Remember the announcement at MWC 2009 of 4 new Panels headed our way? (Not including the Growing Panel)
The CNN Panel and On The Road Panel are now available (beta version?) for download via XDA forums – thanks to gtrab. The CNN panel delivers news & weather to you in a user-friendly interface and the Road Panel provides a couple of features including a speedometer, easy to use dialer and media player on the panel. Both the panels are good additions to the Xperia Panels Gallery and provide two really useful interfaces.
Wakoopa is an online social network that helps people discover the best software, games and web applications on the market. It's the Yellow Pages of software discovery. Sign-up, install a small tracker on your desktop and automatically create your own online software profile that you can share with friends and the world via widgets. Games, audio & video players, instant messengers or office tools: Wakoopa helps people discover the best desktop and web applications on the market. Software discovery is social again.
And now, Wakoopa comes to Xperia in shape of a new Panel. Chopinfreak at XDA Forums created the panel using the HTML-generator. With this panel you can keep track of your own software you use on your desktop computer and add up to three other people. To try out the Panel, head on here.
It turns out that the Growing panel has more to it than what was initially believed of it. It is not just a cool animated panel, but has a lot more to offer.
First of all let me start off by complementing the animating panel. Having run it for a couple of hours now, the first thing i noticed was that it kept changing with time. The sun went down and the moon came up, and slowly made across the sky… and now the moon is almost out of sight and the sky a bit brightened, the sun should be showing up soon. (unfortunately i won’t be able to catch the sun rising as i’ll be asleep by then…)
Next are the small insects on the panel. Bees flying by, worms crawling on the plants, fireflies in the air, and snails on the ground. Hit the bee or the ladybird and the phone buzzes, hit a snail and it hides itself inside its shell and stays there – hit it again to get it moving again, hit the firefly and it flickers… This is definitely a panel worth having!
Now… the functionality on the panel. As expected the clock at the top-left corner of the panel brings the time & date settings screen. It is the flowers and plants that actually represent different stuff. For instance the middle flower in the screenshot below represents e-mail. When a bud, you have no mail… but when blossomed, you have mail. Not only that, the flowers differ depending on time as well as when the panel is switched. For instance, in the first two screenshots we have a dark-blue flower, but in the next screenshots you should see a light-blue flower.
The flower to the right (red bud in the screenshots) represents phone calls. I didn’t have a second phone near me otherwise would have given myself a missed call to see it in action. The flower on the left (yellow one) is SMS. The plant with the purple flowers (right side of the screen) is for phone profiles and the single stem with leaves on the left is for battery. Note in the screenshot below that when i attached the phone to my laptop and started charging the device, the bottom of the battery plant lit up… white sparks rise from the light and travel upwards fading half-way across the plant.
Is there more to this Growing Panel? Maybe there is… could it also show weather? Maybe the day-time screen (which differs a lot from the night-time screen – just look at the screenshots i uploaded in the previous post) has more stuff on it. I can’t wait to find out in the morning… :)
I was impressed by the panel when i thought it was simply an animating panel. I am now literally loving this panel and hope that when the final version of R3 ROM hits the update utility, we’ll see more panels like this one.
Update: At the bottom of the screen are really small plants – sort of like grass – with white tips. These are hooked with Wi-Fi. When Wi-Fi is turned on and connected to, flowers grow there. The stronger the strength of the signal, the more flowers there will be. Additionally, when you have a meeting in the calendar a butterfly appears on the panel – reported to fly higher when meeting is closer. The mushroom on the screen represents bluetooth – when activated the mushroom evolves and turns blue.
The phone profile plant wilts its flowers based on volume of the device and chosen profile (for me it only updates/changes the top two flowers). the Battery plant turns from brown to green starting from the top – the more the plant turns green, battery percentage is as less.
Another goodie to look for in the upcoming R3 ROM update is a new soft-keyboard in Xperia. Better than the default Windows Mobile keyboard – of course – and competing head on with the Touch-IT Keyboard, the main advantage that it has over HTC’s EzInput is that it has Next Word Prediction. Word Prediction works really great and remembers your previous entries and thus is friendlier to use.
To install the keyboard and try it out, head on to the Touch-IT v4.5 thread and look at the second post. However note that installing the soft-keyboard disables the AU key for some reason. There is a registry hack to fix this issue, but the using the hack turns off T9!
I myself have not personally tested out the keyboard. Below are some screenshots courtesy of aussiebum at XDA Forum.
Update – More Detail of the panel here.
Included in the R3 ROM, and available as a CAB download – courtesy of itje at XDA forums – Xperia finally gets a Panel that is actually cool! Not much “Important stuff” is displayed on this dynamic flash based panel other than the current date and time. Visually appealing, the panel can be thought of as a screensaver on your desktop – growing plants, falling leaves, bees and snails… It is simply a panel that you can switch to when at a party or taking time off.
(FYI – You will need to install an ActiveX Plugin for the panel to work)
Some screenshots below…
Now who was it that insisted that Xperia lacked a 3D chip? Thanks to itje for basing his latest Custom ROM on the leaked R3AA ROM and seperately providing CABs to some of the goodies available in the new ROM version, you can get your hands on ‘Xtrakt’ - a new 3D game by Sony Ericsson – right now! The game has really great graphics and runs quite smoothly on the device. Though it warns not to run any other applications when playing the game, it ran just fine with SPB Screenshot running besides it.
Best controlled with a stylus, you control the main character of the game on a future motorcycle destroying monsters. Doesn’t sound too appealing, i know, but the game is actually good! Better than many games that i’ve played on my iPhone and opens the door to better gaming on Windows Mobile. (True that an accelerometer would have been quite handy in handling the bike, but stylus/finger control of the bike sits well with the game).
To download head on here. You do not need to flash to the custom ROM to play this game. However, there definitely might be better graphics drivers in the R3AA ROM than the R2 or R1 ROMs.
Some screenshots (note that the game runs in full mode, it was when i used SPB Screenshot to grab the screenshots did the taskbar and menu-bar appeared):
Xperia ROMs hit a new version – sort of. Yes! It was only a few weeks back that we got the R2 ROM update, and now there is news of the R3 ROM to be released as soon as next month! What is new and what changes are to be expected? Well for starters, there is a new 3D game for Xperia named Xtrakt. And a new cool Panel (finally!). Furthermore a Soft-Keyboard for Xperia! (keep a lookout on my blog, i will post about all of these in detail in a bit)
But is there more? I believe (and hope) so, yes. While we wait for the official release of the R3 ROMs, you can try out the leaked R3AA ROM by using itje’s Touch-IT v4.5 “Landscape” custom ROM.
Evernote is an online note hosting service that allows users to create and share notes on the web and see them everywhere. They recently released their panel for Xperia available via Sony Ericsson’s website. The panel gives users the ability to upload typed notes, written notes, voice notes, a snapshot with notes, and files with notes to a free account that can either be set up on the phone or through Evernote’s website. Most panels on the X1 are static which means the default image stays the same all the time, the Evernote panel however will show recent notes that have been uploaded. The user has the ability to edit and share the note from the computer or mobile device.
Find it interesting? Direct your handsets to the Panel download section and grab it now. To watch it in action, head on here.
Ever since I got my Xperia, I have been following the XDA Forums closely. itje at XDA Forums has continuously grabbed my attention, most recently with the Touch Flo 3D Landscape (from Touch Pro 2) custom ROM. Though it started off as a Beta with tons of issues, he updated the ROM to a new Beta version from time to time with various fixes and additions. He recently released the final version of his Custom ROM (with of course Touch Flo 3D taken from the prototype models of Pro 2), and since then i have had the best Xperiance with my Xperia.
The Custom ROM is by far the best ROM i have used so far on my Xperia. Really great performance and fast speed. Touch Flo 3D itself is running way better than i have ever tested it before. Thank you itje for a great Xperiance!
If you want to give this custom ROM a try, head on here.
Note: Installing a Custom ROM requires HardSPL. HardSPL your Xperia at your own risk.
Not satisfied with the soft keyboard on your device? Don’t worry, FingerKeyboard is here.
FingerKeyboard is a very stylish keyboard with a great key layout and cool features. Developed by Exidler & Rozenthal of XDA Developers, the keyboard boasts a lot of features including;
And best of all, it is completely FREE!
To download go here.
An XDA forum 6600_best successfully ported Microsoft Windows 3 (yes! the old one) onto Xperia using PocketDOS. Previously developers had used DosBox to run Windows 3 on their devices which was quite tricky in configuring correctly, but with PocketDos it is as simple as 1, 2, 3.
Interested? Head on here. I will post screenshots if i install it.