New phone time?

The Moto G 2014 is getting a bit long in the tooth, and I still haven’t got the Marshmallow updated which would help with the endless storage issues (I’m never getting a phone with so little storage again!)   So I’ve started looking at potential replacements.

I prefer paying for the phone up front rather than tieing myself to an expensive contract, so I won’t be getting anything cutting edge. I’ve done some research and so far it looks to be between the Nexus 5X and the Sony Xperia Z5 Compact. The Nexus is a bit bigger and would get updates very quickly, but the Z5 has a better battery and expandable storage. Both would be a step up from the Moto G, something it may come down to price. Both are around the £300 mark so I’ll keep my eyes open for any deals.

I’ve looked at other phones like the OnePlus 2 and Nextbit Robin but there’s always something missing. I’d quite like a fingerprint scanner and NFC to be a bit more future proof. I’ll do a bit more research and will get something by the end of the month.

Marshmallow update rolling out for Moto G 2nd Gen (2014)

The Android 6.0 update, codenamed Marshmallow, is finally available over-the-air to owners of the second generation Moto G (2014). The update is being rolled out in batches and unfortunately mine has not yet received it. I’m patient enough to wait (I’ve been waiting this long already) but for those who want to go ahead and install it, this XDA thread is what you need. The thread includes downloads for the update and scripts to install it via Fastboot.

The Marshmallow updates promises improved performance and battery life. The biggest improvement for Moto G owners though will be the ability to use the microSD card storage as internal storage – Marshmallow can combine internal storage and a microSD card into one virtual volume. Given how frequently I have to clear cache and uninstall apps just to use Google Play’s update facility, this will be a godsend!

Using my IPEGA gamepad with Mupen64Plus Android Edition

I’ve been enjoying using my IPEGA 9021 gamepad to play games on my Android tablet, but I wanted to try and get it working with an N64 emulator so that I can play Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, which is the only main Zelda game I’ve not played. I’ve previously used Mupen64Plus Android Edition on an Xperia Play phone so decided to try it with my LG G Pad 8.3

The emulator can be downloaded from the Google Play store but it requires a donation; however, the exact same APK can be downloaded for free from the developer’s site (I have previously donated for the Xperia Play version). Downloading and installing it is easy, and not much setup was required either. I connected the gamepad via Bluetooth in native mode and loaded Mupen64Plus. The gamepad was recognised straight away without issue; the only thing I had to change was the key mapping, but this was straightforward. I then had a quick test of Super Mario 64, which worked perfectly:

Super Mario 64 on my LG G Pad

I look forward to seeing if Majora’s Mask works and playing it, as I’ve heard so many good things about it!



IPEGA 9021 Gamepad for Android devices

I’ve been after a gamepad to use with my phone and tablet for a while now, and after my birthday I had some money to spend so splashed out on one from Amazon. I say splashed out but it was less than £15!

IPEGA 9021 gamepad

The gamepad is very similar to the Xbox 360 controller, but of course features the clip in the middle which you can use to attach your phone. So far I’ve not utilised this – my phone is a Moto G (2014) and not the quickest, so I’ve not got many games installed on there. However, I have been using it with my LG G Pad 8.3 tablet – so far I’ve only tested it in GamePad mode (it also works in Keyboard or iCade modes) but it works flawlessly. My tablet is running Lollipop and it’s straightforward to pair the gamepad to the tablet and use it to play. So far I’ve used it to play SNES9X and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. It makes such a difference playing KOTOR – whilst it has been optimised for touch screen play (and it did a reasonably good job of that, to be fair), playing it with a gamepad is just like the original (which I enjoyed immensely) – you can even swing your lightsabers about whilst running around!

The joysticks and buttons all work well, but the gamepad doesn’t feel quite right to me – it correctly registers button presses in all directions and hasn’t gone wrong for me, but I’m not sure if I’d want to use it to play something like Street Fighter II. I look forward to playing some old gems on this – Final Fantasy III is definitely on the list. It’d also be good to see which proper Android games can use it – I might try one of the GTA games.

Android Development – Starting Over

I’ve tried several times to start developing Android apps, and I usually get a little past the “Hello, world!” stage and then get distracted by other things. I’ve long wanted to create an Android app counterpart to my Sam Smiths Challenge website, but that itself is in dire need of an overhaul, so then I start thinking about that and forget about Android again. Then a new Android version comes out and everything changes!

I’m definitely going to start developing properly soon though, so will need to find a suitable tutorial and set up the development environment on my PC – perhaps I’ll sort out upgrading it to Windows 10 first. Perhaps I can utilise my microserver too. So many things to consider, not enough time 🙂

Marshmallow coming to Moto G 2nd Generation (2014)

The latest flavour of Android, Marshmallow (v6.0) has been announced and is now available for those lucky enough to have Nexus devices. However, the rest of us are at the mercy of the manufacturers to release updates. It appears that I am in luck as Motorola have announced that the 2nd generation Moto G will receive the Marshmallow update.

I’m not going to hold my breath however – I only received the Stagefright fix this week and I’m still running 5.0.2 despite 5.1 being available for a long time. It’s easy to mock Apple but at least when they release a new version of iOS it’s available for everyone immediately – it’d be nice if there was some way of Android achieving this even with all the different hardware versions out there.

Tablet repaired!

I finally got my LG G Pad 8.3 back from the repair company this week, after much chasing and emails (their online tracker is useless). Thankfully the tablet is now in full working order – I can actually update an app without it crashing and play games without it crashing halfway through! It still gets a little warm when playing games but well within comfortable parameters, not as hot as it used to get! I’ve updated it to Lollipop using the Korean KDZ file and everything is working well. I’m very pleased to get it back and very pleased that it’s back to working properly 🙂

Another LG repair update

I still haven’t received my tablet back so I just called LG to try and find out what went wrong. It turns out that it was an administrative error and it was actually another customer who is receiving their device back and mine is still awaiting repair!

The customer service agent (Danny) was very helpful, it has to be said, and has promised to escalate it – apparently a new PCB is required which was ordered a while ago but it is still awaiting delivery. Danny promised that I would be called back either today or Monday with an update which is good, at least I hopefully won’t have to chase it up again.

Tablet repair “update”

LG have had my G Pad for a couple of weeks now. Their online status tracker is very frustrating because it doesn’t actually have any useful information – it only indicates when I raised the repair request. In the end I had to send them an email asking for an update, after which I got a couple of phone calls, one to say that repairs were ongoing and another one (on Monday) to let me know that the repairs were complete and that my device was on my way back to me.

It’s Friday now and I’ve still not received it back, which is very frustrating as I do use the tablet quite a lot (especially for reading comics – that Marvel Unlimited subscription is currently going to waste). Hopefully it will arrive within the next week and will actually have been repaired – I’m still worried it’s going to come back and they’ll say ‘no, there wasn’t anything wrong with it’!

LG G Pad woes

Recently my LG G Pad 8.3 has developed some problems. The tablet overheats in the top right hand corner and gets quite hot. There are also frequent app crashes and random reboots which is very frustrating when you’re midway through writing a blog entry and it hasn’t saved! I’ve tried flashing custom ROMs, stock ROMs and wiping everything but to no avail, so I’ve scheduled a repair on LG’s website (thankfully it’s still within the 2 year warranty).

I really hope it can be repaired because I love the tablet itself, apart from these crashes it’s served me very well. It’s the ideal size for reading comics and holding in one hand, and I don’t think they make it any more so I doubt it could be replaced. I’ll have a look though and see if there are any good alternatives in case it can’t be fixed.