My Hero To The Rescue

images Having suffered my HTC Snap for a few months I finally had enough of it and this week I bought a HTC Hero. So far I am loving it! I can't believe the difference between the two. It's like they were released a decade apart -- not in the same year.

I surprised myself by buying another HTC product after they gave me such awful customer support following my complaints about the Snap. I had to swallow my pride to do so.

The temptation was to just buy an iPhone, but, I dunno, that just doesn't seem very cool. With the Hero and Android I feel like I have a much more open phone and something I can play with and enjoy. Besides, the iPhone 3GS is too bloody expensive anyway.

While the Hero feels quite "Googley" it's not over the top and, in fact, is quite handy. There's lots of stuff with the Maps API in use to great effect and the Gmail client is quite cool.

It's even tempted me to start using the Twitter account I registered ages ago and did nothing with.

There's An App For That

In the couple of days I've had the Hero I've already managed to find a few hours spare to install the Android SDK in to Eclipse and I'm now at the point where I've built my very own (database-driven!) app for it. Took hardly any time at all. Two or three hours to get it installed, written and compiled.

Here's my app running in the emulator that comes as part of the SDK:


The app's home screen shows a summary of expenses I've logged -- what, when and how much. I can add/edit them, like so:


It's a bit unpolished but it's been fun so far and amazing to see how easy it is to develop an actual application for the phone.

The idea of the app is that I can record our household's outgoings as they happen (while out shopping and in "offline" mode). When I get home I can then upload them straight in to our copy of the Accounts database - rather than coming home and trying to remember what I spent where.

I could have done this with Gears, but that would have been too boring. I already know Gears and fancied learning something new. That said, my Gears knowledge came in handy as, like Gears, Android uses a SQLite backend for storage.

Alternatively I could have just made a simple website for entering the expenses directly online while I'm out, but that opens up the matter of security. As it is the database is on a server in my office (secured by default). If I put it on the web I'd need to secure it. Where's the fun in that!?


    • avatar
    • Markus Henke
    • Fri 21 Aug 2009 06:54 AM

    I would be interested to read more about your experiences with the Android SDK. How do you transfer your App to the phone and how do you get your entered data from the phone to your server? Maybe you find some time to write a follow up article. ;-)

    • avatar
    • Dan
    • Fri 21 Aug 2009 08:07 AM

    I too am very interested in your experience with the Android SDK and would LOVE to see an article on Android development.

    Glad to see I'm not the only one who thinks Android is the phone OS of the future.

  1. @Markus Maybe Jake was talking about some sort of internal Android database?

    All in all, I'm glad you like your Android phone -- been loving mine. Developing for it is so much better than for the iPhone, if simply because I don't have to bother dealing with Apple/AT&T and their app store. I can just code something up and deploy it on our devices right away.

  2. Welcome to the happy club! I bought an HTC Magic about 2 months ago and think it's fabulous. Although I've installed the SDK into NetBeans I've yet to do anything productive with it (still learning Java for one thing!). I can highly recommend the XDA-Developers forum for all sorts of "hacking" info and the Android Developers google group for a good community.

  3. Jake I am considering getting a HTC Hero but read that it is a bit slow. What do you have to say about that?

    • avatar
    • Jake Howlett
    • Wed 26 Aug 2009 09:17 AM

    Hi Fredrik,

    I read that too and was in two minds whether to not get it. I've had it about a week now and don't think it's slow at all. 95% of the time it's as fast I am. Every now and then I click something and think I missed the button only to find I did in fact click it and it's just waiting to catch up. It doesn't happen enough for me to say it's "slow" though.


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Written by Jake Howlett on Fri 21 Aug 2009

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