Posts Tagged ‘ Froyo ’

Dolphin Browser HD – Surfing the web, with a porpoise.

Dolphin Browser HD

Full screen browsing looks great.

As I’ve mentioned in my previous review of the web browser app Skyfire I’m fairly attached to the default Android web browser. I’ve always found it easy to use and perfectly capable of performing the tasks required for mobile web browsing. Before I tried Skyfire, way before I even started Android Apt, I tried Dolphin Browser HD; we didn’t get on at all. It was slow and clunky, the pinch to zoom was broken and it wasn’t long before I uninstalled it and went back to the standard Android web browser.
Last week the Dolphin team released a new version of their browser (version 4) onto the Marketplace and so with promises of a better browsing experience ringing in my ears I decided to give it another chance.
If anything the new Dolphin Browser feels much like the standard Android browser, page navigation is smooth, the pinch to zoom and ‘double tap zoom’ functionality works as you’d expect. Page rendering seems to be on a par with any browser that I have used on Android and flash videos are supported with minimal or no playback issues. Tab browsing is also available and is much more prominent than on the standard Android browser (on which most of the time you can forget that the function even exists).

Simply drag the main screen to the right to access your bookmarks

The big difference over the standard Android browser is the extra functionality that has been packed into every nook and cranny of Dolphin without crippling the overall performance of the app itself. If you swipe to the left of the main screen you can easily find your bookmarks and edit them as you desire. The bookmarks editing screen is slightly buggy however, sometimes manual changes to the order of bookmarks wouldn’t take effect or whilst dragging a bookmark along the list the app would show me manipulating a totally different bookmark. A little feature to pre-load the favicons for your bookmarks would have been handy too, looking at a list of default blank favicons can look a bit un-polished.  On the right hand side of the main screen is the plug-in menu with which you can install and manage plug-ins much like the ones you would find in Firefox or Google Chrome (Tip : The ‘Desktop Toggles’ add on is great for bypassing those annoying mobile versions of websites). From here you can also access the settings for Dolphin as well as download different skins to make your browsing experience more personalised (I’m currently rocking a rather fetching blue theme, very nice).
Dolphin also comes with its unique ‘Gestures’ feature where simple swipes across the screen can command the app to perform a particular function such as take you to a certain website, go back a page, open a new tab or one of the many other functions on offer. You can also edit these preset Gestures and even create your own ones and decide whatever action you would like them to perform. Using Gestures works about 95% of the time, it’s more down to the user nailing the shape of each gesture just right rather than a fault of the app itself.

So as it turns out the Dolphin Browser team were totally right, this is a much better app than before, so much so that it’s become my go-to web browser on my HTC Desire. Good work guys.

Link : Install via AppBrain

Bottom Line : For the most part a very noticeable improvement on the standard Android web browser with excellent added functionality that doesn’t get in the way of basic web browsing. Recommended.

App Round Up – Quick & Useful Apps

Among the many applications on the Android Marketplace there are a number of apps that exist purely to perform one simple task. These are the kind of apps that you either use only occasionally or they become a part of the furniture to the point that you think they came with the phone in the first place. In most cases these apps can be an essential part of your day-to-day Android experience. Due to their small size and simple purpose it’s a bit of a stretch to write a comprehensive review on each of these apps so instead here’s a rundown of a few of the best ones that I have found in the last few months of using Android.

AppRemover – Essential. A quick and easy way to uninstall apps on your handset. Faultless.

 

Analytics Widget – A bit niche this one. If you have a website or blog this widget will keep track of how many hits you’ve had that day. A simple and effective ego massage, lovely.

Fast Reboot – When you run this, all your apps will shut down and then restart again as if you’ve just powered up. It’s not a proper reboot but it’s a fast way to help free up memory or kickstart an app back to life when your handset is being sluggish.

Quick Settings – Another essential app. Get quick access to all your main settings wherever you are via the drag down status menu. All it takes is a  simple swipe and a press. If I were Google, I’d add this function to all builds of Android from now on.

SDMove – A quick and easy way to see what apps take advantage of the ‘move to sd’ functionality of Froyo and then move them to your SD card.

 

Silent Boot – I have a HTC Desire, it very much likes to make a song and dance when it’s switched on which is highly annoying. This app silences the tone that plays on start-up. I cannot praise this simple app enough.

SMS Backup & Restore – Simple backup & restore of your sms messages. Doesn’t get more simpler than that.

 

URL Shortener – A godsend for sharing url’s on twitter ,facebook, etc. Long click a url in your browser’s address bar and share it with URL Shortener, it will shorten the link via your chosen service and copy the shortened URL to your clipboard. You can then paste the shortened link wherever you need it. Excellent.

 

Do you have any other suggestions? Add them in the comments section.

Retro Camera – Let’s Go Retro Techno

Retro Camera

 

You can choose from a cool range of retro cameras

 

I’d been avoiding Retro Camera for a number of weeks now, partly because of the large install size (5MB) and partly because I didn’t see the need for it when my HTC Desire already had a 5 Megapixel camera which, whilst not perfect, still adequately did the job when required.  As it turns out I was totally wrong on both counts. In terms of install size, there’s nothing to worry about, Retro Camera fully supports Froyo’s move-to-SD capabilities leaving only a tiny footprint on your handset’s inernal memory. With regards to the quality of the shots, that was down to me totally missing the point of this excellently put together application, a murky black and white photo can carry so much more context than a sterile looking digital shot.

 

The gallery view, complete with pegs and string

 

With Retro Camera you can snap pictures in the style of five different old-school cameras modelled on such famous classics as the Lomo, Polaroid, and Hipstamatic amongst others. Each camera style comes with a full description of the kind of results it will produce as well as suggestions on when it should be used. Using the program is simple, pick a camera then point and click. Pictures will take a few moments to ‘develop’ but you can continue to happily snap away while the pictures are processing in the background.  Your previous 10 pictures can be viewed in the app’s gallery view (in the style of a washing line with the pictures pegged to it) and from here can be directly shared to Twitter, Facebook, Email or any other app you use to share media.

 

Oooh just look a that lovely context

 

In general the pictures taken look great on your phone but sometimes you may find your results do not transfer so well when viewed on your computer. Another small issue is how samey the fake retro effects can appear, for example if you look at a number of Polaroid style pictures in a row you soon notice that the ‘dirt’ effect in each picture appears in exactly the same places in each photo.  With this is mind, Retro Camera shouldn’t be viewed as a replacement for your handset’s main camera, instead look at it as an extra set of camera options and effects to play around with.

These are only very minor complaints and should not deter you from trying this app. I have had great fun with Retro Camera, from using the lovingly crafted UI to jazzing up my photos via the range of different camera styles, it’s addictive, creative and most importantly a free app which very much makes it a worthy download.

Bottom Line : A fun camera application with a lovely UI that, when used in moderation, can pull off some great ‘retro’ picture results. Recommended.

Links : Official Page

Install via AppBrain –  Retro Camera Free, Retro Camera Plus (Ad-Free)

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