Sunday, 17 August 2014

Summer is past but Androidistica ain't !

After a blessed summer in Scandinavia, where temperatures were more mediterranian than ever, the reality of workdays settles over the continent and a more focused look at the zeroes and ones that has invaded our lives begins.
The global share of mobile users running Android keeps growing at a steady pace.

New flagship phones are being made and presented to the public.

Wearables are in fashion and there seems to be a device for every use imaginable.

Beards have been grown.
Crop has been harvested.
Barbecues have been held and feasted upon.
Supermoon came and went.
A time for more stuff is upon us once again.
Dount touch that dial, more will be shown , on Androidistica.


Thursday, 10 July 2014

[Review] OBD-II Scan Tool Interface

Few weeks ago Google announced a whole bag of goodies during the annual Google I/O , Google Auto being one of the news presented at the time.

Now that all will propably be usable , exiting and revolutionary when we, the end consumers get access to it.

There is already something available for us to use in our automobiles to interact with android devices.
Without further ado we present you with Scantools's OBD-II.
OBD stands for Onboad Diagnostics so in short Scantool OBD-II gives us access to a LOT of data from our vechicle in all sorts and flavours ever imaginable.
The device itselfs connects inside the car, usually the connector sits right below the steering wheel, above the pedals around your shins area. 

It all begins with an app, OBDLink from Scantool. Free to install from Google Play.
Once plugged in and the ingition is turned on we pair the OBD-II via Bluetooth to a Android device of choice, smartphone , tablet or even Windows computer.
With the accompanying app we then tap into the data itself, and there is a lot of this stuff. And by saying a lot, we mean lots and lots of it.
In a positive manner of course.

The OBD-II really impressed me by it's troublefree operation.
Once plugged in it sends any needed data to the app of choice via Bluetooth , speed, battery current, fuel consumption, engine workload and more in realtime.
It even tracks your route by start time and arrival time including covered distance .
This all happens while you drive, realtime data at the tip of your fingers. (Although they should be on the steering wheel at all times of course)

The uses are unlimited for this piece of hardware.
A few that came into mind during this review were when buying a used car , for checking any outstanding engine codes or fuel consumption during a test drive. 
If you own a auto-repair shop, this would certainly be in the top drawer for checking up vehicles prior to start fixing them.
Why not plug this in your shared company car to track distances on the daily drives ?

The Scantool OBD-II opened up another gateway for the Android platform in my consciousness.
There are quite a few apps this device can be used with as well, tracking your driving habits, routes and keeping track on your daily usage if vehicles.
Being a trouble-free plugin tool it really adds value to your daily life instead of adding complexity via any odd management routines and such which often can be the case in todays tech-flooded reality.

Androidistica can warmly recommend the Scantool OBD-II for anyone with an even slight interest of your car usage or if you are a handy-man fixing your own or vehicles or others .
Scantool themselves dont waste time resting on their laurels either, go and check out their OBDLink MX Wifi , to be released in August 2014.

Friday, 27 June 2014

[Upcoming] OBD Link review

Since Androidistica is keeping the radar on the Android frequency an interesting product caught the all seeing eye the other day.
OBD link.
Yes, the Onboad Diagnostic for vehicles.
These products enable us to see the real reasons behind lit engine lamps on the dashboards of our cars (Made after 1996 at least) and gather an abundance of data from the circuitry in our cars.
They also gather a lot of data about fuel consumption, rpms and other interesting data on-the fly and thanks to the Bluetooth capabilities any Android device can easily tap into this data and display it for you in realtime via apps built for this purpose.

One that looks specially interesting is the OBDLink LX Bluetooth Scan Tool.

In a near future you will be able to catch a full review of the OBDLink in action.
In the meantime check out OBD Solutions upcoming OBDLink Scantool Wifi, released in August.

Monday, 2 June 2014

[Review] Polar Loop

Wearables come in all shapes and sizes nowadays.
Some are revolutionary , bringing forth a whole new way of perceiving the world we live in , others bring attention to our everyday doings and un-doings.

Polar loop fits in the later category but with an edge of their own.
The loop can be categorized as a "activity tracker", worn on the wrist of your choice .
(and yes , you can get it in different colours)
Once charged via the unique USB cable , downloading the app (Now available for Android), pairing via bluetooth and  activated by creating a Polar Account you are all set to go .
Now let's open this box of pandoras.
For interaction the loop has one button on the face-side , just next to the display which is used to check time, steps taken, calories burned and progress toward your daily activity goals.
This button is also used when syncing the loop with your smartwatch with the Polar Flow app.
More of these features later on.
In the box you get the loop itself, a measuring band for the wristband  (helps a lot cutting it to the right lenght), USB charging/sync cable and a tool to put together the wristband with the spring-pins.

Being a child of the '80s assembling the loop made me feel quite nostalgic.
Pusing the spring-pins until they bolted uncontrollably through the air reminded me of many a lost pin in my childhood.
The build quality of the loop is very good.
A combination of rubberized plastic and a clip as seen in wristwatches makes this one easy to get used to on your wrist.
Fits secure and nicely once strap is adjusted to the right lenght.
The Polar Flow app setup is pretty straighforward : age , lenght and weight are fed into the app as is your excercise rate.



Your daily movement goals are then set from these criterias.
The app itself then keeps track of your progress, alerts when you have been 'inactive' for an unhealthy amount of time and it eveb gathers stats of your sleeping hours.
The animations on the display of the loop are nice , kind of like billboard dotted letters and numbers and a little surprise for when you reach your set goal for the day.

Now it doesn't stop here, there's more.
Online we got the web-version of Polar Flow .

Here you get your daily stats and there's also the possibility to use the Polar H7 heartsensor which we reviewed earlier to gather your workout data into the same place.
There is also the possibility to follow other people , taking part in their workouts, routes and see how they do it.
Privacy options are available for your personal account, so you do have the possibility to opt-out of all the social interactivity bits and pieces online if you like.

Pretty cool features if you ask me.
During this review the Polar Loop was worn as much as possible during 4 days combining regular it-worker-parent days and a weekend .
I discovered playing with the kids on the lawn actually has more benefits than just having fun, it really boosted my stats on the activity bar.
I also quite frequently started looking at my daily progress on the loop itself via the display which might be why the battery lasted 3 days on the first charge.
According to the manual up to 6 days of battery time is promised.

The Polar loop is a good piece of activity tracker.
Nicely designed and good quality .
Polar is a company contending for the top spot in training accessories no doubt and with the pace they are keeping i believe the competitors need to really step up their game to catch up.
So the verdict then :
Pros:
- Sleek design, low weight and discreet display.
- Accuracy seems good on step counter and sleep tracker.
- Sync works good on Android devices, no force closes or other strangeness.
- Waterproof, no worries bringing this one into the shower or while swimming.
Cons:
- None really, future versions will maybe add more features as the likes of Polar V800 ?

Big Sunshinefilled thanks to the Polar team for having Androidistica review the Polar Loop.


Saturday, 3 May 2014

[Double header] Kitkat goodness for the N7100 Intl.

So winter has come and gone , come and gone again and Androidistica is happy to tell you that Android 4.4.2 has finally arrived from official sources (Samsung).
Although my crackflashing days are over (thank god) , changing ROMs more frequently than breathing air was a great learning experience and sometimes quite rewarding , the pace is a bit more controlled nowadays.
The two ROMs in focus for this piece are the "Phantom ROM 4.4.2" and "Prerooted, Deknoxed and debloated Official Stock Kitkat".

Both ROMs come with the Aroma Installer, a widely used installer package for all sorts of ROMs.
These ROMs are based on the Samsung official Firmwares so were talking Touchwiz UI here. (You have the freedom as any Android user to install whatever launcher you want of course).
Comparing the Phantom and the Prerooted is not the topic of this post, there is no "best rom" in the world of Androidistica.
They both have modifications to improve the overall Android experience one might say.
Thats the short version, for details head over to the threads on XDA and check them out.
Installation is as easy as following instructions .
Read them, understand them, cherish them, make a copy of them if you like.
Bottom line is that they are followed. Then you'd stay out of troubleville and all shall be happy campers.
What i like with these ROMs Aroma installation options is the choice of keeping or reducing Samsung Bloatware.
If i regret pulling some bloat i can always go back into Recovery and add the bloat via flashing the zip and initializing the Aroma installer again.
It really cant get easier than this to flash a custom rom to your device.

Just make sure of these things before you throw yourself into flashing mode:
1. You warranty is now the value of toiletpaper.
2. Got stuff you can't loose ever ever ever on your phone ? Make a backup . Do it. Now. 
3. Read the OP (First post in XDA lingo) After that , check the last posts, any issues other people have encountered recently ? No ? Then read the OP again before starting the flashing bonanza.

For specific ROM Features I'd suggest you get over to the threads for respective roms and make sure to hit that thanks button if you like what the folks have put together for us.
There are of course other excellent custom ROMs for the N7100 too, Androidistica might do pieces on those later if time permits.



Friday, 11 April 2014

[Review] Leef Access

USB OTG devices can really make a difference in anybodys life .
As you might have noticed there are plenty of devices to choose from ranging from the HDMI docking devices to USB Flash drives and now we have another excellent implementation of USB OTG to admire upon.
Leef has made it again one might say.
At the end of March Leef announced the Leef Access, a micro SD card reader designed for Android devices.
(Nexus owners let me hear you go WOOOOO!)
Yes, Google has shown some evidence on restricting users write access to external SD cards as a concept in Android 4.2.2 versions breaking a tradition that has always been there for any smartphone or tablet owner.
At least owners of those models where an external SD card can be added.
Now every Nexus 7 owner for instance can easily watch that movie they happen to have on a Micro SD card on their vacation or travelling with the help of Leef Access.
As you can see in the pictures it sizes up as a lightweighted pretty little usable device.
No configuration is needed, just make sure you have a device that has support for USB OTG and a supporting operating system on top and you are good to go!.


As you can see in the image below, there is another slot besides the card reader slot.
A compartment slot for a carry-along microSD Card.
So you can carry your spare microSD card inside the Leef Access.
Design is good as always when Leef is doing their business, a small LED shows activity while  flashing calmly Build feels solid and the micro USB connector is steady as a rock where it's attached.
Did we tell you the Leef Access is waterproof and dustproof.
It's a done deal ladies and gentlemen, Leef has done a winner once again.
Thumbs up for Leef Access, yet another genious desing from the Leef Technology team.

A wild guess is that we will see the Leef Bridge and Leef Access merged in the near future.

Monday, 7 April 2014

[Upcoming] Leef Access review.

The folks over at Leef announced a Micro SD card reader for Android devices called the "Leef Access"
Stay tuned for a Hands-on review of this genious little device.