Today I found out that the AppsLib Android application directory is distributing one of my companies apps against our wishes. They’ve provided no method for removing the app, no method for closing the account they’ve created under our name, and I suspect that we’re not the only company they’ve done this to. The email address for the account is our support email address, but we’ve never received an account confirmation email or any indication it was being used in this way.
After making yesterdays post on how to build the Android Open Source Project master branch using Mac OS X 10.7 and Xcode 4 I’ve tracked down what’s necessary to get the Ice Cream Sandwich branch of AOSP compiling on the same platform. This process has been tested against the android-4.0.3_r1 branch, so if you’re using another branch you may encounter some issues not mentioned here. Follow steps 1 to 4 from the instructions from yesterdays post, but check out the relevant ICS branch instead of master (Don’t forget to apply the patches from that post to the checked out ICS files).
[Update: The patches have been merged into the AOSP master branch, so as of the 22nd of December AOSP master should compile on OS X 10.7 with Xcode 4 straight from checkout] My company has worked on some Android firmware projects in the past, but, due to the closed source nature of Honeycomb, that work pretty much dried up. Recently though Google released Android 4.0 to the masses and we’ve had a few enquiries about firmware work again, so I thought I’d see what the current state of building Android was for our default machine configuration.
If been playing with the Xbox360 and its voice control using the Kinect and it’s sparked an idea in my head which I thought I’d post here for comments; What would people think if there was a setting in Android which took you straight into a voice control screen from an unlock? This would allow users to do things like unlock their device with facial recognition then speak to their phone to get it to do things like dialling home, sending texts, emailing, etc.
Yesterday Jean-Baptiste Queru announced that Android 4.0.3 had been open sourced via the Android Open Source Project, which is bigger news than you might think. Versions before 4.0.3 were focused on the Galaxy Nexus and its hardware. 4.0.3 is a multi-device release which supports the Nexus S, Xoom, and should be used as the basis for other ports. So if you see an Ice Cream Sandwich / Android 4.0 device you should look at the specific version it’s running, if it’s not a Galaxy Nexus and it’s running something before 4.
Over the course of a week I compared the Lumia 800, iPhone, and Galaxy Nexus. The following are my opinions of each which I hope will be useful to other people thinking about buying a new smartphone; Size I’m going to say straight off that the Galaxy Nexus is too big to become my daily ‘phone. I thought it would be when the specs started floating around, and, having had it a while now and travelled a bit with it, I still think it’s true.
As you’ve probably guessed, I’m impressed with the iPhone. Given the tests I’ve been doing over the last week I can see why it is an aspirational device. Apps have a consistent feel and are wide ranging, the device is easily portable, it has a pretty decent camera, and it just comes together in a pretty simple to use package. I’m also pleasantly surprised by Lumia. It falls short in terms of the variety of apps available, but Windows Phone 7 is only a year or so away from it’s public launch, so that’s to be expected.
I’d be interested to hear peoples thoughts on going to IO next year. Last year was the first year I went and, although it was a fantastic experience, I’m in two minds about going this year. Basically my thinking is; Sessions; Useful but streamed so I could see them anyway People; Largely thought provoking, but I could meet most of them at more local events. Giveaways; They have monetary value, but aren’t enough of a reason for me to go (I hardly use the giveaways from IO2011).
I know some of the people who follow me work for companies who make/brand/sell Android devices, so I’m going to put this out there and hope it’s useful to them. There are a number of developers (me included) who see the Nexus One as the pinnacle of current Android devices. It’s size, solid construction, and reliability made it a device we could carry knowing that it’d work when we need it.
Some tips about the ICS emulator; Don’t expect it to run well on any machine with less than 3GB of RAM. It can be done, but don’t rely on it :). There is a list of know issues in the emulator at http://tools.android.com/knownissues (from @ediTLJ on twitter) Increase the default RAM for your AVDs to 1024MB (yup, 1GB) If the emulator has crashed try deleting the AVD you used.