Posts Tagged Android

The importance of HTTPS login pages – Session hijacking fits in a pocket now

You should always prefer SSL-encrypted (HTTPS) login pages on sites over non-SSL (HTTP). Why?

Session hijacking is why.

First, let me [very briefly] explain the difference for the unfamiliar. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and it’s the encrypted, secure version of HTTP, the protocol that loads web pages. Normal web access is over unencrypted HTTP (the http:// part of the web address) and secure access is over HTTPS (the https:// in front of the address bar). In the most basic terms, the extra ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.

Some screenshots using Firefox:

Normal (unencrypted) session:

Secure (encrypted) session:

So why am I bringing this up? Because I got a chance to play with an app for Android that claimed to allow one to “capture” login sessions over wireless connections.

How does it work? Well, without going into too much detail you simply connect your Android-powered device running this application to a wireless network and it just sits and listens for login data and captures it. I sat down with the app a few minutes ago, put it on my network, and logged in to various sites. You know what? It worked. I was able to capture several logins in just a few minutes and log in to those sites from my mobile device without needing the password. Among those captured were my Facebook and Google login. Note that I had to disable HTTPS logins on Facebook to get it to capture. The encryption provided by HTTPS is enough to prevent this type of hijack from working.

That means that Joe Blow sitting two tables away from you at Starbucks with his phone in his pocket could be capturing your Facebook, Amazon, or other login credentials while you’re casually surfing the web and sipping coffee.  This could also mean that your neighbors unsecured wireless network, which you’ve been casually using to avoid paying for your own, could be silently capturing your login details. This also means that if your own wireless network is unsecured, you’re leaving yourself open to this type of attack.

Note that this worked even though my network is WPA2 secured: I just had to enter the wireless key to connect to the network.

I’m not going to mention the name of the app, though it is available in the Android Market and does require a rooted phone, so if you want to go play with it you have to find it on your own. I’m also not encouraging stealing other people’s identities. As far as I know it’s a Federal crime. :) I’m writing this to make people aware that they should:

  • Use HTTPS login pages whenever possible.
  • Avoid using unsecured wireless networks.
  • Secure your own wireless network and be aware of who you share the key with.
  • Change your own wireless key from time to time if you share it.

Have a nice day :) As always, feel free to share your comments below!

Advertisements

, , , ,

Leave a comment

Sprint and Google Voice integration

I was recently in a Sprint store and saw that they were advertising Google Voice integration with your Sprint mobile number which adds all of the features and functionality of Google Voice to your Sprint mobile number.

The Sprint and Google Voice integration gives you two (technically three) options to use with your account. I’ll explain the two carrier-integration and the one non-carrier-integration options as clearly as I can, citing references and personal experience on each.

If you install the Google Voice app on Android, you’ll be prompted to either perform the carrier integration steps or skip it. Unfortunately, the impact of the options isn’t as clear as it could be. So here’s my take-away on this.

First, the carrier-integration options as listed on http://www.google.com/googlevoice/sprint/

Option 1: Use your Sprint number with Google Voice.

This causes the carrier to pass (for lack of a better word) all of your inbound calls through the GV service. Your Sprint mobile number becomes your Google voice number. This is the mode that Sprint is encouraging, both from a feature and a billing perspective.

All of your outbound calls from the GV website will display your Sprint number. The one thing about this is that you can enable/disable calls from ringing your mobile through the Google Voice settings (even though it’s your mobile number — remember we’re passing incoming calls through the GV service?). You can even uncheck your phone in the list of ringing devices and have it go directly to voicemail.

If you have an existing GV number already, you will have a limited time (90 days) before Google recycles the number back into their pool (unless you pay a $20 one-time payment to permanently keep it). This information is displayed in your Google Voice settings.

The one thing that unnerves me a bit is the fact that you can uncheck your phone in the list of phones and it will not ring when people dial your number. So… keep that in mind.

Also, SMS are delivered to the Google Voice app ONLY, and require a data connection to work. MMS are delivered to the phone directly.

Option 2: Use your Google Voice number on your Sprint phone.

This causes ALL outgoing calls and texts from your mobile handset to pass through the GV service and therefore display your current Google Voice number (NOT your Sprint mobile number). Similiar to the above except for the number displayed is your current GV number and not your Sprint mobile number.

Non-integrated Option 3: Use Google Voice only for voicemail.

Skip the carrier integration and just dial a call forwarding/no answer/busy code on your handset to your GV number. On Sprint, this is *28. So if your GV number was 312-555-1212, you would dial *283125551212 and hit send. To stop this and return to carrier voicemail, dial *38. you should hear confirmation tones. If you hear an error message instead, call Sprint at 888-211-4727 and ask them for assistance. In this option, everything happens over the Sprint network except for voicemail, which is handled by the “Call forwarding no answer/busy” function (*28).

To disable carrier integration:

If you turned on integration and changed your mind, follow these steps to disable it:

  • Log in to your Google Voice account
  • Click the gear icon in the top-right corner and click Voice Settings
  • Under “Phones” click “Disable integration” next to your integrated line.

Mind you, carrier integration is NOT number porting (I was nervous about this myself) but rather a mutual hand-off of who is routing and handling the incoming/outgoing call path.

Still have questions about Sprint Google Voice integration?

See the following links for more information:

Some issues that others are facing:

Engadget has also posted the following posts on Sprint Google Voice integration:

… and please feel free to share your feedback or experience with Sprint Google Voice integration in the comments below. Thank you!

, ,

Leave a comment

Must-have Android apps?

I initially had my list of must-have Android apps posted in my review of my Samsung Moment, but I thought they deserved a mention apart from my awful experience with that phone.

I’ve recently updated this list to reflect my current list of must-have Android apps, rather than the old list. Quite a few of my recommendations have changed. These are recommendations for Froyo and newer. So here they are, in no particular order, and now with Market links. Note that some of these application descriptions have been taken directly from Market where I feel the author has explained it better than I could. If you have an iPhone, feel free to check out my list of must-have iPhone apps as well.

aCar
An all-in-one application to track and manage your car: maintenance, fill-ups, fuel mileage, expenses, business trips and more.

Advanced Task Killer (ATK)
Simple, easy-to-use task killer that supports automatically killing tasks as well as force-closing unwanted system tasks.

Astro File Manager
In my opinion the best free file manager / file explorer program available for Android. Easy manage files on your device and SD card. Easy to use, free, and powerful.

Autokiller Memory Optimizer
An outstanding and powerful automatic task killer with manual-kill features and additional tuning for rooted phones. Does have some advanced tuning features, so novice users may want to consider ATK above instead.

Barcode Scanner
A fun little app for using the camera to extract human-readable info from 1D and 2D barcodes. Supports many different barcode formats and recognizes codes quickly.

Barcode2file
The natural compliment to Barcode Scanner. Save your scans in a text file or send them via email with a simple touch. Supports batch scanning as well.

Battery Indicator
A free, simple, no-nonsense application to display your remaining battery as a percentage in your notification area.

Battery Widget
This widget displays the battery charge level as a percent on the home screen and offers one-touch access to the Wifi, GPS, and Bluetooth power toggles

Data Counter Widget
A must-have for those who are on data-limited plans. This widget displays your cell and wifi data usage for the month (or another configurable period of time) as a home screen widget.

Dolphin Browser HD
Puts the stock browser to shame. Easy full-screen browsing with swipe access to plugins and gesture  support for quick access to your favorite websites. Supports a variety of plugins as well.

Eternal Legacy HD
If you’re a fan of the turn-based fantasy RPG’s (think Final Fantasy) you will LOVE Eternal Legacy HD. This one is NOT available on Market, but is available from Gameloft.  Check the link for actual phone compatibility.

Evernote
This is one of those apps that once you have it you’re not sure ow you got along without it. Evernote is an easy-to-use, free app that helps you remember everything across all of the devices you use. Stay organized, save your ideas and improve productivity. Evernote lets you take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders–and makes these notes completely searchable, whether you are at home, at work, or on the go. Since Evernote’s notes are synced to all of your devices via the cloud, you don’t have to worry about losing them.

FBI Child ID
While the Android app is still in development as of  the date of this update, FBI Child ID is a must-have for anyone with a child that they are responsible for. You can store photos, identifying information, and have the comfort of having it with you whenever you have your phone. With the ability to send it to authorities with a few taps, FBI Child ID can save valuable time in the event of a lost or missing child. See the FBI’s official Child ID page for more information.

Facebook
What can I say? Facebook app. Much better with recent improvements.

Hackers Keyboard
I don’t like Swype — It lacks some of the extended characters that I use and I’m a tap-typer rather than a swipe-typer. When I do inadvertently swipe my finger across the keyboard it tends to mangle whatever I was trying to type. For me, Hackers Keyboard is better — and free!

JuiceDefender – Battery Saver
A freemium, easy-to-use application to monitor and extend the life of your phone or tablet. Features widgets that give you one-touch access to status and features.

JuicePlotter
Great app to show historical data about battery life and usage, as well as a widget to show time-to-charge and time-remaining on your battery life. Very useful, and gets more accurate over time.

LastPass
A great password manager. LastPass web site. With fast and easy access to your LastPass password vault, the LastPass mobile app is a must-have. (Note: Requires a LastPass premium subscription – $12/year)

Lookout Mobile Security
Contains an anti-virus element, phone location, and backup/restore services. Excellent service for free, and a quite reasonable paid subscription service.

Meebo IM
A multi-protocol instant messenger for Android. Supports AIM, Facebook, Google Talk, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, MySpace, and Yahoo messenger protocols.

Parcels
Track FedEx, UPS, USPS, DHL and more right from your handheld. Also allows you to scan barcodes before shipping to be informed on their progress to the recipient.

PayPal
Handy for sending money via PayPal while on the go.

Spare Parts Plus
This is a handy utility for editing some hidden functions of your phone or tablet device. Settings should be changed carefully. The most useful reason for this app is enabling/disabling compatibility mode.

Twitter
It’s Twitter. Do I need to say any more?

Waze
Waze uses your devices GPS to not only provide turn-by-turn navigation, but also provides crowd-sourced traffic data to other Waze users  about traffic, delays, police presence, accidents, and other road incidents. Waze allows you to report a road incident with just a few taps on the screen, and Waze works well in both portrait and landscape orientation. (Thanks Jeff T. for the recommendation!)

WeatherBug Elite
Shows up-to-date weather information, forecast, radar (supports multi-touch), and more, with configurable widgets and “follow me” support. WeatherBug Elite is nice, but they do have the free WeatherBug app available too.

WordPress
A real must-have for anyone with a WordPress.com or self-hosted WordPress blog.

Z-DeviceTest
Handy app for testing various functions and sensors on your phone.

If you’ve read this far, you might also be interested in a list of apps specifically for rooted phones, yes? Well, here they are:

AdAway
Open-source ad blocker for rooted phones.

AdFree Android
Another ad blocker for root phones. For more information and to give feedback, visit the XDA Forums.

Chainfire3D
An intermediary OpenGL graphics driver which may increase video performance on some devices. Requires: Root, 1ghz+ device, Android 2.1+. See the XDA thread for more information and a list of compatible devices.

Samba Filesharing
A Samba server for your Android phone. Allows you to access your Android phone’s SD card over your network.

Titanium Backup
EXTREMELY powerful tool. Backup ALL apps, Market links, remove bloatware & MORE! Backs up your apps to your SD card and can restore them with their data even after a hard reset, factory reset, or even a new ROM install. It’s fantastic!

Have an Android app you just can’t live without? Please let me know in the comments below!

Last update: December 7th, 2011

, , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Google adds two-factor (2-factor) authentication for Gmail and Google Apps

Two-factor authentication finally comes for Google accounts, including Google Apps.

From Google:

Using 2-step verification will help prevent strangers from accessing your account with just a stolen password. When you sign in with 2-step verification, you’ll verify your identity using both a password and a code that you receive on your phone. Learn more

The one-time-password (OTP) that you receive on your phone can come from one of two different methods: Either a time-based password using the Google Authenticator app for your smartphone (BlackBerry, iPhone, Android), or as a text message. Google also provides you a set of codes that you can print out, in case you don’t get your code or your phone is lost. Keep them in a safe place, because if you lose your phone and your codes, getting access to your account is a royal pain — but that’s the way it’s supposed to be:

You’ll need to fill out an account recovery form to verify ownership of the account. Take time to answer each question to the best of your ability. The form was designed to ensure that no one can gain access to your account except you. Since Google doesn’t collect a lot of information about you when you sign up for an account, we will ask you questions like when you created your account, what Google services you use, and who you email frequently (if you use Gmail) to make certain you are authorized to access your account.

Two-factor needs to be turned on in your Google Account settings, and Google has an excellent walk-though on how to activate and test two-factor during the setup. Google calls their two-factor authentication simply “2-step verification.”

To access your account settings from your Gmail or Google Apps mail screen, click Settings in the top right, then click the Accounts tab, then Google Account Settings. then click the “2-step verification” link.

Google says that setting up their 2-step verification takes about 15 minutes, and it’s a good estimate. Budget longer if you’re less savvy or want to be more careful. There’s a testing step involved, so there’s little risk of locking yourself out of your account.

There are major security advantages to using two-factor authentication. One of the biggest simply being that if your password is compromised, there’s still a barrier preventing someone from logging in and having their way with your account.

Along with this, Google introduces what they call “Application specific passwords.” These are workaround passwords for applications (IMAP/POP/SMTP clients, Google Talk, etc) that can’t present the OTP passwords required for two-factor authentication. Instead, you generate a different password — one for each resource if you like — and enter that in your application instead of your normal password. Sound confusing? It’s not, really. This has the added advantage that if someone gains access to your applications configuration files (e.g. Outlook) and pulls your password out, they can’t use it to log directly into your Google account. You can also go into your Google account and revoke these generated passwords at a later date if a resource does become compromised.

After enabling 2-step authentication, you’ll receive an email with information which includes information about application specific passwords:

IMPORTANT: What to Do If Some Applications Stop Working

Some applications that access Google data do not accept verification codes. They
only accept usernames and passwords. Examples include:

-Smartphones (e.g., Android, iPhone)
-Mail clients that use IMAP/POP (e.g., Outlook Express or Thunderbird)
-Chat clients (e.g., Google Talk)
-Picasa desktop application

Now that you have signed up for 2-step verification, these applications will
temporarily stop working. You can get them working again by entering an
application-specific password into the password box, instead of your regular
password or your verification code.

That email will contain a link to generate those application-specific passwords.

Security-minded individuals will no doubt embrace these changes to Google. I for one appreciate that Google is going to such great lengths to provide easy-to-implement security tools that benefit the consumer. I believe that Google may have done something really great here — users who are really concerned about security in Internet resources may now seriously consider creating Google account. Less technical consumers may still use Google using conventional username/password combinations if they so desire.

What do you think of Google decision to add two-factor authentication to accounts? Are you, or will you be, taking advantage of it?

, , , , ,

Leave a comment

iPad used more than Linux computers?

Today, Royal Pingdom posted a somewhat-surprising blog entry that shows that the iPad alone, not any other iOS device like the iPhone or iPod touch, is used more than Linux computers.

Why is this only somewhat surprising? There’s plenty of reasons:

The positive about the Apple devices:

The iPhone and iPod Touch set the stage with — and raised the bar on — user friendliness in portable devices. The iPod was the device that some would argue re-made Apple. It quickly took over the portable media player market and set the new de-facto standard for what to expect in a music player: Lots of storage, and a simple, user-friendly interface. With the iPod Classic, new features brought even higher expectations. The iPod Touch and iPhone sealed the deal for Apple (and some would argue dealt AT&T a blow to the knees).

When the iPad arrived, it ran off the same iOS that the iPod touch did, which brought a familiar look and feel to iOS users. Drawing from the same App Store ensured that users would experience Apple’s touted “There’s an app for that” experience. In addition, the iPad pioneered the tablet experience to the mass market. Behind it’s launch, Android and Blackberry have struggled to gain market share.

The comparison to Linux:

When you compare the Apple iPad to the Linux market, it’s little surprise that the iPad comes ahead. Even the more popular Linux distros like Red Hat and Ubuntu, although moving ahead in leaps and bounds, still suffer their shortcomings with user friendliness and ease-of-use. Hardware quirks and incompatibilities often get the better of inexperienced users, who turn back to Windows or Mac for that lacking bit of hardware support.

Additionally, there aren’t many computer manufacturers who will sell systems with Linux pre-installed for an out-of-the-box experience. While Dell has sold systems with Linux pre-installed, and has sold select system with no OS, there’s a distinct bias in the new-sales model towards Windows. Why? Money. Microsoft pays the OEMs a commission for new-system sales with Windows pre-installed. On top of that, there’s less work for the OEMs to make sure that hardware works as expected. System76 has started picking up the pre-installed Linux market, selling systems with Ubuntu pre-installed, but the price is arguably higher than a system from another vendor, and I can’t speak to the warranty or support.

Conclusion:

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Linux user and I love it. But I’m not blind to the fact that it has it’s shortcomings — although Red Hat and Ubuntu have really worked towards making everything work as it should, and making the user experience the best possible. Linux also runs on a wider-range (and a more inexpensive range) of hardware than Apple OS. Also, you can’t ignore that this study has a big of a flaw in it: This only compared stats between iPod and mainstream Linux (desktops and laptops) — two completely different device platforms.

Apples to apples or apples to oranges? Do the numbers even mean anything at all? What are your thoughts?

, , , , ,

Leave a comment

How to hide and or block all that Facebook junk

Update: Due to layout updates in Facebook, this method no longer works exactly as shown. It is still possible to hide and block content. Since I’m not going to update this post every time Facebook changes their layout, please use the below only as a reference.

If you’re a Facebook user, you’ve probably seen the plethora of “Status Updates” that come from Facebook Applications.

At it’s best, it’s spammy and can make finding your friend’s actual posts harder. At the worst, it can be offensive, misleading, or suggest you click something that could actually be malicious.

So, here’s a short walk-through of how to hide and/or block those applications from appearing in your feed.

The first thing to do is to find an offending post. The post must say “via” at the bottom, next to the time/date it posted.

That means it was posted via an application, and not as a status update.

A word of caution: It may be possible to block “Text Message”, “Facebook for Blackberry”, “Facebook for Android”, etc. These are actually applications that are used by mobile users to post their own updates. If you block these, you might not get all your friend’s updates, if any at all. You can block them if you choose, but I recommend against it.

That said, there’s two ways to go about it, “hiding” the app, or “blocking” the app. In most cases, hiding is sufficient. Unless you want to make sure that said app never has access to your information, and you never use it. In that case, a block is in order. (It is possible to unblock applications, though I don’t explain that in this post — I may add it at some point in the future.)

Hiding the application

Hover your mouse over the status update and find the “X” that will appear

Click on the “X” and the status update will change to the hide dialog. From here, you can hide the offending application.

Done.

Blocking the application

Hover over the image and locate the link to the application

Click it. That will take you to the application page, where you can block the application.

Click block. You will be prompted to confirm.

Done.

, ,

Leave a comment

Paperless Geocaching

This isn’t meant to be a complete explanation of all the available options, but simply a quick primer for someone who is interested in planning a purchase to try for the goal of paperless geocaching. Paperless meaning, in the most general sense, you don’t need a paper printout for coordinates.

There are a few different ways to go about this:

You can have a GPS or GPS-enabled device that you load waypoint files on.

Most hand-held and vehicle GPS units will allow you to load waypoint files on them, thus giving you some kind of list of loaded waypoints and allowing you to approach and make the find without having to enter the actual coordinates into the GPS. Geocaching.com has two features that help with this: “Download waypoint file” and “Send to GPS”. The download waypoint file will generate either a .LOC or .GPX file for loading onto your device (See the documentation that came with your device for the actual process). The Send to GPS function appears to only work with Garmin devices (for now, at least).

The drawback to this method is you have to go on the geocaching.com website before your actual trip and choose which caches you will attempt and load them. The premium membership has a nice feature which helps with this: “Pocket queries.” Pocket queries can generate a waypoint file with up to 300 caches based on criteria you specify.

Garmin has a product line dedicated to the paperless geocacher. See information at Geocaching with Garmin.

This is a good viable option for those cachers who seek infrequently or who simply have a GPS unit and want to reduce their paper usage in an inexpensive way.

You can have a data-enabled device (such as a laptop or netbook with an aircard).

A netbook with an aircard can be an invaluable tool for use in the car (not on the trail) for looking up caches, viewing logs and maps, and logging your visits. This would allow you to log your visits without having to go back home, and give you a little more flexibility in case you find that you’re in a new area and want to pick up a quick cache or two. You can simply log on the website, look up a cache, punch the coordinates into your GPS, and away you go. Returning to the car, you can log your visit easily.

You can have a device which combines the two functions above, both retrieving the data from the website and helping you navigate to it.

This is the goal a lot of cachers (including myself) aim for: A single device that can do it all. A smartphone with GPS and data service is the usual tool for this job.

There are several different geocaching apps for smartphones, and some do it better than others. Here’s a quick run-down of some of my favorites:

Trimble Outdoors and Geocache Navigator by Trimble Outdoors – $9.99 (If I recall correctly)

These two programs are available on a large number of phones and carriers. I prefer Geocache Navigator, but Trimble Outdoors has a slightly different feature set which may make it appealing to different users.Geocache Navigator allows you to load up a list of nearby caches, display them on a map, seek them, and log your visit directly from your phone. It does require you to “tie” it to your geocaching.com account, which can be done easily from the geocaching.com website. One feature that Geocache Navigator does not have is the ability to set a waypoint (such as your car), which leaves the walk back completely up to you. Trimble Outdoors does have this, but doesn’t retrieve caches automatically; it requires you to load GPX files yourself prior to seeking a cache.

Geocaching by Groundspeak – $30

Groundspeak’s own geocaching app for Android and iPhone devices. These apps load caches near you (or by GC code) and help you navigate to it. Logging your visit, looking at previous logs, hints, even pictures are part of this app. Though a little pricey, these apps definitely do it all, and they’re published and supported by Groundspeak, the folks behind geocaching.com.

Free phone apps

I know there are a number of free apps, unfortunately they vary between carriers and phone brands, and I don’t have enough experience with them or a list of links to provide. Please feel free to leave your apps and feedback in the comments below.

Have your own way of going paperless? Have you had experience with any of the above apps you’d like to share? Have an app not listed above that you prefer? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

, ,

Leave a comment

Fun with barcodes and an Android phone

The Android Market has some incredibly fun (and semi-useful) apps for reading and handling barcodes and information. Here’s a quick run-down of a few and some potential uses. You should be able to easily find and download these apps from the Market.

Barcode Reader (website) – Zxing’s barcode reader app will read and display the content of many barcode formats.

  • UPC-A and UPC-E
  • EAN-8 and EAN-13
  • Code 39
  • Code 93
  • Code 128
  • QR Code
  • ITF
  • Codabar
  • RSS-14 (all variants)
  • Data Matrix (‘alpha’ quality)
  • PDF 417 (‘alpha’ quality)

In addition, content (such as URLs, contact information, wifi data) can be acted upon. Zxing’s barcode reader also functions as a library/API for other programs, and some other Android apps may require it. Zxing also has a barcode generator which can be found here.

ScanLife (website) – Not my favorite, but fun as well. Similiar to the above, but the content is displayed from a website and can’t be acted upon. Not as useful as Zxing’s barcode reader.

Barcode2file (website) – This app has found a special use for me. Uses the Zxing library for reading, and allows you to scan codes in bulk and either send them via email or save them to a text file. Incredibly useful for me at my job, and I use it frequently.

PC_BCR (website) – This app, combined with your wifi-enabled phone, actually allows you to use your phone as a wireless barcode scanner for your PC. Requires you to run a small app on your PC (supports Windows and Linux) and then run the PC_BCR app on your phone. Supports “serial” and “keyboard wedge” interfaces on the PC.

Have a fun and/or useful barcode app to share? Have anything additional to share about the apps above? Please do so in the comments!

,

Leave a comment

Alchemy for Android

I recently got hooked on a new game for the Android phone called Alchemy. Here’s the description from the Android Market:

You have only four base elements: Fire, Water, Earth and Air. Combine them and their products to get more than 200 new elements. You can create a Life, Beer, Vampires, Skyscrapers and many more..

Search the Market for “Zaikin” (the author’s last name) and look for this icon:

Or scan this barcode using your phone to download it directly from the Android market.

There is a game similar to Alchemy called Doodle God that you can play in a web browser. Play here. Doodle God is also available on iPhone.

UPDATE: This forum has a lot of hints and tips for Alchemy combinations. Some work in Doodle God while most either do not or produce different combinations.

Got any hints to share for Alchemy or Doodle God? Please feel free to share them in the comments below!

,

Leave a comment

Meet the Samsung Moment

I finally got my Samsung Moment from Sprint, and all I can say is… wow!

Loaded with Android 2.1 (Eclair), the Moment is a great phone.

The roughly 3.25″ 320×480 capacitive touchscreen AMOLED display shows bright, crisp, clear colors (even against sunlight glare), and responds well to finger touches without requiring pressure. Notable is the fact that it does not respond to object touch, only finger touch. Directly below the screen are three touch keys: Home , Menu, and Back. Holding the home key brings up the task list. Below that, hardware Send and End keys, and an optical trackpad complete the front keys. The optical trackpad is a wonderful asset, especially when browing the web; small elements (such as links) are sometimes hard to touch accurately, and being able to select them by scrolling and clicking the trackpad is great.

Around the sides, hardware volume up and down keys, two-position camera button, and a voice command button give quick access at a touch, and rubber-plugged USB (charging) and 3.5mm headphone jack add ruggedness to the ports. The two-position camera key allows the user to have the camera focus with a half-press, and take the picture with the full press.

The 3.2MP auto-focus camera with flash is great for taking both casual and macro pictures. The auto-focus feature is also great for use with apps such as Barcode Scanner, Parcels, Google Shopping, and more.

I found the slide-out full QWERTY keyboard to be essential, as I don’t favor on-screen keyboards (though it’s there if you prefer). The only thing I’m still getting used to is the particular layout. Though, each manufacturer has their own quirks when it comes to QWERTY layouts, it’s not an unbearable layout. In fact, I’m getting used to it already.

So now on to the apps. I thought fitting to put together a list of some of the apps that I feel are must-haves, at least for me, in no particular order. You can read about them on my list of must-have Android apps.

Now, the one really bad thing I found about this phone is the ubiquitously-mentioned poor battery life. In it’s stock configuration, the 1440mah battery will barely last the day, even on the fullest charge. I haven’t been able to find an Extended Life battery for this phone on the web yet, so I had to do some troubleshooting to find ways to extend the battery life. The results? The default radio settings have Wifi, GPS, and “background data” all turned on, and the phone never takes a break. Head to Settings > Wireless and Network Settings and tick off Wifi, and Bluetooth when you don’t need them. Under Settings > Location and Security Settings you’ll find Use GPS satellites which can be ticked off when not needed. Going to Settings > Account and Sync Settings you’ll find Background Data which will also save you data and battery life. Of course, you can always add the Power Control widget to your home screen to have these controls available to you at a single touch. I’ve also heard of some running the battery down to about 5% then plugging the phone in and letting the battery charge completely to supposedly “recalibrate” the phone’s battery meter. I’m experimenting and if I find anything significant, I’ll post it.

Use the Samsung Moment and have a tip to share? Any advice for extending the battery life on this phone? Please leave a comment below.

, , ,

Leave a comment