PhanMail Friday: Your Questions Answered [12/10/11]


phanmailWhat’s that? Friday is here? Of course it is! And so is our bag of PhanMail. It’s getting harder and harder to narrow down the best questions every week, so keep them coming! Just head over to our PhanMail contact form to submit your own question. Read on to get this week’s fix.

I formatted my Nexus One and was wondering whether there was any way for me to retrieve the backup of my text messages. There is a folder labelled ‘Backup’ on my SD card and it contains a file called Messages.arc.

Chances are after a format your text messages are gone for good, unless of course you backed up your device beforehand and have the technical know-how to restore your lost messages. I’m sure a friendly commenter will quickly correct me if I’m wrong, so you might want to stay tuned there. In the mean time, the best advice to avoid losing messages in the future would be to back them up using an application such as SMS Backup and Restore, Lookout, or WaveSecure. Those come to mind, but there are certainly others to look into.

I have three mobiles HTC Desire 2.2, Motorola milestone 2.1 (sad), and a SE X10 on 1.6 (crying), all got the same 3.5mm headphone jack but I cant use one headset with different phone… If they are designed to not be used with others then what’s the point of standardising the ports… I also noticed the touch screen sensor on milestone doesn’t work correctly when charging using a blackberry charger…

This is a strange observation. I can’t think of any reason why the same set of headphones would not be compatible with all three devices, because, as you said, they are all standard headphone jacks. It would be hard to pinpoint the issue without the actual model of headphones as a reference.

The charger issue is slightly different, as even though certain chargers will be compatible and provide the juice necessary to charge a device it was not designed for, side effects — though not always as obvious  as the one you ran into — aren’t necessarily out of the ordinary.

I purchased my Droid X the first day of its July release and within a few weeks someone showed me how to switch to the Swype option that came on my unit. My question is this – how is the Swype software that came with my X different than the beta versions that have been closed, opened and upgraded over the past few months? How do I keep the version on my X up-to-date with the latest Swype released? (My Swype version is and I’m using Android 2.2)

The Swype version installed out of the box on the Motorola Droid X is outside of the realm of the private beta. That beta exists to test elements of the software that may eventually make it to handsets that came with the text input software pre-installed. Ultimately the manufacturer and carrier will decide on that, and the Swype version would most likely be updated alongside an OTA update for the Android operating system.

Because of this, the versions of Swype present on devices at launch is typically a few steps behind the one those taking part in the private beta receive. From time to time the Swype team has opened up the beta, as you have mentioned, so if you are a big Swype fan like me just stay tuned to your number one Android news source (that’s Phandroid, duh) and we’ll be sure to let all you Swype fans know right away.

Which is actually better,Swype OR SlideIT?

As I said above, I am a huge Swype fan, so obviously that is my answer to this question. It may vary from user to user, but it’s hard to argue against the software that made it possible to break through the speed texting barrier like never before. That being said, there are several other really innovative text input options worth checking out, including 8pen, BlindType, and SwiftKey, all of which I would probably take over SlideIT.

I’m a faithful Droid X owner and have never had an issue with anything…until now! Some of my contacts (specifically numbers) are disappearing. I assume it has something to do with the linking of my gmail and facebook accounts. Why is it not possible to merge the contacts and have them all saved in gmail?! I am becoming increasingly frustrated with this issue of losing contact info but truly love android. Please help!

You may want to take a look at your sync settings located under “Settings > Accounts & Sync.” Make sure under the Google Account options you have Sync Contacts selected, and all names and numbers logged into your DX should automatically get backed up in the cloud to your GMail address book.

Facebook also has several sync option accessible via the application’s settings menu. You can choose between syncing all contacts, syncing only the ones currently in your phone’s address book, and no sync at all. Also, make sure Facebook syn is enabled in the Accounts & Sync settings menu.

If you still experience issues with your contacts, you may want to take the phone into your local VZW and see if they can help.

My Sprint contract has been up for the past 2 months and I have been holding out for a phone that is either equal to or better than the Evo and Epic. Do you see in the very near future a better phone being released from Sprint or should I just cave and go with the Evo?

As of right now, we haven’t caught wind of any major releases from Sprint in the next few months that will rival the EVO and Epic 4G, but we don’t expect things to stay dormant for long. The HTC EVO Shift 4G (HTC Knight) is right around the bend, but will most likely be a smaller version of the EVO while keeping similar specs.

With dual-core and 4G handsets coming to Verizon and AT&T potentially as early as January/February, we don’t think Sprint will stay out of the game that long. But as always, I must say the EVO 4G and Epic are as good a choice today as they were at their launches. Unless you absolutely have to have the latest handset and technology, you really can’t go wrong with either.

Are you guys looking into getting a new comment system? The current one doesn’t allow editing, tiered replies, or ‘likes’. I know for me, I get more involved in the comments if I can directly reply to someone and have people like my comments. I know quite a few people use Disqus, it allows all of these features as well as keeps track of your ‘likes’ and comments. Thanks for all the work you guys do, keep it up.

For this answer I turned to the man with the plan himself, Mr. Rob Jackson. Here is what he had to say:

“While the comment system has much room for improvement, our development efforts are currently focused on more feature-rich experiences. We’ve recently added the ability to compare phones and use community input to provide a dynamically updated “Best Phone” feature.

We’re also launching a new version of the Phandroid App on Monday, and currently have a completely new application in closed Beta.

Improving the comment system is definintely on our to do list, it’s just a matter of where in the priorities it all fits. Thanks for your input!”

Kevin Krause
Pretty soon you'll know a lot about Kevin because his biography will actually be filled in!

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  1. So basically, the commenting system change, which isn’t that hard to implement if you were to go with Disqus, is getting swept under the rug, gotcha.

    Will try again in a few months ;)

  2. @John – the commenting system is actually a HUGE change. If and when we do change commenting systems, the goal will be to use your AndroidForums account info for commenting. We’ve peeked down that road and, all things considered, it’s a bit more in depth than you give credit.

    I hear you on Disqus and I’ve heard good things about Intense Debate, but I’d prefer to develop these features organically.

  3. I’m not sure if/how this works on android, but at least if it’s rooted it should work. On my old iphone (jailbroken) I successfully recovered pictures, the same should work for messages if you know where they are saved. (or maybe first check messages.arc, just open with a texteditor)
    To recover:
    – make sure to run an ssh server on your computer. test ssh between phone/computer
    – copy a disk image to the computer like so: dd if=/dev/disk0 | ssh @ ‘dd of=android-dump.img’
    (obviously adapt to the right disk on the phone and username/password for your ssh server)
    – then use a tool like http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec
    to recover files.

  4. Also, for the future, maybe SMS Backup+ would be useful, it archives your sms’s under a tag in gmail, and also has a restore function.

  5. The charging issue is easy – even though the port is standardized, the voltage across it is not. USB can do many different volts (5, 12, and 18 are all common) depending on the needs of the device. Blackberries need 18, and so, a wall charger for a BB phone will always output 18. If you plug a USB cable into the phone, and plug it into a computer, the computer is smart enough to detect the power requirements and act appropriately. Wall chargers GENERALLY DO NOT DO THIS!!!! As such, using the wrong WALL CHARGER with the wrong phone can be a really bad idea. In some cases, you’ll undervolt and the device won’t charge at all, in some cases you’ll overvolt and the device can handle this (and might even charge faster) but in other cases, it might short out, or just refuse to accept it (for safety reasons).

    As for the headphone jack, there is only standard. I’m not talking about the 3.5mm size, I’m talking about the ordering of the rings that get inserted. Some have two rings (right and left channels), some have 3 (right/left audio, microphone), while others have 4 (right/left audio, microphone, remote/control console… In some devices, the mic channel is switched with the audio, or the control is switched with the mic, and as you’ve already noticed, not every phone accepts whatever input on whatever band. There really is no global standard for the ring order, other than right/left audio, and that really is a shame.

  6. I’ve got a question. Why can’t I find the Gmail Apk in my rooted droid X? The app works, I can see it in the manage applications menu, but when I look through root explorer or Astro, it’s nowhere to be found! It’s not in system/apps or data/apps. Has anyone else had this problem?

  7. Can’t wait to see the new app, guys. Keep up the good work.

  8. Woohoo, got my question in there! (The comments one). Thanks for the reply, I look forward to the day they get updated.

  9. You never answered the question about contacts syncing. What he wanted to know is why can’t his contact database sync/backup his phone numbers & emails from Facebook to his gmail. I’m sure Facebook wouldn’t be happy if it DID work this way, but with the incredible community @ XDA I’m sure something can be figured out. I’m getting tired of re”joining” my gmail and fb contacts with every ROM upgrade.

  10. @Kevin Krause

    Is BlindType available to use? I thought Google bought it.

  11. OK. Try celuLOC at http://www.celuloc.com

  12. este es un blog me gusta como hacer mi blog

  13. @Rob I see. Thanks for clearing that up. Makes sense now..

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