Entries Tagged as 'Android'

LibreOffice announced for Web, iOS, Android

The Libre Office project announced today that they will officially support web browsers, iOS, and Android according to The Document Foundation.

Libre Office which formed from the community open source of Open Office and the work done by go-oo.org has primarily focused on being an office suite for the current times rather than trying to compete with or take market from Microsoft Office, and expanding into venues to support phones and tablets is a reasonable path, and one that many have been asking for for quite some time.

No specific time line has been announced, but there had already been some work done on porting to mobile platforms.

Originally posted 2011-10-14 02:00:01.

Kit Kat – Android 4.4 / 4.4.2

My Nexus 4 and my two Nexus 7s updated to Kit Kat about a month ago and other than Google+ becoming far more pervasive I can’t say I’ve really seen any improvements that matter much to me (yes, I’m aware that “under the hood” there are some substantial changes)…

Some things I have noticed (that I’m not happy with) are:

  • Bluetooth shuts off and cannot be turned back on until you reboot the device.
  • Bluetooth will disconnect and reconnect (by itself) from devices that worked perfectly under Jelly Bean.
  • Devices reboot periodically by themselves (without asking for confirmation — probably more often than you realize since you’re not using them continuously).
  • Devices freeze; sometimes they respond after a couple minutes — sometimes you have to power cycle them (I haven’t had a case where I had to force a reboot yet).

I’m hopeful I won’t see this on my Nexus 5 (when I start using it after the first of the year), but from what I’ve read in the forums I’m not the only one seeing stability issues with Kit Kat, and it appears to be on all devices that have received updates — including the Nexus 5.

I’m afraid this is another case of people who work on Android not really using (or testing) the product well before it hits the street — and while I don’t feel that Google employees working on Android should be forced to trade out their iPhones, I do feel that a substantial number of the engineers working on Android should have to use the latest release (maybe replace their desk phones with cellular handsets that run the latest Android version to help debug the hardware and software).

Bottom line — you might want to hold off on your move from Jelly Bean to Kit Kat until Google releases a few more updates.


 

Android: Kit Kat

Originally posted 2013-12-30 08:00:58.

SugarSync Epic Failure

Today I decided I would test out SugarSync, they offer 5GB (not much by today’s standards) free cloud storage when you sign up through the Windows 10 App.

I signed up, downloaded the PC sync app, and got both the welcome as well as the verify email address email.

I clicked on the verify link — and below I what I got.  Just to be sure it wasn’t something pathological about Edge, I tried Chrome, FireFox, and Opera multiple times (I also tried a few more browsers, and clearly it’s no my network connection or DNS resolution — since I get an error from SugarSync).  To add insult to injury, there’s absolutely no way I could find to report this issue to them (other than write them a letter and send it via the US Postal Service).

Great way to build confidence in your product SugarSync — great way to make me want to shell out money…

FORGET IT!!!

You can never undo damage to your reputation like this.  My recommendation, close up shop — there are many choices in the cloud storage space, and they actually work.


SugarSync Epic Fail

SugarSync Epic Fail

Android – Must Have Apps

So you have an Android device… and you haven’t figured out what all you can do with it… hopefully my short list of “must have” apps will help you.

  • Google Maps with Navigation – free application from Google that provides turn-by-turn directions.  Provided your Android device has a GPS receiver, and you either pre-plan your routes while connected to WiFi of have a generous (unlimited) data plan, this is definitely an app that’s hard to live without.
  • Google Voice – must have way to take control of your phone; used with a Google Voice number it’s a good way to give yourself extra features on your phone for free.  Also, you’ll want Google Voice Callback if you want to take advantage of any numbers you can specify free from airtime.
  • Google Music – good selection for most people for a streaming music service.  It’s totally free, allows up to 20,000 songs, and it works well.
  • Amazon MP3 – this is a good selection for people with a large amount of music who don’t mind paying $20 per year for the ability to store unlimited songs on Amazon.
  • Hacker’s Keyboard – free application that provides a very configurable on-screen keyboard.  While I prefer the slide out keyboard on my Droid, on my Xoom I don’t have that option.  Hacker’s Keyboard allows you to pick between several layouts, as well as control the height of the keyboard in both landscape and portrait mode.  Much better than any other free (or paid) keyboard I’ve found for Android.
  • Opera Mobile – the default (crippled) Chrome browser for Android is horrible, and FireFox for Android isn’t any better.  As bizarre as it might seem, Opera Mobile is by far the best browse I’ve found for Android.  It’ll operate in a desktop or micro browser mode, and while on a small screen it might not always be easy to view a web site, Opera Mobile will allow you to.  Opera Mobile does take a little getting used to — but it’s worth it the price (free).  Do not confuse this with Opera Mini, that’s not the version you want.
  • Amazon Appstore for Android – nice addition, and the paid app free every day often has a useful application.
  • Super Tool Box – a free (or paid for the pro version) application that provides a veritable Swiss army knife of functionality.  A good application to start with to see how many of your needs it addresses.  The pro version was offered as an Amazon paid app for free.
  • ezPDF Reader or ezPDF Reader Lite – very good PDF reader, and it was offered as an Amazon paid app for free.
  • ShopSavvy Barcode Scanner or Barcode Scanner – applications that allows you to scan the UPC code of an item on a store shelf and get competitive pricing locally and online.
  • netTALK Smartphone – free application that allows you to make outbound VoIP calls using WiFi or your data plan.  This app will not work with Honeycomb at the moment.  Using this app does not require a netTALK VoIP (TALK DUO) account, nor at the moment can you integrate it with a netTALK VoIP account
  • Dropbox – free application with free cloud storage that allows you to backup your configuration (also, Google backups up some of your device’s configuration when using Gingerbread or newer).
  • File Manager or Fiele Manager HD (Honeycomb) – great file manager’s; and I actually prefer the standard File Manager, but this is going to be somewhat a personal preference; both are free.
  • Gas Buddy – good tool for finding lower priced fuel when on the road, my only negative comment on this is that it doesn’t interface with Google Navigation (or any navigation), but does provide a map function.
  • GPS Test – great little tool to make sure your GPS is working properly.
  • Root Checker – simple tool to allow you to check to insure that your device is properly rooted.
  • FreeTethering or Wireless Tether for Root Users or Easy Tether or Easy Tether Lite – these apps provide the ability to tether a computer (laptop) to your device; check on which will work with your devices and check your carrier to see if there are any restrictions on tethering.
  • ClockworkMod Recovery – replacement recovery system for Android devices; this requires a rooted device, and allows the flashing of custom ROMs.  There are a number of recovery replacements for Android – ClockworkMod Recovery is one of the best, and free.
  • ClockworkMod ROM Manager – very nice tool to locate, install, and mange customer ROMs.  The free version will likely do all you need, but I recommend supporting the developer by purchasing the pro key (that also unlocks a few more capabilities).
  • Titanium Backup – great application for backing up and recovering applications (a must have if you’re going to flash custom ROMs).  The free version will likely do all you need, but I recommend supporting the developer by purchasing the pro key (that also unlocks more capabilities, and makes it a little easier for you to do restores and backups).

There are many other applications that you’ll probably find useful; but the above list should get you started.  I’ll probably add to this list over time and re-publish it.

I’ll also publish some additional Android resources on eBooks, CAN/ODB II (for your automobile), as well as some rooted device helpful hints.

Originally posted 2011-10-21 02:00:52.

Moto g4+ and g5+

moto_g4+_g5+

The Moto G5+ is the current version of the Moto G line; but how does it stack up against it’s predecessor the Moto G4+…

The differences…

The G5+ has a 5.20 inch display, a 2GHz octa-core processor, and ships with Android 7.0 (there are various models with different RAM and storage configurations); plus has a metal back.

The G4+ has a 5.50 inch display, a 1.5/1.2 octa-core processor (four cores at each speed), and ships with Android 6.0.1 (there’s an OTA Android 7.0; and there are various models with different RAM and storage configurations).

There’s, a slight difference in physical size (because of the screen size), and stylistically some minor differences in the general appearance… but really they are more similar than they are different.

The pluses…

The handset are solidly built, not bloated with useless apps (in the unlocked versions), support a uSD card up to 256GB (though if you’re buying a phone like this I suspect 128GB is the largest you’ll want to pay for at this time), have turbo-charging, and reasonably good battery life (the two have slightly different size batteries).

Accessories, like tempered glass screen protectors, cases, chargers, etc are aggressively priced and easily available.

Both are have been well received by the hacker community, so there will likely be good support for rooting and custom ROMs for the foreseeable future.

The minuses…

Neither have NFC (at least in the North American models), and both have micro-USB rather than USB-C.

The subjectives….

The finger-print scanner is on the front.  Lenovo (Motorola) hasn’t been doing extremely well in this market and have made efforts to move more upscale (so there may not be a Moto g6+ to carry on the lineage).

Conclusion…

From my perspective, if you’re looking for an unlocked handset that is feature rich, with good performance, and won’t break the bank — either of these will do you nicely.  Watch for “refurbished” or “customer returns” and you can find these at about 40% off — making them an incredible deal.

Also, if a handset will last you easily a year — I’d pass on any type of insurance, but at these prices single payment cell phone replacement plans won’t empty too much extra out of your wallet (remember there’s a fee when using the insurance, so figure that into whether just buying a new or having the insurance makes the most sense for you).

 

g4+ specs

Network Technology GSM / HSPA / LTE
Launch Announced 2016, May
Status Available. Released 2016, May
Body Dimensions 153 x 76.6 x 9.8 mm (6.02 x 3.02 x 0.39 in)
Weight 155 g (5.47 oz)
SIM Single SIM (Micro-SIM) or Dual SIM (Micro-SIM, dual stand-by)
Display Type IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 5.5 inches (~71.2% screen-to-body ratio)
Resolution 1080 x 1920 pixels (~401 ppi pixel density)
Multitouch Yes
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Platform OS Android 6.0.1 (Marshmallow), upgradable to 7.0 (Nougat)
Chipset Qualcomm MSM8952 Snapdragon 617
CPU Octa-core (4×1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & 4×1.2 GHz Cortex-A53)
GPU Adreno 405
Memory Card slot microSD, up to 256 GB (dedicated slot) – single & dual SIM models
Internal 16 GB, 2 GB RAM or 32 GB, 3 GB RAM or 64 GB, 4 GB RAM
Camera Primary 16 MP, f/2.0, phase detection & laser autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash, check quality
Features Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, panorama, auto-HDR
Video 1080p@30fps, HDR, check quality
Secondary 5 MP, f/2.2, auto-HDR
Sound Alert types Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
Loudspeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes
– Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
Comms WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
Bluetooth 4.1, A2DP, LE
GPS Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
Radio FM radio
USB microUSB 2.0, USB Host
Features Sensors Fingerprint (front-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity
Messaging SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email, IM
Browser HTML5
Java No
– Fast battery charging
– MP3/AAC+/WAV/Flac player
– MP4/H.264 player
– Photo/video editor
– Document viewer
Battery Non-removable Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery
Misc Colors Black, White
SAR 1.09 W/kg (head)     1.48 W/kg (body)
Price $179 US
Tests Performance Basemark OS II: 951 / Basemark OS II 2.0: 799
Basemark X: 6380
Display Contrast ratio: 1435 (nominal), 2.582 (sunlight)
Camera Photo / Video
Loudspeaker Voice 64dB / Noise 70dB / Ring 73dB
Battery life

 

g5+ specs

Network Technology GSM / CDMA / HSPA / EVDO / LTE
Launch Announced 2017, February
Status Available. Released 2017, April
Body Dimensions 150.2 x 74 x 7.7 mm (5.91 x 2.91 x 0.30 in)
Weight 155 g (5.47 oz)
SIM Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
Display Type IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 5.2 inches (~67.1% screen-to-body ratio)
Resolution 1080 x 1920 pixels (~424 ppi pixel density)
Multitouch Yes
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Platform OS Android 7.0 (Nougat)
Chipset Qualcomm MSM8953 Snapdragon 625
CPU Octa-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A53
GPU Adreno 506
Memory Card slot microSD, up to 256 GB
Internal 32/64 GB, 2/4 GB RAM; 32 GB, 3 GB RAM
Camera Primary 12 MP, f/1.7, autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash
Features Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, panorama, auto-HDR
Video 2160p@30fps
Secondary 5 MP, f/2.2
Sound Alert types Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
Loudspeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes
– Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
Comms WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, WiFi Direct, hotspot
Bluetooth 4.2, A2DP, LE, EDR
GPS Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS
NFC Yes (market dependent)
Radio FM radio
USB microUSB 2.0, USB Host
Features Sensors Fingerprint (front-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Messaging SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email, IM
Browser HTML5
Java No
– Fast battery charging
– MP3/AAC+/WAV/Flac player
– MP4/H.264 player
– Photo/video editor
– Document viewer
Battery Non-removable Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery
Misc Colors Lunar Grey, Fine Gold
Price $229 US

 

 

 

 

Re-mount Xoom External SD Card for Read-Write

If you’re having trouble writing to your external uSD card in your Motorol Xoom, you’re not alone.

If you’re rooted the device, the solution is fairly straight forward…

Open up a terminal prompt, then type the following three commands:

su

umount /mnt/external1

mount -t vfat -o fmask=0000,dmask=0000,rw /dev/block/platform/sdhci-tegra.2/mmcblk1p1 /mnt/external1

When you type “su” you’ll have to approve privilege elevation.

The umount commend unmounts the uSD card

And the mount command re-mounts the uSD card with read-write privilege.

You’ll need to do this each time your Xoom is booted; and I’m going to see about creating an application that will do this auto-magically.

Once again, this will only work on a rooted Xoom; and this solution is based on reading on xda-developers.com.

I want to give credit where credit was due, but there’s a typo there (mmcblk0p1 rather than mmcblk1p1 — at least that was the device/partition on my Xoom that the uSD card appeared as).

You can determine the correct device on your Xoom by just typing “mount” in the terminal window and locating the device mounted at /mnt/external1.

Originally posted 2011-11-19 02:00:12.

OnePlus One

I’m fully subscribed to the Android ecosystem, so if you’re a iPhone fan you’ll probably want to find a different review of the OnePlus One.  I’ve had a long history of Android, starting with the original Droid, the Xoom, the Nexus S, the S2, the S3, the Nexus 4, the Nexus 7, and the Nexus 5 — plus quite a bit of experience with very low end Android devices.

Frankly I was quite hesitant to believe what I’d read online about the OnePlus One and didn’t order mine until a friend of mine showed me his (he’s just gotten it).  Impressive I though, particularly at the price… we’ll talk about that in a minute.

At the bottom of this post I’ve include specifications for the OnePlus One, both from GSMArena.com and OnePlus.net, but in short the OnePlus One is a near phablet sized handset: a 5.5 inch JDI with 1080p (1920×1080) 401 PPI IPS screen, a Qualcomm quad-core processor, an Adreno GPU with 3GB of RAM.

I had to retrieve my shipment from the post office (OnePlus uses USPS Priority Mail with delivery confirmation in the US, and mine shipped from the outskirts of Los Angeles, CA).  I was less than impressed with the shipping container (a bubble padded pouch), but upon opening it neither the box containing the handset or the power adapter were in the least bit damaged.

When I opened the box the plastic cover on the screen had crap on it — I really hate that, why can’t handset vendors just put a clear plastic film on a handset, that way if you don’t have a screen protector you could use the phone without exposing the screen.  Fortunately I had ordered a Orzly 0.22mm tempered glass protective screen from Amazon (NOTE:  the price of these has gone up at least twice since I bought mine, so Amazon may not be the best place to order one).  I also had gotten a Qi charging receiver pad and a Cruzerlite TPU case so I went ahead and put those on the One as well.  I will say like all the previous Cruzerlite cases I’ve purchased, this one is very well made (though apparently the popularity has somewhat increased their pricing).

It’s worth noting here that the One does not have Qi charging capabilities built in (why it doesn’t is a mystery — normally I would not have purchased a phone without wireless charging, and I would greatly encourage OnePlus to add that feature to the next model).

The phone came out of the box with about a 30% charge, so enough to go ahead and start setting it up (but not enough to do encryption on it — so that would have to wait for a full charge).

My first impression of handling the phone and using the older version of Android (yes, we’ll have to wait for Lollipop) was favorable — but honestly while I didn’t think Android 5 was that big of a change, going back underscores how nice the nuances are.

One thing I’m not sure of is why the One includes buttons below the screen… it does give you the option of disabling those and only have soft buttons on the screen.  The phone is new enough to have been designed with the revised guidelines, and the hardware for the buttons is a waste (perhaps that would have been a sufficient saving to have wireless charging).

I let the phone charge while I looked over what OnePlus had included.

OnePlus ships both a micro and a nano SIM tray with the One (they’re plastic, but appear well made).  That’s a nice touch because it allows you to use either size SIM (I really wish both my N4 and N5 had a nano tray — and yes I know about adapters, I have some).  Under the tray in the phone box is a SIM tray eject tool (a rather fancy one for something most people use exactly once; and a red charging/sync cable that’s a little over the top – maybe a cost saving here could have paid for the Qi charging capability.

The charger appear well made, but it’s white whereas the high end handset is black, so with the black, red, and white the aesthetics are a little questionable.

The phone charged fairly quickly (considering how much it was downloading and installing from Google Play), and there was an OTA update for it as well.

The camera, both front facing and rear facing with the rear facing camera doing a resolution of 3120×4208 pixels.  Impressive specs, but even more impressive images.  I personally don’t care for point and shoot cameras (give me a [D]SLR anytime), but if you’re going to snap a quick shot with your phone, you might as well get the best image quality possible.

The One had good voice quality on both a cellular and a wifi call, the speakers seem well and their location on the bottom of the phone give reasonably good sound when it’s laying on a desk.

The battery seems to last well, and unlike some others I didn’t experience any issues with overheating when I charged the One, the back gets no warmer than my N5.

The handset is snappy — of course one would expect that from the specs; the screen is clear and crisp.

Overall the phone is a very good value; with the 16GB model running $299 and the 64GB model running $349 (by the way, since there’s no uSD slot, the decision is clearly buy the 64GB model) it’s a hard mark to beat.  One of the catches is that you need an invitation to buy one — or you buy it on Tuesdays (OnePlus has started opening up purchasing for anyone on Tuesday, there’s no indication of how long this will last).

With so many positive things to say about the One it’s probably sounds a little anticlimactic to even mention the minor cons.

First and foremost, I think the handset is too big for men to carry in their pocket; that is of course a personal preference, and given the large number of handsets this size most people don’t seem to share my view.

There is absolutely no reason for a handset targeting these features to not have Qi wireless charging.  Yes you can add a Qi charging receiver to it, but that means you need to keep it in a case and you lose the use of the uUSB port.

There are a few pieces of bloatware in the ROM, and there’s absolutely no reason for them to be there.  Google has proven with the Nexus series that clean / lean ROMs are what enthusiasts like, and most everyone who would buy a phone like this is more than capable of downloading and installing an app.  Further, if you feel the phone needs an app — why bind it into the ROM, just pre-load it as an app and allow it to be removed.  NOTE:  OnePlus is shifting away from Cyanogenmod to their own custom ROM, so this may or may not continue to be an issue.  Along with this is the lack of Android 5 – Lollipop.  This handset desperately needs an update to be the flagship it has the potential of.

The bottom line, if you want a new handset (or need one), and $349 (plus $14.95 shipping) isn’t a problem for you… buy it.  You will need to use PayPal, and if you have descent credit there’s a 6-month no payment / no interest plus $10 credit deal from PayPal (Bill-Me-Later) as well…

 


 

Specs from GSMArena.com

GSMArena.com (with edits)

Network Technology GSM / HSPA / LTE
Launch Announced 2014, April
Status Available. Released 2014, June
Body Dimensions 152.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm (6.02 x 2.99 x 0.35 in)
Weight 162 g (5.71 oz)
SIM Micro-SIM or Nano-SIM
Display Type LTPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 5.5 inches (~71.9% screen-to-body ratio)
Resolution 1080 x 1920 pixels (~401 ppi pixel density)
Multitouch Yes, up to 10 fingers
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass 3
– CyanogenMod 11S
Platform OS Android OS, v4.4.2 (KitKat), upgradable to v4.4.4 (KitKat)
Chipset Qualcomm MSM8974AC Snapdragon 801
CPU Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400
GPU Adreno 330
Memory Card slot No
Internal 16GB or 64 GB, 3 GB RAM
Camera Primary 13 MP, 4128 x 3096 pixels, autofocus, dual-LED flash
Features Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, panorama, HDR
Video 2160p@30fps, 2160p(DCI)@24fps, 1080p@60fps, 720p@120fps, HDR, stereo sound rec.
Secondary 5 MP, 1080p@30fps
Sound Alert types Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
Loudspeaker Yes, dual mono speakers
3.5mm jack Yes
Comms WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot
Bluetooth v4.1, A2DP
GPS Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS
NFC Yes
Radio No
USB microUSB v2.0, USB Host
Features Sensors Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Messaging SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, IM, Push Email
Browser HTML5
Java Yes, via Java MIDP emulator
– ANT+ support
– Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
– MP4/H.264/WMV player
– MP3/eAAC+/WMA/WAV/FLAC player
– Document viewer
– Photo viewer/editor
– Voice memo/dial/commands
Battery Non-removable Li-Po 3100 mAh battery
Stand-by
Talk time
Misc Colors Silk White 16GB, Sandstone Black 64GB
SAR US 0.62 W/kg (head)     0.75 W/kg (body)
Price $299 16GB, $349 64GB

 

Specifications from OnePlus.net

OnePlus.net

Basic Parameters

Color Silk White/Sandstone Black
Dimensions 152.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm
Weight 5.71 ounces (162 g)
Operating System Cyanogen 11S based on Android 4.4
CPU Qualcomm© Snapdragon™ 801 processor with 2.5GHz Quad-core CPUs
GPU Adreno 330, 578MHz
RAM 3 GB LP-DDR3, 1866MHz
Storage 16/64 GB eMMC 5.0, available capacity varies
Sensors Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Proximity and Ambient Light
Battery Embedded rechargeable 3100 mAh LiPo battery
Max. SAR Head: 0.270 W/kg, Body: 0.540 W/kg

Connectivity

Connectivity
  • GSM: 850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz
  • WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/8
  • LTE: Bands: 1/3/4/7/17/38/40
Wi-Fi Dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4G/5G) 802.11 b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0
NFC 65T (software card emulation, payment methods and multi-tag support)
Positioning Internal GPS antenna + GLONASS
Digital Compass

Ports, Slots, Buttons and Indicators

Ports Data & Charging: Micro USB 2.0
Audio: Jack 3.5mm
Buttons Power Button
Volume Rockers
Capacitive / On-screen buttons
SIM 1 slot – Micro SIM
Indicators 1 LED notification light (multicolored)

In The Box

1x OnePlus One
1x USB Cable
1x SIM Tray Ejection Tool
1x Additional SIM Tray (Nano SIM)

Setting up Bluestacks for Android App Debugging

Testing an Android app using the Android device emulator can be slow.  One way you can speed that up is to install the Intel Atom images and create devices with varying display resolution using that processor rather than the ARM processor most devices use (that avoids the processor emulation), but when you’re just working on a app and just need to see the progress one of the best alternatives is to use Bluestacks.

Just download and install Bluestacks on your machine; then setup a connection using the Android debugger (located in sdk\platform-tools now) with the command:

adb connect 127.0.0.1

Then just go about debugging directly from your IDE.

The Bluestack “machine” will appear as:

samsung-gt_n7000-127.0.0.1:5555
Android version 4.0.4

Keep in mind, there’s no substitute for testing on a real device — and the Android debugger still gives you the ability to see how your app looks on different size screens.

NOTE:  Bluestacks is currently in BETA, but it’s a fairly robust solution and works well for Android app development.

Setting up Netbeans for Android App Development

As an alternate to using Eclipse for Android App development, you can use Netbeans or the Google Android Studio (currently an early BETA and not extremely robust).

 

Tested configuration:

 

The following steps are only to setup Netbeans for Android development; you will need to take additional steps to setup devices in the Android SDK before you can actually deploy and test a APK, but you can create a template app after completing these steps and build it.

 

You may use this reference for additional information and screen shots of the panels (it is not necessary to purchase the extension; the “free” license will work fine for what is required):

http://nbandroid.org/wiki/index.php/Installation

 

 

1) Launch the Android SDK Manager

    update components as needed.

    close SDK Manager

 

2) Launch Netbeans

    Goto

        Tools->Plug Ins

     Goto

        Settings

     Goto

        Add

                 Name: NBAndroid

          URL: http://nbandroid.org/release72/updates/updates.xml

     Goto

        Available Plugins

            Search: NBAndroid

            Select “NBAndroid Gradle Support”, “Android” “NBAndroid Extension”

            Click “Install”

            Accept licenses and follow through panels.

         Goto

        Tools->Options->Misc->Android

            Set SDK Location: c:\android\sdk

     Exit Net Beans (or create an Android app and build it)

Polaroid PMID702c 7″ Android 4.0/ICS Tablet

I received the sale paper (like other Buzz Club members) early Saturday morning, and it had what looked like an interesting tablet.  I did some internet searches and read up on it and it seemed like it was well worth trying out — it appeared to be a much better buy than the Nextbook 7P S (resistive screen) 7″ table BigLots had on sale a couple weeks ago (that I tried on of, but quickly returned — and didn’t bother to write a review).

So I bought one of the tablets to play with at the sale price of $89.99 (normally $99.99) — it worked very well, I had no issue loading up Google Market and Google Apps (all of them aren’t working perfectly — but I think with a little effort that can be resolved)… so I picked up four of them this morning (all black — they had white ones but I figured that got dirty too easily) and four of the case/screen protectors at 20% off (I used a Buzz Club reward certificate I had) — $72.00 + $8.00 + $5.20 (6.5%) sales tax — so $85.20 for the tablet and “starter kit”.

The tablet has a capacitive screen, front facing camera only (like the Vizio VTAB1008s I have), uses a mini-USB for data and charging (in fact, I’m using one of my smart phone power adapters to charge it — it comes with a USB cable + charger as well), single core 1GHz processor running Android 4.0 ICS… and like the Nextbook they didn’t want to pay the Google licensing fee so it wasn’t much of an Android experience out of the box.  Unlike the Nextbook, it’s capacitive (not resistive — yes I already said that I’m just making sure you get the point), so the screen works with modest pressure, and the tablet comes rooted (which means you can install anything on it — not that it couldn’t be fairly easily rooted).

This tablet doesn’t have GPS or Bluetooth (those parts would have cost a couple dollars), nor does it have a rear facing camera (yes, I said already said it only has a front facing camera).

No problem with the SanDisk 32GB (Class 4) uSD card I put in it — worked just fine.  Though there’s no cover on the uSD card slot, it’s slightly recessed so there shouldn’t be much risk of the card being accidently ejected.

The tablet actually had a link for Amazon market — and all the Amazon apps work perfectly.

I installed the Google Market (and framework) plus got YouTube, Maps, Gmail, Calendar, Books, Drive/Docs, Music working — Talk and Chrome are having problems (so I’ll have to figure that out — though Chrome should be getting an update soon, so that might resolve itself).

Unfortunately, there’s no Clockwork Recovery for this tablet (yet) — of course there’s no custom ROMs for this tablet yet either.

Interestingly enough, this tablet didn’t have any issue with playing streaming music (like the Nextbook did). Though it only has a single speaker, so unless you put in head phone (which it has a standard 3.5mm  jack on the side with the uSD card slot mini-USB port, volume controls, and power button — and worked perfectly) it’s not really practical for music.  And a 7″ tablet is a little big to carry with you as an MP3 player — particularly when it doesn’t have Bluetooth so you can keep it in your bag).

The tablet isn’t a speed demon, but the screen is much more responsive than the Nextbook so it feels faster; and the 7″ size is very easy to hold in one hand.

I’m going to probably keep two of these to play with — I have some projects and I specifically wanted a low end tablet (though I really wanted on with a rear camera; but I can survive without it) and I have 30 days to return these.

I think the reason that BigLots has these is that the PMID703c was just released not long ago (Target had those in stock — but their web site indicates they are sold out at the moment)… pretty much identical specs — and the hardware in these are actually used on a fairly wide range of tablets (from what I’ve read the Allwinner A-10 uses the same hardware as do others) — I think the difference in the two models is the PMID703c shipped with ICS/4.0; the PMID702c was actually upgraded to ICS/4.0… so there was probably confusion in the channel about what people were getting causing lots of returns).

Anyway, I’ll do another posting with HOW-TOs about installing GAPPs and any tricks I figure out… but the bottom line, if you’re looking for a low end 7″ tablet, this is a good buy; but remember, there should be much better performing tablets out in a few months with dual core (or perhaps quad core) processors competing with the Kindle Fire in price (the Google tablet should be out soon).

NOTE:

Several people on the forums have had an issue figuring out how to get into recovery — I think the way you do it just hold down the “home” button when you power on the device (or use the reset button).

PMID702c User Guide (PDF) The same as the PMID703c user guide.

Product Features:

7″ Capacitive, multi-touch display
Connect to the internet wirelessly (Wi-Fi)
Web browsing & e-mail
Watch videos
Wirelessly download apps and eBooks
Supports games
Store and play music, videos and pictures
Built-in speaker
4GB internal memory
Micro SD card slot (for additional memory)
Video out jack
Rechargeable Li-ion battery

Specifications:

Operating System: Android™ 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
Processor: 1GHz ARM Cortex A8
Graphics Accelerator: OpenGL ES 2.0 (3D game support)
Screen Resolution 800 x 480 (16:9)
Internal Memory: 4GB
External Memory: Micro SD
Networking: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Battery: Rechargeable Li-ion Polymer

Package Includes:

7″ Internet Tablet
USB Cable
AC Charger
User Manual
SKU: 810010443