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Topic: Less obvious Android uses (Read 6489 times)

  • Frenzie
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Less obvious Android uses
The other day I was musing about proper portable keyboards.
On a separate note, I came across this interesting portable keyboard. It'd work with my Android phone's USB OTG functionality, making it potentially useful in certain use cases. It'd be more pleasant to use than my netbook's keyboard, but on the other hand the netbook is definitely a lot more capable than my phone...


In my eyes the obvious answer is not a regular Android editing app, but rather something console-based. I decided to investigate just what exactly my phone does and does not support.

The good, my terminal emulator comes with:

  • Vim (and nano)
  • SSH
  • rsync


That's all you need for writing and syncing basic notes. But the dream, of course, is git. It seems the simple solution evades me because even though I have 120MB free on my phone's memory (and more on SD), it runs out of space while installing. So much for that plan. If I wanted to go in this direction, I guess I'd need a less elegant GUI option. Or perhaps a Debian chroot...

Do you have any ideas or dreams about unintended ways to use your phone?

  • ersi
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Re: Less obvious Android uses
Reply #50
Tethering from the mobile phone (via USB cable) was the main way I got internet to my computers for many years. But right now the idea is to tether it so that the computer's connection passes through the phone's VPN. There are tons of instructions how to do it

- with some VPN provider I don't want (I need the IP to be in Finland)
- and/or by rooting

Freedome provides Finland and seems to promise the VPN to the tethered computer too.

My phone is Galaxy Note 4. It went up to Android 6.0.1 and apparently this is the end of life.

  • ersi
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Re: Less obvious Android uses
Reply #51
The Galaxy Note 9 is one step closer to the smartphone-computer dream



Having visited Samsung shop and taken a look, I am authorised to say: Not really. The idea of designing something like a desktop is nice, but the resolution is preset at FHD and cannot be changed. Probably can with rooting or other deeper tinkering, I guess, but this is equally true of the earlier phones.

Desktop Experience on Note 8 and 9 is only incrementally better compared to what Galaxy Note II provides since 2012. Here's an example what Note II can do.



Honestly, the so-called Desktop Experience of Galaxy Note 8 (with an expensive dock) and of Note 9 (without the dock, if I am reading right) provides no improvement, if they are stuck at FHD. Note II with MHL-to-HDMI (and my Note 4) is as good, when you let it go landscape. Videos always play fullscreen on the external monitor and the phone's screen will be available for all other apps. On Note 4, there is the split view and an indefinite number of floating windows. Pretty close to a complete desktop. When the MHL-HDMI adapter is connected, a keyboard cannot be connected with wire, but there's also BT, if a keyboard is badly needed.

There are no real innovations on Note 8 and 9 that I can see. Oh, a dual main camera, and Note 9 has a yellow pen. Okay, that's cool.


  • Frenzie
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Re: Less obvious Android uses
Reply #52
This is where both Windows Phone and Ubuntu Phone were easily superior. Alas, for some reason Android won.

  • ersi
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Re: Less obvious Android uses
Reply #53
This is where both Windows Phone and Ubuntu Phone were easily superior. Alas, for some reason Android won.
Wouldn't it be nice if Android were just a graphical wrapper for Linux, a little desktop manager among others? And when you go into something like Developer options, you could unleash the full Linux in it...

Instead it's crippled and limited, with many options not just hidden, but broken or removed. And it has been evidently a conscious choice. The same strategy brought about the Chrome browser that conquered the world. Android is winning the same way.

Anyway, it's even more lamentable how tech journalists do not know their own field. They think that some half-baked solution that provides no improvement is innovation, when it's just the marketing of the moment. They'd have to look years back to compare the features to realise that the development has stopped.

The last development that developed anything was when tablets became a thing. The innovation in it was the physical form factor, nothing else. Less ports, less features than on a laptop, but big enough to make some people feel it can replace their laptop, while all it is is actually a bigger smartphone, sometimes with the phone feature removed. That was the development. Smartwatches are also a development only in the physical form factor, nothing added in features or functions.

Yay, innovation.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Less obvious Android uses
Reply #54
I don't know how it is now, but didn't many phones back in 2010/2011 already come with mini-HDMI that allowed for exactly the same kind of use? I'm fairly ignorant about phones, so you'd think an actual phone reviewer should certainly know so. I think the only difference is that now it can all go over one USB3 connection. I find it rather questionable whether that's an improvement, because it likely means you'll have to carry some kind of USB3 hub around. Maybe if they put two USB3 ports on instead... :)

Recently I inquired about replaceable batteries with a phone reviewer. He said he'd barely come across any in years.

Oddly enough, this prompted a response by someone saying that just like the lack of replaceable batteries is no longer listed as a negative, they're looking forward to the day the same happens to the 3.5 mm jack. I refrained from commenting, but my eyes practically rolled out of their sockets. I find the mere suggestion of having even more stuff to charge offensive, let alone the fact that my over a decade old €20 earbuds are more or less equivalent in sound quality to the €80-100 range of wireless ones and aren't annoyingly heavy.

It's more or less my own fault for buying a phone without a replaceable battery back in 2015, but back then I hadn't quite anticipated that unlike my 2012 smartphone it wouldn't be practically useless today.[1] My phone is still fast with plenty of memory, no complaints there, but the battery is slightly worse than it used to be. I expect it to become useless within about two years. Four to five years out of a phone isn't horrible I suppose; my '07 s500i unfortunately had a similar lifespan, from '07 to '12.

I had to replace that one because it stopped reconnecting to the wireless network after leaving the metro. Annoying, but at least such proper mechanical failure doesn't feel quite as stupid as planned obsolescence in batteries. Even though it's probably just another form of it.
Although it might become obsolete due to being stuck on Android 6 unless I install a custom ROM. Phones really should be more like computers.

  • ersi
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Re: Less obvious Android uses
Reply #55
Recently I inquired about replaceable batteries with a phone reviewer. He said he'd barely come across any in years.
I was able to find and buy another battery for my own phone (Galaxy Note 4 has a replaceable battery) when I began feeling like I had to charge a bit too often . The result: With the new battery, I have to keep it on the charger almost non-stop. My old battery is way stronger and has aged better than the brand new one (about two days versus half a day). I keep the weaker new one around to prolong the life of my older one a bit more.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Less obvious Android uses
Reply #56
Even if it's some cheap Chinese replacement battery or something that's pretty weird. O-o

  • ersi
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Re: Less obvious Android uses
Reply #57
It's not a cheap Chinese replacement. It's just market reality saying, "Your phone is hopelessly old along with all its parts."

  • Frenzie
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Re: Less obvious Android uses
Reply #58
hopelessly old

The Galaxy Note 4 was unveiled [...] on 3 September 2014
Well, that's pretty sad.

I'm glad that my 2014/2015 motherboard/CPU/RAM is still extremely capable, and that the keyboard/trackball/monitor are completely decoupled from that stuff. My keyboard is already over 8 years old and still almost as good as new.[1]

Only my R9 270X GPU is outdated, but in a sense it already kind of was when I acquired it used in late 2014. (There are people who buy a new one every year.)
The USB hub on the keyboard has some traces of use, my fault. Also it's a USB 2 hub, which some might find outdated.

  • ersi
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Re: Less obvious Android uses
Reply #59
Well, that's pretty sad.
Yes, it is. But in case of my phone, it's the *brand new* battery I bought that is in the sorriest state. Otherwise the phone, including my original battery, is running smooth and looks fine. I don't want ultra-thin bezels for example, because I actually need some bezel occasionally to hold the phone without making the touchscreen react. I think the phone is still good for at least as many years as I have had it. I will maybe get a new phone when Samsung phases out Bixby, like they phased out those nonsensical edge touchscreens.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Less obvious Android uses
Reply #60
Here's a preview of the Note 9 btw. It might be a bit Dutch. :P

https://tweakers.net/video/16925/samsung-galaxy-note-9-verbeteringen-speciaal-voor-de-liefhebber.html
Quote
De trend van verlengde schermen, zoals die op Samsung-telefoons hun intrede deden op de Galaxy S8(+), heeft wat vraagtekens opgeroepen over de noodzaak van een Note-serie. Het scherm van de S8+ en S9+ zijn bijvoorbeeld maar 0,1" kleiner dan die van de Note 8 en tegenwoordig kun je bijna alle high-end telefoons phablets noemen.
Question marks about the Note series... only 0.2" (not 0.1" 'cause the Note grew .1") smaller...

I don't know, does the Galaxy S support the pen? Because if not, the Note's usefulness is rather obvious, if probably somewhat artificial.

  • ersi
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Re: Less obvious Android uses
Reply #61
I don't know, does the Galaxy S support the pen?
I don't know either. Good question :) My take: If not, Samsung is totally not nice.

Itsy bitsy google moogle
The GN2 [Galaxy Note II] S Pen will work on Galaxy Tab devices with S Pen, but you couldn't for example, use it with a HTC or iPhone.

The S Pen is a Wacom device, so needs the handset to have a Wacom screen & drivers to work.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Less obvious Android uses
Reply #62
My take: If not, Samsung is totally not nice.
I don't think of Samsung as nice. :D

Sony is surprisingly nice though, at least its smartphone division. (Not in games.)

  • ersi
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Re: Less obvious Android uses
Reply #63
Sony is surprisingly nice though, at least its smartphone division. (Not in games.)
And not in movies.

But what good is there in Xperia? My experience with Xperia M5 and Galaxy Note 4 back to back resulted in impressions decisively in favour of Galaxy.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Less obvious Android uses
Reply #64
I mean they have decent hardware, nice design, and they're pretty open. The XA2 is a good phone and it'll get Sailfish soon.

  • ersi
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Re: Less obvious Android uses
Reply #65
Bliss OS is an Android version for desktop. Most importantly, the app store seems to work :) https://youtu.be/v2QSgY5vva4?t=480

  • Frenzie
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Re: Less obvious Android uses
Reply #66
Potentially useful for testing, I suppose.