Alexander Leidinger

Just another weblog

Oct
02

ICS expe­ri­ence on the Sama­sung Galaxy Tab 10.1

As told before, I have the ICS as pro­vided by Sam­sung (to it is not the stock ICS, it is the Samsung-version of ICS)  on the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Now that it is nearly two months of using it, I want to share a lit­tle bit of my experience.

Basi­cally it just works. If you know ICS already, you more or less know how it is on the Galaxy Tab 10.1.

The cal­en­dar app is dif­fer­ent, it is the Sam­sung app, not the native ICS one. I have a prob­lem to sync it with the exchange-connector as it is in Horde 4, but I did not take the time to inves­ti­gate the issue. My Nexus S con­nects just fine, so it must be some mod­i­fi­ca­tion by Sam­sung which is caus­ing the issue.

Some­times the tablet hangs, and I have to shut­down by press­ing the power but­ton for some sec­onds. This only hap­pens when con­nected via WLAN. When I start the tablet again, it will hang again if I am not fast enough to enter the PIN of the SIM, unlock the screen and to deac­ti­vate the WLAN. But even then it will hang after the deac­ti­va­tion of the WLAN. After reboot­ing the sec­ond time (with WLAN already deac­ti­vated), every­thing works again.

The email app is also stut­ter­ing some­times. This hap­pens when I open a folder with a lot of emails and the email app is try­ing to deter­mine if there are attach­ments or not. Either the app is not multi-threaded, or it is not well done.

Apart from that it just works.

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Aug
24

The Android EMail app on ICS

In the review of the Email app of Android 3.2, I com­plained that the message-list moves in a way that the selected mes­sage is in the first place of the message-list. This was annoy­ing for my work­flow. In the Android 4.0.4 app (at least as it comes from Sam­sung for the Galaxy Tab 10.1) this changed so that it is the sec­ond item in the list in some cir­cum­stances (this does not hap­pen always). This is bet­ter (some­what accept­able) for my work­flow, but still, I would pre­fer if it is at least con­fig­urable. Do not move the list when I select a mes­sage, except for mak­ing a par­tially vis­i­ble list-item com­pletely visible.

The other point I did not like about the 3.2-app was the folder list moved so that the inbox is first when return­ing to the list. Thank god this changed too.

The two big dis­ap­point­ing points I had about this app are mostly fixed in the ICS version.

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Aug
13

ICS on the Sam­sung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Last week I had a look if there are some news for an offi­cial update of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 to ICS. To my sur­prise there is one at least in Italy. The one I found to down­load was marked more or less for the Euro­pean mar­ket. Well… that was good enough for me and the night from Fri­day to Sat­ur­day I have spend to update the Tab by hand (unfor­tu­nately this includes a fac­tory reset, no smooth migra­tion from an old ver­sion, but at least I still have root access).

What I noticed so far:

  • OpenGL ES speed improved from 4.2 to 6.6 FPS.
  • I had some lock-ups so far, I do not know if this may be related to some restored data (app data and e.g. Bluetooth/WLAN con­fig restored with Tita­ni­um­Backup) or to bugs (Dalvik cache and cache par­ti­tion where clean, fac­tory reset was done too prior to restor­ing from the backup). I had to press the power but­ton for some sec­onds to ini­ti­ate a reboot. Most of the time it helped to wait a minute before enter­ing the PIN for the SIM. One time it did not help at all, the only way to get it work­ing was to take my WLAN Access Point (AP) offline, start the Tab, enter the PIN, and to restart the AP. At that point I had GPS and WLAN in the Tab acti­vated, in the lock-ups before I did not have GPS active. I had some­thing sim­i­lar like this with my Nexus S when it got ICS, some­how this resolved itself. Update 2012-08-14: I googled a bit, there was a bug in ICS 4.0.3 related to WLAN, but I have 4.0.4 on the Tab, so this may not be this. I also got the freeze with­out WLAN but with the mobile data con­nec­tion active. 2nd update 2012-08-14: If I dis­able account sync­ing with the mobile data con­nec­tion it does not freeze. I have not yet tried this with the WLAN con­nec­tion. Update 2012-08-16: The syn­chro­niza­tion of the cal­en­dar data caused the prob­lem. Delet­ing all data for any app with cal­en­dar in the name and re-syncing fixed the prob­lem. No freeze since I did this yesterday.
  • When I open/close a folder (much missed fea­ture in Android 3.x), the Tab speaks with me (some­thing like “Folder XXX opened” in the con­fig­ured lan­guage… that is a bit annoying).
  • I like the default back­ground image.
  • Update 2012-08-14: The bat­tery icon does stay green even when the bat­tery is nearly empty. :(

I was not able to test the Email APP yet, I am wait­ing for a warranty-replacement of the PSU of my server at home (Murphy’s law: Your PSU will break when you just started a big ren­o­va­tion of your kitchen and do not have time to take care about it, and when you get time a lot of peo­ple from the PSU-manufacturer which take care about warranty-replacements are in holiday).

I also need to check the mobile data con­nec­tiv­ity (qual­ity and speed), but I would expect that it is not worse than before. Update 2012-08-14: The down­load speed test shows sim­i­lar results than before, the upload speed test is slower, but this may be the mobile net­work here where I tested. At least I can con­firm that it works, mod­ulo the prob­lem of the freezes described above.

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Jul
09

Email app from Android 3.1 in Android 3.2?

As pre­vi­ously reported, I tried the update to Android 3.2 on my Tab and was not happy about the new EMail app. At the week­end I had a lit­tle bit of time, so I tried to get the Email.apk from Android 3.1 into Android 3.2.

Long story short, I failed.

Tita­ni­um­Backup PRO was restor­ing or hours (the option to migrate from a dif­fer­ent ROM ver­sion was enabled) until I killed the app, and it did not get any­where (I just emailed their sup­port if I did some­thing com­pletely stu­pid, or of this is a bug in TB). And a copy by hand into /system/apps did not work (app fails to start).

Ideas welcome.

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Jun
21

Android IMAP clients review

My Galaxy Tab was run­ning Android 3.1 since I bought it. The included EMail client (not the GMail APP) was fine for me. Not as com­fort­able as a real desk­top EMail client (I use Sylpheed-Claws), and not as good as my web­mail inter­face (Horde/IMP), but OK to han­dle 100 – 300 EMails a day. I liked the split into day/week/month in the list-view for the EMails, being able to select a whole day (and des­e­lect a sub­set) for quick actions (delete/move).

Yes­ter­day I updated the Tab to Andorid 3.2. While there is now a nice trans­parence effect avail­able in some places, and the Play-Store has a dif­fer­ent user-interface, the big dif­fer­ence for me is, that the behav­ior of the EMail client changed. When I view a mes­sage the message-list moves the message-list in a way that the selected mes­sage is in the first posi­tion of the message-list. This is annoy­ing, and I have not found a set­ting how to change this. This way I can not view the last dis­played mes­sage, select it (or not), view the sec­ond last, select it … and so on … and then delete all mes­sage at once.

I also noticed that the folder-list is mov­ing. I have not noticed a spe­cific pat­tern, but when I return to the folder-list I found the incom­ing folder being the first one dis­played, even if I was in a folder sev­eral pages down. This is annoy­ing too.

Well… this gave the oppor­tu­nity to have a look at other EMail clients. The first one was K-9 Mail. The first bad impres­sion was, that the boxes to select EMails are too small. I select a lot of EMails to either delete them directly (a sub­set of ver­sion con­trol com­mit logs), or to move them to a dif­fer­ent folder. It is a nice app, but as I need to select a lot, it is not really suit­able for my work­flow.

For the next app, Mail­Droid, I did not had the pos­si­bil­ity to accept the self-signed cer­tifi­cate of my IMAP-server, so I deleted it immediately.

The next app was Mel­win Mail (trial ver­sion). It is based upon K-9 Mail. The message-selector boxes are big­ger, but the mesasge-list does not dis­play the full sub­ject. This does not allow me to see if I can delete the EMail unread or not. I also did not find a way to enlarge the message-list to see more of the sub­ject (and I want to have the font-size not too small). Well… this means it is not suit­able too.

I also wanted to look at Kaiten. It is based upon K-9 Mail too. Unfor­tu­nately I do not find a trial ver­sion. Based upon my expe­ri­ence with Mel­win Mail, I do not want to pay for some­thing, I may not want to use. On the web­site I do not see a link to screen­shots or sim­i­lar, only a change-log.

All the “best EMail app” postings/articles I was able to find (and have a look at) told that K-9 Mail, is the best free one, and a lot of peo­ple rec­om­mend Mel­win Mail or Kaiten. I can not agree for my work­flow. EMail apps have to go a long way until they reach a niveau which allows to han­dle more than a hand­ful of mails per day and a not so sim­ple work­flow like “read all EMails as they flow in”.

Based upon this, I switched back to Android 3.1 on my Tab. While the included EMail client is not per­fect (e.g. I can not select all EMails at once in search-results), it is still bet­ter suited than what I have seen so far.

Unfor­tu­nately I can not really test 4.0.x on my Tab, the cam­era does not work in community-based Android 4.0.x ver­sions, and I do not want to miss the pos­si­bil­ity to do a video-call with my deaf brother.

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