Has Adobe won the mobile war? I think so…

There is so much misinformation out there it is ridiculous. I hear so many rumors from non-developers about mobile development and the funny thing is, most of them have never developed an app. So why has Adobe won? Two software packages – Adobe Air and PhoneGap.

Each of these software packages allows you to create mobile apps on multiple devices. So I can develop one app and it will run on the iPhone, iPad, and Android based devices. Thus I no longer need to waste valuable time developing apps for both iOS and Android when I can develop one that deploys on both.

With Adobe Air, you develop your app in Flash and package it for each device. Wait, isnt there a rumor that Flash doesnt work on iPhone? Yes there is that rumor and it is only partially true. Flash does not run in the iOS browser BUT it will run as a stand alone app. So YES you can develop apps in Flash for Apple and they work very well.

With PhoneGap, also owned by Adobe, you can develop apps via HTML5 and then publish to Android and iOS devices. Again these work very well.

Additionally, with both of these software packages I can actually use hardware features of the phone and use them when not connected to the internet. Something you can do with all mobile apps but not the mobile web. The disadvantage to developing an app over a website is that Apple has to approve it (not a problem with Android). Otherwise Apps are much better than a mobile website.

Why would I use one over the other? Flash apps are designed for more sophisticated apps that require large amounts of data (database), high intensity graphics, lots of screens, animations, etc. PhoneGap apps are better for small simple apps. Both are great for development though. Additionally, Adobe is really starting to integrate phonegap into dreamweaver so I would not be surprised if we see these two software packages merged at some point (maybe CS7?).

I will be using both of these software packages in my courses next year, so if you are interested in learning more about them, please contact me.

Adobe Air – http://www.adobe.com/products/air.html

PhoneGap – http://phonegap.com/

Two of my Android Apps now available in Android Market Place (Play)

Here are two Android Apps I created that are now available on the Google Market Place (Google Play). They are both free and both display surf reports for the states of NJ and NC. I created these apps in Eclipse using Java. They are the first apps I have created using Java. I actually believe it might have been just as much work as using the Google App Inventor. I will now be creating all of my apps via Java from now on and doing some more advanced stuff in the future as I have time.

North Carolina Surf Reports App

New Jersey Surf Reports App

iPhone vs. Galaxy Nexus vs. S3? Can’t compare on specs alone

While certain features of these phones are comparable, like the camera. There are just certain things that you cannot compare when looking at these devices.

For instance, while the 1.2 dual core processor or 1.4 quad core processor seem to blow Apple’s .800 dual core processor out of the water, this couldnt be further from the truth. Many forget that Apple runs a different OS. Meaning that Apple’s iPhone is built specifically for their OS. They didnt need a 1.5 quad core processor because their OS does not require or utilize it. Additionally, you cant really even compare the Gnex to the S3 for the same reason. While they both run ICS, the Gnex runs a vanilla version of the OS and was made to specifically to run the OS just as the iPhone was for iOS. The S3 contains TouchWiz, which is Samsung’s bloatware and thus needs that extra power that the Gnex does not need.

All in all, there are some things you can compare but overall you cannot compare these devices by just looking at the specs. The specs are not very helpful in really telling you much about the big picture, they are simply a small piece. Each of these phones is so different that it’s going to be a matter of preference which is better, not the one that has the best specs is king.

What apps do I have on my droid?

Since my sister just got a new droid (galaxy nexus), I figured I would make a post so that she knew what apps I had and thought were most useful:

Google Apps – these are preinstalled but I did keep them.
Google Translate – translates foreign languages
Facebook – does anyone not have this?
Power Widget – to turn off power and save battery
cardioTrainer – to track my running, walking, biking
The weather channel
Radar now – show my current weather radar
box – free place to store files
dropbox – another free place to store files
Docs – google docs
OfficePro – allows me to open MS word, PPT files.
Pandora Radio
Tech news apps – mashable and engadget
Games – minecraft, fruit ninja, and angry birds
amazon app store – they give away a free app everyday!
Wheres my droid? – help me locate my app if missing
voice recorder – can record interviews and such
compass – a compass
convertpad – converts things like cm to mm and such
barcode scanner – scan barcodes, qr codes, etc.
first aid – gives first aid advice when needed
airdroid – connect my droid to my computer wirelessly. So I can upload songs, pics, etc to and from computer with this
teslaLED – using cam flash as flashlight
math formulas – solve math formulas if i have them
picplz – like instagram although instagram is coming to droid very soon.

Android Design

Found this very cool. Google has released some design tips/guidelines for android developers. While somewhat simple, this is a great start to designing mobile apps. This was created due to differences in their new OS ICS from Gingerbread and Froyo. Now if Google would just release their own developer software so that I wouldnt need to use eclipse:)


Google working on Siri alternative for Android?

While Android has had voice recognition since it first came out, it does not have AI like Apple’s SIRI so it comes as no surprise that they would be working on something similar. Just today there are two articles talking about two different ways Google might be doing this.

The first article by droid life says google is working on a siri alternative called Majel. You can read about it here

The second article by mashable says that google recently acquired virtual assistant software called alfred. You can read about it here

Apple’s Siri vs Google’s Android Voice Control

Apple’s new iPhone 4s introduced voice to phone communication. At first I was not too impressed with this feature as I have a droid 1 that has had voice to phone communication since 2009. However, after reading about SIRI I realized this was a significant step up from Google’s voice commands but in the end would not be a significant deal breaker for me to switch to iPhone.

What can they both do:

text message
Find location on map
Make phone calls
Play music
Web searches
Open the browser

Now where is the difference? The major difference is that Google voice relies on commands like ‘call john smith on cell’. Whereas SIRI relies on natural language such as ‘call my mother on her cell phone’ You can also ask SIRI questions like ‘what are my meetings for the day’ and SIRI will know to look at your calendar. This would be important for people who cannot remember or do not want to remember the commands. This introduction in AI is a significant step in voice communication with the phone and Apple has a slight advantage. However, I should point out that Android does have 3rd party apps that are supposed to do the same thing as SIRI.

A difference in favor of Android is that SIRI does not give text to speech voice directions like Google voice does. You need a 3rd party app for apple to do that. In light of that, there are rumors that Apple will soon have a good GPS system just like android does.

So overall is SIRI a deal breaker? I think it depends what you want. It seems like either way you can make each phone function the same using 3rd party apps (GPS apps for apple, AI apps for android).

I guess the main question is, are you going to talk to your phone?

Here is a good source with more explanation: http://gigaom.com/mobile/speech-smack-down-siri-vs-android-voice-actions/

How do I make my Android phone faster?

Has your phone been getting slower? Does it take a few more seconds than normal get to a screen ie sticks? Well there are a few things you can do make your phone much faster. I recently took my Droid 1 and made it nearly new again. Here are a few simple steps to make your phone fast:

1. Get rid of all apps you do not use

2. Get rid of task killer apps. Android 2.1 and later does NOT need these. They take up and waste memory.

3. Use widgets sparingly. They take up a lot of memory. I actually got rid of all of mine except the google search bar and power setting widget. My weather widget was taking a lot of memory.

4. Power off phone once a week.

5. Take the battery out of the phone once a week.

6. Check to see what apps are running and stop them if you are not using them. To do this go to menu->settings->applications->running services

7. Delete all your texts. Using too much space can bog the phone.

8. Clear your internet cache.

9. If you are really desperate you can do a system reboot. This will wipe the phone clean and you need to reinstall everything. I would only do this if you have the time to reinstall or you are having major phone problems.

Best Android Apps

Here is my list of android apps that I find most useful:

Advanced task killer – kills all apps that running. helps save memory and battery life

aTrackdog – shows you what apps need to be updated

Barcode scanner – scans bar codes which allows you to download apps and scan bar codes at stores

CardioTrainer – records you walks, runs, and bike rides distance, time, and map

Dropbox – can be used to share files with your desktop

Gdocs – gives you access to your google docs

ringdroid – lets you create your own ring tones from mp3s

RealCalc – a scientific calculator

Google voice – sends me my email via text so i dont have to listen to it.

Additionally I use:

accuweather – weather app and widget
adobe reader – read pdfs
antivirus – protects phone from viruses
coupons – has coupons for stores and even has barcode scanner for register
documents to go – reads word and excel files
goggles – takes a picture of a place and shows you where it is
kindle – lets u read kindle books
places directory – finds restaurants, gas stations, etc
shazam – if a song is on the radio it will tell me what its called and who sings it
voice recorder – makes droid a voice recorder
yellowbook – to look people up
zillow – to look up cost of homes anywhere
pandora – internet radio

of course there are apps that i use a lot that i did not list such as facebook, twitter, gmail, google maps with gps, etc but these are common and actually came with my android 2.1 OS. As far as widgets go, I only have one because they drain a lot of battery. The one i use is the power widget, which allows you to turn power settings on/off if you are using them (wifi, bluetooth, gps, sync, brightness).

All of the apps I have mentioned are free!