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Showing posts from February, 2012

The curious success of Samsung Galaxy Note

"It's a bird...it's a plane...it's SUPERMAN!".

I've not seen a phone generate as much controversy and heated debate as the Samsung Galaxy Note. Is it a large phone? Is it a small tablet? Is it a useless product? Is it a great  product concept? Can you really use a phone with a 5.3 inch screen?

Samsung shipped 1 million Galaxy Notes in just 2 months in 2011. This was before the US product launch, and  the world's largest smartphone market will definitely add on to the sales figures . It's early days to predict success, but one can certainly say that the novel phone-tablet has not been a flop. In press, it gets written about constantly. And I have met several extremely happy users, who simply love the phone.  At stores like Croma, I have always seen people checking it out, or asking for it. All these seem positive indicators.

And it's important to note that some people simply love the product and others can't stand it. Going by the marketing te…

Part 4 : Selecting your first Custom ROM

This is part 4 of a series of posts on rooting and ROM-ing on my new Galaxy Nexus. This guide will be useful for other newbies like me who are trying ROMs for the first time.

1. Don't ask 'which is the best ROM?'

You will not get an answer to this question in forums and rightly so. Instead, you will be directed to read up and choose. Developers put a lot of effort and time into creating ROMs and giving them freely to the community. So it's unfair to compare or rate them, though you can always ask people to share their experience.

If you read extensively on the XDA Developers Forum's it is easy to figure out popular ROMs. Look for indicators like number of replies, response time of the developer and number of updates. An active thread is a lead indicator of a popular ROM and this is a good place to start.

As a Galaxy Nexus user, I am excited by the wide range (at least a dozen) ROMs available for my device. I intend to try each and every one of them over time and g…

Part 3 : Flashing a Custom ROM on the Galaxy Nexus

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This is Part 3 of a series of posts on how to flash a Custom ROM on the Galaxy Nexus. Part 1 dealt with rooting the phone and Part 2 dealt with preparing to load a Custom ROM. I think Part 2 and 3 would be applicable for most Android devices, but since I don't have experience with them, I would say that this guide works for the Galaxy Nexus.

Start the process by making sure your phone is adequately charged.

1) Load the Custom ROM on your phone
This was where Part 2 left off. I am assuming that you have downloaded two zip files - a ROM and a Gapps file as mentioned by the developer and then checked the MD5 sums (refer to the previous post). Connect your phone to your PC and transfer the two zip files from your PC to the internal SD Card of the Nexus. To access  them easily, do not put them into a folder. Leave them in the root so you can find them easily. And make sure they are not unzipped.

2) Disconnect the phone from the PC

3) Fire up ROM Manager and select Boot into Recovery f…

Part 2 : Preparing to load Custom ROMs

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In my earlier post, I covered what to do in order to root my Galaxy Nexus. In this post, I want to discuss how you prepare to load and try a Custom ROM. This information was acquired from reading the Android Developments forums for Galaxy Nexus. This is a guide for newbies who are loading their first Custom ROM.

1. Download Titanium Backup

This is an indispensable app if you plan to try custom ROMs. It backs up all your apps and data on the internal SD Card of your Nexus and restores them later. When you load a custom ROM, it's a clean install - none of your apps, call logs or SMS get loaded. You can download your apps from the Android Marketplace again, but Titanium Backup restores them at a click and saves you a lot of trouble and time. I recommend the Pro version because it restores everything in just one click (as a batch operation) whereas with the free version, you have to approve each app re-install manually. To buy the PRO version (which is a licence key and costs Rs. 280…

Part 1 : How I rooted and unlocked my Galaxy Nexus

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I acquired my Galaxy Nexus last week. After a week spent browsing the Galaxy Nexus forums on the XDA Developers site, I realised that I had found a purpose and meaning for buying this expensive phone - loading custom ROMs. And I also understood that the gateway to this heaven was through unlocking and rooting my device. I have managed to do that successfully, and since then, my enjoyment of my phone has reached a whole new level. I intend to post about the new ROMs that I try out in the next few months. But I will start out with rooting because this is the key to unlocking the magic world of ROMs. You can find this information in the forums of XDA, RootWiki and several other sites. I'm putting it down here, because I am a newbie and I want to share the steps that I took! I have a Galaxy Nexus (GSM) phone which is not locked to a carrier, so the steps I am posting are only relevant to this device.

1. Reading and understanding about rooting
This was the first thing I did. I spent t…

What Android manufacturers can learn from Apple to build strong branding

Just today, I read Philip Elmer DeWitt's post  on Fortune Tech on Apple's awesome performance in 2011; with just 8.7% market share, the company pulled in 75% of the cellphone industry's profit. Yes, that is the entire cellphone industry, not just smartphones. The post goes on to point out that only 5 out of 8 top cellphone manufacturers are profitable, which does not paint a very bright future for Android or WindowsPhone powered devices.

Last year, I had blogged about the very different business models adopted by Google (Android) and Apple which have resulted in very different growth paths in the mobile industry.

Apple delivers a single, high cost, high quality mobile device every year (iPad and iPhone) and controls all aspects of the user experience, profiting on each front - hardware, software and app purchases. Apple owns the user, and this means more rigidity, controls and restrictions, but also results in a simple and intuitive interface, which works consistently and…