Official Skype For Android Now Available For Download October 5th, 2010
Finally, after months of waiting Skype have officially released their native application for Android. The native application is fully featured and offers amongst other things:
- Free Skype-to-Skype calls over both 3G and WiFi.
- Send and recieve instant messages.
- Discounted calls to foreign numbers.
For most, you’ll be able to find the application directly in the market or, you can download by visiting the Skype website directly. If you are unable to find Skype using either of these methods owing to geo-locking, I have uploaded a repackaged .apk here (just unzip and away you go…).
Unfortunately it’s not all good news. For such a new application it’s surprising that it does not support the ability to be installed on the SD card under Froyo; the application itself is a rather large 13Mb; however, you are able to overcome this by using a mod such as ‘setInstallLocation’, which will enable you to move the files to the SD card leaving only a 2.1Mb footprint on the internal memory.
OpenRUU For Linux And Mac OSX Users September 28th, 2010
The official HTC RUU files are only available for Windows, however if you are using either Linux or Mac OSX there is now a way to run a modified version of the RUU to enable you to update using the same official ROM, just read down through this guide and follow the instructions below.
Caveat: Please read the entire guide before starting and ensure that you fully understand all of the steps. If you are unsure about anything, please ask a question using the comments at the bottom of the post before continuing; it’s better to check first before starting and finding you run into problems. The usual also applies, by following this guide you do so at your own risk, I will not be held accountable for any problems you may encounter along the way.
- Firstly, download and install the appropriate Android SDK for your operating system, both Linux and Mac OSX versions can be found here, this will make sure that you have all the files and drivers necessary on your machine before starting (these will also be useful afterwards so it is a good idea to leave them installed once you have finished).
- Download the OpenRUU file, complete with the necessary ROM from here [mirror].
Next, you’ll need to create your goldcard:
- Backup the data on your microSD card. You may also wish to make a copy of any SMS or MMS messages that are already on your phone, suitable apps can be found on the market to do this.
- If you took out your microSD in the previous step, ensure it is back in your Desire and click through Menu>Settings>SD & Phone Storage.
- Click Unmount SD card.
- Click Format SD card; by doing this from within your phone instead of formatting it from your computer, you will ensure that it is formatted in the correct format.
- Next, download and install ASTRO File Manager from the market if you do not already have it installed. Once it has finished being installed open the application.
- Navigate to sys/class/mmc_host/mmc1/mmc1:82d1 (you may find that ‘82d1’ will be different, this is normal just choose the option that you have available on your device).
- Long press on the CID file.
- Select Open As and then Text.
- Select File Editor.
- You’ll be given a long number, make a note of this somewhere safe.
- Open this page in your internet browser on your computer.
- Enter the number you found in the above steps into the SD Card Serial (CID) field.
- Enter all of the other details that you are asked for and hit Generate Goldcard.
- Check your email on your computer, the goldcard image that you have just created will have been sent to you as an attachment. Save this into the root of your user directory, it’s important that you do not save it anywhere else.
- Connect your Desire to your computer.
- Pull down the notification bar on your Desire and press Charge Only (if you have previously changed the default option this may be different, i.e. HTC Sync).
- Select the Disk Drive option and hit Done.
- On your computer, open Terminal which can be found by clicking through Applications>Utilities>Terminal (depending on which operating system you are using the location of Terminal will vary)
- Type the following:
- You should be able to see your microSD card; you can recognise it from its size and by the fact that its type is DOS_FAT_32. You need to make a note of the Identifier for example disk2s1.
- Now you need to unmount the microSD, assuming your Identifier was disk2s1 (change the value ‘2’ based on the number you got after the word ‘disk’) enter the following:
diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk2
- Finally, to actually create your goldcard type:
sudo dd bs=512 if=~/goldcard.img of=/dev/disk2(remembering to change the ‘2’ if appropriate)
- When prompted, you’ll need to enter your password.
That’s the goldcard created, and the hard work out of the way. At this stage, double check that anything on your device that you wish backed up has been, as in the following stages you will flash your Desire with a new ROM and wipe any data in the process, then when ready proceed with the next stage:
- Extract the OpenRUU archive that you downloaded earlier.
- Run 2FastbootFlash-xxx.sh, where xxx represents the operating system that you are using; either Linux or Mac OSX (based on the Linux version, to run the file you will need to ensure that the file is executable. To do this, right click the file and clicking through Properties>Permissions, tick to allow executing file as a program. Then simply double click the file and choose Run in the popup allowing it to run within Terminal).
The RUU should now run and after a few minutes you will be finished. Any questions leave a comment below.
Credits: Thanks to 42turkeys for the tools and scripts used in this guide.
Updating To Latest Official 2.10.405.2 ROM For Branded Handsets September 18th, 2010
It’s been what seems like an eternity since HTC released the official Android 2.2 – or Froyo as it’s more commonly known – update for the Desire via an OTA update around 6 weeks ago. It’s important to remember that the update was only for handsets that had been purchased SIM-free and were therefore not considered vendor specific; if you had a Desire supplied by one of the main network operators, say Orange, Vodafone or as in my case Virgin Mobile, the Froyo update was not available at all. If this was the case, the only way that you could update to the latest and greatest was to de-brand your phone and fool it into thinking you had a handset that was not supplied by a network operator; only then could you receive and apply the update. At the time, I wrote a post outlining how you could take your Desire, de-brand and then perform the update to Froyo using the generic HTC update and whilst the methods in that post still apply, things have since moved forward. In keeping with the rapid pace of Android development, there are now new and even safer ways of getting the update if you haven’t yet had it. I know that all the network operators are slowly starting to roll out their vendor specific OTAs, but most people are still waiting. Besides, the generic HTC update performs better than the vendor specific updates as it does not have any of the bloat-ware we have all come to know and hate.
If you have been following recent developments, you’ll also know that there has recently been another official update for SIM-free owners, meaning that they are now 2 updates ahead of most users, remembering that most users buy their phone subsidised by a network operator and not outright SIM-free. So if you are still using Android 2.1 – or Éclair – and waiting patiently for your update, you’re probably not best pleased!
With this in mind, I have decided to update the original post and explain how to take your vendor specific Desire, de-brand it and then update to the very latest official HTC ROM, missing out the first 2.2 update in the progress.
Caveat: Even though the method in this guide uses official HTC software and ROMs, by changing the software on your phone you will be voiding your warranty. The method is safe and has been tested thoroughly, but please be aware of this before proceeding. Also, during this guide you will need to format your microSD card so please ensure that you backup all of your files; if you are using Gmail then your contacts and emails will synchronise back to your handset once you have finished but things like your documents and photos will not. Finally, this guide assumes you have read this post from start to finish before proceeding and that you fully understand each of the steps. If you are unsure of anything, don’t be put off but please, ask a question using the comment box at the bottom of the page before attempting anything. This guide is suitable for novices and no specific knowledge is required. Standard disclaimer applies, you follow this guide at your own risk, please remember that.
The guide is split into a number of steps, if you have not changed anything on your device since you received it then you will need to follow all of the steps, however for some of you, you can skip the steps that are not relevant to you, this will become clear as you read through.
Notes: by looking at some of the comments on my previous Desire posts, I thought I would try and answer some of the more common questions first to further put your minds at rest and hopefully give you the encouragement and confidence to perform the update:
- Does this guide apply to my handset? Yes, if you are still using Android 2.1 then this guide will work for you, it doesn’t matter which network operator you are using. if you are unsure of which version you are using then check on your device by going to Menu>Settings>About Phone>Software Information and check your software number; ask below if you are unsure. It also applies if you are using the previous Android 2.2 update which I used as the base ROM in my original post.
- Does it matter if I have an AMOLED screen or sLCD screen? No, my previous guide was based on an AMOLED screen but the method in this guide will flash a newer version of the generic ROM which is suitable for both AMOLED and sLCD screens as it contains drivers for both.
- How do I check my HBOOT version? Turn your device off, and then whilst powering it on press and hold the Volume Down key, this will boot your device into the HBOOT menu showing you not only your HBOOT version but also your RADIO version.
- I’ve heard of issues with network locking, should I be worried? No, so long as you follow the guide step by step and take your SIM card out of your device before starting, you’ll be fine.
- Will following this guide give me root? No, this guide is based on the official HTC software which means that you will update not only the firmware, but also HBOOT. You will get an original HTC software image which does not – obviously – contain root.
- What’s best, coffee or tea? Do you now follow me on Twitter? Coffee, obviously. If you need to ask then you are not drinking enough. Starbucks rocks.
Now we have the formalities over time to get on with the guide. The whole process should take around 30 minutes. You’ll need to ensure that your Desire has a decent amount of charge. I usually like to make sure that I have at least 50% charge in the battery to make sure I don’t have any issues with the battery running flat; you’ll also need your USB cable and a microSD adapter for your computer.
First of all, you’ll need to download some files to your machine, start the following files downloading and depending on your connection speed, grab a cup of coffee whilst they download. For simplicity I usually download them to the desktop:
- The official Android SDK from Google [here]
- The latest version of HTC Sync [here]
- The latest Desire Froyo RUU [here]
- A hex editor to create the goldcard [here]
Once the files have downloaded, install the hex editor and unzip the SDK into a new folder called “AndroidSDK” on the root of your c: drive, then before you get going on the update, it’s a good idea to check a few things:
- Backup. Have you backed up the contents of your microSD card, if not do it now.
- Make a note of your HBOOT, RADIO and FIRMWARE versions. By doing this if you do run into difficulties it will make it easier for us to help. I have explained above how to find these if you are unsure.
- Remove your SIM card. This isn’t strictly necessary but a few users elsewhere have reported issues after updating Orange handsets if they did not do this, best be safe than sorry.
Next, you need to create a goldcard, to do this follow the following steps:
- Install HTC Sync using the default options.
- Take your microSD card out of your device and put it into your computer, once it has been recognised, open up My Computer and right click your microSD card, then format it using FAT32.
- Put your microSD card back into your device, power it up and connect it to your computer using the USB cable.
- Open up a command prompt on your computer and type the following:
cd[then press Enter]
cd AndroidSDKtools[then press Enter]
adb devices[then press Enter]
you should find that you have one device listed. If at this stage no devices are listed then you have not correctly installed HTC Sync.
- Back in the command prompt, type the following:
adb shell cat /sys/class/mmc_host/mmc1/mmc1:*/cid[then press Enter]
You should now get a long number on the screen, something along the lines of 532600bd227d9c0347329407514d5420.
- Go to this page and copy the number in the above step into the box and hit Submit, you’ll then be given another long number.
- Go to this page and enter this new number into the SD Card Serial (CID) field.
- Enter the other details and hit Generate Goldcard.
- Check your email and save the attached goldcard image file to your desktop.
- Open the hex editor that you installed earlier. If you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7, you must run the application as administrator.
- Go to the Extra menu and select Open Disk. Under physical disks, select Removable Disk (your microSD card), uncheck Open as Read-only and click OK.
- Go to the Extra menu again and select Open Disk Image. Open the goldcard image that you received by email and saved to your desktop.
- You should now have two tabs; one is your removable disk and the other is your goldcard image. Press OK when prompted for Sector Size (selecting 512 (Hard disks/Floppy disks)) and click OK.
- Click on the goldcard image tab. Go to the Edit menu, choose Select All then select the Edit menu again and select Copy.
- Click on the Removable Disk tab. Highlight offset (line) 00000000 to offset (line) 00000170, then click on the Edit menu and select Paste Write.
- Click on the File menu and select Save, accepting the warning.
- You can now close the hex editor. Take the microSD out of your computer and then put it back in again, if everything has worked it should be recognised. If it gives you a warning that the card needs formatting then something has gone wrong and you’ll need to follow the above steps again.
- Finally, you can take the microSD card and put it back into your device then power it on.
You now have a goldcard and you’ll be pleased to know that is the hardest part out of the way, next you simply need to install the official HTC update:
- Connect your device to your computer again using the USB cable.
- Run the official RUU that you downloaded to your desktop earlier, if you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7 you’ll need to acknowledge the UAC message to proceed.
- Check the check-box and click Next.
- Again, check the check-box and click Next.
- The installer will now verify connectivity with your phone, if during this stage you get ”ERROR : USB CONNECTION ERROR“, then you have a problem with your installed drivers, please leave a comment below and we’ll help out before continuing (you can continue using your phone in the mean time).
- Click Update.
- You’ll now be asked to verify that you want to change your existing firmware to the new firmware (version 2.10.405.2), click Next.
- Click Next.
- The update will now take place, depending on your hardware this may take around 10 minutes.
Once the update has taken place, you’re finished. All that remains is to turn your device off again and replace your SIM card, then power on and enjoy, not forgetting to copy your documents and photos back onto your microSD card. Enjoy!
Let me know if you find this useful by leaving a comment below, and don’t forget to sign-up for further guides using the option on the right. This way you’ll get the latest guides delivered directly to your inbox.
How To Remove Brut Maps From OpenDesire v4 ROM September 1st, 2010
OpenDesire v4 comes bundled with Brut Maps, a change from previous versions which instead came with the genuine Google Maps app.
For those who are not sure exactly what the difference is, it’s actually quite simple; the official Google Maps app is only fully featured if you live in certain countries such as the UK or US. Elsewhere certain features will not be available the most notable being navigation. Aside from this, there are other more subtle difference too including alleged performance increases but personally having tried both, I haven’t seen any real difference in day to day use. The full feature set of Brut Maps is as follows:
- Worldwide navigation using Google Maps directions
- Map tiles caching on microSD card
- Force-enabled multi-touch
- Force enabled Google Buzz feature
- Fix for map shift issue in China
- Option to hide zoom buttons
- Installation on non-rooted devices supported
- Can be run alongside genuine Google Maps
I do understand why this was included in the OpenDesire ROM but as I live in the UK and all the features of the genuine Google Maps app work, it’s not necessary and I’d rather have the genuine app instead; even more so as Brut Maps use the existing Google icon set but overlay a rather unsightly “Brut” logo on top, it’s really not a very well thought out icon. I also think that unless you have a good reason not to (i.e. you need Brut Maps as you live in a country where Google Maps doesn’t fully work), it’s good to try and use as much of the original code as possible to ensure minimising FCs and other issues.
Thankfully removing Brut Maps and restoring the original Google Maps is a simple process (assuming you have adb correctly installed on your pc including the correct adb driver for your Desire, which if you have followed my previous guides you will have):
- Connect your Desire to your pc
- Open a command prompt and navigate to the /tools folder within the sdk by typing:
cd[then press Enter]
cd AndroidSDKtools[then press Enter]
- Check your device is correctly connected by next typing:
adb devices[then press Enter]
if you device shows up correctly, then you’re good to go on to the next step
- Type the following:
adb reboot recovery[then press Enter]
once your desire and rebooted and is in recovery type the following:
adb shell mount /system[then press Enter]
adb shell rm /system/app/Maps.apk[then press Enter]
adb shell unmount /system[then press Enter]
adb reboot[then press Enter]
- Your Desire will now reboot and you can disconnect it from your pc
- Once your Desire is back up, simply go to the market and you will now be able to download the genuine Google Maps
Needless to say you can also use this method to remove other apps too, just substitute the .apk you want to remove in the steps above.
HTC Peep Not Working? This Is Why September 1st, 2010
A lot of people will be waking up this morning and finding that they are unable to login to Twitter via HTC Peep on their Desires, confusingly your device will report that you have entered an incorrect username or password combination even though you have not made any changes. The truth is that owing to a behind the scenes change to the Twitter APIs, HTC Peep is no longer compatible and more than likely won’t be for some time.
It’s been common knowledge for some time that Twitter has decided to move away from basic authentication to OAuth for all third party apps; it makes sense that some of the older Twitter clients would be affected by this but you’d have thought HTC would have had the foresight to release an update prior to today, especially given that the switchover date has already been put back previously. I wonder just how many people will be scratching their heads today trying to figure out why HTC Peep isn’t working, not realising that it’s actually a fundamental problem that they will not be able to resolve, no matter how many times they re-enter their details or reboot their devices.
In honesty HTC Peep is actually a pretty poor client anyway; it does the job if you are after a simple Twitter client but it has been left behind feature wise compared to other apps freely available such as Twidroyd, Seesmic or TweetDeck (though still in Beta, this is by far the best Twitter client around in my opinion, you can download from here). Of course if you have flashed a custom ROM onto your Desire already chances are you are not using HTC Peep so this will not affect you; certainly if you are using one of the many vanilla ROMs available you’ll probably be sat at home reading this having a little chuckle to yourself. If not, perhaps this is the excuse you need to delve into custom ROMs and ditch HTC Sense.
Update 02/09/2010 08:30
Here’s an official release from Twitter which I recieved in my inbox overnight; though not effected with the HTC Peep issues myself, frustrating that they only made this public annoucement a full day after the problem manifested itself:
Over the coming weeks, we will be making two important updates that will impact how you interact with Twitter applications. We are sending this notice to all Twitter users to make sure you are aware of these changes.
What are applications?
There are over 250,000 applications built using the Twitter API. To use most applications, you first authorize the application to access your Twitter account, after which you can use it to read and post Tweets, discover new users and more. Applications come in many varieties, including desktop applications like TweetDeck, Seesmic, or EchoFon, websites such as TweetMeme, fflick, or Topsy, or mobile applications such as Twitter for iPhone, Twitter for Blackberry, or Foursquare.
Update 1: New authorization rules for applications
Starting August 31, all applications will be required to use “OAuth” to access your Twitter account.
OAuth is a technology that enables applications to access Twitter on your behalf with your approval without asking you directly for your password.
- Desktop and mobile applications may still ask for your password once, but after that request, they are required to use OAuth in order to access your timeline or allow you to tweet.
What does this mean for me?
- Applications are no longer allowed to store your password.
- If you change your password, the applications will continue to work.
- Some applications you have been using may require you to reauthorize them or may stop functioning at the time of this change.
- All applications you have authorized will be listed at http://twitter.com/settings/connections.
- You can revoke access to any application at any time from the list.
Update 2: t.co URL wrapping
In the coming weeks, we will be expanding the roll-out of our link wrapping service t.co, which wraps links in Tweets with a new, simplified link. Wrapped links are displayed in a way that is easier to read, with the actual domain and part of the URL showing, so that you know what you are clicking on. When you click on a wrapped link, your request will pass through the Twitter service to check if the destination site is known to contain malware, and we then will forward you on to the destination URL. All of that should happen in an instant.
You will start seeing these links on certain accounts that have opted-in to the service; we expect to roll this out to all users by the end of the year. When this happens, all links shared on Twitter.com or third-party apps will be wrapped with a t.co URL.
What does this mean for me?
- A really long link such as http://www.amazon.com/Delivering-Happiness-Profits-Passion-Purpose/dp/0446563048 might be wrapped as http://t.co/DRo0trj for display on SMS, but it could be displayed to web or application users as amazon.com/Delivering- or as the whole URL or page title.
- You will start seeing links in a way that removes the obscurity of shortened links and lets you know where each link will take you.
- When you click on these links from Twitter.com or a Twitter application, Twitter will log that click. We hope to use this data to provide better and more relevant content to you over time.
Thanks for reading this important update. Come and check what’s new at http://twitter.com.
The Twitter Team
It will be interesting to see how long it takes HTC to factor in the new OAuth requirement and release an update; watch this space for news!