Posted by Dan Delaney | 24th Mar 2016 | Leave a comment

Setup

  • Phone - Huawei Nexus 6P 64GB
  • Launcher - Google Now Launcher

Top 5 Apps

I spend a lot of my time with my phone, so I have all of my most frequently used apps in a series of folders on my one and only home screen.

Everything else is tucked away in the app drawer.

Apps in the folders

  • Photos
    • Google Photos, Focus, Instagram & some 3rd party camera apps.
  • Media
    • Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, BT Sport, Chromecast, YouTube
  • Social
    • Facebook, Google+, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, LinkedIn
  • GPS
    • Google Maps, Co-Pilot GPS
  • Dev
    • Slack, GitHub, Stack Exchange, Udacity
  • Cloud
    • Dropbox, Keep, Google Drive, Microsoft RD Client
  • Books
    • Kindle, Audible, Goodreads
  • Shopping & Finance
    • Amazon, PayPal and banking apps
  • Stuff
    • Timely, Firefox, Authy, LastPass, Android Wear and other apps used regularly but don't really belong anywhere else.
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Posted by Dan Delaney | 7th Aug 2013 | Leave a comment

Over the past few weeks, I've been waking up to find my phone only partly charged.  It's usually on the charger all night as I go to sleep.  Perhaps not the best practice, but with modern smartphones the charger will stop feeding the device once the battery is full.  My problem, however, is that the phone rarely gets to that point before I wake up anyway.

The phone tends to cycle between Charging (AC), Charging (USB) and Not Charging several times. Occasionally it will stay on AC (1A) but more often than not it'll revert to USB (500mA). When it gets in this state, the phone gets extremely hot.

Usually, the battery histogram would appear straight away. When the phone gets in this strange state it won't come up and sometimes will force close.

Having contacted Google, their customer representative was very helpful and after performing their recommendations - which were more to do with devices not charging at all - I have been advised to return my device. I ordered my replacement last night and I just hope the RMA process is as painless as Google suggest. The current delivery estimate is Friday 9th, so we'll see.

Update (9th August):

Well, true to Google's word, the replacement Nexus 4 arrived in the post this morning along with the returns information and a bag to ship it in.

Replacement Nexus 4

Nexus',Nexii,Nexuses?

 

Update 14th August

Well, TNT just collected my old Nexus 4, less than 2 hours after phoning them to book it in. Painless process thus far, lets hope the RMA process is fine and that's the last I hear about it.

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Posted by Dan Delaney | 19th Dec 2012 | Leave a comment

As I write this, my new Nexus 4 is on a TNT van out for delivery.  I'm one of the lucky ones who will get their phone before Christmas.

The well-documented problems that have been seen with Nexus 4 orders are hardly unique. The Nexus 7 release was equally mismanaged, with exactly the same problems. The only common denominator in each of these events has been Google.  In laying the blame at LG's door for erratic supply, Google UK boss Dan Cobley is surely seeking to deflect criticism of Google, which is understandable but does not show any sign of his company taking responsibility for their own failings.  Were Asus similarly culpable for the same issues in June? They seemed perfectly able to supply the Dixons Group with devices that shipped well before Google managed to get their orders cleared.
 
LG may well have had shortages, may not have delivered, but Google should have known exactly how many devices were manufactured and have an infrastructure in place to cope with the massive demand for product orders. The embarrassing issues with the Google Play store at the point that stock was made available left customers with a sour taste in their mouth from the off.  It's not like Google don't have a history of dealing with massive traffic on their sites.
 
Google also need to take a serious look at managing logistics, specifically a lesson in First In First Out.  Simply put, orders quoted for "3 - 5 day" delivery should not have been delivered at the same time, let alone after "1 - 2 week" orders. Phones should be allocated and shipping notices sent in the order they were bought.  As has been well documented in the UK Delivery Thread on XDA-Developers, this has been Google's main failing. 
 
A complete lack of communication, and inadequately informed Customer Service Representatives make for a frustrating shopping experience.  Even for someone getting their device only a little later than the delivery estimate I was provided, I am left hoping that the device itself is worth the wait.  At least I know it should be at least a couple of years before I need to buy a new device - whether Google have successfully launched further Nexus devices without the recent problems may dictate if Google Play will be my store of choice.
 
UPDATE: Delivered by TNT on 19th December at 11:15am:
 
 
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Posted by Dan Delaney | 5th Dec 2012 | Leave a comment

I am a massive fan of the 'stock' Android experience.  As a result, and on the back of an incredibly low price point (£279 + £10 shipping) from the Google Play Store for the LG Nexus 4, I decided to sell the trusty Samsung Galaxy S3 i9300 that I got on a 2 year contract in August.  Whilst the S3 is a fantastic phone, I really dislike the Touchwiz overlay, and apart from the camera I found it incredibly frustrating to use and had to root it to install a ROM based on the stock experience.  Having seen all the reviews and YouTube videos related to the Nexus 4, and getting to play with one from an early adopter who was lucky enough to get his shipped by Google after the original launch, my mind was made up.

As the phone was unlocked, I decided on selling via the Amazon Marketplace.  It's very easy with Amazon to see what the lowest price is for the current used offerings for a particular product.  eBay is great, but so inconsistent in terms of pricing! To be competitive, and shift the phone quickly, I listed mine on equal to the lowest price and threw in a couple of extras (a TPU case and microSD card).  From there I was able to see upfront what I would make if the phone was sold.  Taking into account listing and seller fees, I stood to make just under £295.  Just enough to cover the change over whilst recognising that my phone wasn't brand new & therefore couldn't be sold at the £350 price point like many others are trying to sell theirs.

After 3 days, a few scamming attempts by the expected con-artists, some legitimate questions and a couple of picture requests, the phone sold.  So much less hassle than trying to sell via eBay - my experience selling an i7 laptop last year left me determined to avoid it as much as humanly possible.  Although I don't get the money straight away, Amazon handle the payment side of things so I just had to wait for their payment to clear and I got the 'dispatch now' email.  On a 2 week cycle, the balance in your Amazon Seller Account gets transferred to your bank account.

The only thing I don't like about the way Amazon deal with Marketplace sales is they pre-determine the postage costs.  For the phone, it worked out about £2 more expensive for me to post the phone with suitable insurance and tracking.  It would make more sense for me that Amazon would allow you to choose from the popular local services (in my case, Royal Mail Special Delivery) because the prices are pretty static and available to check upfront.  Having said that, I understand that if you're selling items regularly the professional accounts do allow you to set the pricing yourself.

At this point, I decided to wait for the Nexus 4 to come back into stock. My estimate was around December 13th, a month after the original launch of the device, however I did learn that there is an app to track availability on the Google Play Store called Nexus 4 Stock Alert.  Very useful, although in the end I learned via Twitter that it would be going back on sale at 5pm GMT on Tuesday 4th December.

At 5.04pm, there was a mass scramble of users trying to buy the phone after the 'Sold Out' notice was removed. I kept clicking the 'Add To Cart' button only to be told that the cart was empty.  Apparently this was pretty common.  Fortunately for me, one time it stuck and I was able to continue on to order the device.  I was one of the lucky ones that were given a 1 - 2 week lead time for my order.  After my experience with ordering the Nexus 7, I'll take that with a pinch of salt.

Within just a few minutes estimated delivery times had jumped up to 4 - 5 weeks on the £239 8GB model and it wasn't long before the £279 16GB model was showing the same.  As I write this, the 16GB version of phone is still available to order with a 5 - 6 week delivery estimate, whilst the 8GB version is Sold Out once more.

So now I will wait for my Nexus 4 to arrive.  In the meantime, my old Desire HD has been taken out of its dusty box and replaced the Galaxy S3.  What was once my pride and joy now feel old and tired, far too small.  With a terrific sense of timing, my daughter threw it on the floor this morning and cracked the front screen.  Fortunately there is no liquid damage but the touchscreen isn't working perfectly anymore.  The Nexus 4 had better arrive quick, though I suspect I may invest in a protective case as the whole thing is covered in glass and therefore not child proof!

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Posted by Dan Delaney | 19th Nov 2012 | Leave a comment

Multiple users on the Android 4.2 release were the brand new Android feature that I looked forward to most.  That multiple users are not supported on mobile phones is a sensible move and Google should be given credit for accepting that tablets are seen more and more as a shared, or family, device rather than personal.   After going through the process of installing the updated release on the Nexus 7, multiple user support was the first thing I wanted to try out.

I was looking forward to multiple accounts not least because my wife could finally add her own Facebook and ebay accounts to our Nexus 7 instead of using mine, and would be able to install her own games seperately from my account.   Whilst this seems like a great idea, in practice it is incredibly frustrating.  The process of logging in is great.  Choose the correct icon for the account you want to use, and unlock the device.

Unfortunately, that's where the ease of use finished. 

Firstly, there is no way to transfer app data between accounts.  My wife has used my account regularly over the last few months to play a game (Jewels Star).  On presenting her with a new account on the Nexus 7, it starts up with new data and therefore she's lost her save state.   Whilst there may be 3rd party tools to solve this, it would be helpful if the device owner were able to share their apps to the other users.  After all, those apps are installed already.  Better yet, the ability to choose which apps are installed (and choose whether you want to copy app data) to a newly created account would be a welcome addition.

Secondly, there is a noticeable performance hit.  Since Android accounts are 'live' whether you're logged in or not, my wife started complaining that the tablet was running slow.  A quick look at my account on the device showed that Google Play was updating several (large) apps but there was no way for my wife to know this was happening without switching accounts and checking the notifications.   Whilst that's fine for us, this could be incredibly confusing for someone who doesn't really understand how their tablet works.  Unfortunately, without any visual clues to confirm why the tablet is running slow, it didn't take long before our patience was stretched too far.

Thirdly, adding users is clunky!   When you create a new user, it is shown as 'New User'.  And that's that.  Even as the device owner, you are not able to add either a user picture or even the nickname.  Whilst this is perhaps nitpicking, I expected to see a more polished approach from Google.

Fortunately, the process for removing additional users is pain free.  We've gone back to a single user Nexus 7 until Google iron out the problems, particularly the performance issues.

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