Welcome to the seventh edition of #AskAndy where we aim to answer all your Android related questions. We survived the first couple months and this will continue to be a weekly column. Thank you to everyone who submitted a tweet this week. Again I have chosen 10 questions to answer and we will try to cover the ones we missed in the coming weeks. If your question did not get answered, you can submit it again or leave a comment here for help.
I wanted to give a special thanks to @gardenwife who has been active in attempting to help other Android users. As this week’s winner, we are sending you a $25 Amazon.com Gift Card. Keep submitting your questions via Twitter because we will be giving out more Amazon.com Gift Cards each week to those who ask and answer questions.
If you would like to participate, you can search the #AskAndy tag on Twitter to see if there are any questions you might be able to answer.
Anyone that submits a detailed response to a question will receive full credit with a link back to your site. If you have any suggestions on how we can improve #AskAndy, leave a comment. Thanks again and keep the questions coming.
1. marcboy @androidandme #askandy Is there a way to change the from line in the gmail app like you can with the webapp?
Unfortunately, there is no option to change the from address in the native Gmail app. Even the mobile Gmail site lacks this option. For now, you are limited with one option. If you would like to send an email from a secondary Gmail account, you must setup your other email accounts using the native Email app.
This can be accomplished in a few simple steps.
- Login to your other Gmail or Google Apps account.
- Go to Settings > Forwarding and POP/IMAP
- Make sure POP is enabled and save changes.
- Launch the Email app from your Android device.
- Follow on screen instructions to enter your account information.
Your email address should be in the format ‘username@your_domain.com.’ For all Google accounts the incoming mail server is pop.gmail.com and the outgoing is smtp.gmail.com. For security type, be sure to select SSL(always).
2. codethief @androidandme #AskAndy http://tinyurl.com/mnao3a says that the Magic’s battery life’s much better than the G1′s. Can you confirm that?
Yes, the battery included with the HTC Sapphire/Magic last much longer than my G1. The G1 shipped with a 1150mAh battery and the Sapphire comes with a 1300mAh one. In addition to the higher capacity battery, it appears other optimizations have been made.
The difference in the batteries might appear small, but it is almost like night and day. With the G1, I had to constantly manage the battery life and it was always running low when I placed it on the charger at night. With my Sapphire, the battery is no longer an issue and I rarely even check what the percentage is.
3. captainnapalm Why can’t I get directions to an event from within my calendar on my G2? Seems like something Google would build-in. #askandy
The native Calendar app does not support this feature, but you can find it in the mobile web version. Navigate your mobile browser to http://google.com/calendar and you will find a “map” link that will launch the native Maps application.
Many of the native Android apps are lacking in features when compared to their mobile web versions. This is a pattern that is likely to continue. As we mentioned last month, Google has chosen to target the browser for new services instead of coding native Android apps.
4. Shonzilla @androidandme #askandy Are you aware of face recognition features in Android SDK? Have you seen anyone using it?
The only app I have seen that uses biometric security is BioWallet. Unfortunately, the app has yet to be released. They currently support both iris and handwriting recognition, but have also discussed face and voice recognition. We will try to follow up with the developer to get an update on their progress. In the mean time, you can follow @BioWallet on Twitter for updates.
5. mrvin #askandy is there a way to add a T9 or suretype style keyboard to android?
The T-Mobile G1 does not include a T9 input method, but many of the other builds have shipped with one. The Canadian Rogers G1 has the HTC keypad installed as the default. If you are one of the people who like to tinker with their phones, you can manually install the HTC_IME keypad on your phone in 3 simple steps.
- Download the htc_ime.zip file from the XDA forums.
- Extract the file HTC_IME.apk to your SD card and install it like any other application.
- Enable the new keypad by going to System Settings > Locale & text > Uncheck Android keyboard > Check Touch Input
After the new HTC keypad is installed, you can toggle the keyboard type by going to the Touch Input settings. The three options are QWERTY, Phone Keypad, and Compact QWERTY. The Phone Keypad type is the one which includes T9 entry.
Hopefully a developer will recognize the demand for T9 entry and release a full keyboard replacement to the Market. ChompSMS had promised T9 in a future release, but they have failed to deliver. Better Keyboard also claims to have T9, but the predictive text engine does not work.
6. marcboy @androidandme #askandy Is there a way to use google checkout without a credit card to buy apps in $?
From Google: “You can make purchases through Google Checkout using a credit, debit, or gift card. The types of cards accepted through Google Checkout are based on the seller’s location. Other types of payments, such as checks, money orders, and direct bank account debit, aren’t currently accepted.”
If you do not have a credit or debit card, you can go to Walmart or your local grocery store and purchase a gift card with cash. Anything with the Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover logo will work.
7. TornadoTexan #AskAndy what are some cool things I can do with my rooted phone? I like having 1.5 but I need more. Especially since 1.5 is released now.
If you have a hacked phone with root access, be sure to visit the XDA Dream forums. They have a comprehensive thread that links to most of the hacks available to root users. You will find guides to load new custom Android builds, free up space, increase the sound volume, and more.
I think the most usefull thing you can do with root access is WiFi tethering. If you are interested, I would recommend aNetShare or Wireless Tether for Root Users. Both apps work great, but Wireless Tether for Root Users supports tethering via WiFi or Bluetooth.
The following video gives a short demonstration of how Bluetooth tethering works.
8. rexxars @androidandme #askandy Do you know if Google is working on any specific Market improvements? Better search, filtering etc?
I have posed this question over and over, but do not have a good answer for you. When I asked this question at Google I/O, I was told to be patient and that the Market had only been out 6 months. In trying to discover the root cause for lack of updates I was told that resources were limited and “you would not believe how small the Market team is”.
We have made no formal announcement, but there is a community group of developers working to address this issue. Keep an eye on this site for updates.
9. nart1s @androidandme #askandy why should I change my iPhone to a google android?
The comparison of iPhone vs Android comes down to one word: choice. If you choose to go iPhone, all the hardware is basically the same form factor. The new iPhone 3Gs looks impressive, but it still lacks a physical keyboard and user replaceable battery. The only Android phones available for purchase are the HTC Dream and Sapphire, but that will change by the end of this year.
Andy Rubin of Google recently revealed we might see 18-20 Android phones this year. In addition to the total number of devices, Android will be coming to multiple carriers in the US. Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint will all be launching Android devices.
In addition to the hardware choices, Android also brings more software options. If you have the knowledge and time, you can build and compile your own operating system. The open nature of Android also encourages community developement of the platform. When the first Android phone shipped it lacked some basic functions like saving MMS attachments, but the community stepped up and released apps to fill the gap. This pattern continues as more independent developers continue to improve the Android platform.
Finally, developers and customers have more choice with the competing application Markets. Apple has a history of blocking many apps from their App Store for bizzare reasons. The approval process for the App Store can also take weeks. With the Android Market, developers can publish their own apps within minutes.
10. maximosis #askandy with all of the overclocking applications on the market, wondering how overclocking really affects your G1′s performance?
The overclocking apps can increase performance at the cost of battery life. The G1 shipped with a 528mhz processor, but it is constantly throttled to save on power consumption. The overclocking apps simply allow you to set the CPU frequency at its max value. You will need root access in order to use these types of apps.
p.s. i’m thinking of turning #AskAndy into a full fledged Android application. Any developers out there interested in helping with the project?