One day with Android 2.2 (Froyo) on the Dell Streak – better, but far from perfect

After the 2.1 update debacle, and a slightly misleading announcement a week ago, I finally received the OTA update to Android 2.2 this morning on my Dell Streak. Against all reason and sanity, I hit install and went for my breakfast, knowing full well I would spend the rest of the morning trying to fix my phone.

You know what they say about pessimists. They’re never disappointed.

Crash crash crash

As soon as the update finished applying, the Calendar Storage application crashed.

The application Calendar Storage (process.com.android.calendar) has stopped unexpectedly. Please try again.

I pressed Force stop. Then it crashed again. And again. And again.

After a short burst of expletives, I fired up my desktop and quickly found a solution: in between the storm of crashes and Force stop button-presses, I managed to get to Settings » Applications » Manage Applications » Calendar Storage and hit the Clear data button.

Update: In the comments, Phil notes that putting the phone into Airplane mode via the power button will temporarily halt the crashing so you can get to the Clear data button easier.

Next!

Backup restoration

Part of the upgrade procedure is to use the new on-device backup application to backup your data and settings to the SD card, then restore them once the upgrade has finished. The restore didn’t restore everything it was supposed to, most notably my contact list. I didn’t bother troubleshooting this since all my contacts are synchronised from other sources anyway. In my opinion, not syncing contacts is a mug’s game, and I laugh cold-heartedly every time someone on my Facebook news feed pitifully cries out for phone numbers after losing their phone on a bus for the 5th time.

It also didn’t recreate my data connection. Restoring it was thankfully very simple: I went to Settings » Wireless & networks » Mobile networks » Access Point Names » hit the menu button » Restore to default. I’m guessing it pulls them off the SIM card.

No Outlook Calendar Sync

Of course, since synchronising is an important feature, no update would be complete without screwing it up in some way. After Dell dropped support for the Dell PC Suite (not surprising given the slightly shonky coding), they replaced it with a Dell-branded application from Nero called Dell Mobile Sync. At first, this seemed like a good thing: I’ve generally had nothing but good experiences with Nero software. Unfortunately, the desktop Outlook sync functionality has been utterly emasculated, losing support for To-Do, Notes, and Calendar syncing, as well as any way to synchronise automatically on a schedule.

Not impressed, Dell. NOT IMPRESSED.

Only contact syncing remains, and even that didn’t work properly on the first attempt.

I love useless error messages. A second attempt went off without a hitch, so I guess time will tell how reliable this turns out to be.

Exchange

On the other hand, one of the features I was most looking forward to was native Exchange support, since I was too cheap to pay for Touchdown when I knew that 2.2 would make it largely redundant. Of course, it didn’t work properly: after putting in all my settings, I was met with a blistering unhelpful error of “Unable to open connection to server“.

It seems there are plenty of things that can trip up Exchange in 2.2, and almost all of them cannot be fixed unless you happen to be the Exchange admin for your organisation. Luckily for me, I am. In my case it was neither a problem with self-signed certificates (I have a certificate that Android recognises as valid), nor a problem with the EAS site accepting client certificates (apparently it has to be set to Ignore them). The eventual fix was more drastic:

  1. Remove the Android mobile devices affected from each users mailboxes in the EMC (Recipient Configuration » Mailbox » right-click on user » Manage Mobile Phone).
  2. Remove the Default (and any other ActiveSync) policy using EMSRemove-ActiveSyncMailboxPolicy -id Default
  3. Set up the Android phones to sync and let them get past the initial synchronisation.
  4. Recreate the ActiveSync Policy and set it back to default. This will reapply the policy to all mailboxes.

I really hope I don’t have to do this every time…

Update: It turns out I don’t (at least not for this device) as I found out the very next day after writing this:

It continued to do this most days since, combined with a crash of the email application (com.android.email) until I finally worked out that the Dell Stage email widget was the culprit.

802.1x works!

Aha, finally something that’s gone right. I can now authenticate to my WPA2-Enterprise wireless network! This worked on the very first attempt with minimal configuration using PEAP. In celebration, I finally retired the PSK SSID I was keeping around, as this was the last device I own that used it.

Stage UI drops its pants

A major UI addition in the 2.2 update for the Streak is the Dell Stage UI. Engadget’s review tells you pretty much all you need to know. It’s pretty enough, and after making an effort not to chuck it at the first opportunity, there are definitely bits of it I like. I didn’t like the Home widget, party due to the inaccurate weather data it insists on displaying, and partly because any full-screen widget on the first home screen obscures almost all of my nice background images. Whoever designed the Music widget also didn’t think too hard about how the Albums icon would look when you see the edge of it when on a right-adjacent home screen:

Now it looks like Lily Allen is mooning me. Thanks, Dell.

Still worth it

Overall, I’m happy with the update. There’s almost certainly something broken I haven’t found yet, but so far none of the problems were insurmountable, even if the crippled Outlook sync is disappointing. Still, the upgrade from Android 1.6 is a refreshing one, and overdue. Hopefully Dell have now learned their lessons and will be a bit more on the ball with the next update.

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About The Angry Technician

The Angry Technician is an experienced IT professional in the UK education sector. Normally found in various states of annoyance on his blog. All views are those of his imaginary pet dog, Howard.

13 responses to “One day with Android 2.2 (Froyo) on the Dell Streak – better, but far from perfect”

  1. ICT_Tech says :

    Oh dear, not so good, least it didn’t turn it into a brick!

    Luckily out of 1000 of staff only one person was brave enough to get the Streak, still…im not looking forward to attempting to set it up on the network but your experience will definitely help so I thank you in advance :)

    Lovin’ 2.2 on my Desire HD though, also desided to buy the Archos 101 Internet Tablet with 2.2 on it as well. Theory being I turn the phone into 3G hotspot so I can go online anywhere with a nice 10.1 screen :-D

  2. Giles says :

    BUMS.

    hehe

    :P

  3. Passie says :

    Thanx dude, thought I bricked it but the calender tip worked!

    Major kuddo’s for you :)

    Passie

  4. Nick says :

    The calendar trick saved me from throwing the thing in the river. Thanks a bunch!

  5. BhootZ says :

    India received its 2.2 updae today.. installed.. everything restored at phone start (automatically).. had a lot of problems with HTC Hero update to 2.1 from 1.5..no major bugs.. apps work fine (those from 1.6).. phone has definitely gained some pace.. and the flash during video was much needed.. 1 bad thing people have said is the UI of dell taking up whole screen.. a few more things that i found worse than 1.6 version..
    no addition of home screens (now i can only have a fixed 7 screens.. i loved what you could do on 1.6.. adding screens and removing them)
    widget spacing.. 1 screen can have only 16 widgets.. come on u gotta be kidding me.. my hero with a 3.2″ screen has the same capabilities.. loads of space wasted.. overlapping quater is another irritating fact..
    deleting widgets off ur home screen with the menu option is gone.. also to uninstall u have to do it thru settings and then app manager then remove programs.. in 1.6 if u held the icon long enough it would turn red and menu button would give u option to delete or uninsatall..
    smart dialing still nowhere.. real bad.. u have to browse thru ur entire contact list.. (i have 700 contacts) and voice dialer.. prolly does not like my voice but i cant get it to do anything right..

    Well in short now dell streak looks more android and less dell .. its kinda become the more of common android phones u had ..

    • AngryTechnician says :

      I wasn’t thrilled with the various home screen changes either, but I’ve gotten used to them. It helps that I don’t have many icons added to them. I have discovered that 1×1 icons that overlap from an adjacent screen can actually be tapped, which is useful, but the total space available is still less.

      On the contacts, if you hold down the menu button while in the list, you get a box you can type into. Would be helpful if there was some kind of prompt, but it is there at least.

  6. Istvan Szabo says :

    Hello
    Thanks for the article but I do not manage to open the settings because before I manage to press another button the calender already crashed again.
    Does anybody has a solution like accessing it from a PC or just to through it in the bin?

  7. Phil says :

    Hi I had this calendar error too. If you put it in aeroplane mode the cycling error stops as the phone can’t connect to anything then it’s easy to get to the menu to kill it as per ATs invaluable tip. Apart from losing the O2 connection details I lost a few contacts entries. So far though the upgrade appears good once you get past the problems of installing it.

  8. Zach says :

    Hi Folks, Just upgraded from 1.6 to 2.2 and really don’t like the stage ui, is there a way to turn it off? or at the very least, is there a way to remove some of the home panels?

    I’d also like to be able to get back the old 1.6 style system bar at the top of the screen.

    Otherwise, the update looks pretty good =)

    • AngryTechnician says :

      The Stage UI is really just a set of large home screen widgets. To remove any one of the Stage UI panels, simply press and hold on it, then drag it to the trash bin at the bottom of the screen. The old 1.6 system bar is gone though; that’s a change that comes from the core Android system.

  9. samesdat says :

    This 2 years old post saved me from a factory reset! Lost the 3g connection, but your tip worked: “Settings » Wireless & networks » Mobile networks » Access Point Names » hit the menu button » Restore to default. I’m guessing it pulls them off the SIM card.”
    Thank You very much!