Monday, August 31, 2009

Out of the box

It took me at least two days to realise that I'd configured the phone and started using it without having to connect it to a PC. It's my understanding that a brand new iPhone must be connected to iTunes on a PC/Mac before you can do anything with it. Windows mobile isn't much better, needing to be connected to a PC to transfer contacts. Admittedly I'd prepared for Android by uploading all my contacts to Google before the phone arrived. Then it was just a simple case of entering my Google login and the contacts arrived on the phone along with my calendar.

Application Lifecycle

One of the major improvements that Android has over current Windows Mobile is the Application Lifecycle Management and you don't need to be a programmer to appreciate this. There are various methods that your application can implement to handle this management. The one I most like is OnPause(). OnPause() is called as soon your application looses its focus to the user. When this method is called it is the programmers responsibility to ensure that current state of the application is stored in case the system closes the application to free up resources.

My first experience of this as an Android User was playing media. I spend a lot of time listening to podcasts and on Windows Mobile there was nothing more annoying than being part way through a podcast only to have the system close the application because you have switched applications to read a text message. In the end I had to guess when I thought I was running out of resources and try to remember the position of the podcast. If the media player closed I had to start the podcast again and try to jump the last part I was listening to, which isn't easy in a two hour podcast. The other advantage of this is if you switch the device off then the current position is also stored. Again Windows Mobile doesn't handle this.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Starting with Android

I've now had a couple of weeks with the HTC Hero and I have say I'm really impressed. It's worlds apart from the Windows Mobile phone I had before. Everything is much slicker and feels more integrated. It's great to be able to do everything without having to pull out a pointer. The iPhone guys will be saying yes but we've been doing this for years and yes I agree but more on why I didn't go with the iPhone in a later post.

My main aim of this blog is to document my experience with Android mostly from a programmers point of view. I'm currently learning to program on the platform and want to communicate my experiences. In my day job I mostly code in Java these days so for me Android is ideal. I have in the past coded for Windows Mobile mostly in the days when it was called Pocket PC, so I can give some perspective on the systems.