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Category Archives: HyperNext Android

HyperNext Android is Launched !

The Tigabyte Team are on a high ! Today, we launched HyperNext Android, the culmination of many tears, much sweat and an ounce or two of gray matter. A big thanks to all those whom participated in the release and an even bigger thanks to our supporters whom have waited patiently for the big day.

What this space for updates…

 
 

Device Roundup

HTC G1 Dream

The HTC G1 Dream is a smart-phone running OS1.6 with a 320×480 capacitive screen and a physical keyboard. Testing on a device with a physical keyboard is a must because the emulator’s soft keyboard has some problems and sometimes getting the soft keyboard out of the Chinese mode when doing API calls to it can be very awkward. Also the G1 is a good test of orientation handling as when its physical keyboard is flipped out an orientation change to landscape is signalled by the OS. Note, G1’s generally don’t come with an SD-Card and one must be fitted for HAC apps to run on it.

HTC Hero

The HTC Hero is a smart-phone very similar to the H1 except it runs OS2.1update 1 and has no external keyboard. It also has a 320×480 capacitive screen and more RAM at 288MB compared to 192MB on the G1 . Both the G1 and Hero use a 528MHz processor.

HiPad IMX515

The HiPad IMX515 is a tablet usually running OS 2.1 although it can be upgraded to OS2.2. It has a 800×600 resistive screen, 512MB RAM and an 800MHz processor. USB seemed to run well on OS 2.1, but after updating to OS 2.2 our USB no longer works reliably necessitating the use of wireless ADB debugging.

EPAD 10

The EPAD 10″ Wireless tablet uses OS2.2 and has 1024×600 resistive screen. It use a 1GHz processor and has 512MB RAM. For input it can use an external USB keyboard and mouse. Ours has problems with USB debugging as apparently there are no USB drivers for it yet, but wireless debugging is very reliable.

Debugging and ADB Connectivity

For the Android developer the main issue is of getting one’s apps to run under ADB on the device so they can be debugged by the debugger. Unfortunately, many devices have poor or non-existant USB debugging so for them the only option is to use wireless debugging and for this some of them must be rooted (either fully or partially).

Both HTC devices have excellent USB debugging, although they lack wireless. On the other hand, our two tablets have poor or non-existant USB debugging, but wireless debugging works very well for them.

Conclusions

If you are serious about the quality of your app then you need to test on at least one Android device. Which device you need depends upon the functionality of your software. Our G1 has serious problems playing most media, but is great for many other things, including testing keyboard functionality. Our tablets have large screen areas and can show how your app will scale up from a smart-phone screen. As our tablets use newer Android OS they are more likely to play the media you need and also offer greater OS functionality. All our Android devices are budget buys from eBay, but once you start developing on an Android device then the emulators seem very slow and archaic even though they are still a must for testing purposes.

If you could only afford one device then a tablet covers most options as in HAC you can set your card/screen size to say 320×480 and use the unscaled option that employs absolute pixels so the card appears as smart-phone size. HAC also has fit option to scale proportionally your card so it appears in the centre of the screen. The last display option is stretch, which fills the entire screen. The distortion can be unsightly, however.

There is a lot to consider when buying an Android device but hopefully this very short blog might help when you look for that bargain on eBay or you hit the high street.

 

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Developing Apps on Android Devices

Work on HAC is progressing nicely and its being tested on both Emulators and Android devices. To make sure it works and gives us no unpleasant surprises we currently test builds on four different Android devices with more coming soon.
We chose a variety of devices running versions of Android from 1.6 to 2.2 although for OS 2.3 and later we currently just use the emulator. Official Android statistics show that few people are now using devices operating OS 2.1 and lower but we found on eBay that there are still many people buying smart-phones such as the G1 which uses OS 1.6. These older smart-phones are still an excellent way to start out developing your Android apps even though they miss out on later functionality like media playing.

It is really essential to use at least one Android hardware device because the emulators although excellent do have their problems notably very slow with some graphics/media and awkward with keyboards.

 

Device Roundup

The HTC G1 Dream is a smart-phone running OS1.6 with a 320×480 capacitive screen and a physical keyboard. Testing on a device with a physical keyboard is a must because the emulator’s soft keyboard has some problems and sometimes getting the soft keyboard out of the Chinese mode when doing API calls to it can be very awkward. Also the G1 is a good test of orientation handling as when its physical keyboard is flipped out an orientation change to landscape is signalled by the OS. Note, G1’s generally don’t come with an SD-Card and one must be fitted for HAC apps to run on it.

The HTC Hero is a smart-phone very similar to the H1 except it runs OS2.1update 1 and has no external keyboard. It also has a 320×480 capacitive screen and more RAM at 288MB compared to 192MB on the G1 . Both the G1 and Hero use a 528MHz processor.

The HiPad IMX515 is a tablet usually running OS 2.1 although it can be upgraded to OS2.2. It has a 800×600 resistive screen, 512MB RAM and an 800MHz processor. USB seemed to run well on OS 2.1 but after updating to OS 2.2 our USB no longer works reliably necessitating the use of wireless ADB debugging.

The EPAD 10″ Wireless tablet uses OS2.2 and has 1024×600 resistive screen. Its use a 1GHz processor and has 512MB RAM. For input it can use an external USB keyboard and mouse. Ours has problems with USB debugging as apparently there are no USB drivers for it yet but wireless debugging is very reliable.

 

Debugging and ADB Connectivity

For the Android developer the main issue is of getting one’s apps to run under ADB on the device so they can be debugged by the debugger. Unfortunately many devices have poor or non-existent USB debugging so for them the only option is to use wireless debugging and for this some of them must be rooted(either fully or partially).

Both HTC devices have excellent USB debugging although no wireless. On the other hand our two tablets have poor or non-existent USB debugging but wireless debugging works very well for them.

 

Conclusions

If you are serious about the quality of your app then you need to test on at least one Android device. Which device you need depends upon the functionality of your software. Our G1 has serious problems playing most media but is great for many other things including testing keyboard functionality. Our tablets have large screen areas and can show how your app will scale up from a smart-phone screen. As our tablets use newer Android OS they are more likely to play the media you need and also offer greater OS functionality. All our Android devices are budget buys from eBay but once you start developing on an Android device then the emulators seem very slow and archaic even though they are still a must for testing purposes.

If you could only afford one device then a tablet covers most options as in HAC you can set your card/screen size to say 320×480 and use the unscaled option that employs absolute pixels so the card appears as smart-phone size. HAC also has fit option to scale proportionally your card and have it appear in the centre of the screen. The last display option is stretch which fills the entire screen but the distortion can be unsightly.

 



		
 

Earning a living from Android…

There might be some folks reading this blog who are wondering just how easy it is to make a living out of writing apps for the Android platform. Well, to make a living you need 2 things. Firstly, you need a gem of an idea for an app so that people will buy it and secondly, you need the necessary skills to make that app. HAC is designed with simplicity and ‘user friendliness’ in mind so acquiring the necessary skills to make an app shan’t frizzle your brain cells, but more on that later. You will also need to know the basics of the Android Market, such as setting up, costs involved, requirements etc.

Setting Up
Before you start writing your Android app it makes good sense to know a bit about the Android Market. Below is a link to an insightful article that compares the costs of developing on the various mobile platforms. It also covers Android, which is of particular interest to us. Note that Android is the cheapest mobile platform, although this cost matters mainly to some shareware authors who are expecting to sell just a few apps per week.

http://creativealgorithms.com/blog/content/earning-living-independent-mobile-software-developer

Paid-for Apps
Getting people to pay for traditional desktop software is not that easy as it must be something that they really want to use because of the enjoyment factor or it needs to be a piece of software that enhances their lives, makes life and work easier etc. The great news, however, is that the price of mobile apps tends to be an order of magnitude lower than desktop apps. This means that mobile users are generally more likely to buy your app. If your app looks good and performs well then they might even buy on impulse because a dollar or so means that potential clients do not have to dig deep into their pockets. The beauty about the Android Market is that it also makes it very easy for people to try your app and then buy it.

Ideas for an App
As this blog is about paid apps you need to have something that people will want to buy. It might sound obvious, but there are so many genres of apps that it can be hard to find a profitable idea. If you make yet another Pacman clone it will probably not pay so well unless you can add something extra special to it. Perhaps you personally need an app to do something, but there is nothing out there quite like it? The odds are that other people are also looking for a similar app. Does your app have longevity or does it just perform a function a couple of times and then is not needed again? Finding a balance can be difficult, but that is also part of the fun. Once you have an idea, you might want to search the Android Market to see if it’s already out there.

Creating Your App
Assuming you already have an idea for your Android app, you then need to ask the question, ‘how difficult is it to create’? If you are new to programming, then the learning curve of traditional Android Java development approach is very steep and requires a wide range of knowledge. First, you have to learn Java programming language and then you have to get to grips with the Android SDK. The Android SDK supports a huge range of functionality, but even for experienced Java programmers its learning curve is steep and laborious. Furthermore, developing for a mobile platform, such as Android, is very different to developing for the desktop platform…why? Because mobile platforms have limited resources. The Android Operating System keeps tight control over Android apps and if memory becomes tight or the app is moved to the background then it can be removed from memory so necessitating being reloaded when moving back to the foreground. There are many ‘problems’ like this awaiting the Android Java developer. But with HAC many of these problems are automatically taken care for you.
One of the best resources for Android developers is StackOverflow. By browsing the resource, you can get a feel for how much effort it can be for beginner programmers to create their own apps.

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/android

In contrast HAC greatly reduces the learning curve of creating your own Android apps in at least four ways:-
1. The programming language is English-like and and is very similar to Apple’s Hypercard allowing the programmer to get quick results from just a few commands.
2. HAC hides the Android SDK and its Java functions from the programmer so you don’t need to know about ideas, such callbacks, listeners, activities, services, intents, inheritance etc, that are the bedrock of making Android apps using the Java approach.
3. Building your app with its media and other resources is quite easy as there is no need to learn about the raw and asset directories.
4. Signing and bundling your app for the Android Market is straightforward and HAC has a few easy to understand windows for setting up your app and its permissions.

If you aren’t sure about how hard the above points actually are to implement then browse StackOverflow and look at the related questions and their usually very complex answers.

Here is a an article about creating an Android game in just three days by some experienced Java programmers. They cover the different phases of creating their game and it applies whether you are using Java or HAC.

http://www.4feets.com/2009/02/developing-and-publishing-a-new-android-game-in-3-days/

 

Welcome to HAC from the Tigabyte Team

Hello, this is the blog for HyperNext Android, an Android development system for people new to programming. In a short time, HyperNext Android Creator – or HAC for short – will be launched to make life much easier for so many people struggling to create Android apps.

If you have ever tried to create any app for Android then you’ll know how difficult and mystifying it can be. However, things will soon get much easier…with HAC, there is no need to learn Java or the complexities of the Android SDK. HAC has an English-like programming language, plus a visual designer. This allows fast creation of screens and controls, such as buttons as well as list boxes etc. It also supports most HyperNext functionality, plus a subset of the most important Android functionality. HAC builds for Android OS 1.6 and above so you won’t lose out on sales by neglecting that vital part of the market.

Right now, HAC can already create and sign apps for Android Market, can connect with Android Emulator and with many Android devices, via USB and Wireless. It can create background apps and even offers developers the controversial option of a Quit button. HAC is aimed at creating apps, both for Android smart phones and tablets. Although its current feature set still needs a lot of debugging and smoothing out, the release of v1 is in sight.

HAC doesn’t have the full functionality that apps developed with Eclipse and Netbeans could have. However, most app creators need a set of commonly used functions and in getting HAC to support these we have tried hard to hide the complexites of Java and the Android SDK from the HAC user.

The Android market is developing rapidly, both in terms of the Android OS updates and in Android market share. Many newcomers are trying to develop their Android app and when HAC appears the turnaroud time from starting to develop an app to finishing it will be greatly reduced. It will be more fun as well.

HAC updates will appear each month, bringing bug fixes and new features. Bug fixes will come first as no one wants their app to crash on their customers device.

Welcome to HAC from the TigaByte Team.