...stuff I do and things I like...

Sunday, January 25 2009

Got an ADP1!

since Wednesday of last week I'm the proud owner of an ADP1 Android Dev Phone 1 (the developer version of the T-Mobile G1). Actually I wanted to buy a Kogan Agora Pro but since the device was canceled at the last minute I decided to buy an G1. I simply bought the dev version because it was cheaper then the G1 without contract. I guess people will tell me this is not true but since I haven't found a cheaper way of getting an G1 I bought the ADP1.

So far I have just played with the device not using it as my regular phone that I use every day. I really like the background processes thing especially in combination with instant messaging and apps like Twitter (if something happens I get notified through the status bar). I know this is not new or anything I just think this is done especially well in Android. Having a keyboard is nice, but I really need an on-screen keyboard for stuff like writing SMS and instant messaging. I hope the new OS release is coming sooner then expected.

One thing I'm quite disappointed about is the email capability. The build-in mail client is no competition for the one on the iPhone. Some issues are: speed, I can't move messages to other folders, and I had plenty of email display problems (some plain text messages could not be displayed). The instant messaging client only supports GTalk. They could really have made this just a plain cool XMPP/Jabber client. Sadly all other IM apps suck. Android is quite new compared with the iPhone so I can forgive these first issues.

Now the good stuff. I totally like ShopSavvy this is a bar code scanner that directly looks up prices online and in shops that are close to you. I did a few tests and it really works but it needs better support for Germany (they say this is work in progress). Wikitude is a also a very nice app that shows you information about the place you are currently at. It has this cool mode where it shows points of interest as an overlay of the area currently captured by the device's camera. This app also uses the digital compass build into the G1 (something the iPhone doesn't have). Both applications use the possibility to directly access the camera of the G1. I guess this is the reason why both applications are not available on the iPhone.

Development. So far I only wrote a very small demo project using the SDK. Since this is Java I feel more at home compared with Objective-C. Over the weekend I followed the various guides and downloaded the gcc toolchain to build native executables and kernel modules. For testing purposes I compiled the tun/tap module and iodine both seem to work well. In order to get a minimal acceptable shell environment I of course installed a statically liked version of busybox which brings me to another rather bad part of Android, the Linux system. The Linux system is really really small with just the most necessary binaries (that's why you need busybox). Also many standard files are missing such as /etc/resolv.conf. Once you find the getprop binary you find many of the missing information such as the current nameserver and such.

Finally, I really like the Android platform and the G1 and I plan to do a lot of hacking on it.