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Motorola Defy

My wife’s phone was due for an upgrade (which is handy, as her old phone, a Nokia 6600i, had recently stopped working due to water and toddler damage). As the phone had taken a bit of a battering before finally giving up, my research led me to believe that the Motorola Defy would be the best smartphone to choose (my wife wanted a smartphone for easily checking Facebook/Twitter). The Defy’s selling point is that it’s built to be rugged – it is apparently water resistant to a metre (plenty of reviews I read showed a video of the phone under a running tap). Here’s a video of the phone working whilst submerged:

The phone also has a tough case and Gorilla glass, so hopefuly it will be a bit more child-proof than the last one!

Initially the phone is set up with Motorola’s MotoBlur UI, but I installed LauncherPro and a few other choice applications. I have to say that despite the Defy not being as powerful as the Galaxy S, I didn’t see any slow down or problems with performance whilst setting up the phone. The screen is very nice and detailed. The only real problem is that it’s still running Android 2.1, and 2.2 (Froyo) hasn’t yet been released for the Defy although it is apparently in the pipeline. I’m not going to root or hack the phone as it’s my wife’s and she doesn’t really need it doing to suit her purposes, so we’ll wait for the official Froyo download.

As a ‘budget’ Android phone I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Defy, it’s extra toughness make it ideal for people who want a phone that they don’t need to handle with kid gloves!

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World War thoughts and tips

I’ve been playing World War for quite a while now. I’m now up to level 42, but have been camping at this level for quite a while trying to build up my income and defences which are very low for a level 42. My previous gameplan had simply been to level up quickly by completing the missions, but now I find myself under attack from people who have leveled up slowly. It’s quite frustrating not being able to level up quickly but this is the way the game has been designed so I have no alternative.

So my current gameplan is this:

  • Build as many income-related buildings as possible
  • Add to my defence (both units and buildings) when possible
  • Keep my health as low as possible (below 27) so that other people can’t attack me. I do this by checking the game frequently, and whenever my health is above 27 I try and attack people on the sanctioned list. I’m not doing too badly at this, I tend to kill the person about 10-20% of the time which can be fairly lucrative.

I’m sure there are better gameplans which involve camping at the lower levels, but I really don’t want to start the game again, so this will have to suffice. I’ve been using a calculator (I’ve got an app called World War Calculator) which works out which building you should buy next based on the return on investment or value for money.

Update: If anyone wants an ally, add me – my code is XAAQFD. I’m now at level 60, earning 600 million an hour – just from continually adding income buildings. It’s also definitely worth building up your defensive buildings, as I can’t remember the last time anyone was able to beat me in a battle.

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baconreader alpha test starts on 12th April

The developers of baconreader have just announced that there will be an alpha test starting on 12th April. baconreader promises to be a new Android app for reading reddit. The app will have the following features:

  • A widget to display stories on your home page.
  • A sleek interface.
  • A simple and intuitive news layout.
  • Share, hide and save options are just one touch away.
  • Quick navigation.
  • Colour coded comment threading.
  • Contextual post replies.
  • Article and image previews.

Many more features will be added before the app is released. I’m very interested in this app and have already signed up for the alpha test at baconreader.com. Here is the video from the baconreader website explaining more.

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Angry Birds Seasons updated with St. Patrick’s Day levels

This morning I found an update waiting for Angry Birds Seasons. A whole new section with 15 levels has been added to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day which is next week (17th March).

Angry Birds Seasons St. Patrick's Day homepage

This update is free for Android users, although it still contains adverts similar to previous versions of Angry Birds for Android. The levels now feature pigs with leprechaun hats, clover leaves and pots of gold (stereotypical much?)

First level of Angry Birds St. Patrick's Day edition

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reddit is fun Android app

reddit is a news website where users submit links which are rated up or down according to how interesting they are. As such, it is a great place to find breaking news on a wide variety of subjects. However, viewing it on a mobile isn’t that good, but now I’ve discovered the reddit is fun app.

reddit is fun homepage
The app makes it much simpler to view the articles and comments posted on the site. It’s also possible to view subreddits:

reddit is fun subreddits
For now I’m using this to read reddit, but I am interested in an alternative app currently under development called baconreader which looks very promising.

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Google remotely removing malicious apps from Android phones

The Android Market recently suffered from a problem where some malicious developers took existing applications, inserted dodgy code into them then re-uploaded them to the Market. These apps have now been removed from the Market. The problem only affected users who were running a version of Android less than version 2.2.2 but this is still a large number of people.

Interestingly, in addition to this Google have activated a remote killswitch which removes the malicious apps from affected phones. Whilst in this instance it seems like a good idea, what happens in the future if Google decides that they don’t like Angry Birds, for instance, and removed that from everyone’s phone? I wonder if there is any way of preventing this from happening…

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Motorola Xoom due for release in April

Motorola’s new Android based tablet, the Xoom, has been getting excellent reviews from those who’ve spent time with it. UK retailers have now started taking pre-orders for the device, with an estimated release date of the first week in April. The Wi-Fi only version is exclusive to PC World and Currys and will cost £499.99. The 3G + Wi-Fi version is exclusive to Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy and will cost £599.99 sim-free.

Motorola Xoom
Motorola's Xoom (picture taken from Engadget)

The tablet has some very impressive specifications. It is the first to run Android v3 (Honeycomb) which is optimised for devices with large screens. It has a dual-core CPU, 1GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage and a 10.1″ screen with 1280×800 resolution. It also has front and rear facing cameras.

Personally, if I had to choose between an iPad 2 and a Xoom, I would go for the Xoom – the iPad 2 for me hasn’t added enough to the original iPad, whereas the Xoom seems as futureproof as it’s possible to be in the technology industry (i.e. not very).

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Blogger for Android

I previously wrote an article about AndroBlogger, an Android app for updating a Blogger page. However, for one reason or another this app is no longer available on the Android Market. I have a feeling that the reason for this is the introduction of an official Google app, called simply Blogger.

The app is no-frills, but is more than adequate for my needs. It allows me to add a new blog post, with pictures or links if required. Whilst it’s a little slower writing on my phone than on a proper computer keyboard, there isn’t really much else to complain about.

Blogger for Android

I’ve made a few blog posts now using this and the only problem I’ve had is when trying to attach a picture, then changing my mind and deleting it, the post wouldn’t publish because it couldn’t find the picture that I had already removed from the post. I got around this by copying the text into a new blog post, but it was a minor annoyance.

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Android version 2.3 (Gingerbread) leaked for Samsung Galaxy S

A beta build of Gingerbread for the Samsung Galaxy S has been leaked and is available to download (some details here). As this is only a beta it’s not recommended to install on your phone, I’m going to wait until an official ROM is released and available on RomKitchen. Samsung have announced that the official Gingerbread build will be released sometime in March, so we shouldn’t have long to wait.

Gingerbread will offer some benefits over Froyo, such as one-touch word selection, a new keyboard, better battery life and built-in VoIP support.