09 April 2011

Froyo, Gingerbread and beyond!

Early this year, I took the plunge and traded in my iPhone 3G for a shiny new HTC Desire HD. At first I was a bit skeptical about moving from an OS that was said to be “the world’s best” to Android, but now, 2 months on, I can’t look back.

As a web developer, I love to tinker, change and break things until I get it the way I like it. This was something that iOS never let me do (unless I jailbroke my device, and even then, it was very very unstable). Enter Android, the OS isn’t very pretty out of the box on some devices, but you can download icon packs and apps that replace the standard home screen launcher so you can customise beyond “how will I arrange my folders today?”.  This, for me, is the tip of the iceberg. I had some pretty cool ideas for apps over the years with my iPhone, but didn’t posses the technical prowess to build them in Objective-C. I often thought wouldn’t it be cool if I could just make a web app! So I tried, but the restricted API of mobile safari really killed it for me. No file uploads, no access to the camera, limited geolocation and no compass access make for a very boring and featureless app.

This is where Froyo comes in! With the release of Android 2.2, the standard browser now has file upload capabilities and geolocation. Meaning I don’t need to know Java, just Javascript to build something cool. But wait, that’s not all. At Future of Mobile conference last year, it was announced that a future release would allow API calls to be made that allow access to things like the camera, microphone and even the magnetometer (compass) straight from the browser. Excited? I know I am, check out the video below for more info and be sure to clean up the drool off your keyboard.