the itjerk

my adventures with technology

Tag Archives: Android

uh-oh, what bricked my nexus 5X usb

I did the July 5th, 2016 Security Update for my Nexus 5X running Marshmallow 6.01 and guess what – no usb connection. The phone charges when connected, but no USB menu when I swipe down from the top. My better half also happens to have the same phone, which with the same cable still connects to the same computer. Her Android security patch level? June 1, 2016.

Called Google to tell them yet all they wanted to do was a factory reset. Oh the woes of level 1 support…

Screenshot_20160712-212941

Ends up that I did finally backup my phone to my google drive and do the factory reset.  USB still not working so thank goodness my phone was still under warranty. Replacement on the way. So what bricked the USB? Bad cable? Bad USB port? Or was it that security patch? I’m thinking I need a warranty…

Update: USB still not working with the replacement phone, so Google is sending me another!

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nexus 5x

New phone time! It’s been three years of 3G phone service on my Nexus 4, so I wasted no time to pre-order Google’s Nexus 5X when it was announced a few weeks ago. Offering LTE service was the main reason to make the purchase ($349), but having a new “modern” phone was the real enticement. The phone is again made by LG, and while the specs aren’t that amazing (those are reserved for the pricier Nexus 6P), they present an upgrade in processor, screen resolution, and significantly, camera from my old phone. Let’s face it, our phones OUR are cameras!

unnamed

I did have to walk down to my local T-Mobile store to purchase ($15) a nano SIM card in order to activate my phone, and I’ll need to replace all my USB cables with “c” type in order to connect/charge it with my computers. Speaking of which, there’s a menu now to select what type of connection you want when you connect the phone to a computer:

Screenshot_20151021-092828

The Nexus 5X has the latest Android, Marshmallow 6.0, which wanted to update itself immediately upon starting the phone. I was impressed with the lack of crap-ware preloaded on the phone, and having an extra 8GB of storage is great for my use. The fingerprint sensor took me a little bit to get my head around exactly how it works, but it works like a charm. After scanning a fingerprint and entering another security method for backup (if your fingerprint doesn’t work, or for another user), you just touch the senor on the back of the phone and viola! the phone is both on and unlocked. As one who hasn’t every used a lock on my phone because of the hassle of entering it, this is indeed an upgrade.

Anyway, I chose to install everything from scratch (and not transfer devices) because a clean start is great. But with Google Play, going to My Apps and the All tab shows what apps you’ve put on your other devices.

I received my $50 Google Play credit received three days later, and purchased a case from Amazon. All set.

On the web:
Nexus 5X at iFixit

lollipop battery issue

Upgraded my Nexus 4 smartphone to Android 5.0, aka Lollipop. Not without issues, especially some app that’s draining the battery, take a look:

Screenshot_2014-11-26-19-30-53

On the web:

https://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=80950

https://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=79907

ubuntu edge

It's a tall order to crowdfund a very high-end smartphone, especially when the goal is $32,000,000 – yes, that's 32 million dollars. But why expect anything less than stunning from Ubuntu? The idea is "to provide a low-volume, high-technology platform" device, namely the Ubuntu Edge. It will run (the very latest?) Android OS out of the box, but soon after launch (and through a planned update) the phone will provide the so-called integrated Ubuntu experience, "seamlessly between the two environments" of your desktop and smartphone. Here's Mark Shuttleworth:

The fun begins in mid-2014, but funding must be met by August 22nd 2013. I'm in! Please visit:

On the web:
Ubuntu Edge Indiegogo

Update 08/22/12 – Funding, while achieving $12,814,196, did not reach the intended goal. Next…

google nexus 4

T-Mobile recently came out with the "un-plan" – no contract and unlimited talk/text and data (up to 500MB at 4G) for only $50 a month. Considering I was paying $49.99 for considerably less service, it was a very good "upgrade" for me. It also coincided with my two year anniversary with my old LG Optimus-T. A good phone, it was getting a little long in the tooth, especially once I started using my Google Nexus 7 tablet, which features Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean).

I purchased the Nexus 4 from Google direct, and the number one reason for my choice was price: $299 for the 8GB model (which was really $341 by the time it got to my door). No contract, no monthly payment, no waiting for an anniversary, I straight up bought the phone. It's comparable in features to the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One and probably even iPhone 5, but make no mistake, price was the deciding factor. The phone is made by LG, and known as their LG E960. You can read all about it's features at the link below.

And after two years with the Optimus-T, yes, I did have a change of heart with "cheap phones". So, yes, I did pay a fair amount for the Nexus 4. Maybe it's because of the Nexus 7, or maybe the maturity of the Android operating system, but cheap phones don't cut it anymore. I wanted a phone that can do everything, quickly, and I want the full-features of a top-of-the-line phone. Nexus 4 fit the bill.

Ordered over the weekend, it arrived to my door by Wednesday. I was eager to set it up, but that quickly was dashed when I realized that I needs a micro-sim card, and not the regular sim (Subscriber Identity Module) card from my old phone. I called T-Mobile and they assured me that I could go to a local T-Mobile store and they'd replace mine, without charge. Good thing he put a note in my account record, as the guy at the store first quoted me $30 for one (which was more than the $22 the guy on the phone quoted!).

Okay, got the new micro-sim card, used the tool to stick it in the Nexus 4, and then had to call T-Mobile to get it activated. Was a little disappointed when the rep asked for the sim number, as the guy at the store didn't give me the card the sim was mounted to (requiring me to take it out of the phone and squint like crazy to read the numbers).

When I started the phone, it immediately asked me if I wanted to sign into my Google account, and have Google manage my phone backup. I happily did, and after downloading a ton of stuff (yes, I was on Wi-Fi), most every app that was installed on my Nexus 7 tablet was now installed on my phone! I suppose you can argue whether that's a good thing or not, or about privacy concerns with having everything linked to the big G, but what's the point? It's just too easy.

I had a favorite ringtone (Neu's Euphoria) on my old phone, but when I plugged the Nexus 4 into my computer running Ubuntu 12.04 LTS to copy the mp3 file, it didn't mount. That's because the Nexus 4 uses MTP (Media Transfer Protocol). Fortunately, it was an easy fix, I just installed the Gnome virtual file system and rebooted.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:langdalepl/gvfs-mtp
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Now, if I would have only known to copy the file to the Ringtones folder on the Nexus 4…

On the web:
Nexus 4 Tech Specs

google nexus 7 tablet

On order. I'd been contemplating one of the $100 Chinese tablets that run ICS, but considering the price of Google's own tablet, with the fact that it's got great hardware (Quad core TEGRA proc, 1280×800 graphics) and some seriously engineering on the firmware (Jelly Bean), AND despite its lack of i/o (no HDMI, no microSD), I sprang. Watch this space.

On the web:
Goolge Nexus 7

archos child pad

"ARCHOS Announces the Availability of the Child Pad, a 7" ICS "Alvin and the Chipmunks 3" Themed Tablet for Kids. The colorful chipmunk themed Child Pad provides kid's with a safe and fun tablet experience only for $129.99"

More an more tablets are breaking the iPad price barrier and getting below the $200 mark. Archos, well-known electronic-maker, adds this Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich "Child Pad" (probably a rebranded Archos 70) to the mix. It's a real (little) tablet and the specs are the specs (see below). More apps (and hopefully a new theme) can be had from the AppsLib, which I know nothing about!

Do I spring for one? There's no Kindle app, and similar spec'd tablets can be found for under $100 (why pay for chipmunk licensing???), so probably not.

Tech Specs 
Capacity • Flash memory: 4 GB* • Expandable via micro SDHC Slot 
Operating system • ANDROID 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich 
Processor • ARM Cortex A8 @ 1 GHz 
RAM • 1 GB 
Display • 7 inch - Resistive screen, TFT LCD, 16 million colors • 800 x 480 screen resolution 
Video Playback • H.264 up to 1080p resolution  30 fps • .avi .mp4 ,mkv, .mov, and .flv 
Audio Playback1 • MP3, WAV, APE, OGG, FLAC 
Photo viewer3 • JPEG, BMP, GIF, PNG 
Interfaces  Micro USB slave 2.0: Mass Storage Class (MSC) • Micro SD slot (SDHC compatible) Up to 32 GB 
Communication protocols • WiFi (802.11 b/g/n) 
Miscellaneous • Front camera • Built-in speaker • Microphone • G-sensor 
Power source • Internal: Lithium Polymer battery • USB Power Adapter 
Dimensions & weight • 223 mm x 142 mm x 12.2 mm - 380 g 
Compatibility • Microsoft® Windows® 7, Vista, XP, or higher, Mac OS or Linux in mass storage mode 
Computer Interface • USB 2.0 interface 
Package includes • ARNOVA ChildPad, USB cable, USB Power adapter, Quick Start Guide (QSG)

On the web:
Child Pad
AppsLib

ainovo paladin 7.0 ics tablet

Here it is, the Ainovo (thank god for the name change), MIPS-based tablet that features Android 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich. It's a sub-$100 tablet.

On the web:
Ainovo

kindle apps, developer notes

This just in from Engadget:
"For instance, Amazon says it will review every app in its Appstore for Fire compatibility, as part of an automated process. Rejected apps, Amazon informs us, will include those that rely on a gyroscope, camera, WAN module, Bluetooth, microphone, GPS, or micro SD. Apps are also forbidden from using Google's Mobile Services (and in-app billing), which, if included, will have to be "gracefully" removed. In terms of actual content, Amazon has outlawed all apps that change the tablet's UI in any way (including theme- or wallpaper-based tools), as well as any that demand root access (it remains to be seen how the company will treat the root-dependent apps already in its store)."

Um, doesn't really sound like an Android device, does it?

On the web:
Amazon Appstore Developer Portal

amazon kindle fire

From the kindle, comes the fire. As the tech world so accurately predicted, Jeff Bezos introduced Amazon's newest addition to the Kindle family today. And as predicted, it was a 7" color Android tablet for less than $300. The Kindle Fire is very much an Amazon tablet however as it has no access to the Google Apps. Not surprising, as the tablet is certainly meant to connect to Amazon for all its services: Amazon Prime for video, Amazon MP3 store and Cloud Drive for music, Kindle Store for books, Amazon Apps for Angrybirds, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and all the Android apps that Amazon approves of. It's web browser is one Amazon Silk, and reportedly uses the power of Amazon's massive EC2 Cloud to boost browsing speeds. The price, at $199, is amazing low, in fact, lower than predicted.

Here's the specs:
OS: Android 2.3, heavily modified
Display: 7" multi-touch display 1024 x 600 IPS panel, Gorilla Glass coating
Processor: 1GHz TI OMAP dual-core CPU with 512MB RAM
Size: 7.5" x 4.7" x 0.45" (190 mm x 120 mm x 11.4 mm).
Weight: 14.6 ounces (413 grams).
System Requirements: None, because it's wireless and doesn't require a computer.
On-device Storage: 8GB internal.
Cloud Storage: Free cloud storage for all Amazon content
Battery Life: Up to 8 hours of continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback, with wireless off.
Charge Time: Fully charges in approximately 4 hours via power adapter. Also supports USB.
Wi-Fi Connectivity: 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n
USB Port: USB 2.0 (micro-B connector)
Audio: 3.5 mm stereo audio jack, top-mounted stereo speakers.
Content Formats Supported: Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, non-DRM AAC, MP3, MIDI, OGG, WAV, MP4, VP8.

The big question however is what kind of tablet computer is the Kindle Fire. It's certainly no iPad killer, but that probably wasn't the point. Obviously, the device is the perfect gateway for Amazon selling content to you; why, it's probably even subsidized by the fact that Amazon's banking on the user buy content from them. It is reasonably priced, comfortably portable, and from the looks of it, extremely functional. But is it worth buying if you're not interested in any of Amazon's content? Is the Kindle Fire a real Android tablet? Or is it an Amazon slot machine?

On the web:
Kindle Fire from Amazon