Sunday, March 15, 2009

Android Dev 1

I’m currently in a class that’s about developing applications for the iPhone/Android operating systems. My team and I are working on an application for the Android.

For several reasons, we stayed off the iPhone. The most important one is the closed-ness of the iPhone. I have several rants to make about this, but I’ll get into them some other time :)

To help debug and test our application, I recently got an Android Dev 1 device (the University is paying for it, so whoo!). This is the same HTC G1 handset, but shipped to registered Android developers only. It’s unlocked, which means you can put in a SIM card from any carrier, and it will work. The idea is to have developers be able to test/run their applications on a device, without having to get a contract with T-Mobile. (Of course, this can’t be done with the iPhone, so boo!).

Couple of quirks with the device though. It *needs* you to have a data plan enabled SIM card. It can be from any carrier, but it must have a data plan, even if you only plan on using the WiFi connection. From what I’ve read, you can boot up the phone with such a SIM, take it out, and all future boots should work without a SIM card. But, since I got a data plan on my TMobile SIM anyway,  figured I’d make the Dev 1 my primary phone.

Second quirk: (sorta, not really) you need to have a google account linked to the phone. This way it syncs your contacts, gmail, gtalk, etc to your phone automatically. This is 2 way sync, btw. This feature is really awesome and I would’ve done it even if it weren’t required, so it’s all good.

I’ve been using the device for a couple of days now, and it’s been awesome! I actually like it much better than my iPod Touch. Except for the fact that you can’t use standard headphones, which basically means I can’t use it for music. I loathe the provided headphones. As to why HTC did this, is a mystery. It makes *no* sense. Also, the phone gets really hot, is heavy, and runs of battery insanely fast.

Things I like: background processes mean I can run a host of interesting applications that couldn’t possibly run on the iPhone OS; Physical keyboard means I type much faster, without losing screen real estate. There’s a bunch of other stuff, but those 2 are the big ones for me.

As I use the device more, I’ll be sure to keep updating the blog with my opinions. Watch out.

- Sir Lapog Kahn.

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