Android Development – Starting Over

I’ve tried several times to start developing Android apps, and I usually get a little past the “Hello, world!” stage and then get distracted by other things. I’ve long wanted to create an Android app counterpart to my Sam Smiths Challenge website, but that itself is in dire need of an overhaul, so then I start thinking about that and forget about Android again. Then a new Android version comes out and everything changes!

I’m definitely going to start developing properly soon though, so will need to find a suitable tutorial and set up the development environment on my PC – perhaps I’ll sort out upgrading it to Windows 10 first. Perhaps I can utilise my microserver too. So many things to consider, not enough time :-)

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Marshmallow coming to Moto G 2nd Generation (2014)

The latest flavour of Android, Marshmallow (v6.0) has been announced and is now available for those lucky enough to have Nexus devices. However, the rest of us are at the mercy of the manufacturers to release updates. It appears that I am in luck as Motorola have announced that the 2nd generation Moto G will receive the Marshmallow update.

I’m not going to hold my breath however – I only received the Stagefright fix this week and I’m still running 5.0.2 despite 5.1 being available for a long time. It’s easy to mock Apple but at least when they release a new version of iOS it’s available for everyone immediately – it’d be nice if there was some way of Android achieving this even with all the different hardware versions out there.

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Tablet repaired!

I finally got my LG G Pad 8.3 back from the repair company this week, after much chasing and emails (their online tracker is useless). Thankfully the tablet is now in full working order – I can actually update an app without it crashing and play games without it crashing halfway through! It still gets a little warm when playing games but well within comfortable parameters, not as hot as it used to get! I’ve updated it to Lollipop using the Korean KDZ file and everything is working well. I’m very pleased to get it back and very pleased that it’s back to working properly :-)

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Another LG repair update

I still haven’t received my tablet back so I just called LG to try and find out what went wrong. It turns out that it was an administrative error and it was actually another customer who is receiving their device back and mine is still awaiting repair!

The customer service agent (Danny) was very helpful, it has to be said, and has promised to escalate it – apparently a new PCB is required which was ordered a while ago but it is still awaiting delivery. Danny promised that I would be called back either today or Monday with an update which is good, at least I hopefully won’t have to chase it up again.

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Tablet repair “update”

LG have had my G Pad for a couple of weeks now. Their online status tracker is very frustrating because it doesn’t actually have any useful information – it only indicates when I raised the repair request. In the end I had to send them an email asking for an update, after which I got a couple of phone calls, one to say that repairs were ongoing and another one (on Monday) to let me know that the repairs were complete and that my device was on my way back to me.

It’s Friday now and I’ve still not received it back, which is very frustrating as I do use the tablet quite a lot (especially for reading comics – that Marvel Unlimited subscription is currently going to waste). Hopefully it will arrive within the next week and will actually have been repaired – I’m still worried it’s going to come back and they’ll say ‘no, there wasn’t anything wrong with it’!

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LG G Pad woes

Recently my LG G Pad 8.3 has developed some problems. The tablet overheats in the top right hand corner and gets quite hot. There are also frequent app crashes and random reboots which is very frustrating when you’re midway through writing a blog entry and it hasn’t saved! I’ve tried flashing custom ROMs, stock ROMs and wiping everything but to no avail, so I’ve scheduled a repair on LG’s website (thankfully it’s still within the 2 year warranty).

I really hope it can be repaired because I love the tablet itself, apart from these crashes it’s served me very well. It’s the ideal size for reading comics and holding in one hand, and I don’t think they make it any more so I doubt it could be replaced. I’ll have a look though and see if there are any good alternatives in case it can’t be fixed.

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Otherwise engaged

It’s been difficult to find the time to update this site recently as real life and other commitments have got in the way. Hopefully I will start updating this soon, or will archive it somehow.

One Android-related thing I’ve done recently is update my LG G Pad 8.3 to Lollipop. There is an official update available but only to Korean users; it has been available for quite a while now so I don’t know why it has not been officially released in the UK. The good news though is that the Korean version works fine – there are instructions on the XDA forum showing how to achieve this. It may take a little bit of digging around afterwards to change the language back to English from Korean, and some of the system sounds have Korean filenames, but everything else works fine and the G Pad feels much smoother using Lollipop!

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Android-related April Fools jokes

Yep, it’s that time of year again, when manufacturers compete to produce the best April Fools gag. There have been plenty of good examples this year:

  • Motorola have come up with the Moto Selfie Stick, which is assembled by hand and comes in wood or leather variants.
  • Google have introduced #ChromeSelfie, which lets you take a picture of yourself reacting to a website and then share it with friends. They’ve also introduced the search engine which I think is pretty clever.
  • Samsung have introduced the Galaxy BLADE edge, which is the ‘ultimate cooking companion’ – a smart knife with smartphone capabilities! It also comes with a stylus that doubles as a wireless meat thermometer!

Samsung Galaxy BLADE edge

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LIMBO on offer for Android devices

The brilliant game LIMBO is currently on sale on the Google Play Store for the bargain price of 71p! This is a superb game, and has had many rave reviews. It is a puzzle-platform game that tells the story of a boy searching for his sister. It’s relatively short but for 71p you really cannot complain. I bought and completed this game when it was released on the Xbox 360, and also own a copy on Steam. Take a look at the trailer video below for an idea of the game:

P.S. If you do buy and play this game, be prepared to die. A lot!

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Lollipop thoughts

I’ve been using Lollipop on my Moto G (2014) for around a month now, and so far I really like it. The interface seems much cleaner, especially the notification area (and I do like having a torch in there rather than having a standalone app). The phone does seem a bit quicker and smoother too. I’ve read that other users have problems with 5.0 which should be fixed in 5.1, but I’ve not really had any problems at all.

Apart from this though, there is no real obvious difference when using the phone. I haven’t really noticed any changes to battery life, but I charge it every night anyway and only really drain it after long gaming sessions. I wouldn’t want to go back to KitKat but I would still have been quite happy if Lollipop had not been released, the changes whilst pleasing on the eye are not essential.

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