Development Hardware / History

I’ve been interested in the emerging mobile platforms since I bought my first cell phone in 2004.  At that point in time, carriers had nearly full reign of what applications a device would or would not have.  Fortunately, I’ve always been the type to get the most out of my hardware which, for better or worse, usually involves warranty voiding shenanigans to work around the barriers.The first phone I had was a Motorola V220 which was the first generation of “Camera Phones” and one of the first affordable ones with a display.  It was your very average phone that everyone seemed to have at the time.  There was pretty much no point in getting a data package so downloading apps was out of the question.  Thankfully this device had a mini USB connector that made it possible to add apps using a file explorer, and free app websites like GetJar.

I didn’t attempt creating my own or editing apps until a few years later until I got my Samsung SYNC which came with an SDK from the manufacturer.  The SDK came with several example apps to try and play around with.  I wasn’t very well versed in Java yet, but I had a school project for a simple Tic Tac Toe program Java Mobile app client to communicate with a C server-side AI player.  While I was able to run the program perfectly in the emulator, because of serious compatibility issues between J2ME devices, it would not run on my device successfully.

My last phone, the Samsung Eternity, was released around the same time as the first iPhone when app popularity exploded for all devices.   Unfortunately by default, probably protect the manufacturer for endless support calls, app permissions on this device were denied for most APIs like the GPS and accessing the MicroSD card.  Thankfully this was a popular device that had a great underground community who eventually found a circumvention.  Once an app was installed, it was possible to use a file explorer on the phone and manually change the permissions.  Once finished, apps like Google Maps were able to be used to their full potential.

My current phone, I purchased a Google Nexus One in June of 2010 with app development in mind.  I’ve been extremely pleased with this device, and it as been aging very well compared to other phones that were released at the same time.  For the first time I had complete freedom to do with my device what I pleased.  I eventually rooted it, and installed the custom ROM CyanogenMod. Although the Android emulator is a great tool to test many different types of devices, it’s much more beneficial to have one physically in hand to see how your users will be interacting with your work.

To complement my TV and to stream video from my NAS, I purchased a Logitech Revue when they went on sale for $99 which was a great bargain for the box as well as a wireless keyboard.  With the recent Honeycomb update brought the Android Market, and a much greater potential.  While I’m not sure if TVs are in any near future development plans of mine, I wouldn’t rule out the idea.

The newest edition to my gadget family is the Asus Transformer Prime.  For a long time, there wasn’t anything in the tablet market that really caught my eye.  The first was probably the original Asus Transformer, but I wasn’t exactly sure how it would fit in my normal habits.  Now that I finally took the plunge, I realize it’s replaced a bit of my phone use while watching TV or sitting on the couch, as well as the need to be at the computer to read through blogs.

While there has been a lot of talk about Android fragmentation, even without trying. both the Lexx Soundboard and the Bridgekeeper apps both work well enough on the tablet platforms, as well as other screen size devices.  Of course they weren’t built for larger screen sizes, but with layout alterations that detect these types of screens, they will work much more naturally.

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