Sunday, October 24, 2010


Have been very busy off late.. but I hope to get back to posting very soon.. good to see people are still visiting my Tutorial page(s)!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Must have Android apps

AppMonster (99KB) - The very first app I install, use it to create a backup of all the apps installed.  Unlike other apps this one only appends the new/updated onces.  A great little app for installing/uninstalling apps.  Especially useful for installing apps after a flash/format quickly.  Remember to run the backup after your apps have upgraded.

Helix Launcher (1MB) - After installing about 4-5 different 'Home' replacement apps I have finally settled down for the HelixLauncher.  It has a nice light design and is very smooth.  The best thing I like about this are the quick launch buttons which can be customised and the fact that double tapping gives you a preview of the screens you are running.

Advanced Task Manager (FREE) (356KB) - Simply the best out there, the "Press to End" widget is god sent especially on a phone like Samsung Galaxy with its meager 128 MB RAM.  After install ensure the required apps are put in the "Ignore" list and then just use the "Press to end" widget shortcut to free up memory whenever you feel the phone is sluggish. Works great.

Handcent SMS (2MB) - Although very similar to ChompSMS, I think it outshines the ChompSMS by a slight margin because of the some extra goodies. Definitely a 5 star application.

Battery Life (115KB) - Beautiful widget which changes color according to the battery level.  A must have for any android phone.

ThickButtons (BETA) (911KB) - A pretty accurate keyboard which predicts the next key you will press and enlarges those keys. Can be a pain when typing non standard words though.

Swype (BETA) (2 MB) - A unique keyboard.  Definitely worth a try.  Although my beta is working in reduced support mode after I reflashed :-(.

SMS Backup (661KB) - A nifty little utility which will backup your text messages to your gmail account ! Needs IMAP enabled for gmail though.

3Banana (548 KB) - Brilliant Note taking app which syncs  with an online snaptic account.  You can use your google account to sign in.

Color Flashlight (221 KB) - A simple yet very useful app.  Love the various effects you can use. :-)

APN Backup & Restore ( 143 KB) - Does what it says.

Other Apps : 

twicca BETA (1 MB) - One of the best UI of all the apps I tried for twitter.  A gorgeous widget to go with it.

Bloo (581 KB) - for all the facebook fans out there.  Although I haven't compared it much to the other apps, I find it better on the face of it.

Colordict (820 KB) - A unique implementation of dictionary, thesaurus, and Wikipedia all rolled into one app.  Best part is that after the installation it copies the data to the SDCard after which you can uninstall the addons.

Others worth a mention : Barcode Scanner, Metal Detector, Better Terminal Emulator, Unit Convertor, Gesture Search. Astro FileManager

The one thing that influenced my selection of apps is the ability to backup the data in the cloud.  That way I don't have to worry about losing my phone or taking a backup before I flash and reflash again.  The other most important thing is the size of the app.

Hope this helps, please share your favorite apps in the comments.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Rooting & other goodies on the Samsung Galaxy SPICA I5700 (2.1 Firmware) - Updated

(DO NOT use this guide with the 1.5 firmware)
for Rooting the Galaxy SPICA 1.5 Firmware click here.

Pre-Requisite : Basic knowledge of windows and linux commands (DO NOT try this if you are uncomfortable with the command line interface)

Step 1 : Download Android SDK from here.
Step 2 : Extract the SDK to a folder.
Step 2 : If you are using windows, right-click on My Computer, and select Properties. Under the Advanced tab, hit the Environment Variables button, and in the dialog that comes up, double-click on Path (under System Variables). Append the full path to the tools/ directory to the path (for eg if you have extracted the SDK under d: drive add ;d:\android-sdk_r04-windows\tools Path variable).

for other OS follow the steps here.

Step 3: Download from here. and copy it to the /tools folder under the SDK.
Step 4a: Enable USB debugging mode : Settings > Applications > Development > USB debugging.  (forgot this step.. thanks to yudha.)
Step 4b: Connect the phone using the USB cable and run the following commands using the command prompt.

adb devices > it should list your device with a serial number,if not the phone is not connected properly.

then run the following commands : 
adb shell mount -o remount,rw,codepage=utf8,vfat,xattr,check=no /dev/stl5 /system
adb shell rm /system/xbin/su
adb shell ln -s /xbin/su /system/xbin/su
adb push /system/etc/
adb shell chmod 0550 /system/etc/
adb shell reboot

The phone will reboot at this point and after it reboots you should have root access to the phone.

To check 

adb shell
the prompt should change from the $ to a # ..thats it now you have root access to your android kernel :-)
Type "exit" to get back to your windows command prompt.

Alternatively you can download an application like Better Terminal and try running the commands from your phone itself.

Once you have gained root access you can remove pre-installed applications you do not like or want or install files like the LiveWallpapersPicker.apk

Backup System Files : 

Connect phone on USB
Backup all system files before making any changes by running the following command
adb pull /system/app < path the backup folder >

Mounting the system: 

adb shell mount -o remount,rw,codepage=utf8,vfat,xattr,check=no /dev/stl5 /system (this mounts the system and allows you to modify system files)

One easier way to do this is by adding the Remount script to the system/xbin
Download Remount and copy to /tools folder under the SDK
mount -o remount,rw,codepage=utf8,vfat,xattr,check=no /dev/stl5 /system

adb push remount /system/xbin/
adb shell chmod 0755 /system/xbin/remount

Now you can type "remount rw" when you want to mount the system in read/write mode and "remount ro" when you want to put it back as read only.

Remove files you don't need : (for eg myspace.apk)

cd /system/app
rm myspace.apk

Please make sure you have a backup before you try to remove any apk file.

Install Live Wallpapers (Just like the Google Nexus One)

Download LiveWallpaperPicker.apk and copy to the tools/ folder under the SDK

Open the command prompt and type :

adb install LiveWallpapersPicker.apk

You should now have an option for picking a live wallpapers on your phone.
There are a lot of nice looking live wallpapers on the market for you to download and try.

Thanks to mrJohn and Mallik_Raj @

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Samsung I5700 (Galaxy SPICA) Android 2.1 Flashing Guide (Updated)


What you need : 

The firmware : I570EDDJB2 in my case. (Unreleased Android 2.1 (Eclair) firmware from Samsung).
Multiloader application and Spica OPS (Odin_v4_03.exe + spica.ops) :
*** Please use the new spica_jc3.ops file for the firmwares I5700XXJBA, I570EXXJC3 I570EXXJC5
Drivers for I5700 :
Samsung USB Cable

Before you start : 
Backup your data !
Remove the SIM lock if any.
Create a folder and extract all files listed above + the firmware (do not extract the tar file from within the firmware)
Ensure your phones battery is sufficiently charged (and your laptops battery too if you live in a country like ours lol ;-))
Shutdown any service/software which could be using the USB port, especially the Samsung PC suite. - Very Important

Flashing :

Edit : You should probably do a hard reset before you start by punching in the following code on the phone *2767*3855#

1. Shutdown your phone and remove the SDCARD and the SIM 

2. Put the phone in "Download Mode" by pressing Volume Down + Camera + Power button.
Image Courtesy :
3. Connect the Phone to the PC using USB
4. Install drivers using the drv5700 files- A lot of guys are going wrong here.  Open your device manager and ensure the two Samsung devices are shown properly before you go ahead.(circled in red) - see image below :

4a. Disconnect phone from the USB. *** (Very Important), thanks to Srikanth Kapa (For all you guys having problems with "Setup Connection"
5. Open Odin Multi Downloader v4.03.exe and then reconnect the phone, you should see the a COM port number with a yellow background.
6. Select the files as shown in the image below : 

Image Courtesy :
If you are using some other firmware and there is only one tar file select Option : One Package and load the file under One Package TAB.

Cross check the files and if you need to change anything click on "Reset Files" and select files again.

7. Once you are ready hit the START button. DO NOT DISCONNECT the phone until the firmware download completes.

8.Watch the "Message: window and wait till it shows <1> Close serial port and wait until rebooting.- This usually takes not more than 1-3 minutes.

9. At this point your flashing is complete and the device should be automatically rebooting, once the reboot is complete unplug the USB cable and flick open the Eclair green locking slider ;-)

Congrats !!! Welcome to the delicious ECLAIR club :-)

Issues : 

Google Maps seems to be a bit temperamental (Upgraded to ver 4.0.0 from the new 2.1 Market). Phone has hung a couple of times but nothing really serious.

New Features : 

Multiple Accounts Support
Exchange Support - No Calendar support or GAL lookup.
Camera now has Scene mode, White balance, Color effect
Search across the device including SMS/MMS
HTML5 Support in the browser.
Live Wallpapers
Refreshed UI

Hopefully Samsung will include pinch and zoom in the final release version :-)

Thanks to the guys at : 

Screen Shots : 



Monday, February 22, 2010

Samsung i5700 Running Android 2.1 (Eclair)

I bought the Samsung I5700 on Friday which was running the stock Android 1.5 (Cupcake).  By Saturday I was scourging the internet forums for an upgrade to ver 2.x, I had to get it !.  After lots of  broken links, and reading up Russian tutorials translated using google I was finally got myself a copy of the new unreleased eclair firmware (2.1) : I570EDDJB2.

Everything seems to be running fine :-)  apart from a weird issue with my GPS which cant get my location right.

I will post some screengrabs and a tutorial soon... Make sure to check back soon.

Thanks to all the folks @ SamsungFirmware, SamDroid