PhanMail Friday: Your Questions Answered [11/19/10]

phanmailEvery Friday we gather questions we’ve been e-mailed throughout the week and take a shot at answering the ones we feel would be most helpful to our wider audience. It’s Friday, so here goes nothing! If you’ve got a burning question of your own, hit up our PhanMail submission page and ask away.

What gives? when will we get the long awaited much anticipated phandroid app? please release it NOW!!! Also, please tell me it will have alerts!! — Shawn

Premium AF Members have had access to a private beta of the application for about a month and a public beta SHOULD go live in the next week or two. It’ll feature a boat load of new features including alerts, full forum support, chat and a lot more. I’m convinced you’ll love it and we’ll continually be working on new features such as “recommended apps” based on your personal profile. Stay tuned… I promise it’s almost ready!!!

How do you get your products to review? Do you contact the wireless provider or the company that makes the phone? Thank you. –Michael

We do the awesome product review rain dance and Droidoclause dumps them down our chimney.

With the way Android is growing, there’s a bunch of new anti-viruses out there. Paid and free…. which one is the best? Why? What would you guys use? BTW. Phandroid > all.<3 — Sarah

Personally, I think the power of due diligence and community support is better than any anti-virus. Before you download an app you should:

  • Take note of the developer, be more cautious of unknown or unreputable sources
  • Look at market comments – is anyone else questioning the apps reputation?
  • If you’re concerned/suspicious, hit up our forums and ask others for their opinion
  • Prior to downloading, read through the list of “permissions” the app or game requests and make sure nothing fishy is going on

I’m not saying mobile anti-virus is stupid, but I think much like on your desktop or laptop, you can play it safe by knowing what you’re getting into beforehand. Since I don’t personally use an Android anti-virus, let’s ask our readers what they think:

I just got a phone with Froyo and Flash, so I’m now using the stock browser (as opposed to Opera Mini). The only problem I have with it is I can’t close it out all the way without backing up through all the pages I’ve visited. I don’t want to just hit home and have it running in the background constantly. Is there any way to close out the browser without backing all the way through my session (short of killing it with a task killer)? — Jaylan

This is a misconception with Android. If you hit “Home” it won’t be “running in the background” – this is a fear people have because they’re used to the concept of Windows and having different apps “open”. When you press the home button on Android the most recent “state” of your browser will be saved and then your browser will be dead to the world until you re-open it.

Some apps DO “run in the background” when you press the home button, but the browser isn’t one of them. App developers should be carefully crafting their apps to ensure excess memory isn’t being used. For some apps, like streaming music apps, you NEED your app to be “running in the background” but in the case of the browser you should just press “HOME” and call it a day.

Try it yourself:

  • Go to a webpage that will take a LONG time to load
  • In the middle of loading, press the home button
  • Go to settings > applications > running services
  • You’ll see the browser is not currently “running”
  • Re-open the browser and that single PAGE may have loaded fully, but after it loaded it will have stopped
  • If you didn’t want to fully load that page, you could just pres the X to stop loading and THEN press the home button

I’m deciding to stay with tmobile for a while. In your opinion which phone out-performs the other, the mytouch 4G or the G2? I’m not concerned with about having/not having a physical keyboard. — Nicholas

As you noted, the main difference is the keyboard. Since that doesn’t matter to you, I’d also keep in mind the myTouch 4G has a front-facing camera. Beyond that the phones are nearly identical, with the myTouch taking the edge with more RAM and a faster processor.

BUT – and this is a big but – the G2 has stock Android while the myTouch 4G has HTC Sense (espresso). I personally prefer stock Android rather than the sexied up custom UIs, and you’re more likely to get OS updates earlier on stock Android devices. That being said the myTouch 4G will also be lighter and more pocketable.

Personally I’d go with the G2, even though I’d only use the keyboard for gaming. But since they’re so close in specs, you can’t really go wrong since they’re both great phones. Check out a head to head comparison between the two phones here.

Often (like real often) I’ll hear the beep that says I have mail on my EVO. I’ll click on the Gmail icon and then.. forever… I get a blank screen with the loading circle circling. I mean it sometimes takes 5 minutes! It knows I have mail, it told me so. Why won’t it give it to me??? Seriously, is there a better app? This is making me a little nuts. — Susan Dennis

I’ve never had that problem myself. The first thing I’d suggest doing is going into your Application settings and clearing out Gmail’s storage and database. It’s possible something could’ve gone wrong somewhere to cause the anomaly. If this “cleansing” doesn’t work, then the only alternative application I can confidently suggest is K9 Mail. It’s gotten a lot better since it was but a mere fork of Google’s official email client and there are a lot of benefits to using it over Gmail (such as proper handling of attachments.)
(answered by EVO user and Phandroid Contributing EditorQuentyn Kennemer)

Do you believe we should be paying for android updates on our phones? — Your Name

I think the carriers and manufacturers should decide what approach is right for them and the customers will vote with their wallet. In the end, the companies who please the customers most will win out, and good old democratic rule and capitalist practices will allow the “right” way to float to the top. Personally, I think paying for new versions of Android would be a ridiculous idea. Paying for new versions of an application would be appropriate depending on the situation.

The above question was already answered last week, but I already answered it on accident and thought it was an interesting point of discussion. So I left it in… deal with it ;)

That wraps up the latest edition of PhanMail – thanks for sending in your questions and check back next Friday for more answers to your questions!

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  • MrS

    Nicholas: If you’re on TMobile, WAIT for a few months. The Nexus S will be out soon, and you can enjoy the vanilla, Google-supported lovefest.

  • NeoteriX

    As far as I know, to date, there have been NO known viruses on the Android platform… Which makes anti-virus software pretty pointless.

    It’s also takes a pretty big leap of faith to believe that the Android anti-virus programs have the maturity and advanced algorithms to detect and prevent new viruses for which no known signatures have been developed (PC and enterprise antivirus have these, and even with the kind of maturity present in the PC-antivirus market, they are still pretty poor at pre-emptively protecting against new threats).

  • Donkey3000

    About the browser not running in the background, I consistently see it in the list of running apps on my phone. Are you sure about this? You’ve essentially explained the iphone and how it saved application state before multi-tasking was introduced.

  • tim242

    I really wish people would get this idea of closing everything out of their heads. The only thing I watch, is a few certain apps that run a background service. Those would be in the running services. Everything else is in the manage applications tab. Those are just placeholders. All that is happening it is using memory to hold your place. Memory is supposed to be used. It does not use any battery. I’ll say that again. Saved state apps use any battery! What uses your battery, is the system having to reopen all the apps you closed for no reason. Just hit home, and forget it! I have the Evo. I do not experience lag, or battery drain. Btw, another misconception is about memory. People think that low memory slows down their phone. Simply not true. If you experience a slow down, it’s a bad app, not used memory. Besides, Froyo handles all of this very well. My memory never gets below 80 MB. The next time I look, it will be over 100. Just let your phone work the way it is designed. It works very well. JUST HIT HOME, AND FORGET IT! : )

  • tim242

    @Donkey: The list of “running” applications just show you what is running in the memory, to save your place. The only things that are truly running, are in running services. Not many apps have a running service. Just look and see what is there
    It should be mostly system stuff. Google Voice runs a background service, but I haven’t noticed any extra battery drain.

  • Jimmy Carrigan

    HEY!

    I have a questions for commenters… Should I get the Droid X on amazon for a penny today, or do you think the Incredible HD or HTC MERGE will be coming out soon? Like, VERY soon?

  • Ganderosn

    I second Tim242’s comment. When it comes to the home button, Hit it and forget it! Bwahahaha

  • Nicholas Sly

    I’ve had the same e-mail problem as Susan on my Droid, but only when I’m at home. Very strange. But sometimes connecting to my WiFi as opposed to the network helps. Would like to hear any possible insight.

  • nyreyn

    @ Jimmy: If you really can wait till next years crop of phones I wouldn’t buy the droid X. I’d wait a little while to see what’s coming in 1st Quarter 2011. There should be some better devices out then.

  • tim242

    Jimmy: The Icredible HD/4G, Mecha, or whatever they will call it will be out in Feb. The Droid X is a nice phone, but after playing with it, I much prefer HTC’s way of doing things. I have the Evo. That upcoming LTE HTC phone is the first phone that I’ve seen worth dropping my Evo and Sprint for. I love Sprint, but hopes of getting their 4G here next year are shrinking, due to Clear’s money situation. That being said, I love my Evo, even on 3G!

  • Hotmann

    My thought on paying for updates. Paying may bring faster updates from manufacturers and carriers (but in reality I highly doubt it would) but I would never do it…not with the bountiful amount of roms all over the internets to play with.

  • Eye of the Tiger

    I love how people make facts up it is pretty funny. As for anti virus- I use lookout not as a anti virus but as a theft device. Lookout is a good app that if you lose your phone you can locate it on the web on the map at the exact location. It also offers a codename that you text your phone and it will take it off silent if you lost in the couch or somewhere and need it to ring. Lastly, you can erase all your stuff if you lose your phone and you dont want anybody to get any of your information. So take it for what it is worth but people these days love to steal identities so this is a nice little tool and can also be an antivirus app

  • tim242

    Who is making facts up? Hope you aren’t referring to me. Everybody in the tech community, and google themselves are going of their way to say the same thing I have.

  • tim242

    Verizon said their first LTE phone will be out in Feb. In case you missed the leaks, the dinc hd/4g/mecha is that phone.

  • JaylanPHNX

    Jimmy: I can fully understand not wanting to wait. When there’s a good phone out there and you have the ability to get it, it’s hard to wait. Especially since there will always be the ‘next thing’ coming. But, in the case of Verizon, since their “4G” technology is about to be released, and is not backwards compatible, it might truly be worth waiting until they launch an LTE phone. But I guess that value depends on what premium they want to charge for LTE.

  • Nathan

    I’d be willing to pay, say $5, if it meant not waiting 6 months for an update. That said, stock updates should be free.

  • DroidJoe

    Jimmy: I would have to agree with the rest of the commentators. Wait for the Incredible HD/4G/Mecha/Whatever-they-want-to-call-it. At this point it’s not just about the phone, but the network. As Verizon’s 4G network will be out by the end of the year, my Droid X won’t be able to take advantage of it, and that disappoints me, as I’m sure it would you.
    Don’t get me wrong, though – I love my DX, and I certainly don’t regret buying it by any means. And if you needed a phone now, then do it! But at this point in the game, you can’t just look at the phone. If it were me, I would wait.