.it looks ios'ish if it.does.it 's job well. (Yay for.the.dots from the android.keyboard)

Reply Score: 1

I disagree
by _xmv on Mon 19th Mar 2012 06:18 UTC
_xmv
Member since:
2008-12-09

As a CM9 contributor for the GT-I9000 and I9100 I disagree.
Yes, CM9 is cool. Yes it's as coherent and fast as AOSP, or maybe even a little more.

But no, Samsung does quite a bit of a job. GB was a very, very good release on the 9100. They freaking GPU accelerated EVERYTHING. 8 month before Google.

That's why the 9100 felt so smooth. That's what most of TW 4 is all about: under the hood stuff. The UI changes were subtle.

Now entering ICS... Samsung's under the hood changes had to be thrown away. A lot of diffing. A lot of porting back stuff. Mostly because, if customers were used to GB, they had to have a similar experience with ICS, or alienate all the "regular" users (aka not us, not the techies.)

It sux for us techies, and it sux in general, but that's the price to pay for the great GB release.

Thanksfully we're all free to install CM9 instead (which is far from stable for day to day use right now btw).

Reply Score: 8

RE: I disagree
by dsmogor on Mon 19th Mar 2012 10:13 UTC in reply to "I disagree"
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

And this is how Samsung differentiated by software. If they sticked to stock AOSP GSII wouldn't sell in 20m.
Now that ICS is good by itself getting pure may actually be tempting for other companies.

Reply Score: 2

Brilliant Work
by Lorin on Mon 19th Mar 2012 08:34 UTC
Lorin
Member since:
2010-04-06

Cynamogenmod always does quality work, sadly Samsung is lagging behind and is pretty consistent with poor software quality. To the one who mentioned Samsung having to go backward to deliver the same feeling on ICS as with Honeycomb, nonsense, ICS is different and is a radical departure from the past, if I wanted the same thing why would I want ICS? I want it because it is different.

Reply Score: 1

Stock ICS isn´t that bad
by rj3005 on Mon 19th Mar 2012 10:00 UTC
rj3005
Member since:
2012-03-19

Currently running Stock(+root) ICS on my SGS-II, until lasts week ICS release I ran CM9 for a while but it´s lacking important features (for me).

I´m have never been a fan of TW but personally I prefer the stock Samsung version (after installing Nova Launcher/Apex) as it´s fast, stable, TV out and FM radio do work and best of all my battery last forever now (currently after 25 hours of light use with all syncs on I still have 76% battery left)

It´s not more than logical that Samsung didn´t change the look and feel much, the SGS-II is a consumer device with most of the millions of users completely unaware of different Android versions. If their device prompts them an update notification will accept it (or not) but would be completely lost if their phone suddenly works totally different. (Do you think MS would ever push an automatic update on W7 that transforms your desktop to Metro-style?)

I do hope handset manufactures one day offer an option between AOSP and Skinned (on first boot, or in settings) but till that day don´t expect existing consumer phone completely changes style/functionality each time Google releases a mayor version.

Reply Score: 1

Too complicated
by pandronic on Mon 19th Mar 2012 11:27 UTC
pandronic
Member since:
2006-05-18

I've always found the whole Android modding thing too complicated. For example, now my SGS is kinda bricked. What did I do, you ask? Well I rooted it using cf-root, which worked fine and then installed Cyanogenmod 7.1 via the CWM included with cf-root, following the official instructions to the letter. The result? A never-ending boot cycle. WTF!?

Now, I look forward to wasting a few days reading random bits of information from the xda forums until I figure out how to undo what the hell I have done.

What pisses me off about Android is the fact that while the hardware and choice are fantastic, the default software is shit unless you buy a Nexus Phone, and some mods may be great if you have the time, patience and technical know-how to find and understand all the random bits of information spread across the internet. And to think that all I wanted is the vanilla Android experience ... I'm so disappointed.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Too complicated
by Morgan on Mon 19th Mar 2012 12:13 UTC in reply to "Too complicated"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I'm not familiar with that specific phone so this may not work for you, but something that worked for my Nook when it had the same reboot loop was to prepare a fresh CWM bootable SD card with a CM 7.1 stable image stored on it. Reboot to the card, wipe cache and data, reboot, wipe again, reboot and install the OS image. Remove the card and reboot one last time and you should see a robot on a skateboard again.

I only ever had to do that wacky procedure once, and I discovered it by accident when my Nook was stuck in a reboot loop and no one had an easy fix. I have no idea why wiping twice fixed it, but I'm sure that was what did it. Wiping once and installing the OS kept me in the loop; wiping twice did the trick. All I know is the Nook now makes for a great, if highly quirky, cheap tablet with CM7.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Too complicated
by pandronic on Mon 19th Mar 2012 12:35 UTC in reply to "RE: Too complicated"
pandronic Member since:
2006-05-18

Thanks for the info, I'll have a look to see if I can find anything similar for my phone. Luckily, the Samsung Galaxy S I9000 is a pretty popular phone, so there's a lot of information about it. Eventually, I'll stumble onto something helpful ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Too complicated
by Timmmm on Mon 19th Mar 2012 13:50 UTC in reply to "Too complicated"
Timmmm Member since:
2006-07-25

I think the problem is the XDA-developers forum. The forum software is awful and there is no way to filter the wheat from the chaff. The signal-to-noise ratio is appalling.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Too complicated
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 19th Mar 2012 13:58 UTC in reply to "RE: Too complicated"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I think the problem is the XDA-developers forum. The forum software is awful and there is no way to filter the wheat from the chaff. The signal-to-noise ratio is appalling.


Hell yes, agreed. The XDA forums are chock full of useful information, but loads of people spam the boards with inaccurate nonsense or plain rudeness. Very unproductive.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Too complicated
by phoenix on Mon 19th Mar 2012 16:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Too complicated"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

I agree. There's a lot of how-to threads, but the first posts don't always get updated, which means slogging through 11+ pages of "doesn't work; try this; hmm, try this; okay this works; update, now it doesn't work; etc" trying to find the current steps that actually work.

There's almost too much information in xda-forums. They really need to separate the forums into "how-tos that are kept current", "discussion threads about the how-tos", and then everything else. Having it all mixed together like it is now is doing more harm than good. ;)

Reply Score: 4

RE: Too complicated
by vodoomoth on Mon 19th Mar 2012 14:14 UTC in reply to "Too complicated"
vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30

Your experience looks very much like the one I've had this past week-end (but on the desktop platform) with Debian Squeeze, Kubuntu 11.10 & 10.10 and PC-BSD. I just wanted to install another OS alongside my Windows 7, in the simplest fashion possible, i.e. without having to delve into config files. After 4 CD/DVD burnings and 7 failed installation attempts, I ended up giving up.

Reply Score: 2

But does everything *really* work?
by Timmmm on Mon 19th Mar 2012 13:49 UTC
Timmmm
Member since:
2006-07-25

the only thing not working was video recording


I find that hard to believe. In CM7 for example the following things did not work:

* HDMI/MHL output
* Touch to focus in the camera
* Wifi scanning (wifi in general was unreliable)
* Volume control (on headphones the range was wrong)
* General stability (phone hard-froze on many occasions)
* Gyroscope was miscalibrated (reported values 2-3x too big)

If they've fixed all those things, that's pretty good!

Reply Score: 2

Comment by AlekosPanagulis
by AlekosPanagulis on Mon 19th Mar 2012 14:11 UTC
AlekosPanagulis
Member since:
2012-03-19

I'm a fan of CM, using since cm7 alpha on my previous i9000. I agree with Thom Holwerda in most of this article. I had the same thought the first time i tried a CM build. But, unfortunately, there is something so important that Cyano team can't give us: a good battery management. All CM builds (including the official Cm7 for i9000, and of course CM9 for i9100) suffer of a crazy drain battery when 3g mobile data are activated. I've been waiting for a fix, but improvements are very little and they will be always little.

Reply Score: 1

There's not much they can do
by bowkota on Mon 19th Mar 2012 14:41 UTC
bowkota
Member since:
2011-10-12

It's high time Android vendors stop with all the customising, and just ship plain CM on their (future) devices. Differentiate with hardware instead.


There's only so much these vendors can do to differentiate amongst themselves. The form factor of smartphones (and tablets as an extension) is fairly simple. Rectangular large screen, thin bezel and a few hardware buttons. There's not much leeway here, especially when these manufacturers are releasing new phones every month.

The only thing they can do is differentiate on software in order to compete. I get that, what I don't get is how can they be so bad at it?

Reply Score: 2

CyanogenMod rocks
by nej_simon on Mon 19th Mar 2012 14:55 UTC
nej_simon
Member since:
2011-02-11

I replaced the firmware on my galaxy with CyanogenMod a while back. Not only is it a lot faster than the stock firmware but it's also less buggy.

For ex. the GPS never worked with any official firmware from samsung, it simply wouldn't lock on my posistion. Samsung must know about this problem, it's very common (just google "galaxy gps problem")! After flashing cyanogenMod 7.2 it finally started working! Wifi is also more stable now. With the stock firmware I had to reboot the phone occasionally to get the wifi working. Not anymore.

It seems samsung did a really crap job with this firmware.

Reply Score: 1

Not an engineering problem
by fretinator on Mon 19th Mar 2012 16:04 UTC
fretinator
Member since:
2005-07-06

The question all this raises is a rather straightforward one: how is it possible that a group of open source engineers can create this wonderful package that Samsung, despite all its resources, technical documentation, and inside knowledge of their own device, can't even come close to? What the heck are they doing back in South Korea?

I don't believe there is anything wrong with the Samsung engineers. The difference is the focus. The open-source engineer has a single purpose - how can I produce the best build - the best combination of features and stability. The Samsung engineer is fulfilling the purposes of the Business unit and the Marketing unit. There purpose is to generate the largest revenue possible. To accomplish this additional goal gives 2 additional requirements to the Samsung engineer:

1. Differentiation - it is imperative that the Samsung device (or HTC, etc) be different. If all manufactures release identical devices, it is harder to Market. Samsung wants to stand out. Of course, I think this could be done with excellent hardware, service, etc. But Business folks love to see cool, flashy animations, etc.

2. Third-party - the Samsung engineers must allow all kinds of third-party application to be integrated into the build. These folks pay money to be there.

Thus, the Samsung engineers have to do what they do.

For users, it means we have to live with wierd add-on home screens and applications we will never use, but can't be removed.

Apple owns the whole chain so they do not have this problem. Microsoft has solved this problem by specifying exactly what a Windows Phone device will be and the OEM's aren't allowed to mess it up. I wish Google would do the same, but the cat is out of the bag.

This is the price of the open eco-system of Android. Then again, it is this open system that enables us to have the custome ROM's.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Not an engineering problem
by AlekosPanagulis on Mon 19th Mar 2012 17:43 UTC in reply to "Not an engineering problem"
AlekosPanagulis Member since:
2012-03-19

Thank you for this lucid explanation.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Not an engineering problem
by earlycj5 on Wed 21st Mar 2012 03:42 UTC in reply to "Not an engineering problem"
earlycj5 Member since:
2007-04-12

I keep seeing "Differentiation" as a reason.

Why is it then that PC manufacturers that sell MS Windows sell PCs based on hardware specs and when you start it up you can expect to see the same "Start" button in the lower left corner, the same system tray on the right, etc.?

Why is this OK for them but not phone manufacturers?

Reply Score: 1

Little later to the game :P
by kejar31 on Mon 19th Mar 2012 18:32 UTC
kejar31
Member since:
2006-01-08

Wow thom, are you just rooting and putting ROM's on your phone for the first time ;)

anyways you should checkout a few other ROM's while you are at it... AOKP is a great ROM and Romanbb is a really cool guy.. My ROM will be coming to the SG2 shortly as well (Gummy) so I hope you take the time to check it out as well ;)

Edited 2012-03-19 18:33 UTC

Reply Score: 0

AOKP
by siimo on Mon 19th Mar 2012 20:59 UTC
siimo
Member since:
2006-06-22

I prefer AOKP to Cyanogenmod. Although both are very similar.

http://i.imgur.com/4qlR0.png

Edited 2012-03-19 21:00 UTC

Reply Score: 2

flashed this last night for fun
by stabbyjones on Tue 20th Mar 2012 02:03 UTC
stabbyjones
Member since:
2008-04-15

Here are links to the rom and extras I had to do to make the samsung firmware usable. After you've got the rom installed you can still install trebuchet/etc while still being able to keep samsung programs.

A bonus for this is the chrome beta actually works when compared to CM9.

official firmware (lpq with root)
http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1544487

stock ics lockscreen (last post on page 5)
http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1538828&page=5

Statusbar/ui
http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1443498

trebuchet launcher
http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1410674

Reply Score: 2

Huawei
by Priest on Tue 20th Mar 2012 04:40 UTC
Priest
Member since:
2006-05-12

What does a company like Huawei for instance have to lose by shipping a phone with the standard Android software?

It seems like every phone manufacturer should have a "Nexus" version of their current hardware product line.

Reply Score: 3