Finaly! FroYo OTA update

This is one good morning! I awoke, noticed my Nexus trackball was glowing and decided to check it out.

“System update available”

Now I’m finally running FroYo. Interesting is that I haven’t heard about anyone else going from EPE54B (“AT&T version”) to FroYo but right now I got FRF85B. I’ll post back when I’ve been using it a bit but I snatched some screenshots until then.

FroYo Homescreen

FroYo About Phone
About Phone displaying my new Android version FRF85B
FroYo Homescreen

Nexus One News & Weather app/widget

So I’ve been using my N1 for quite a while now and one of the pre-installed apps I just love is the News & Weather

Weather & News Widgets
The available Weather & News Widgets

app/widget. It’s not that it unique in what it does, I just find myself using it more and more. The functions are straight forward:

  • Widget presenting either current weather and headlines from Google news or just one of the two
  • Selecting the weather gives you some additional info and forecast for the coming 7 days
  • Selecting a headline gives you a tabbed list with categories with headlines

Nothing is perfect so when the product manager showed up on the Help Forum asking for feedback for a new iteration…I jumped right in. Good can always get better right? Trying to think outside, inside, around and over a defined box is always a fun challenge so here goes…

For the weather app/widget:
  • Option to set background colour, and transparency from 100%-0%
  • Option to set both Home location and Current location
  • Added view in the app to show hourly forecast for the day/24h/48h instead of day by day forecast
  • Night icons :)
  • When opening the app a small animation would be cute, raindrops splashing, clouds moving etc. (possible with an option to disable, relevant for low tier devices)
  • Different sizes available for the widget
For the News app/widget
  • Option to set locale (right now I depend on the “More locale” app to be able to get Swedish news, not everyone will figure this out). Now and then I also might be interested in reading us, uk or whatever news.
  • Option to set background colout and transparency from 0-100%
  • Ability to star news in the list, which should keep them on the top, and not fall of the list (hate trying to find that article I started reading only to find out that it’s not listed any more)
  • Articles I have already opened should not be displayed in the widget, unless I starred it (see above), option to dis/enable this feature
  • Different sizes available for the widget
News app displaying Headlines
News app displaying the current Sport headlines

I’m especially proud of remembering two things I have been thinking about. First the locale issue. So far you can only set your Settings->Locale (to simplify it, your location) to the countries where the Nexus have been launched. That means no-no for Sweden. The news app/widget read this info to determine which news to present to me and in what language. Now that’s a limitation I don’t like. Using the app “More Locale” from the market you can work around this but most users won’t figure that out. I would also like to be able to read other news than the localized now and then so an option in the settings would be the easiest way to go. More Locale also gives me metric units in Google Maps so if this is bugging you that’s a way to fix it. Just search for More Locale in the Market and then select your country. If it’s not available just choose “Menu”->”Add Custom” and fill it in like in the picture below.

Second great idea, staring articles. Fits right into “all” other Google services from Search to GMail and would be like a perfect bookmark for me until I finished reading/telling my friends about it or such. Together with the idea about read articles not showing up in the widget feed it’s a killer feature :)

What ideas do you have, what would make it better for you? Take your chance to contribute to Android :)

More Locale configuration
Just fill in the fields with your country code and enjoy local news

Original thread in the support forum can be found here.

DoubleTwist on Android

The stock media player in Android is somewhat notorious and because of that the market is flooded with alternatives. Now another player steps in, DoubleTwist. After using it a couple of days I decided to make a little summary…

DT start up
Default view

Frist impression: This app looks good! Clean interface with smooth graphics which is a whole lot better than the stock one.

Double Twist play view
Neat play view

When it comes to features it’s not much to say, it will play your music, videos and podcast and has the standard sorting of Artists, Albums, Songs and Playlists. Note for all of you that has been dying to get an equalizer…keep on waiting. DoubleTwist doesn’t really bring anything new to the table and lacks some features that can be found in other players (last.fm, internet radio and so on). The two things that I miss the most though is a Widget (if I didn’t use widgets I could’ve gotten an iPhone) and decent edit/create playlist functionality. If I’m to summarize it in one sentence it would be that it does what I expect of a standard media player, but it does so looking good.

A quick update gave us the option to disable the headset controls which is good, if you’re using different audio apps for different purposes the lack of such option could make DoubleTwist start playing over your Google Listen podcast for example. Other than that the only option is “Enable automatic massstorage”. Not a lot of flexibility but on the other hand I can’t think of other options that I feel is a must have.

This is a early version of the player and that will sometimes show…many users have reported issues with it not reading the music on the device properly. Missing parts of tags, not finding all files in an album etcetera. I haven’t had any such problems, it even handles Swedish letters properly which the stock player doesn’t always do. Overall this is a neat start but future development is what will decide if this is a new Android favorite or just another player among many. I’m looking forward to see how it goes, especially when it competes with the updated stock player.

Part two, the Desktop version and the wish to give you an “Apple Experience” but with Android

DoubleTwist comes in a desktop version as well, for both Windows and Mac (Linux is not supported…so far). This player has great synchronizing abilities with loads of devices. The aim is obviously to free you from iTunes and WMP. You can sync music, pictures, movies, podcasts and even search the Android Market from inside of your media player. This is all good ideas! Unfortunately the player has a looong way to go before being an option to iTunes or even any other media player. A part from the sync abilities it’s not that good. Serious problems reading ID3 tags properly (almost half of my library was missing parts or all information and believe me, I keep those tags in pedantic order), no ability to view or edit file information, no ability to collect album art and an interface that is actually less appealing than it’s Android counterpart. Did I mention I had to install it as an admin in Win7, and run it as one each time? Otherwise it won’t sync with my Nexus1. No, my computer will continue running songbird. I can’t sync pictures, movies and podcasts (though I guess podcasts is coming up sooner rather than later). On the other hand synchronizing music is also hard when the library doesn’t perform good enough to even show all your songs.

Double Twist Desktop library
DoubleTwist library when I search for "abra"
Songbird library
Exactly the same search and library but in Songbird instead