Android SDK

Apps-for-Android gets 3 new code samples: graphics & download

Android developer Jack Palevich has released three new open-source samples on the official project blog, two giving insight on how best to implement the OpenGL ES 3D graphics APIs, while the last is an example of a downloader.  Triangle is, according to Palevich, the "Hello World" of OpenGL ES apps, and is a simple use of the GLView class and the OpenGL ES 3D library in creating a spinning, textured triangle. SpriteText adds to that, with the inclusion of screen-aligned text:
"SpriteText contains a reusable LabelMaker class for drawing static text and screen-aligned images, as well as a Projector class for finding the 2D screen coordinates corresponding to a 3D point, and a MatrixTrackingGL class for keeping track of the current transformation matrix. Finally, it shows how to use these classes to display a milliseconds per frame counter. A ms/f counter can be helpful for tuning graphics performance" Jack Palevich, Android Developers Blog
Finally, Downloader is an example of a file download system that could be added to the start of any new Android app.  It automatically downloads any number of files from an XML configuration document stored on a named web server, and would be useful in situations where there is more local data than can fit into an .apk file. The code is available to download and experiment with now.  Click to discuss now in Android Community. [gallery]

Android Photostream App

Google just announced a new open source sample application called Photostream.  Photostream has been added to the aapps-for-android project, and it's available for you to test drive.

Photostream is a simple photos browser and viewer for Flickr. All you need to use it is a Flickr screen name or user name (the application offers a default user name if you just want to try it.) This application serves as an illustrative example of several Android features and APIs:
  • Activity aliases
  • Adding custom shortcuts to Home
  • Adding a new wallpaper chooser to the system
  • Custom layouts
  • Custom XML attributes
  • Use of themes
  • Use of styles
  • Use of text colors
  • Use of <include>
  • Use of bitmap and layer drawables from XML
  • Use of HttpClient
  • Proper interaction between background threads and the UI thread
  • Efficient display rotation (using the new onRetainNonConfigurationInstance() API)
  • Animations and layout animations
  • Cropping an image
  • Image manipulation
My favorite feature is the ability to add a new shortcut type in Home, to create a shortcut to any Flickr account. The shortcut shows a custom icon, downloaded from the Flickr user profile:

If you plan on reusing the source code to access Flickr in your own application, you should modify the Flickr.java file to replace the existing API key with your own. The application source code also contains a very handy class called UserTask.java. This class is designed to help you easily write background operations that interact with the UI thread.
[gallery]

Congrats to Winners of the Android Developer Challenge I

Google officially announced the winners of Android Developer Challenge.  Out of 50 teams of finalists, 10 teams received a $275,000 award each and 10 teams received a $100,000 award each.  Congratulations to everyone. $275,000 Award Recipients
cab4me Konrad Huebner, Henning Boeger Ever been looking for a cab? cab4me is the answer. Anywhere. Anytime. Read more CompareEverywhere Jeffrey Sharkey Shop smarter using your phone. Compare prices, read reviews, and connect with local stores. Read more Ecorio Jeff Kao, Gary Pong, Robert Lam, Taneem Talukdar Ecorio automatically tracks your mobile carbon footprint, suggests transit and carpooling alternatives and lets you stay carbon neutral by offsetting your trips easily. Read more GoCart Rylan Barnes Scan a product's barcode with your phone's camera and view all the best prices online and at nearby, local stores. Read more Life360 Chris Hulls, Dilpreet Singh, Luis Carvalho, Phuong Nguyen, Steve Potell From major natural disasters to little things like your child wandering away at the mall, there is a lot you might worry about. Life360 can help. Read more Locale Carter Jernigan, Clare Bayley, Jasper Lin, Christina Wright Locale is an advanced settings manager that automatically changes your phone's settings based on conditions, such as location. Read more PicSay Eric Wijngaard Easy to use image editor that enables you to quickly personalize your pictures and share them with friends or photo sites. Read more Softrace Staffan Kjellberg, Thomas Kjellberg Turn your workout into a thrilling race and challenge the world in real time. Read more TuneWiki TuneWiki Inc. TuneWiki Social Media Player, is an advanced player, featuring synchronized lyrics for audio or video, translation, music maps and a social network. Read more Wertago Kelvin Cheung,Teresa Ko, Peter Ree, Robert Sarvis, Douglas Young The mobile application nightlifers have been waiting for. Find the hottest parties in town and connect with friends and others all night long. Read more
$100,000 Award Recipients
BreadCrumbz Amos Yoffe BreadCrumbz offers a unique approach to navigation. What sets it apart is its focus on picture-based navigation and user-created navigation content. Read more Cooking Capsules Mary Ann Cotter, Muthu Ramadoss Inspiration for novices and chefs alike, Cooking Capsules puts a fresh, elegant and portable new way to cook in the palm of your hand. Read more Maverick Virgil Dobjanschi Maverick is a multimedia enabled, Google Talk compatible instant messenger and a Google Blogger publishing tool which runs on the Android Platform. Read more PebbleBox Yin Wang, Tao Jin A location-based information exchange and sharing application, allowing people to collect and distribute various geo-related information through mobile phones. Read more PhoneBook 2.0 Voxmobili PhoneBook 2.0 is a secure, contextual and social address book. Ideally suited for teenagers willing to share their mood and location, it also helps business people to keep their contacts secure and up-to-date. Read more Piggyback Christophe Petit, Sébastien Petit Piggyback is a revolutionary real-time carpooling application for mobile phones that helps you save time and money while reducing your carbon footprint. Read more Pocket Journey Anthony Stevens, Rosie Pongracz Pocket Journey turns your mobile phone into a personal tour guide by connecting you to location-specific multimedia created by a community of the most professional tour guides and storytellers worldwide. Read more Rayfarla Stephen Oldmeadow Have fun with music. Play music based games and make music with your phone using a range of virtual musical instruments. Read more ShareYourBoard Mikhail Ksenzov ShareYourBoard is an Android application for capturing, processing and sharing whiteboard data. Read more Teradesk e-Storage José Augusto Ferrarini Teradeks is an application for Virtual Storage and Remote File Access allowing companies and individuals to keep their files in the cloud, accessible from anywhere. Read more

Finalists

B4E Mr. Che, Mr. Happy C. B4E focuses on information broadcasting and online transactions, creating value for the society and individuals. Read more Beetaun Sergey Gritsyuk, Dmitri Shipilov Beetaun is a social network application for everyone wishing to share and explore interesting and extraordinary places and routes in the city they visit or live in. Read more BioWallet José Luis Huertas Fernández Biometric authentication system and security platform that performs user identification based on something that user is, rather than something that the user knows or owns. Read more City Slikkers PoroCity Media and Virtual Logic Systems City Slikkers is a Pervasive Game which takes place in the real-existing city. It is designed to connect a large number of players through-out the city and lets them organize the city's metaphorical recapture. Read more Commandro Alex Pisarev, Andrey Tapekha Commandro is a universal map-centric application, allowing users to set up and share activities, places, and map-markers with others, set alerts, and send invitations. Read more Diggin Daniel Johansson, Aramis Waernbaum, Andreas Hedin Play your music in style and listen to thousands of streaming radio stations. Personalize your music collection, and your music player as well! Read more Dyno Virachat Boondharigaputra Dyno is an application used to evaluate vehicle performance on the road. Read more e-ventr Michael Zitzelsberger e‐ventr is your personal event organizer and friendship scout for your mobile. Read more Em-Radar Jack Kwok Em-Radar keeps you informed of severe weather and emergencies near your location. Its Em-Beacon feature helps you stay connected to your family and friends in an emergency. Read more Fingerpaint Rob Mickle Fingerpaint is a collaborative drawing application. Draw by yourself, or together with friends – anywhere in the world. Read more FreeFamilyWatch.com Navee Technologies LLC Free location-based services helping family to navigate safety risks in daily living through real-time and risk-preventing measures against crimes, environmental health hazards and distressing emergencies. Read more GolfPlay Inizziativa Networks Provides support to all real time necessities of a golf player during a game. Read more gwalk Klaus ten Hagen, Marko Modsching, Christian Klinger, Rene Scholze Discover a destination individually by a multimedial gWalk tour that is fully based on personal preferences including interests, available time and position. Read more iMap Mobile™ Weathertop Consulting, LLC iMap Mobile™ builds on WDT's iMap Weather™ multimedia weather platform to provide radar images, lightning strikes, conditions and forecasts at your location and locations you choose. Read more IMEasy Yan Shi IMEasy is an IM based application designed particularly for touch screen mobile users. Read more JOYity Zelfi AG JOYity is a platform for next generation mobile entertainment applications and provides a pioneering mixture of real-life adventure games, geocaching and intensive social networking activities. Read more LifeAware Gregory Moore, Aaron O’Brien, Jawad Akhtar Be aware of your surroundings and the location of your friends and family. Take control of your social life. LifeAware™ - Where is Your Life? Read more Marvin Laurent Pontier Publish in private, to your peer network or to the world, geolocalized rich messages. Broadcast personal information feeds on the move using the Marvin Services. Read more mobeedo Sengaro GmbH mobeedo aims to become a comprehensive and uniform system for providing, consuming, and recording all kinds of information relevant in mobile everyday life. Read more MyCloset Mamoru Tokashiki Manages photographs and information about the fashion items you own, and coordinates and records your daily outfits. Read more PedNav RouteMe2 Technologies Inc. PedNav is a location-aware day planner that allows you to create an itinerary and can suggest public transit routes as well as provide walking directions. Read more SafetyNet Michael DeJadon SafetyNet is an automated alert system that combines the concept of social networking along with the latest mobile technologies to help protect our loved ones. Read more ShapeWriter ShapeWriter Inc ShapeWriter is an innovative, easy, fast and fun method of entering text into touch screen mobile phones. One can write an entire word with a single gesture. Read more SocialMonster Tommy Ng, Ben Hui Stay on top of your social life with SocialMonster and start organizing personal events with all your contacts in your handset’s phonebook. Read more SplashPlay Andreas Ipp, Keith Sturch, Friedger Müffke and Ronan Schwarz SplashPlay provides an easier method to learn, create and share music. Quickly learn guitar chords to your favorite songs and share creations with others. Read more Sustain Niraj Swami Sustain is a utility that helps its users naturally and fluidly communicate with their contacts. Read more SynchroSpot Shaun Terry Service featuring location-based personal reminders and geo-specific notes for others. Also provides for the receipt of special, targeted discounts and offers from nearby businesses. Read more The Weather Channel for Android The Weather Channel Interactive Inc. The Weather Channel for Android is a fully customizable weather application catering to both weekend planners and serious weather enthusiasts alike. Read more TokPlay Sung-Suh Park TokPlay provides the opportunity of talking to friends, family and others using video and voice messages, bringing a human touch back to communication. Read more Wikitude Philipp Breuss Wikitude is a mobile travel guide based on location-based Wikipedia content. Points of interest can be viewed in a map, list, or a cam view. Read more

Google explains Advanced Bluetooth & GTalk API omissions

After the news of the latest Android SDK release, Google came in for some criticism over a number of APIs the company removed and that, as a result, would not be present in the eventual Android 1.0 platform.  Headlines suggested that Android would have no Bluetooth support, for instance, and the whole OS was accused of not being ready for primetime.  Now the Developers Blog have spoken up to explain two of the most prominent omissions - the advanced Bluetooth API and the GTalkService - and justify the reasons for their being (temporarily) left behind. Despite the rumors, Android will support the usual array of Bluetooth headsets and dongles.  You'll be able to use it with your hands-free or tether it to your laptop (carrier T&Cs permitting).  What won't be there is the API that exposes Bluetooth functionality to developers:
"The reason is that we plain ran out of time. The Android Bluetooth API was pretty far along, but needs some clean-up before we can commit to it for the SDK. Keep in mind that putting it in the 1.0 SDK would have locked us into that API for years to come" Nick Pelly, Android engineer responsible for Bluetooth API
That means, initially, developers won't be able to use Bluetooth for, say, short-range wireless gaming between Android handsets.  It's a disappointing omission, but the Android team are promising it'll make an appearance in a future release. Secondly, the GTalkService API, which would have presented a straightforward interface for the exchange of messages between Android devices.  Rather than time shortages, it's security that scuppered that particular API, both of personal details (communicating with other mobile users would then see them added to your Google Talk friends list, whereupon they could see your email address and other information) and of application security.
"Although we would have loved to ship this service, in the end, the Android team decided to pull the API instead of exposing users to risk and breaking compatibility with a future, more secure version of the feature. We think it's obvious that this kind of functionality would be incredibly useful, and would open lots of new doors for developers. One of our top priorities after the first devices ship is to develop a device-to-device (and possibly device-to-server) RPC mechanism that is fast, reliable, and protective of developers and users alike" Dan Morrill, Developer Advocate, Android
Although on first glance it's easy to criticise Google for snipping out features, if poorly executed APIs led to future security or privacy breaches then the frustration would be even greater.

Android Roadmap updated; Developer Challenge II news in Q4

Google has updated its Android roadmap with more information for developers, including details on the upcoming second round of the Developer Challenge.  Following this week's release of v0.9 of the Android SDK, the next significant roll-outs will take place during September as the company tweaks the open-source platform, in response to bug sightings and developer requests. The full Android v.1 SDK is scheduled for Q3-Q4 2008, before "our partners [launch] devices" (plural) become available for retail customers in Q4.  The next round of the Developer Challenge will be announced by the end of the year, with programmers able to submit their applications most likely from the start of 2009.
  • 12 November, 2007 - "Early Look" SDK released
  • January to August, 2008 - Android Developer Challenge I
  • 18 August, 2008 - Android 0.9 SDK beta released
  • September 2008 - additional Android 1.0 (pre) SDK releases made available, as necessary
  • Q3 - Q4 2008 - Android 1.0 SDK release 1 available (first actual 1.0-compatible SDK)
  • Q4 2008 - Android 1.0 devices available at retail
  • Q4 2008 - Source code released
  • Q4 2008 - Key Announcement on Android Developer Challenge II
Google are saying that the current v0.9 beta is not guaranteed to be compatible with production Android devices, but that anything coded with the upcoming Android 1.0 SDK, release 1, will be.

Android SDK v0.9 released: GUI, app & stability improvements

Google have released version 0.9 of their Android SDK, with some significant usability, GUI and other improvements.  Key is the replacement of the cluttered program screen, as seen in earlier builds, with a freshly cleared homepage; at the bottom, a new tab pulls up a user-chosen list of shortcuts.

There's also a new media player application, together with camera software that supports autofocus.  The mapping application, in addition to Street View, also supports pop-up mini-maps in callouts, as in the full desktop version.  In fact the release is looking particularly close to non-beta status (as well it should, being v0.9) and, given the recent news about the HTC Dream clearing the FCC, suggests that the rumored October launch is not at all unlikely. The build looks as though it has been tweaked for a device with a hardware keyboard.  In one of the screenshots, of the SMS app, you can see the instruction "slide out keyboard to compose message". [via PHONE Magazine] Android video walk-through [gallery]

Jason Chen answers questions about Android

Right after the Google IO keynote on Tuesday, I rushed off to attend the press conference and as result missing the first few Android sessions.  It's a good thing that Ed Burnette of ZDNet, we have a few more questions answered as well as clearing up some confusion regarding the Android platform.

The Introduction to Android platform session lasted around 90-minutes.  Jason announced that the source code to Android is currently available to Google's Open Handset Alliance (OHA) partners.  The general public will get access to the source code when the first handset (that being the Android HTC Dream phone) ships.  At such time, Android will be called "Android Version 1.0."  Android version 1.0 will be available to everyone and anyone who wants to download and port Android to any phone or any other devices they so desire.  Once Android version 1.0 hits the street, you do not have to be an OHA member and you don't need to sign anything or ask for anyone's permission to install Android on any device.  The audience wanted to know when will Android version 1.0 be available.  Unfortunately, Google would not provide any specific dates other than "the second half of 2008."  When pressed, a Google source stated that it wasn't really their call alone to make.  The release date is largely up to OHA members, especially manufacturers making the phones and the carriers who will sell and distribute the Android phones.  Lets hope all 31+ OHA members don't take too long to decide when's the best time to release Android version 1.0. After his presentation, Jason opened up the floor for questions... Q. What if somebody wants to build an application that is similar to a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) that can run other programs. What security implications are there for these kinds of applications? A. It's possible to do but we haven't thought about it. There is a large security team working on Android. There are languages that are working to port their bytecode to the Dalvik VM, so it won't just be for the Java language. Q. Traditionally carriers rip out things. What steps do you take to prevent somebody like Cingular from making an "almost-Android" phone? A. They could do that if they wanted because it's open source. But Android is a complete stack of software so why would you want to break it? There's value in a full stack and in a lot of applications. There's no incentive to alter it in ways that wouldn't be compatible. We want manufacturers and operators to customize in ways they can differentiate. They don't all have to have the same home screen, the same look and feel, and so forth but they should be able to run any Android apps. Q. When do developers get hardware? A. When everybody else does (when retail phones are for sale). Q. Does Android platform development follow the JSR (Java Specification Request) model? A. Android is not Java technology. It uses the Java programming language but Dalvik is not a JVM. It's not claiming to be Java tech. Q. Is support for Flash lite planned? A. Not at the moment. Q. Will there be an SDK for PPC Macs? A. Don't think so. Just Intel. Q. Will you have aesthetic standards like the iPhone? A. We're working with UI designers to put out a user interface guideline. Also android provides standard UI widgets. About Jason Chen Jason is currently a developer advocate at Google where he works on ensuring that developers for the Android platform are successful. He previously led the developer support team for Google Checkout. Prior to joining Google, Jason worked at IBM and Urchin Software.

Google Android Application Market

A question came up during the Android Fireside chat regarding Android application distribution system.

"We’ve thought about it. It would be a great benefit to the Android community if there’s a place people can go to safely and securely download their content and have a billing system so that developers can get paid for their effort, and I have nothing to announce today, we’ve thought of it…We wouldn't have done our job if we didn't provide something that helps developers get distribution." –Andy Rubin

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cledOMNKl8Y[/youtube]

Well there it is folks, if you read between the lines, it sounds as though Google is working on an Android app store for content distribution.

Meet the leads for Android platform

Android Fireside Chat is a Q&A session that is often considered the best part of Google IO, as it gives developers a chance to ask what's on their minds as well as talk to the product engineering teams. Come tell the team what you want, discuss issues and design decisions, and hear the team's thoughts on just about whatever you ask.  In this first, you’ll get to meet the leads for Android platform.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quM0S3ZXhEw[/youtube]

More videos from the Android Fireside Chat coming soon.

That me - with the best seat in the house!

Google IO: Android Community will be there – are you going?

Hey everyone - I just got my Google IO registration email this morning.  I'm planning on attending and providing coverage (video and blog) the following sessions in addition to the keynote at 9:30AM on 5/28.  If you're attending, make sure to shoot me an email or post your reply in this thread.  I'm looking forward to meeting all you "android heads" at Google IO!
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