Android users

On my daily commute on the train or bus, as I peek over the shoulders of fellow commuters, I noticed the phablet is the device of choice. To read or watch those never ending Korean/Taiwanese soap dramas. To crush those colourful bubbles of Candy. Unfortunately, throwing birds seems to have gone out of fashion.

The large screen of the phablet enables comfortable viewing one’s favourite actor/actress. The not too large screen means you can hold it near without getting an eye strain and give some resemblance of privacy.  I have yet to see a commuter watch a movie on a full size iPad.

Android devices large and small. Most of them are still running the original shipped version of Android. Some users have outgrown their device and tries to make up for the lack of functionality by using apps. I once counted 6 different icons, comprising power management, task killers, GPS indicators, Facebook etc.

Why don’t just root and upgrade using any of the many many third party ROMs?

A comparison of Android builds

I was scratching my head over the differences of Paranoid Android versus Cyanogenmod build or ROM.  They both appear nearly the same.  Everything are nearly identical with AOSP  layout.  This unlike, say MIUI which has heavy skinning over the most features.

Google provided a most interesting thread in Reddit.  A Redditor has compiled a series of infographics highlighting the differences between the common builds. AvatarROM,PAC-Man, MIUI, SlimBean, OmniROM, Carbon, Paranoid Android, AOKP and CM 10.2

The aim was to see what the Xposed framework could offer against these builds.  Please these builds or ROMs are mainly for use with Nexus line of phones.  If you are using a legacy device like S2, some digging is required.

Reddit thread

Note: ROM stands for Read Only Memory, this refers to hardware, a type of non-volatile memory that is the grandfather of the now common flash memory.  Since we are talking about software here, so the nearest definition of software embedded into hardware is firmware.  Another generic term that can be used is build, which I very much prefer.

Paranoid Android

I have been using CyanogenMod’s Android build since the first time I first rooted my Galaxy S2 in Jul 2012. There were flavours of CM that I have tried.  South Korea’s MCM before he disappeared, Infected_ and Markox89.

After looking the state of change for CM, the usual bugs keep cropping up.  eg 3G reception, switching between WiFi and 3G.  I thought why not try something else different.  Then I saw a few posts of people coming over from Paranoid Android build.

Paranoid Android is a small team building on AOSP but with novel features like Hover and Pie Control.  They are one of the first few to improve the interaction of the Quick Settings tiles. So why not?

My first flash on 23 Jul with Paranoid Android 4.44 stable, all I got was a barely working phone.  No  Quick Settings tile were visible, browser keeping crashing.  After a post to Google Plus, someone advised to wipe data.  Tried that with the same result.  Another poster advise to wipe and don’t restore settings from Google.

This time round on 24 Jul, instead of signing in at the setup wizard, I let it complete .  Most of the functions were there and it looks stable.  I signed in at Google Play and started installing my apps.

Since then I need to reboot twice.  Once to stop  Evernote from running crazy doing nothing.  The other is to regain control from AlarmDroid, I was unable to stop the alarm.  Other than that I have no 3G or switching problems. Very stable and impressive build.

Features wise, there is no secure SMS, device tracker, you can use Google, lack of ability to add/delete Quick settings tile, no blacklist for phone and SMS functions.  Some are niceties, some are from CyanogenMod that  really smooth out the rough edges of Google’s Android.

 G+ page for legacy devices  Download

Update 31 Jul

Paranoid Android is most impressive.  Very resilient to apps crashing and random (me!) network switching. The only problem is the first alarm of the day can be difficult to silence. Other than that beautiful.

Yahoo’s Aviate has gone live

Aviate has slipped from Beta to Live on 23 Jun 14.  No more invites required for new users! At the same time, it rolled out a slew of new changes.  There is now a third panel for summary changes.  The Work, Home and Moving collection / workspace shows up here.  For me the Home workspace shows up only during the night.

There is a swipe up Favorites section for quick dial. The first version has a GUI calculation error for small screens.  This was quickly fixed in an update.  The screen still left much to be desired.  There is no way of knowing what number you are dialling!  With that much screen estate, one would thought there will be a button for IM stuff eg, WhatsApp, Line etc.

 

The rest of the Aviate functions remained the same.

After nearly a month of use, I am still trying to get use to the new third panel. The work and home workspace collection sometimes does not show up, ended I need to swipe around to get my work or home apps.  Most frustrating.  I am tempted to put the home and work collections there permanently.