No more OLED HTC Desires from Softbank

Softbank has decided to stop accepting orders for HTC Desire from Jul, 29th. Instead they brought out a press-release about “Desire II”, with LCD screen instead of OLED (probably because of Samsung OLED display shortage).

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Simple MMS introduction for Softbank users

There are SMS messages, which can contain about 160 characters. Japanese uses multi-byte encodings, so the actual character count is much lower. Also, people like to send pictures taken with the built-in cameras, music and other things which don’t fit well into 160 byte limit.

Therefore, MMS (multimedia messaging service) was born. It works like this: you get a short SMS message using SMS protocol, and then your phone has to use data connection to receive the rest of the message from the server. SMS messages work everywhere, but ways and protocols for retrieving the actual message are different from one provider to another. If these protocols are not followed, only “subject” line of MMS message will get through, which is actually delivered via usual SMS.

This is why we need specially tailored application to receive MMS messages on softbank, another specially tailored app to receive MMS messages on DoCoMo and so on. Also, this is the reason, why originally iPhone did not support MMS (it was added about a year later) and why HTC Desire still (oficially) does not support MMS, however there are a few versions of custom-made software, which, more or less, aleviate this problem.

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Notifications about timezone

It’s very distracting, but every time HTC Desire lost signal for a while, it tries to reacquire time information and for some unknown reason there’s no TZ info included. There’s no solution for this problem, except moving to the area of better reception quality. Native SB firmware has the same problem.

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HOWTO :: Convert to SoftBank

I’ve found wonderful gem on android forums:

Just took my A8181 which I got from HK to Softbank after flashing one of the ROMs above, shop people confused for a bit as IMEI wasn’t in their “stock database” but eventually caved in and gave me a sim w/smartphone data plan.

They spent about 30 minutes poking around the phone, comparing it with the plastic model they had in store “hey why it says softbank here and only says HTC on this one??” and had to make a few calls to their boss to confirm. I *think* i heard them mumble “rooted”? once before but I’m not sure the guy was too far.

I’m sure I would have to get a 2 year contract with a useless phone otherwise, just to use it’s sim.

Looks like there’s hope to get imported phones to work legally in SB network.

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“Android Application Development : Programming with the Google SDK”

android application development coverAndroid Application Development
Programming with the Google SDK

By Rick Rogers, John Lombardo, Zigurd Mednieks, G. Blake Meike
Publisher: O’Reilly Media
Released: May 2009

Very nice “no-bullshit” introduction book. A little bit dated, because it’s based on SDK v1.1, and Android development went far ahead since 2009. Also, some of the examples don’t run ‘as is’ with the current SDK, but actually it’s not very important (who runs them anyway?), because the main point of this book — a very concise explanation of Android internals and development process. Explanation, which don’t dig very deep into the unnecessary details, but tells everything you should know to develop for Android. Well, maybe not everything, but just the right amount to get started, including the basic work-flow scenarios and solutions to common problems.

People with no computer background may find this book a bit difficult to read, because there’s no gentle introduction to every aspect of computing and programming, but for someone with even a little experience in computers who tries to jump into Android software development it’s a must have.

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Eclipse IDE configuration for Android development

adt and ddms installation into eclipseThere are a few steps to configure Eclipse for Android development:

  1. install Android SDK, download and unpack archive, then run ‘./android’ from tools/ subdirectory and install all SDK options
  2. also, it might be a good idea to add the path to sdk/tools to your $PATH
  3. start Eclipse, open Help -> “Install new software” and enter URL: https://dl-ssl.google.com/android/eclipse
  4. select all options (ADT and DDMS) and press Next
  5. accept all license agreements until there’s a “Finish” button, press “Finish” and let Eclipse restart itself.

In my case (Eclipse 3.5) there were errors at the step 4, like

Missing requirement: Android Development Tools 0.9.4.v200910220141-17704
(com.android.ide.eclipse.adt.feature.group 0.9.4.v200910220141-17704)
requires ‘org.eclipse.wst.sse.core 0.0.0′ but it could not be found

If you encounter the same errors, try to open Help -> “Install new software” again and add the following URLs:

  • http://download.eclipse.org/releases/galileo
  • http://download.eclipse.org/technology/epp/packages/galileo
  • http://download.eclipse.org/eclipse/updates/3.5

In my case installation went smoothly after I added the first two.

After the Eclipse reloads…

android SDK path optionsit’s necessary to define SDK installation path in preferences. Open Window -> Preferences, and click “Android”. There might be message about SDK path, anyway push “Browse” button and navigate to the SDK installation path. When you press “Apply” all SDK options (Google API and Android versions) should appear in the selection box.

Press OK and you are ready to create Android applications!

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How to compile kernel — part 2

In the part 1 I explained how to compile a new kernel, and here’s the explanation how to upload the newly compiled kernel to your device.

  1. make sure you really have arch/arm/boot/zImage file (about 2MB in case of HTC Desire/Eclair) present after your kernel compilation was over.
  2. download AnyKernel template by koush and unpack it somewhere
  3. copy your zImage file to the template /kernel directory, there supposed to be another zImage file there — just replace it
  4. go back to the template directory, you will see three subdirectories: META-INF, kernel & system
  5. zip them all (zip -r ../update.zip *)
  6. sign the update.zip and flash it to your device
  7. scripts included in the template will unpack your current boot.img, keep ramdisk, but replace the kermel
  8. enjoy!

Big thanks to Bartosz Ponurkiewicz, who gave me nice advices and warned about common problems on the way!

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Extracting rom.zip from RUU update in Linux

I’ve read about nice utility to extract rom.zip from RUU update and could not believe someone really have spent time to write a program, which might be easily obsoleted with new version of installshield.

Here’s a quick and dirty, but very reliable approach which does not care about installshield version and relies only on expected file name (rom.zip)

  1. install wine
  2. open terminal and change directory to .wine (cd ~/.wine)
  3. in the terminal type (but don’t press <enter> just yet) : cp `find -name rom.zip` ~/
  4. run RUU update file in another window and change back to the terminal
  5. as soon as the progress bar reaches about 70-80%, press <enter> in the terminal
  6. enjoy rom.zip in your home directory (but don’t forget to check zip integrity and checksums just in case)

Worked for me as a charm and did not require any 3rd-party software.

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emoji (絵文字) on HTC Desire

It appears, there’s an easy way to see emoji (絵文字) on HTC Desire — just replace DroidSansFallback.ttf which can be downloaded from here.

Pictograms come out in black and white, but still readable and most of the time easy to understand.

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How to compile kernel — part 1

Recently HTC released the kernel source for HTC Desire. Here’s how to compile the kernel source under Ubuntu:

  1. download and unpack source code
  2. install android SDK and NDK
  3. get kernel config from your device (adb pull /proc/config.gz; gunzip config.gz; mv config .config)
  4. put .config into the root directory where you unpacked kernel source
  5. run “make oldconfig”
  6. optionally, if you plan any changes, run “make menuconfig”
  7. run “make ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=~/android-ndk-r4/build/prebuilt/linux-x86/arm-eabi-4.4.0/bin/arm-eabi-”, where long and complicated path points to the actual directory where you installed NDK

Wait about 10-20 minutes. You should get the following mesage:

Kernel: arch/arm/boot/zImage is ready

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