Material Design in Android 5: Lollipop

Nice use of natural materials

All my Nexus devices have been updated to Android 5: Lollipop and I’m getting use to the changes.

My old 2012 Nexus 7 was first to be upgraded, about a week after the release of Lollipop. Then a week and half later my Nexus 5 was upgraded. I thought the Nexus 5 would be first honestly.

The Nexus 7 had problems, the upgrade was fine but it got really really slow afterwards.  I wiped the cache a few times and that helped but after a day of use, it would go back to super slow. In the end I had to wipe the whole device and just start a fresh. Luckily Google made the process much quicker and easier. Using NFC on my Nexus 5, it sets up an adhoc network and transfers most of the settings across. Only real issue is setting up all the individual apps.

Android 5 is actually really nice, its like the jump from Android 2: GIngerbread to Android 4: Icecream sandwich (we don’t talk about Android 3: Honeycomb). Icecream sandwich’s Halo interface was great and to be honest Material design is a little weird to get use to. But you get use to it and the way it works. In actual fact the interaction design of the interface is well thought out.

I basically think of everything being pieces which are viewed from a top down view. The shadows help with this and the motion makes things very clear. My own gripe is the flat colours but the edge to edge pictures help break things up quite a bit. I would say its not as revolutionary as the Windows Metro interface but its smarter and is a lot clearer.

Quite interesting when you look at the other human interfaces guidelines in software.

Facebook try again

No Facebook Home for the Galaxy S IV

I un-installed Facebook home from my HTC One X recently, and it sounds like I’m not the only one.

The European launch of the “Facebook phone” has been delayed following disappointing US sales and negative feedback. The HTC handset runs Facebook’s enhanced Home software, designed to be more integrated into the smartphone than a normal app. UK mobile operator EE confirmed that “following customer feedback” the Europe launch had been stalled.

For me Facebook home was interesting but I really don’t use Facebook enough to really make use of it. Its also a bit of a hog when it comes to resources of the phone. Once again I’d like to upgrade to Android 4.2 for daydream or maybe try one of the other more interesting launchers.

The HTC One X reviewed

HTC 1x

People have been asking me for a review of the 1X phone since I mentioned getting it last Wednesday.

This won’t be a complete review because I haven’t really gone through the features and the like yet. To be honest I only just moved everything across and set it up on Friday. Engadget has a complete review too…


The HTC 1x is seriously an amazing phone! But it does have flaws…

Right off the bat, the battery life is poor. So far its lasted just over a day before needing power. Because I’m use to doing this for my old HTC Desire, I tend to be not far from power or armed with some kind of USB cable. What bugs me is the HTC 1x doesn’t have user removable battery meaning I can’t carry around a spare battery like I know some of my friends do for there phones.

I’m hoping the battery life won’t get worst because if it does then, wow! I know some of you are saying, well what do you expect for a quad core phone? And maybe your right, but coming from a single core its a small shock, specially on a brand new phone? Update – Looks like there might be an unofficial fix

On the other side, it charges extremely quickly. Which means my Powermonkey thing should keep it powered up when no plug or usb is near.

The size of the device is just right for my large hands, but what scares me is its so bloody light it feels like I could crush it. Worst still I keep checking my pocket to make sure it hasn’t fallen out because I’m so use to feeling weight in the pocket. Its so light I was able to put it in my shirt pocket while shopping the other day and almost forget it was there. There wasn’t even a noticeable weight in the pocket, although you could just about see it because of its sheer size.

I can’t explain to people how light it really is…! Compared to my desire it feels like half the weight and compared to a iphone 4 it feels much lighter. A iphone owner said it feels cheap based on its weight. But feeling how strong it actually is, I would disagree.

I was lucky enough to get the black 1x not the white one and to be honest it truly looks the business. Everything is beautiful about it, including the micro drilled holes for the speakers front and rear. The multicolour led is pin sharp meaning you can spot it from across the room but also makes my HTC desire’s status light look like a 60w bulb.

I have noticed it get quite warm when charging first time, not noticed it getting warm since.

The sheer size does mean your typing with your phone a lot but its fine with it. Although I’d like to have a decent keyboard as the HTC sense one is pants.

It does come with Android 4.0 or Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box which is really strange. I’m so use to Android 2.3 gingerbread it feels odd coming away from it. On top of that, I’ve gotten a little use to Android 3.2 honeycomb from my Samsung Tab 7+. So I’m in that strange cross over point between all the different versions. For example not having a menu key is bizarre and I keep wondering if I’m missing something.

Photo to unlock seemed like a joke, but I have enabled it and when in decent light it works very well. So well I wasn’t even sure it was working correctly. I tried holding a picture up of me and it didn’t work btw. Mainly because its so quick and if it doesn’t recognise you or the conditions are bad it switches over to the pattern lock in seconds. Google really made the whole thing work extremely smoothly!

Software wise, I’m very tempted to root the phone and put stock ICS on it! Everytime I look at the HTC sense desktop it winds me up that I can only have 4 icons in a row! On my Desire with a much smaller amount of screen resolution I could do 5 or even 6 under cyanogenmod 7. The HTC 1x has a incredible resolution (yes it looks incredible!) but its wasted because HTC limit its capability. However there are some good things about HTC Sense 4, including Dropbox, Evernote, Flickr, etc support (although I still had to download the actual apps?). I was also happy to see the ability to use as a USB drive, Wifi Hotspot and USB tether device put in by Orange. Although I’ve not tried the wifi hotspot with my Kindle or Tab 7+ yet (which was the sticking point before and is now…).

Ice Cream Sandwich has some amazing features including the ability to track exactly how much data each app is using over a month. You can even set your limits which is handy for those on lesser data plans.

So would I recommend this phone to other people? No I wouldn’t. Its a dream phone for many people but its sheer size and the battery issues make it hard to recommend. I would say the HTC One S might be a better phone for those more sensitive to battery power and size.