Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cupcake finally in France with Orange !

At last, it arrived !!

As you may already know from my previous article ( here ), here in France, the HTC Dream ( G1 ) was still running with a 1.1 version of Android.

And now an update to cupcake has finally been released by Orange !

So now, I have access to video recording, to the widgets, ... and above all, to all the applications that used the Cupcake API, and that we couldn't use till now ! ( it also means I will be able to try Python on my phone ! ).
That's not all !
This is a version coming from HTC, and in the package, we could also find :
* a PDF viewer ( it's nice to have a PDF viewer ! It's far from being uber performant, but, still it's here, and that a good point !!
* QuickOffice ( a office document reader : I tried it on several Word files, and it was OK, but for a big one - big being about 600 ko in my case, so not THAT big. Once again the performances are far from being stellar, but at least we can read some docs ! )
* A microsoft exchange mail reader and synchronization tool. Actually, I didn't tried it, but I'm sure a lot of people out there will be very happy with this !

But still I can't understand all that about this version :
* The installation is done via a PC, and we lose all of our data... That's not nice...
* We don't have any virtual keyboard ! That's a strange one... We still have the physical one, and I'm sure it is better. But in some cases, it's painful to open the physical keyboard just to type one word. And there are a lot of applications that don't deal that nicely with opening the keyboard...
* The last point is, in my opinion the worst of all : a lot of application are missing from the Android market.
To be sure to really understand what was happening, I created two void applications, one called OrangeTry, and the second called OrangeTry2.
I protected only the first one, and I released them ( for 5 minutes only )...
And guess what : only the second one appeared :

So this new version filters the protected applications !

I can't understand why they decided that ( actually, what I really think is that it is just a mistake ).
From what I understood from Google deal with the carriers, carriers are getting some money from the sell of Android applications !
As most paid applications are protected, this configuration will make Orange make less money than with the previous version ! How strange !

And I'm missing some free applications that were, for some reasons, protected ( this is a mistake : a protected version is about twice as big as the unprotected one ! ).
I'm particularly missing Dizzler !

A little question to finish this post :
Is there any carrier / country left where Cupcake has not been released ?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tutorial : How to have two buttons on each side of the screen

Sometimes, things are quite confusing in the Android World.

I wanted to have one two buttons, on each side of the screen ( the famous next and previous buttons ).
I though it would be really easy to do.
I was wrong...

I had already done something quite similar for multiple column list view ( here ), but the trick I actually used for the multiple column view was not applicable here.
For the multiple column view, I could use a text view with a left aligned text, and another big text view taking all the remaining space with right aligned text.
As the textviews are invisibles ( only the text inside was visible ), the trick was unnoticable.

So now, my first try was to put my buttons in a linear layout, and have one with a right gravity, and another with a left gravity.
But it just failed : the two buttons were on the right, or the two buttons were on the left, but I couldn't obtain the result I wanted.

Finally, after some hours struggling with the documentations, some blogs, and the samples from the 1.1 SDK ( and my cat, but that is another story ), I found a way :

<RelativeLayout xmlns:android=""
android:layout_height="wrap_content" >

So I discovered the alignParentRight / alignParentLeft tags !

What are the lessons learned :
* Android GUI is not always as easy as planned
* The linear Layout, that is often the first choice, is often the wrong choice. Relative Layout is much more flexible.
* Where are the API Demos samples in the 1.5 SDK ?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Cupcake finally coming for orange in France ?

Here, in France, Orange have sold the HTC Dream ( the G1 ) for several months.

But the Android version that came with the Phone was the 1.1...
And no update came since google had released Cupcake.

So I was quite surprised when Google send developers a mail to explain that "deployment of Android 1.5 is nearly complete"...

It looks like my phone is one of the last without Cupcake.
But now it looks like an update is finally coming 'in early august'...

I really hope so !