Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The latest I have on Windows* Phone 8.1 Developer Preview Update

In my previous post here I ranted on the Nokia Lumia Icon I bought from Verizon.

http://hodentek.blogspot.com/2014/07/windows-phone-81-is-out-but-where-can.html

In this post I will describe what else has happened since.

I have not been able to find anything about Nokia Lumia Icon alias Nokia Lumia 929. I have posed the question to the Windows Phone Central.

When I bough the Nokia Icon phone from Verizon the OS version was 8.0.10521.155

Then I installed Windows 8.1 Preview for developers and this version was 8.10.12397.895

There has been other updates. The following were the updates I agreed to install on the same day.
8.10.14147.180;  8.10.12400.899; and 8.10.14157.200

The update 8.10.14147 appears the latest according to:
http://www.wpcentral.com/new-update-windows-phone-81-update-1-rolling-out-developer-preview-users

Is it? I have 8.10.14157.200.

The last updates took quite a bit of time that included updating some 20 files.

This is OK. I am still puzzled whether I am still in the 'Preview Park' or the 'RTM'. Another frustrating thing with the updates is that no reason is given for these updates. Things need to be transparent.

At least with Visual Studio updates, you do get some idea of what has been updated.

 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mozilla OS forays into Indian Smatphone market


The price ($33 or under Rs 2000) is low enough to get customers in droves considering that India is the fastest growing market for smartphones. Mozilla OS can easily benefit and get a significant market share and it is already made its mark in over 15 countries.

Cloud FX sartphone just costs Rs 1999 and at that price quite a significant numbers can afford. Facebook and Twitter makes it all the more attractive. Presently English, Tamil and Hindi are supported and I am sure more will be supported in due course.

Cloud FX phone is manufactured by Intex Technologies, India(LTD) and the phone is sold through SnapDeal.com.

Here are other phones you can buy:



http://www.snapdeal.com/product/intex-cloud-fx/1356760619#bcrumbSearch:cloud%20fx

Feature details from the above site:
 Firefox OS
 3.5 Inch Capacitive Display
 Dual SIM
 1GHz CPU
 2MP Camera
 1250 mAh Battery
 Facebook and Twitter
 Pre loaded Games
 Multiple Languages(English,Hindi,Tamil)
 Whatsapp Support Through Third party App (ConnectA2)
 SUPC: SDL155905431

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Creating Projects with Intel XDK - Part 2

In a previous post the Intel XDK was described with some details in the context of developing cross-platform apps for smartphones and tablets. The installation of Intel XDK was also described.

Herein the details of type of projects that you can create are described.

There are several options available for creating projects with Intel XDK.
Double click the icon or click the XDK icon on the taskbar to open the Welcome to
the Intel XDK Pane as shown.



Click on the Visit the Intel XDK Introduction and the Intel XDK Documentation gets
 displayed. This is quite a comprehensive documentation that discusses all
aspects of Intel XDK including developing cross-platform HTML5 based apps for
smart phones and tablets; deploying to devices; monetization etc.

In the left hand side there are different ways to work with projects. You could
create a blank project but then you do not get many of the design editors you
find in others such as Start with App Designer etc. If you already have created a
project you could open it. You could also import an existing app into the IDE. In
order to test drive you could also use the option, 'Work with a Demo'.

Starting with a blank project:

You can use a starter HTML file and JavaScript library for device API. It assumes that you have working knowledge of HTML5 and JavaScript.  You can also choose where you want to save your files.


Work with a Demo:

Provides you with a number of demos that you can open and take a look. This image
shows two demos (scroll up and down for more) from the list, PhoneGap Audio and
Buttons. You can filter this list using the drop-down handle for the filter.



Start with a Template:

You can choose your interface model for the template. All templates are based on
App Framework Model and supported by the App Designer. There are some 6 to 7
templates presently. Scroll down and choose you template.


When you click on a particular template in the above image, you get more
information as to how you can go about it as shown for the FlipView App template.


Import an Existing APP:

If you have created an HTML5 application you could import it into the IDE as shown in the next image. You need to browse and search in your folders


Use App Starter:

This is good project type if you are new to HTML5. You can quickly create a
proto-type an HTML5 using the App Frame work mobile library.


Start with App Designer:

You ca use any of the UI Framworks such as jqueryMobile, Bootstrap using the
drag-and drop tool that supports responsive design layout. Additionaly you can
also use the built-in editor as well. It is assumed you know HTML5 and media
queries.

In the next post let us take a look at creating a project from scratch using one of the above options.


 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Cross-Platform Apps are easy with Intel XDK - Part 1

There are lots and lots of Apps. In fact there are over a couple of million Apps including all of the major brands, Apple, Google, Blackberry, Microsoft with Apple at the top and Microsoft in the bottom. But this is a growing market. The variety is truly bewildering, different size devices; different operating systems(OS); different programming languages;  and different orientations.

Windows Phone Apps is for example based on Microsoft's Window 7, 8, 8.1 OSs using .NET. With Windows OS and Visual Studio one can build Apps for all of Microsoft devices covering Phone, Tablet and Desktop. However Microsoft Windows Apps sans Html5/CSS/Javascript is OS specific. Even for apps built with Html5/CSS/Javascript the WinJS file is required (or recommended) in most cases.

Apple Apps can be used on both iPad and iPhone as long as certain files specific to each device profile is available, in general iPhone apps can be used on iPad but not the other way. However the so called iOS Universal apps can be used on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad (before the advent of iOS Universal there were two binaries created for each type). XCode/Interface Builder was used to create the iOS Universal. Although XCode, a superset of Objective-C makes this easy it is not straight forward mainly due to device size differences. Again Apple Apps are specific to devices running Apple iOS.

The same is true of Android Apps. It is built using Java in a multi-user Linux system. The recommended development platform is Eclipse. Read more here, http://developer.android.com/guide/components/fundamentals.html
Now how do you create a single app that work on all platforms? The answer is 'cross-platform' development. This post describes the Intel XDK which can be used to create HTML5/CSS3/JavaScript based apps that can be deployed to various platforms.

Start here:

This section describes Intel XDK and its installation

From here you can jumpstart your App development skills after downloading the Intel XDK. You can write once and deploy to several platforms.


It is generally argued that while HTML5/CSS3/Javascript is a good option to create cross-platform apps it is only suitable for some simple, inexpensive apps. In order to buld more complex apps you need a single language to access the 'native apis'. Hardware specific apis are accessed
by a variety of languages like Java, .NET, Objective-C etc. There does not exist a single language to access the machine specific information for all platforms.

However, a large number of Apps fall into the 'inexpensive/simple apps' that integrate many of the social media applications and in these cases the Html5/CSS/Javascript is more than adequate. Apps based on HTML5 can also contribute to the number of apps in a store to improve the perceived lack of apps for Windows for example. Well at the end of the day quality and not quantity of apps that matters

What is Intel XDK?

Open Source PhoneGap (http://phonegap.com/) technology was instrumental in getting AppMobi (http://www.appmobi.com/) to use HTML5 for App development. Intel came along and acquired AppMobi and it was renamed XDK. Perhaps it then went rounds of revisions and tweaks to become Intel XDK. Right now in preview but will be a full fledged tool one day soon.


This video explains the Open Source PhoneGap.




BTW PhoneGap is free and you can download from the PhoneGap Site.
Here is a screen shot of Intel XDK homepage:



Intel XDK is free and can be downloaded from here,

http://xdk-software.intel.com/

for Windows 7, Windows 8, Apple OSX and Ubuntu Linux.

The installer Intel's Software Install Assistant installs xdk_web_win_master_0876 (~90MB); file version 1.0.9.38
Just double click the installer.


After extraction is completed the Welcome page is displayed.


In the Welcome Page click Next. Here you choose the destination. Default was chosen here.


Click Next to get to the installation summary page.


Click Install.
Installation begins..



Pretty soon it is completed. Very uneventful installaiton.


Click Finish and you are done.
The first time you use it you will have to login into Intel XDK.
Then provide the required information


That's it. Now you are ready to develop.
Watch future Intel XDK posts on
http://hodentek.blogspot.com and/or
http://hodentekMobile.blogspot.com

 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Do you want to drive a car with a Head Up Display?

Automobiles are changing in many different ways. All electric automobiles will enter main stream
although right now they are still in their infancy. Hybrids like Toyota Prius will fill up the transitional period before going all electric like TESLA, Nissan Leaf, Mahindra Reva and others being developed in many parts of the world. Of course they too will have a short run as hydrogen/Oxygen based fuel cells will surely takeover to address the pressing issue of pollution. Actually car using hydrogen/oxygen fuel cells they are available already in Japan or will be available soon.

http://hodentek.blogspot.com/2014/07/toyota-fchv-concept-vehicle.html

The other areas where there is a lot of interest are driverless cars and cars equipped with better
navigational features. 

Head Up Display, displaying drive parameters like speed; traffic conditions, turn-by-turn
driving directions, maps, and other vital navigational information right in front of the driver
without the driver taking his/her off his/her eye from the road to check is another area of great
interest to auto manufacturers as well as customers.

The HUD would project the information on a transparent screen right in front of his/her view on the
wind shield or a little beyond (as in the case of Navdy) the wind shield. Combine with this the
ability to mimic most of the smartphone activities including hand gestures, voice; texting, etc. and
you have what is believed to be the ultimate accessory. These are already available in some high-end
cars such as BMW, Audi, Cadillac but come in as expensive options. It is also now available in less
expensive Toyota Prius and Mini.

Navdy is a  recently launched proto-type HUD.  You could buy a HUD from crowd sourced device for a mere $250  (price will go up after the sourcing is completed) or so, even cheaper, if you could
persuade a friend to buy. This HUD offers more features than the presently available Garmin's HUD+.

Review the Garmin's HUD+ here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/27/automobiles/garmin-hud-review.html?_r=0

Review the crowd sourced HUD proto-type NAVDY here:
http://www.navdy.com/

Of course you need to have your iPhone or Android Phone to take full advantage as these are the only
ones supported.

Watch this video to see how NAVDY works:


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Smart watches will flood the market soon

Microsoft was one of the earliest companies that wanted to bring a smart watch to the market, but the timing was not good. Samsung came out with a smartwatch not too long ago. Now Microsoft is going again at it and so are Google and Apple.

Microsoft's smartwatch running Windows features:
Fitness tracker,
music player and
messaging device
Detachable watch face gets charged from a dock.

Microsoft filed a patent and the watch looks like this,



http://money.cnn.com/2014/05/06/technology/innovation/microsoft-smartwatch/index.html
Microsoft's Watch Concept looks similar to Moto360 but probably with lot more stuff if you go by the Watch Concept.


Watch the video on this page:
http://microsoft-news.com/check-out-this-awesome-microsoft-smartwatch-concept-
running-windows/

Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch does a lot of cool things but take a look at this review:

http://money.cnn.com/2013/10/03/technology/innovation/galaxy-gear/?iid=EL

Items that received bad reviews: the low battery life; limited device compatibility, and some suggestive advertising.
Read here:
http://fortune.com/2014/03/20/pebble-sold-400000-smartwatches-last-year-on-track-to-double-revenues-in-2014/?iid=EL/




Google's Moto360 is coming soon.

Basic Time, messging,gps etc


Apple's iWatch ...
Presently all rumors.. and leaks...
Apple has its iWatch in the works and its release date may be pushed to November,

http://www.t3.com/news/apple-iwatch-rumours-features-release-date

 
Pebble watch is another option that does things beyond looking up time.



Basic time function was already there in digital watches. Most of the other features like messaging comes about by relaying from your phone (you need a smart phone to go with your smart watch). Camera and other sensors are ideas percolated from smartphones. How well they perform and under what circumstances is a thing to be considered.

Am I going to buy one? No, sir. I stopped using any kind of watch, digital or otherwise 20 some years ago.
 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Xiaomi from China challenges Apple and Samsung

There is a price war, compare apples with 'Chinese Apples'.

Xiaomi is a challenge to smart phone makers from Apple to Samsung. They are not only way-off cheap but as good and in some cases better than the available ones. Xiaomi has announced the next version, Xiaomi Mi4 today in China.

In India Xiaomi Mi3 started selling in July and they were sold out in India within moments they started selling, it appears from all accounts. More units are on the way.
Read here:

http://news.softpedia.com/news/Xiaomi-Will-Sell-15-000-Xiaomi-Mi3-Units-in-India-on-August-5-453227.shtml

Here is a picture of its availability in India from the above site:


That was Mi3 unit and Xiaomi has recently announced the Mi4 which is available in China and it has already earned the nick name, 'Apple of China'.

The high end Xiaomi Mi4 touted as the fastest smart phone uses the 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 801 processor; a 3080 mAhs battery; 3GB Ram; 5 inch touch screen; full HD display resolution; 13 mega pixel camera and 8 mega pixel front camera with a 80 deg wide angle, f 1.8 lens. Regarding internal storage there two kinds, 16GB (~ $320) and 64GB(~$400).

Xiaomi not only makes smart phones they are geared to compete for every other gadgets from TV to smart wrist bands.

Read this on Bloomberg BusinessWeek in theTechnology section:

Xiaomi's Phones Have Conquered China. Now It's Aiming for the Rest of the World


http://www.gsmarena.com/xiaomi_mi_3-5678.php

Picture from the above site.
Xiaomi Mi 4 Full specifications can be found here:
http://www.gsmarena.com/xiaomi_mi_4-6518.php


Picture of Mi 4 is from the following site:
http://en.miui.com/thread-29338-1-1.html