Get Angry Birds for free on Android!

The good people at GetJar.com are now offering Angry Birds as a free download for mobile phones running Android.

The game is ad supported but as far as I can see, adverts appear at the start of the level and don’t appear on each one so they’re not intrusive. Works flawlessly on my Samsung Galaxy S too. Great job!

Oh, you might have to wait a while before downloading. The GetJar website is currently down, but persevere and you’ll get it!

This advert disappeared after a few seconds.

My phone is faster than yours

If you’re using a Samsung Galaxy S or one of it’s variants then my phone may well be twice as fast or even faster than your phone! How? It’s all rather simple actually.

First of all, I downloaded Quadrant Standard from the Android market. This is a benchmarking app that you can use to find out how fast your phone is. Run a benchmark and note the performance figure for your phone. Now, go look for “One Click Lag Fix” in the market and install that too.


This little app will root your phone, and install a new ext2 partition on your phone. The default Galaxy S filesystem isn’t that hot at running apps. The new partition will be used to store cache data, and because ext2 is supposedly better at caching your apps will load faster, and you’ll experience less or no lag when opening them. That was my experience with it anyway. This will help your phone’s performance significantly.

In recent updates to OCLF two new options were added, “Alter Minfree”, and “Change Scheduler”. Adjusting these will make a huge difference to your phone. Each one is explained briefly, with a recommended setting. I followed that advice and it’s like my phone is on steroids now! Apps open faster than ever and I’m just waiting for it to dance a jig it’s so fast and responsive.

Please be aware that running OCLF means rooting your phone and invalidating your warranty. You may brick your phone. That means it won’t work any more and can’t be fixed. It more than likely won’t happen and I haven’t read about it happening but you should be aware of the risks involved.

Bonus tip: If you’re running Linux on your desktop computer, the scheduler can be changed on that too. Must give that a go some time.

Android Battery Saving Tips

Battery usage on all so called “smart phones” is almost universally woeful. Big high-res colour screens, fast processors, sound, wifi and 3g networking all consume gobs of battery power.

Here are some battery saving tips for Android phones. I’m going on a long flight in a few days time so I’ll be trying these tips out before I go!

  • Go into Settings->About phone->”Battery use” to see what’s chewing up your battery.
  • Turn off haptic feedback. That’s vibration alerts when you press your screen. Turn off vibration as a notification too.
  • Apparently 3G uses more power than wifi so make sure wifi is always on. (Settings->Wireless and network->Wifi Settings->Advanced->Wifi sleep policy and select “Never”). My Galaxy S switches to 3G when the screen blanks by default but apparently this is a big battery saver. Only when you have a wifi network around I guess.
  • Always press “BACK” when you want to exit an app.
  • Turn off GPS. If your phone uses the cell network to find your location turn that off too.
  • Turn on power saving, and reduce the screen timeout so it goes black faster.
  • Turn off wifi when you leave your house or work. That stops your phone trying to connect to a network.
  • Turn off bluetooth when you don’t need it.
  • Turn off 3G and use 2G. (Ugh, slow!)
  • Turn off background data and syncing.
  • Turn down the brightness on your display.
  • Don’t use your camera.
  • Don’t use a live wallpaper, what’s wrong with a static picture?
  • Don’t use a homescreen widget that pulls data and updates all the time.
  • Task manager are generally frowned upon but some apps misbehave and don’t close properly. “Watchdog Lite” is a useful app that tells you how much CPU each app running on your phone consumes. Beware closing apps too much. They may look like they’re running, but they’re not. Android keeps them in memory, so they start up quickly next time.
  • Get Juice Defender off the Market. Besides a ton of battery saving features, the like of which I’m still trying to understand, it has a handy widget that will disable mobile data completely. Nice!

I’d love if Android phones totally disconnected from the Internet when I closed the browser, Tweetdeck or whatever app was using the network. My old Nokia 5800 did that. It connected each time I opened the browser and had wonderful battery life.

So, what other tips can you suggest for power hungry smartphones?

Update! With wifi and the 3G radio on the other night 6% of battery was used over about 6 hours. I switched off wifi and 3G (using Juice Extender) and the phone only burned through 2% of battery power over the same period last night.

Quake 3 for Android

Kwaak3 and Kwakk3arena (xda forum thread) are ports of Ouake 3 to Android that looks interesting but do first person shooters really work on mobile touch screen devices? That’s one of the downsides to getting rid of the keyboard, but you could always connect a USB keyboard to your device. All you’d be missing is a mouse then!

I might get my old Quake 3 box out of the attic and give it a go, just to see it in action!

Top Ten Android Games?

The Guardian games blog has a post listing some of the essential Android games users should play. My current mobile contract expires in about 2 weeks time so I’m looking at my options and it’s likely that I’ll buy an Android phone.

Three have the iPhone 4 at a reasonable price but it’s Three and I’ve heard lots of bad things about them.

What would you choose?