Three months have gone by since the release of the first version of the Scripting Layer for Android Tablet Remix. In that time quite a few changes have been made to the upstream version of the Scripting Layer for Android (SL4A) and I have had a few people asking me when these features are coming to the Tablet Remix. So just in time for Christmas I am pleased to announce that these changes have been imported into the source code for the Tablet Remix and it is now completely up to date with the latest SL4A features! Probably the most significant of these is the Full Screen UI.
Adobe's recent decision to retire support for their Flash Player on mobile devices attracted a lot of attention and maybe there is a risk that they might become better known for what they are not doing in the mobile space rather than what they are doing. This would be a shame as recently Adobe released a whole suite of apps for Android tablets (with support for Apple's alternative, the iPad, coming in 2012). What makes these apps so interesting is that they challenge the idea that tablets are only useful for the consumption of content. Instead these apps are targeted at people who want to be creative on their tablets including professional creatives such as web designers.
*** UPDATE: The second version of this app has now been released. This page has been updated with the new version. *** A couple of days ago on the android-scripting Google group I was very pleased to announce the first release of the Scripting Layer for Android Tablet Remix also known as SL4A Tablet Remix. As the name implies this is a version of the Scripting Layer for Android that has been adapted for Android Honeycomb tablets, especially the Asus EEE Pad Transformer. There is still a lot of work to do on this app and a lot of improvements that can be made, but at last in is in a usable state and if you enjoy programming or want to learn about it this could be for you. The app builds on the fantastic work done by the contributors to the original SL4A project and extends functionality to being the Honeycomb look and feel to the app as well as extending the programming environment provided by SL4A to take advantage of some of the great features of the latest Android tablets.
From time to time I like to runs polls on this site to gauge opinion about technical issues and to help me pick topics to write about that are going to be of interest to readers. One of the most interesting polls has just closed with two hundred votes cast. The question asked was “Which tablet do you own or are you wanting to buy?”. Obviously there are some restrictions to how seriously this poll should be taken, but I am hoping that the number of participants in the poll is big enough to give some meaningful data on the tablet battles. So the results are in and they are surprising – who are the winners and losers?
Recently my evenings seem to have been disappearing in the blink of an eye. It is funny that when you get really into a bit of computer programming time can seem to disappear quite quickly. It can be quite a fun and mentally challenging way to spend time, not to mention absorbing. So I am hoping the project I am working on will enable more people to join that fun by writing small programs on their tablets. I am working on a version of the Scripting Layer for Android ("SL4A" – which used to be known as the Android Scripting Environment) and adapting it for tablets, especially the EEE Pad Transformer. The aim is to make the package work well on tablets and to adjust the user interface to make the most of the screen and new features such as the Action Bar.
Just a very quick post about how to get the Asus EEE Pad Transformer working with the Android SDK and Eclipse under Ubuntu 11.04. As the emulator for Android tablets can be a bit slow this could be a handy way to test out applications as you build them. The starting point is to follow the instructions under Using Hardware Devices page on the Android Developer website. Following these instructions I got the machine working on my machine so I thought I would share what I did here.
First edit a new file:
The Asus Eee Pad Transformer might occasionally closely resemble a netbook, but in fact it is a very different machine that has a lot in common with mobile phones. The inclusion of a touchscreen, cameras and sensors such as GPS and a compass contribute to some interesting possibilities. The attitude towards software is different too, like a mobile its software ecosystem revolves around “apps” not “applications” so these are programmes designed to do one or two things well rather than providing a lot of functionality. With this in mind I thought it would be fun to compile a list of interesting apps (in no particular order) – software that shows off various aspects of the device (and similar devices) and some of the emerging ideas for functionality.
There is a lot of talk about how tablets might kill off netbook sales. I thought about buying a tablet to replace my broken netbook but then I found another rather interesting option. The Samsung NB30 Touchscreen in some ways occupies an uncharted land between netbooks and tablets. It is a netbook, but you could also think of it as a tablet with a keyboard. This machine fitted my requirements a bit better than a tablet and I felt that it would offer me a bit more flexibility. In my last blog post I examined how to set up Ubuntu on this machine, in this post I want to reflect on my first week using it.
There's nothing like the expression of mild surprise to confirm that a radical change in the technological landscape is taking place. While showing people the latest phone I've on review, the ZTE Racer (a £99 pay as you go Android phone from 3 UK) I was struck by how many times I heard things like “Oh, that's actually alright, isn't it?”, maybe a realisation that smart phones are arriving for the masses and not just people who are prepared for spend hefty sums on the latest shiny gadget. This isn't a unique offer either, other networks are offering budget Android smartphones (notably Orange with the San Francisco) so now many people who might not have considered owning a smart phone could now do so leading to some interesting changes and new opportunities.