The Android Adventure - Embedded.com

The Android Adventure

I feel that I am in that part of a nightmare where you stand on a narrow precipice and do not want to move in case it ends in disaster. I need your help to make sure I that make the right moves and my adventure is a success.

I have been an Apple zealot since replacing an Amstrad 1512 PC with a PowerMac 7200 in 1995 – there have been personnel lapses, such as the Dell tower system in 1995 and the Sony Vaio in 2001 – the netbook before its time which was based on the low power Transmeta Crusoe TM5600 600 MHz processor. 

In the late 1980s I remember, while on Whats new in Electronics magazine, we were issued with a Amstrad PPC-512 'portable' computer with NEC V30 processor running at 8MHz. The first time I took it on the road I realized that the power supply of 10 x C cell batteries only lasted about 15mins. At the same time the standard office desktop was an IBM PC – nobody every got fired for buying IBM!

My earliest personal computing experiences were with the Commodore Vic20 and a Zenith laptop but since the 7200 it has mostly been Macs for me. In my home office I can see the Mac Book Pro that this is being written on, while ignored on the shelves are a couple of older PowerBooks – a G3 and a G4. Another Mac Book Pro is linked to the TV in the bedroom and a Mac Mini to the TV in the lounge. That's not to mention the PowerPC based Mac Books on loan to my elderly neighbour and my brother.  

True to the cause when it came to buying another portable device 9 months ago I also naturally went for an iPad. It has been well used but has one major problem in that it wont run Firefox and the content management system behind all the EE Times website requires this browser. Never the less it has been well used for video, music, web browsing, TV viewing and I have even given up fetching the paper version of The Times for its iPad variant.

So what is casing me angst? I have decided to try out an alternative device – a ViewSonic ViewPad 10s tablet that runs Android 2.2. There is a reason for this choice which will become public later this week but in the mean time I am anticipating the delivery of the device and plan to track my hands-on experiences and ask readers to suggest apps that are of use for electronics engineers especially or just for fun.

“The Android Adventure” blogs will appear regularly in the coming weeks as I get to grips with a new-to-me operating system and interface.

I wont be able to do this without you – the postman has just delivered the latest MacUser magazine with a cover story on the 100 apps you need now for iPhone, iPad and Mac and I am relying on the UBM Electronics readership to suggest apps for Android that are equally compelling for both work and leisure. You can either comment below of email me direct with suggestions.

Colin Holland

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