Android With The Htc Desire At The End Of The Honeymoon Period

Title: Android with the HTC Desire at the end of the honeymoon period Date: 2011-02-09 19:49 Author: eamonnfaherty Category: misc Tags: android, htc desire Slug: android-with-the-htc-desire-at-the-end-of-the-honeymoon-period

I have had my HTC Desire on Orange for a while now and I think it is fair to say the honeymoon period is over!

First of all, Orange have been a nightmare.  The service is terrible (compared to O2).  I seem to either have HSPDA access (great!) or Edge or more often than not nothing!!! Pretty bad for the people with the largest ‘3G network’!

Moving on to the handset, the update to Froyo (Android 2.2) took quite a while to come out.  I was impatient and so installed many of the custom firmwares.  I tried:

  • DJDroid - Reliable and fast. This was the first one I tried.  I regretted changing from it but the releases seemed a little behind the others.
  • Expresso - Crashed and rebooted often.  This was a pain to use.
  • Leedroid - Crashed and rebooted often.  This was also pain to use.
  • Oxygen - Reliable-ish but didn’t look very nice.
  • CyanogenMod - Reliable and fast.  I had no issues with crashes or resets.  This is what I use now.

I tried out developing on Android.  I made a simple app that checked for open ports on machines.  This was to check if services were running on a server. I also looked through an augmented reality library demo in quite a lot of depth. Android uses a combination of Java and XML for development.  The layout is generally written in XML and then the ‘code-behind’ (sorry to steal a flex word to describe this, but I think most of my blog readers are from the Flash world) is written in JAVA.  Developing for Android felt better than developing in Flex 3.  The separation in Android code behind seemed to cleaner than in Flex, but comparing this to native JAVA it felt a little smelly.  The conventions say to use private inline methods and classes which just feels a little smelly to be honest. I have decided to leave Android development for now and am learning Objective C (I know it is a little late) very slowly.  The packaging up and deployment onto my handset was far easier than the pairing system for iOS apps!  You just prepare an apk file, which is the app installer, and then copy it to your handset. Nice and easy! Debugging was good too.  The emulator worked well, although the handset templates could be made easier to use.

My main gripe has been with the handset itself and the market place.  There are not enough apps in the market place!!  My wife has an iPhone and she is always playing a new game, Guess Who or Where’s Wally?  I cannot imaging games like this on Android for at least another year. I have read rumours of Google hiring developers, I hope these are true!  Having apps to install would only exacerbate my second issue.  The storage memory on the handset is tiny! After installing the main os I only have about 60MB to play with.  Installing the Adobe AIR runtime takes up about 20MB of this so I have little space left for apps.  I know I can move apps to the SD card but this is not possible on all apps and I believe the cache for these apps is still stored on the main handset (I may be wrong about that). I have got to the point where I really miss my iPhone!

Despite all the bad, there is still some good.  Google integration is great, as expected.  Maps and Navigator apps work really well! The YouTube player is very slick and syncing between my Google Apps accounts (both personal and work) is very easy.  As a work phone the handset is great but as a gaming device is fails!

I hope the next generation of Android handsets are better and I hope the market place content gets better! C’mon Google!

Published: February 09 2011

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