Cross Dominant

"My 4 years of Android today and Ireland's first Android App"

Today is the 4th anniversary of me paying $499 on eBay for a HTC G1, the first Android phone. Whilst some of my tech predictions over the years have been a little off (cough iPad) I couldn't have got it more right with Android.

When I heard about the Android project mid-2008, it was obvious Google wasn't going into things half-heartedly. The G1 itself was a mixed bag. Ugly as sin but with a slide-out keyboard that I still love. Android 1.5 was rough but very functional for someone like me who spends their time on Google products like GMail. I still have the G1, running Android 2.3 and waking me up every morning.

The reason I got the G1 was not for pointless bragging rights, it was because we had decided to build an Android App to show-off the LouderVoice API to some Enterprise customers we were trying to land in the mobile space.

I created the spec and wireframes for the App and also figured out what extra features our API would need. The basic idea was "Review Anything Anywhere". Essentially what Kevin Rose tried to do with Oink several years later. We both failed because no-one wants to do that :-)

Marino Software in Dublin did the App coding for us and we finally launched Ireland's first Android App in May 2009 for Android 1.6. It never had many users but it was a fantastic tool for showing potential business customers what our system could do.

The same back-end API is now used to power the reviews in the Riverdance Android and iPhone Apps.

Last week I installed the old App again on my HTC Sensation running Android 4.1.2 and whaddyaknow, it still works! Sure the graphics-scaling is horrific on that big screen but you can still browse and submit reviews to our API.

In those 4 years I've gone through a HTC G1, HTC Desire and HTC Sensation. I've also bought a ZTE Blade and Eken T02 tablet for others. There is no doubt that my next phone will be Android but sadly not HTC, as I insist on my phones having replaceable battery and SD card. At some point next year I'll get a decent Android Tablet too.

There are two upcoming areas I find exciting in the world of Android:

  1. Ultra-cheap single board Android computers in the style of Raspberry Pi. Most of these are being sold as 1080p media players but they can do a hell of a lot more for very little money. Which feeds into point 2.
  2. Hardware interfaces like IOIO. Once I finish a couple of my fun Raspberry Pi and Arduino projects, I want to do some car projects using IOIO. Rather than your phone/tablet just being for calls/music/GPS in the car, imagine if it was connected to a wide range of sensors and interfaces. Every car on the road acting as a generator of a wide range of interesting IoT data, all location-tagged and uploaded live over a mobile data connection.
We've come a long way baby.

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