Paranoid Android 3.60 (Hello HALO) Review

Some of you may have read my recent post about the time I’ve spent with my Galaxy Nexus. Ironically the day after I wrote that post (which was a couple of weeks before I had posted it) My phone stopped working. I mean completely, it refused to open the app drawer then when I tried rebooting it went into bootloop and ultimately crashed. That was the tipping point for me, I took it as a sign. My phone was screaming at me to go back to the old ways of root apps, sick customizations and custom rom’s. So what other choice did I have?

The first decision was, which ROM do I use? This was a relative no-brainer, Although I wanted to go with AOKP as I had used it briefly and loved it, all the hype right now seemed to be surrounding paranoid android and it’s “Hello HALO” feature. For those of you who are unaware of what HALO is, and no it’s not the game, it’s a sort of unified chathead, where all your notifiaction appears in a chathead like format. Before I give you my review, I would like to point out that I’ve been using Paranoid android for 26 days right now and my opinion stems from that time spent with it.

To be honest I was underwhelmed. I was expecting something that would blow my mind away, like AOKP and CM10.1 did. Cause they felt like stock android on steroids. Paranoid Android however felt like that one schizophrenic part of the android 4.2 system that was out of place from the rest. The whole time I used it the concept of the ugly duckling came to my mind. It’s pretty much the same as stock android on the inside, it has the same features, but it’s not pretty. I also ended up comparing Paranoid Android to your typical highschool douchebag. It’s trying to be something that it’s not. You get the feeling like you know he’s a good guy but he’s trying too hard to be something he’s not.

Screenshot_2013-07-05-07-00-59

In all actuality, my experience with PA wasn’t all that bad. I was just expecting something over the top and my expectations were set too high for it. That’s not to say there weren’t some parts of it that didn’t completely blow me away. For instance, the standby battery life was brilliant, simply outstanding. I have those days where I just don’t use my phone all that much, like when I’m really busy at work and have tons of meetings and deadlines. Usually by the time I reach my office (at 8:00am)  it’s at 84% and by 5:00pm it’s below 15%. Imagine my surprise when I pulled my phone out of my pocket at 5:30pm one day and see my battery at 78%? Even on the days that I use it moderately I end up leaving the office with 30-40% which isn’t really that great compared to other phones but compared to stock android it’s brilliant. As you can see from the screenshot of my battery information on the right (that small bump on the graph was when I was transferring music onto my phone) The kernel does a great job of managing power.

There are a few other things I liked about paranoid android. For example, I liked the fact that I can change the status bar colour and icon colour to match the app that I’m in, this actually helps in space perspective. For example, I made the colour of the status bar green in whatsapp and faded blue in instagram so that it made it seem like my screen was actually bigger, it’s a nifty trick. But you must also keep in mind that it took me ages to get the right colour combination. I also liked that the lag was noticeably less compared to stock android and that my battery didn’t heat up as much, but then again that’s the case on every other ROM.

Screenshot_2013-06-29-15-49-26  The main reason I wanted to try out PA was HALO, I love chatheads and I dreamed of the day where I would get whatsapp functionality for Whatsapp. It’s safe to say I was hugely disappointed. I understand that it’s in beta, that’s why I’m not going to say anything about the errors and the bugs. What annoyed me was the way it worked in general. When you click on the bubble your app opens, that’s obvious, what annoyed me was that when I clicked on it again, instead of closing the app back into the bubble, it just opens another window. That irked me more than you’d think. I hated having to open an app and hit the back button to close it, if I wanted to do that I would stick to android’s built in multitasking as it offers the same functionality. After a while what I realised was that HALO is basically offering me what I already have, but giving me less than 50% the screen real estate. This for me made the whole concept of HALO utterly redundant.

PIE control is another feature that PA touts around. In my experience with it it definitely looks cool but is really just a gimmick. It takes to long for it to pop out, just so we can go back or home. It looks really nice and makes you feel like you’re using a gadget out of minority report but at the end of the day for a power user like me it’s really more of a hassle then it is a feature to talk about. The extended desktop functionality is useful when I need extra real estate and know that I’ll be within that one app for a long Screenshot_2013-07-12-09-41-54time but otherwise is just problematic. One would think after reading what I just wrote that the simple solution would be to use PIE in conjunction with HALO but trust me, once you try it you’d see for yourself why it really does not work.

There are a couple of other gripes that I have with this ROM, such as the over exaggeration of colours, which makes you feel like you’ve dived into the deepest realm of the matrix and the fact that my cell reception has dropped intensely ever since I flashed PA but these are small things that I can live with. All in all Paranoid Android is fine if you’re on a device where you want the stock android experience but in my opinion the entire ROM itself is a gimmick and just doesn’t have what it takes to keep up with the better ROM’s available out there.

Disagree with my opinions or have something you need to add? Sound off in the comments below or shoot me an email at sohamthenerd@gmail.com

Until next time folks.

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Why is HTML5 gaining popularity in the mobile industry?

Many of you may know about HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language), it’s the programming language that’s used to build websites. It basically provides a base for web design and integrates with other languages such as CSS, JavaScript, XML, Flash, Perl and many others to create the many websites you know and love. In that sense, HTML5 is the fifth revision of the HTML standard. The upgrade adds many features and improvements such as speed, animations and HD video playback among many others. So now you must be thinking, if it’s a web designing standard, why have you been hearing so much about it in the mobile industry? Well the answer is simple, one of the biggest advantages of HTML5 is that it allows you to create web apps (a combination of animations, vector graphics, video and other features with an ordinary html layout to allow apps to be created within browsers). Would you like an example, take a look at Facebook or twitter’s website from within your mobile’s browser, that is a web app. Web apps started gaining popularity when iOS had the feature to bookmark a page directly to your home screen, although those weren’t necessarily web apps, they paved the way for engineers to get interested in web apps. However a pivotal moment for web apps came in late 2011 and early 2012, Microsoft announced that applications built for the windows 8 and windows phone store could be based on HTML5. A little later on, RIM announced that blackberry 10 would feature full HTML 5 integration for app development and so the trend continued. Before too long Mozilla announced that Firefox OS would be entirely html 5 based and Canonical announced that Ubuntu and more recently Ubuntu Phone would feature web app integration directly into the operating system.

Now there are disadvantages to web apps and HTML 5, such as the fact that web apps are noticeably slower than native apps and lack the performance since they can’t take full advantage of the phone’s processing power. But from a developer’s standpoint, there are many reasons why developing an app in HTML5 can be a huge advantage. HTML is a relatively easy language to learn, I can tell you this from experience. Not much time or effort goes into learning HTML and most programmers out there probably started off learning HTML. So it’s already widely accepted. HTML is platform independent, it works on mostly all platforms under the sun, such as this means that developers can use the same code to develop apps for Ubuntu and Firefox OS. They don’t have to learn another language to make their app available on another platform. This is the main problem you see today, this is the reason many of your favourite iOS apps don’t come to android and vice versa, it’s because they’re platform dependant. So by using HTML5, it’s less of a hassle for developers to create apps for different platforms. By being able to develop easily for all the different platforms, developers can reach a much wider target audience and user base, as more people will have access to their application. The higher the user base, the higher the market share and market growth and the higher the market share the higher the scope for profits. That settles the reason people sell their apps in the first place, to make profits! Even if it’s a free app, they use advertisements to generate revenue. There’s a popular saying in the Silicon Valley, “If you’re not paying for the service, you probably are the service”. HTML 5 can also prove to be an advantage in the long run and for consumer satisfaction because updates can be pushed out much easier and automatically, no need to wait for it to be authorized by the “App Store” and no need for users to go and manually download the update. Everything is done automatically.

There are many other minor advantages to using HTML 5 such as the easy access to data on other web pages, etc. however the main benefits have already been highlighted. So what do you think? Do you feel HTML 5 is the future of mobile app development or is it just a passing phase? Feel free to sound of in the comments below and till next time folks,

Stay Snazzy!

 

 

Mac OS X Lion, Premiere Pro and more.

Hey guys, or girls, and I’m not against cross genders so hello to you guys to(if any) just a random update to let you know that we have Lion at TC studios and will be making a review shortly. And i have not been posting much cuz I’ve been learning how to make movies. With programs such as adobe premiere pro cs5 and after effects cs 5.5. For those of you who want to edit movies but want something pro looking but simple to use, get cyberlink power director 9.0. It has a much more pro look than movie maker and is as easy to use. If you have a Mac, get final cut, or if you don’t wanna dish out $299, iMovie is just as awesome.

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