Swype hits the Google Play Store!

In 2008, Swype was introduced to the world in the form of an Android application. A one-of-a-kind, innovative keyboard that allowed users to simply slide their fingers across a touchscreen keyboard to type out words and phrases.

I remember the painstaking process required to get access to their (open) beta. Even after creating an account and successfully installing the application, I’d have problems due to their one device per account limitation. That same company has come a long way, revolutionizing the plain old boring keyboard into what it is today and paving the way for companies such as Minuum (which looks awesome). 

Well folks, Swype has officially gone… official! You can purchase the application at the Google Play Store for a $1. They’ve added a few small updates and have announced that they are not phasing out the beta, but instead continuing it with A/B UX test versions. 

Must Have: Applications That Aren’t Available in the Google Play Store
  • Swype: An innovative way to type that uses a swiping motion instead of tapping keys
  • Adobe Flash Player: Once an application that was available for download on the Google Play Store but has now lost support; based on the web Adobe service
  • XMBC: A port of the hugely popular Xbox Media Center; essentially a media entertainment hub
  • dSploit: An advanced, all-in-one IT professional toolkit for password cracking, packet sniffing and much more
  • TV Portal: Stream free television shows and movies on your mobile Android device (Does not require flash)
  • F-Droid: Similarly to Cydia; F-Droid is an open-source alternative to the Google Play Store that features applications that did not meet Google’s requirements and restrictions (Ad-Blocker, etc)

Tip: To allow installation of applications from unknown sources navigate over to “Security” from your Settings application and check “Unknown Sources”

Google Keep - the note taking application that Android users have been so desperately waiting for. Featuring a dead-simple, elegant UI with Google Drive synchronization and a gorgeous widget.
Download it now

Google Keep - the note taking application that Android users have been so desperately waiting for. Featuring a dead-simple, elegant UI with Google Drive synchronization and a gorgeous widget.

Download it now

Reasonably sized display ✔
Clean, minimalistic design ✔
On-screen buttons ✔ 
Bezel is smaller than it would be with hardware buttons ✔ 

Motorola, shut up and take my money

Android Update!

Android has officially been updated to 4.2.2 - currently there is no changelog but users are reporting improvements to the dreaded bluetooth streaming issue. 

Nexus 4, 7, 10 and Galaxy Nexus users should stay on the lookout for their over-the-air update.

And of course, this excludes the Verizon Galaxy Nexus users. 

UPDATE: What’s new in Android 4.2.2

Rooting your Nexus Device, and Why?

Rooting, often confused with jailbreaking or hacking is simply the process of gaining privileged control (root access) of your device. Similarly to running an application in “Run as Administrator” mode on Windows. 

Ask anyone using a Samsung or HTC device why they’ve rooted their Android smartphone and the most common answer you’ll hear is to get rid of the manufacturers skin and/or bloatware. So why should you, as an owner of a Nexus device be interested in rooting your smartphone? 

  • ROMs: Rooting your device gives you the capability to install custom recovery software (such as ClockworkMod), which in turn gives you the freedom to install any compatible custom ROM, usually found over at the XDA-Forums. Custom ROMs such as Cyanogenmod, AOKP and Paranoid Android offer a boatload of tweaks that are integrated into the firmware such as themes, Quick Reply from the notification menu and Hybrid Mode. 
  • Kernels: Once your device is rooted and recovery has been installed, you’re onto installing a custom kernel. A custom kernel offers a much greater range of control and flexibility when compared to the stock kernel your nexus devices comes with. It gives the user an opportunity to underclock/overclock GPU/CPU speeds, adjust touch-screen sensitivity and adjust CPU frequencies with profiles for battery saving, optimized, etc. 
  • Applications: A search in the Android Marketplace for the term “Root” will immediately offer users an abundance of applications that all require root access to your device in order to fully function. Applications such as Adblock Plus can remove in-app advertisements (great for the free applications that include ads). Root Explorer is another gem that will allow access to every file/folder on the device, in case of modification or curiosity.

Every single one of these modifications and tweaks can be undone but as with any process such as this, the risk of bricking your device is always possible. Be smart, do your research and have fun. 

Blackberry Q10 pictured with a near-identical user-interface to Android 

Blackberry Q10 pictured with a near-identical user-interface to Android 

Bell/Virgin Mobile TV - “Coming soon to your device” Workaround

Bell and Virgin customers who are subscribed to the Mobile TV feature will likely be upset to find out that “Mobile TV is coming soon to your device!”. Bell has restricted compatibility by reading the “build.prop” file (found in /system) to ensure that the product model is a compatible device (in my case, SGH-I747M) and if it is not, will prompt you with an error.

Recently, I had installed the experimental M-Snapshot CM 10.1 ROM onto my SGS3. This had changed the “ro.product.model” file from “SGH-I747M” to “SAMSUNG-SGH-I747M” and no longer was I able to use the Mobile TV application. With a small amount of tinkering and some research I was able to regain compatibility and use my Mobile TV application once again. 

The following tutorial assumes that your device is rooted.

  1. (Optional) Backup your device 
  2. Download a file manager (CM10 includes ones) and allow it superuser permissions. (You must be rooted)
    settings>general settings>Access Mode>”Root Access Mode”
  3. Browse over to the “/System” directory. There you will see the “build.prop” file, this is the file we will be editing.
  4. Open the “build.prop” file and find “ro.product.model=” - insert the appropriate product model, in this case “SGH-I747M”. Make sure to save the file.
  5. Exit the application and restart the device, Mobile TV for Bell and Virgin Mobile subscribers should now be working!