What’s my Android up to? 2

I have a LG GT540 Android phone that’s a few years old. It doesn’t get much use, partly because none of the useful stuff actually works well enough to be “every-day useful, simple and reliable” – at least for my purposes.

Android is probably great if you want to tinker about with it. I really like the way it simply connects to my Linux PC; plug it in, mount and the files for the various apps are there. My previous Motorola phone had all sorts of complicated proprietary syncing software that only worked on Windows –  not an option.

At this stage if I had to get a new phone, it would be one of those $30 models in a blister pack from the supermarket. In which case I’d like a GPS tracker, which would probably cost the same as a basic Android phone. At least a GPS tracker would be good at the one thing it was designed to do.

A version update or New phone

It is an old version 1.6 Android. Updating it to a later version would possibly solve some of my problems. Trouble is, the recommended update doesn’t support the camera – about the only thing in the phone that I’d say currently works well.

Having once had a Motorola phone with Vodafone “tuned” firmware, I’d not update to a similar provider tuned version.

The other argument I’ve heard is that it’s 3+ years old, get a new one. My answer is: Why should I spend hundreds of $$$ replacing something that still works pretty much as it did when I got it and could probably be fixed firmware updates. And how do I know that a new model would solve the problems. I would almost bet that it would not.

Android should work

I’m not a “modern” phone user. I don’t use it for email, I don’t send 2000 texts a month (maybe 3) and I clock up about 5 minutes of talk time in a busy month.

As for apps, I do like the camera, GPS, Wifi tools, mapping and browser. Well I would if they worked properly. By properly I mean conveniently. They all work but they all have annoying disadvantages.

The camera actually works really well, the Wifi tools are OK; the rest, not so good. Anything that connects to the internet is so slow that I usually give up before it gets there. The GPS and tracking/mapping would be very useful to me if the GPS could get a fix in under 5 minutes and it could download a Google map before the hike was over. For tracking or recording trips and walks it has potential but you must be home before the battery goes flat; usually a couple of hours at the most.

Cannot delete apps

There are a number of apps that came with the phone pre-installed. Stupid crap like movie finder and cardio trainer, that I cannot delete. This is probably LGs fault. Some marketing idiot decided that these apps are so great they should be there for ever.

Battery Life

The battery is a few years old, but even from new it was not up to the job with GPS; which seems to be power hungry and slow to fix. I suspect that a lot of the problem is not the GPS or phone hardware but crappy firmware and apps. The app did updat a while back and it improved things; but no where near enough.

I’ve read that you should not run a task killer because… I don’t know… something about Android taking care of it. If I don’t run the task killer that battery lasts a day, usually less. With the task killer, it’s good for about 3 days.

BTW: when on charge the screen stays on. Turn it off and in a minute or so  it’s back. Damned annoying.

Who the bleeep is it talking to

This is my biggest concern at the moment; it’s the most obvious.

When at home the phone sits right by the TV, charges from the computer and connects to the wifi network. Whenever it talks to the cellular network it makes that scratchy beeping noise through the TV speakers. So I know when it’s communicating.

I’d expect the odd burst now and then just to keep it’s network status up to date etc. But this one can go for hours during the day and then very late at night it starts chattering away. Short bursts and long drawn out conversations, sometimes 20-30 seconds at a time. Then nothing for ages again.

If it’s just doing normal phone network stuff, I don’t mind. But I don’t trust it and after a burst of activity, the task killer shows new active tasks.

Apple is not an option

Before you come back and say that an IPhone would solve all my problems… I would never support a company that claims to own “rectangular with rounded corners” and sues everyone making a common sense vaguely similar product.

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2 thoughts on “What’s my Android up to?

  • PMB

    Thanks for the comment.
    I haven’t permanently rooted my phone, which maybe I should do. Then I could probably get rid of the annoying LG apps that seem to keep activating on their own.
    My Android version is old (1.6) which is now a bit limiting ie. apps that don’t work. I may try updating it and see what happens.

  • Bede

    on my samsung galexy 1, I turned every data service off, switched off wifi cept when needed, turned of gps because its a dog, got 17 days 18 hours standby time after doing this.

    And yeah you need to kill the email app, maps and browser if you open them up, otherwise they sit in standby, sometimes its easier to just turn off the phone, then turn it back on to flush the crud out.