Android London Travel Apps

If you’re planning to visit London, or you live in London, having these travel applications on your Android phone will help you plan your journeys quicker.
London has a number of ways of getting around, trains, buses and even bikes. London Transport has embraced IT fully, so upto the minute information can be viewed through the web browser. They also make this information accessible to 3rd party applications, which many Android developers have taken advantage of.
For each method of transport, we have listed what we think is the best application. Although most of these application are paid for, it is a minor cost compared to the benefits they offer.

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24/7 Android development with AIDE, Git and Raspberry Pi

Most typical Android developers use a single machine to code their application from start to finish. If you happen to be a casual Android developer, that is develop outside of working hours, then access to your code is limited to when you next use your desktop or laptop. However, this need not be the norm. With some clever software and cheap hardware, working anywhere virtually anywhere becomes possible.The home office with your desktop, slobbing in front of the tv with your laptop, and on perhaps your commute on my your android phone. Here’s the software and hardware required to achieve this.

  • Desktop pc with eclipse
  • Laptop with eclipse
  • Mobile phone with AIDE and thumb keyboard.
  • Raspberry Pi with Git source control

The first two probably do not need explanation, if you are a seasoned Android developer, so we won’t explain further. However, developing on your mobile will be new to some, but before we move onto that let’s look into what glues them altogether. Continue reading 24/7 Android development with AIDE, Git and Raspberry Pi

Should Android users worry about the iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c?


We wrote a similar article about the iPhone 5 in the past and came to the conclusion that Android phone users had nothing much to be jealous about. We now look at the two new models from Cupertino, the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c.

Since the iPhone 5 was released last year, there have been quite a few improvements in the Android phone space. Huge screens, 5-6 inch plus, are now available from a number of manufacturers, not just Samsung. Screen resolutions beyond retina are more common. Processor speed has increased, along with the number of cores onboard. The low end Androids are more than capable of handling everyday tasks, especially if the nexus 4 is considered low-end due to it’s price tag.

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Should Nokia sell Android Phones?

Many moons ago, the European Network providers made a collective statement to Nokia, which basically stated that they cannot compete with Android and Apple with the Windows Phone 7 platform, this is still probably true with Windows 8.

We are not going to discuss the pros and cons of Windows Phone 8, there enough articles on that already. One reason why Nokia phones may not be selling though,  is because Android and Apple have a large loyal user base. Anyone planning to buy a smartphone will base their decision on what their friends, relatives and work colleagues have. All the buzz is around these two platforms.

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Benefits of a Quad Core Smartphone

The power of smart phone hardware improves each generation, some of the benefits are obvious. Screen sizes become larger and sharper, improving view-ability. Batteries become bigger, making your phone last longer between charges. Then there is is the CPU, or rather the plural, CPUs. Since the number of cores present in phone CPU has now jumped to 4 cores.

Many critics of quad-core phone do not see the benefits, often citing a number of  drawbacks that outweigh any benefits. Critics state that the main reason for quad-cores phones is for playing games, especially complex 3D titles that take advantage of multiple cores, but the multiple cores would also suck out the battery life.
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Should Android users worry about the iPhone 5?

Wondering if you should buy an iPhone 5? Obviously as we are not apple fan boys, so we do not automatically accept that the new phone is the best in its class. However, if you owned Apple hardware in the past, and are sold on their eco-system then there are many reasons to upgrade to the new iphone5. The main ones being

  • Bigger screen
  • Improved screen colours
  • Faster CPU
  • Better battery
  • LTE
  • 5th icon row

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Easy tablet typing with the Thumb Keyboard

Android is a versatile OS that lets you hack and tweak your phone in many ways. One of the more useful changes you could make is replace the virtual keyboard with one that suits your typing better.

There are many keyboard replacements available on the android market, but if you happen to own a tablet as well, the Thumb keyboard stands out, as it offers a number of different layout options, that makes typing on a tablet a lot easier with just your thumbs.

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Create gradient filled buttons with rounded corners

Create gradient filled buttons with rounded corners

Android has a standard set of buttons for user interaction, and the latest ICS guidelines recommends how your application should look and behave. For the majority of applications you would want to stick to the guidelines, but there are some cases when more striking buttons are more preferable.

For example, applications aimed at children need be more colourful with bolder text, to grab their attention. You could use image buttons, with the ImageButton class, where the buttons are created as an image. However, you will need to create multiple image buttons at various resolutions, i.e. ldpi, mdpi, hdpi, etc.

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Androids are great for widescreen movies

Ever wondered why Android phones are long and narrow, while iPhones are more square. Well it has to do with screen ratios, and perhaps what Google and Apple think users would be using their phone for.

The iPhone resolution is 960×640. This gives a ratio of 3:2, and is close to an A4 paper page. Where as the Google nexus prime has a ratio of 1280×720. This a ratio of 16:9, and this is shape that modern TVs use when they describe themselves as HDTV. So there is a lot of content available in this format, TV programs, TV series and some movies.

Of course not all Android phones have a 16:9 widescreen format, but the latest Android phones do seem to be sticking to this form factor.

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Fragmentation does not mean the death of Android

A recent report stated that fragmentation on the Android has caused a drop in the number of developers interested in developing for the Android. Fragmentation means something different for each person. It could be the SDK version, or the screen size, or the processor speed of the phone, although the last one should not pose a problem for any half decent developer.

Sure, there is no denying that to program for a single screen size and resolution makes the developers life a lot easier. A bitmap is easier to handle than a vector, absolute numbers easier to understand than relatives, and you know who big the text will look on your customers devices, because their device will be the same size as the device you are developing on. Also, the OS user experience is smoother because the OS does not have to cater for a variety of different phone attributes.

So that’s basically the pro’s of a one size fits all approach.

Continue reading Fragmentation does not mean the death of Android

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