Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Third Item to Improve Motorola Defy XT (Republic Wireless) Performance

I have never been a fan of unnecessarily hacking any operating system. The Android system may, well, be the first OS that I would suggest performs better with a few end-user tweaks.
Primarily for FCC regulatory reasons, cell phones are locked down so that we do not go about changing the operating system in ways that might cause others harm. This can, also, limit how crazy our modifications can get. In the Android world, when we decide to open up the OS for further changes, that process is called “rooting”. On the Motorola Defy XT, this is a very simple process and one that seems to have very little negative impact.
Following this link will allow you to download the easiest rooting app for this phone: http://www.androidpolice.com/2013/01/28/exclusive-one-click-root-for-the-republic-wireless-motorola-defy-xt-single-and-dual-band-with-the-newest-ota-1_65k_1027-or-older/ . Please read the post to know how to do the process and what dangers might exist. I had no issues with it at all and the whole process took seconds.
Why root this phone? I did it for two primary reasons: 1) it allows me to more finitely control the processor speed and, therefore, the battery power consumption and 2) the Defy has somewhat limited internal storage which can be mitigated with the use of an app that uses a part of the SD card as internal storage. Both of these ideas I will explore further in a future post.
*Full disclosure: I had nothing to do with the programming of the required rooting app and will not be held liable if something happens to your phone. Also, do not worry, Republic Wireless knows that some people root their phones and they are fine with that.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Second Item to Improve Motorola Defy XT (Republic Wireless) Performance

No operating system is totally safe from malware attacks, but some have a broader risk exposure than others. A sure-fire way to have an operating system become popular with hackers who want to have a little fun is for the operating system to gain popularity with “normal” people. The Android operating system has certainly reached that point. According to one study (http://thenextweb.com/google/2012/10/25/in-one-year-android-malware-up-580-23-of-the-top-500-on-google-play-deemed-high-risk/), the number of Android apps that contain malware rose 580% last year. With this in mind, it is wise to consider software for your phone that will help mitigate the risk.
I chose to use avast! Mobile Security on my Republic Wireless phone for a few reasons. First, it is free. Second, it is lightweight and only causes a very small impact on total system performance; most performance penalty is when downloading/installing software. Lastly, in a relatively recent study (http://www.droid-life.com/2012/03/07/over-40-anti-virus-apps-tested-only-7-have-malware-detection-rate-of-over-90/), avast! Mobile Security was able to detect the most malware risks of any scanner available on the Play Store today. Oh, and another cool feature is that avast! Mobile Security can help you find your phone if you misplace it or someone helps themselves to it.

*Full disclosure: I have no affiliation with AVAST Software and only offer this as a recommendation that is based on much research and experimentation on my part.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Republic Wireless Referral Program

Now when you refer a friend to the easiest to afford cellular plan, you and your friend both get $19 credits to your account!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

First Item to Improve Motorola Defy XT (Republic Wireless) Performance

After having used an iPhone for several years, I expect a certain level of performance from a cell phone operating system. The Android OS, while wide open and easily customizable, needs help when it comes to memory management. One of the same items that many Android users tout as an advantage actually works against the operating system. Background tasks are poorly handled in the Android OS. Not to go into details, but most apps do not need to be kept in memory if not in the foreground or actively working, e.g. playing music or supplying GPS directions.
For this reason, I highly recommend using Droid Mate’s Smart Memory Booster Pro. This app helps the OS clean up messes by looking for applications not currently in play and cleaning them from memory. This process can be customized in several ways, including at time intervals, when the screen locks, and when memory dwindles past a certain level. They, also, offer a regular version version which does not offer as many automated processes, but which can be used manually and when the screen locks to clean memory. For the $2, it is well worth buying the pro version.

*Full disclosure: I have no affiliation with Droid Mate and only offer this as a recommendation that is based on much experimentation on my part.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Republic Wireless Trial

Happiness, everyone!
I have started a new journey by putting my iPhone aside for a little while and trying a new cellular service. This service is called Republic Wireless and their hallmarks are:
  • Provide unlimited talk, text, and data services for $19/month
  • Rely on community members to help each other with issues
  • Use available WiFi access, when available, to place/receive phone calls
  • Jump on the Sprint cellular network when necessary
I have only used the phone for three days, but I think the drawbacks are outweighed by the fact  the service is only $19 per month. More updates to come.
Check them out at: http://republicwireless.com
Update: March 31, 2013
It has been a month now living with a Republic Wireless phone and here are some of my thoughts…
  • The Republic Wireless service has been rock-solid. I have had no more and no fewer dropped calls than I have ever experienced with either Verizon Wireless or AT&T Wireless. In fact, the dropped calls I have experienced have, usually, been in the same physical locations as with the big guys.
  • Overall, the WiFi calling (which is really just VoIP) is not bad. At times it is better sounding than cellular service and, at other times, it sounds worse. It really comes down to the quality of the Internet connection.
  • Speaking of WiFi availability, I am surprised how many places offer WiFi for free. One nice feature of Republic Wireless phones is they automatically sign in to many networks, e.g. AT&T WiFi.  At places like Home Depot – obviously not the kind of store in which it is easy to get cellular service – the WiFi service is absolutely necessary.
  • The Motorola Defy XT phone is not too bad. It is not an iPhone and one should not expect it to perform as flawlessly as an iPhone. In another post I will list the handful of changes I made to the phone that makes it work much better.
  • I am finding it somewhat difficult to keep my cellular use at 70% or less. The community-at-large is averaging around 50-51%. Obviously, my mobile phone usage is different than most others.
Would I suggest Republic wireless for others? Yes, definitely. In fact, I tend to be a walking advertisement for the service because I think it is mobile service done well and at the right price.