Top 10 reasons to root your Android mobile phone or tablet

Some of you may have heard of it in whispered tones : "you can do this (or that) if you would only ROOT your phone". You might wonder what is this "root" thing and what it might do for you ...

How to root the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 GT-P6800

The steps below show how to root the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 GT-P6800. Note that this guide is for the 3G+Wifi version only. Be sure you know what you are doing ...

Singtel 3G APN settings for Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7

One of the first things that I did upon getting my Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 was to ensure that the Singtel 3G APN settings are correct. I've read that you can configure it with slightly more optimized settings as follows ...

Singapore : Telco authority IDA to mandate improved 3G mobile coverage standards, cap mobile roaming charges

IDA, the overall Singapore telco authority, has recently come up with a couple of mandates to try to resolve two of the most pressing issues faced by mobile phone users in Singapore.

Apple nets $46.33 billion revenue, Samsung gets $42 billion in Q4 2011

Tech earning season is in and we are looking at some incredible numbers out there. For Apple's Q4 2011 results, the official press release noted that the company "posted record quarterly revenue of $46.33 billion and record quarterly net profit of $13.06 billion".

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Transformers Cybertron Con 2012 Opening Hours at Resorts World Sentosa Singapore



The first Transformers convention held in Singapore will be going on at Resorts World Sentosa Singapore, from 11 to 14 March 2012. Jointly organized by Hasbro Singapore and Resorts World Sentosa, the opening hours will be a little staggered and they are different for each day as below :

Sunday 11 March 2012 : 11am - 9pm
Mon-Tue 12-13 March 2012 : 10am - 9pm
Wed 14 March 2012 : 10am - 6pm



Yahoo reports that amongst other things, there will be : a 22-foot (6.7m) tall Optimus Prime statue, one of the largest Transformers statues ever, Transformers drawing classes by top Hasbro artists (at select times), and 3D action figure dioramas.

Here's the promotional poster :




Have never quite managed to go over to USA so far for BotCon and so on but since we've got a TF convention right here in Singapore, hey why not. Already got tickets for the whole family. More details and ticketing over at cybertroncon.com.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Singtel 3G APN settings for Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7


One of the first things that I did upon getting my Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 was to ensure that the Singtel 3G APN settings are correct. At first glance it looked like the local sets of the Galaxy Tab 7.7 GT-P6800 did ship with more or less the correct CSC (Country Specific Code) package which contains appropriate APN settings for all the 3 Singapore telcos Singtel, M1 and Starhub.

This seems to work fine, except that in certain areas I would only be able to get 2G coverage with the attendant low speeds (i.e. no high-speed 3.5G or HSPA+ speeds, indicated by a H+ icon at the lower-right corner of the screen), but then it was going fine with H+ on my Galaxy S2 on the M1 network. On the Hardwarezone forums, I've read that you can configure it with slightly more optimized settings as follows :

Name: IDEAS E-mail
APD: e-ideas
MMSC: http://mms.singtel.com:10021/mmsc
MMS proxy: 165.21.42.84
MMS port: 8080
MCC: 525
MNC: 01
Authentication type: PAP or CHAP
APN Type: internet + mms
APN Protocol: IPv4

- The rest of the settings are "not set".

With the above, after a few days of testing, there did seem to be improvement in being able to attain H+ speeds more often and at more locations. Upon further examination, apparently these settings are a combination of the pre-defined IDEAS E-mail and IDEAS MMS settings. Funnily enough, the addition of the MMS settings shouldn't have made much of a difference but it looks like it did at least for my case.



The screenshot above shows the settings as they look on my device. To get here, go to Settings, Wireless and networks, Mobile networks, Access Point Names. As usual with this kind of thing, YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary), but if you're on an Android device and using the Singtel network, you could consider giving this a try.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Singapore : Telco authority IDA to mandate improved 3G mobile coverage standards, cap mobile roaming charges

IDA, the overall Singapore telco authority, has recently come up with a couple of mandates to try to resolve two of the most pressing issues faced by mobile phone users in Singapore. ChannelNewsAsia had reported that "to improve 3G mobile coverage in public areas, the Infocomm Development Authority has set an April deadline for telcos to improve their service standards. Telcos must ensure that there is more than 99 percent 3G coverage in outdoor areas, roads and MRT tunnels, up from the current 95 percent. Within buildings, especially offices, there must be more than 85 percent coverage. Operators have until April next year to improve on their 3G coverage for buildings".

The second measure had more to do roping in the totally exorbitant roaming data charges that have made the news recently, like the recent case of the man who received a SingTel bill of over $300K for overseas roaming. On this, ChannelNewsAsia reported that "telcos will roll out a service for consumers to suspend data roaming services when they incur S$100 in data roaming charges every month. Telcos will face a stiffer fine of up to S$50,000 if they fail to meet any of these service standards, up from the current penalty of S$5,000."

While this is certainly a laudable attempt to improve the service levels of the telcos, in my opinion more could be done. For example, take the 85% 3G coverage requirement for buildings. I wonder why there is such a relatively lax requirement of 85%, as compared to the requirement of over 99% for outdoor areas?

I don't know about you, but I certainly do not stand around in outdoor areas most of the time trying to catch a signal to surf around. In contrast, the times when I do need 3G coverage more often would be indoors - checking the calendar between meetings, sitting down at a cafe waiting for somebody, attending a day-long conference or seminar, things like that.


From a user experience point of view, the relative priority of building and outdoor coverage could probably be flipped. We should ask for something like over 99% coverage in buildings, and over 95% for outdoors, roads and MRT tunnels. This should go a long way towards alleviating user frustration when trying to surf the web or even make simple phone calls inside buildings, auditoriums, meeting rooms, conference halls, and carparks, amongst the many indoor locations where people need 3G coverage.

Another way is to equalize priority and mandate 95% everywhere as a first step and ratchet that up towards 99% over a few years, and then finally we will start talking 3 nine's, 4 nine's and so on (99.9%, 99.99% etc). Actually, I wonder why there is a difference being made between outdoor and indoor coverage in the first place, creating an artificial regulatory distinction that allows the companies to reduce costs by providing service levels that *just* meet what is mandated, or even allow levels to drop below that and hope for shall we say "less than aggressive" enforcement. It should be simpler to mandate  and easier to check, with less ambiguity over what exactly constitutes indoor vs outdoor environments, like for example, if I am sitting at an outside table at a coffeeshop is that considered outdoors, and does it become an indoor environment when the coffeeshop owner extends the motorized awning over the tables when it starts to rain? With a uniform coverage requirement such questions become moot.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Apple nets $46.33 billion revenue, Samsung gets $42 billion in Q4 2011


Tech earning season is in and we are looking at some incredible numbers out there. For Apple's Q4 2011 results, the official press release noted that the company "posted record quarterly revenue of $46.33 billion and record quarterly net profit of $13.06 billion". Of course, this was given the fact that the launch of the Apple 4S with its updated 1GHz dual-core processor, 8-megapixel camera and Siri voice interface, had helped to boost the  sales numbers tremendously. In addition, Engadget reported that Apple shipped 15.4 million iPads in the quarter, as well as just over 37 million iPhones - a 128% increase over the same quarter last year. Engadget also noted that Apple is back into the number one slot, ahead of Samsung which sold a stunning 35 million units this last quarter.


Talking about Samsung, they are doing pretty well too, with their Samsung Galaxy S2 i9100GT selling like hotcakes for the past months and also the introduction of the Samsung Galaxy Note and Galaxy Nexus have given Samsung a last push towards the end of the year, and most likely this will continue into 2012. Engadget posted that Samsung "pulled in 47.3 trillion won ($42 billion) in sales, thanks in no small part to the over 300 million phones Sammy sold last year. While mobile accounted for roughly 40 percent of company sales and half of its operating profit (2.6 trillion won, or $2.3 billion), its semiconductor business did almost as well, raking in 2.3 trillion won ($2 billion) in profit over the same period." Notably, the Samsung TV's have been selling pretty well also, and it is now generally long been acknowledged that Samsung has taken over Sony's former top spot in the TV industry.


On the other end of the scale, on Yahoo via Reuters, Motorola has lost $80 million in the very same quarter, in what could be the last quarterly report it sends out before Google completes its acquisition and takeover of the company. CNet also added that the company shipped 5.3 million smartphones and 200,000 tablets in the period, and that the results show that beyond Samsung, which has virtually smothered the market with its Galaxy line of smartphones, the other handset vendors have struggled.

And then there is Nokia. Whatever has happened to Nokia? It has been struggling to break back into the high-end smartphone market even with the late launch of its WP7 phones (the Nokia Lumia 800 and 710 series). Nokia has lost a staggering $1.4 billion in Q4 2011. Reuters also mentioned that Nokia revenue had dropped a huge 73% last quarter compared to a year ago. We even have had analysts putting out memorable quotes like this : "Nokia gives Microsoft a chance to enter the big stage. If they cannot make it work, arguably this is the end of the road," this from Canalys analyst Pete Cunningham.

So this year, in 2012, we can look forward to the continued rivalry between Apple and Samsung, with the multi-billion battle between the Apple and Android camps going into the next round with the long-awaited arrival of the Apple iPhone 5 and the all-but-certain Galaxy S2 successor, the Samsung Galaxy S3. Rumors are swirling thick and fast, with talk of either 2GHZ dual-core or quad-core processors, faster graphics chips, and insane screen resolutions of 2560x1600. Nokia will have their work cut out for them trying to even compete on the same playing field. They have barely made it there with their Nokia Lumia 800 series, and they will have to continue to innovate and move product in a big way, if Nokia-Microsoft is to be even considered a viable third player in the white-hot mobile market

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