Android User & Developer Notes
Having recently got my HTC Desire HD android phone, I have been trying out lot of things, as a end User and Developer on it. In this blog I would like to share some of my experiences. As someone involved with Mobile app development I am impressed with the ease of use (even my 3 year old kid can use it) and feature set available. I better understand know why Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt keeps emphasizing ‘get your best developers to work on Mobile!’.
After getting to startup my device (must say slot to insert mobile card in the phone can be better) as probably most people do I installed social networking related apps (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare). It was interesting to note LinkedIn had no own app (unlike for Blackberry) for Android. The usage of Android Appstore itself to find and install apps was easy. But still not sure what’s the difference between HTC likes and Market app installed on the device by default to install apps from the appstore. Having added a 8 GB SD card could at least could install apps without needing to worry about space and the good search integration in device makes the lookup experience nice. Liked the integration of Google content in the device including Reader app (to read blogs), People (i.e. contacts, like the way it links contacts from facebook and other services), GMail, Maps, YouTube, Google Places, Google Earth, Google Sky and Googles. While some of the applications clearly need more work the current feature set is also impressive. I mostly find my self using the Barcode Scanner app to scan barcodes on my PC to install apps on my mobile, its kind of neat and no typing effort 🙂
Other apps I am currently using include MobileVoip (as a Voip user find this pretty convenient), Dropbox (like the idea of access to files anywhere, but would expect google docs would do this for me sometime…), Evernote (like to idea of digital notes but did not use much still), Barcoo (a consumer app to scan barcodes to get product information). There are some apps installed for Exchange rate info (does not work currently…), Weather and Stock information as well. As for the games have the usual suspect top rated free apps (Angry Birds, Talking Tom, Dora Memory, Kids Puzzle/Number games, Teeter,..). Mostly motivated by my kids needs, but must say he really loves them all!. It would be great if you could just export all installed apps and share it, maybe just need to find the app that does it 😉
Now to switch gears and put on my Developer Hat. Its nice to use the many apps out there but it would be more fun to develop own application 🙂 I tried this out using the Android SDK with Eclipse plugin and using the Adobe Burrito release. While details on using them can be content for next blog, in short its easy to use the environments to quickly develop apps for Android. The Video of my demo app developed using the Adobe Burrito can be found below. This demo (work-in-progress) adapts the Flex Mobile Survey Ape sample app to work against the SAP River platform.
I found using Mocking UI development tools particularly useful to think through the Mobile application idea and share with others. Some tools that I tried out and can suggest are AppInventor tool from Google and Balsamiq mockup tool, I find the latter tool better. If you plan to work on Mobile apps in the SAP environment than projects in SAP Code Exchange can provide a good starting point. This blog on using SAP Xcelsius on Andorid phone, also gives some idea of potential for Mobile content on Android. Using OCR cloud service to automate data capture on the device is one area I find interesting in context of mobile apps. Augumented Reality app Layar also opens up interesting options for contextual apps on the Mobile device. Hopefully I was able to inspire you to use and build apps for the Mobile platform..