Ask the Android.AppStorm Editor #1

We’re kicking off a new post series today, called “Ask the Editor”. This is a great way for you to ask questions and get help for all things Android. Just as on the other sites in the AppStorm network, you can submit your question, and I’ll publish my responses on the site. Whether you’re brand new to Android and want some help getting set up, are looking for an app to do a certain task, or want to know what options are out there for power users, I’m here to help!

You’ve already asked some great questions, so read on to find my answers (and learn how to submit your own questions for next time).

Hi, I’ve Android Eclair in my HTC Wildfire and when will I get the upgrade to Froyo? I’m from UAE (Dubai).

– Anandavishnu

That’s a tough question to answer, because the timing of upgrades depends on both the manufacturer (in this case, HTC) and the carrier (i.e. your phone network). The good news is, HTC have already started releasing a Froyo upgrade for the Wildfire, so you just have to wait for your carrier to get it to you.

JR Raphael wrote an excellent article comparing how long it took different manufacturers to release new Android versions, and another comparing the same information for different US carriers. Not particularly relevant to you in Dubai, Anandavishnu, but still an interesting read :)

Is there any cheaper Android alternative to the HTC Desire?

– Robert

The HTC Wildfire is designed to be a budget version of the Desire, but it’s only available in some countries (mostly in Europe, plus Australia, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Mexico). Check out Connor Turnbull’s review: A Feature-Rich Android Phone on a Budget?

HTC Wildfire

The HTC Wildfire is a great budget Android phone

Otherwise, take a look at the Motorola CLIQ 2. HTC also announced a new version of the Wildfire — called the Wildfire S — coming out this year; they haven’t yet said which countries it will be available to, so it’s possible that you’ll be able to get it where you live.

My HTC Android phone says that the internal storage is full. I removed all unnecessary stuff, but Adobe Flash, Swype and so on can’t be moved to the SD card. Is there any app or hack to do so?

– Nico

Yes and no. A little while ago I wrote a guide to clearing as much space as possible off the internal storage without rooting the device; check it out here.

Long story short, you can use the Android developer tools to force the device to allow you to move most apps to the SD card. However, it doesn’t work with all apps (including most of the built-in apps, some alarm clocks, and Flash Player), and some apps will still store some data on the internal storage after they’ve been moved.

Another problem is that the phone can’t access the SD card when it’s being used as a computer disk drive or when it’s booting up. This means that any widgets or apps on external storage can’t be used while your phone’s plugged in to your computer; it also means that if your selected live wallpaper or keyboard is stored on the SD card, it’ll be automatically disabled every time you restart your phone, and you’ll have to manually enable it again. Plus, unexpected side-effects may occur if you force an app on to the SD card when it wasn’t designed to support that.

Your only real option, aside from deleting a lot more apps, is to “root” your phone. This will usually void your warranty, but does let you replace the current operating system ROM with one that allows you to move much more data off the internal storage — including Flash Player. We’ll be covering rooting in the future, so keep an eye on the site!

Do you have any recommendation for security apps on mobile devices? Do you think this is an area consumers should start paying attention to?

– India

Good timing; Dean Sherwin wrote a review of the Lookout security app very recently. Look out for more security app reviews in the future.

Lookout has a number of options for improving your phone's security

As Dean mentioned in his review, mobile devices are getting so powerful — and are being used to store so much of our personal data, like emails and passwords — that it would be crazy not to be concerned about security. And there’s a much greater risk of having a phone lost or stolen than a computer, so it’s very important to be able to track a phone and to remotely erase sensitive information (both features that Lookout provides, incidentally).

I got a Nexus S a few weeks back; my first impressions were brilliant until a friend of mine noticed there was NO ZOOM!? Why would Samsung or Google remove such a simple feature off such a brilliant phone?

– Lawrence

I’m not sure whether this is referring to pinch-to-zoom or to a camera zoom… so I’ll answer both!

First, the Nexus S does indeed support pinch-to-zoom. (Its predecessor, the Nexus One, didn’t, but an over-the-air update released a couple of weeks ago gave it that feature.) If you’re pinching and it’s not zooming, there’s probably another app interfering with it. Try temporarily disabling anything that’s running in the background (app managers, custom keyboards, alarm clocks), and see if that helps. If not, you may have to try a factory reset.

Second, the Nexus S does not include a zoom on its stock camera app… but does that matter? The built-in camera has no optical zoom, so it would have to use a digital zoom, which essentially just enlarges one area of the image, without increasing the picture quality to compensate. Result: blurry, pixelated image. If you really want a digital zoom, though, check out Ashish Bogawat’s recent roundup of 30+ Excellent Apps for Android Photographers — I’m sure you’ll find something to satisfy you :)

Didn’t See Your Question?

If you asked a question but didn’t have it answered today, don’t worry! I’ll do my best to get to it in a future week. Unfortunately it isn’t possible to answer every question that’s sent in.

If you’d like to submit another question for the next time around, you can do so here: