Blog Archive: 2011

Are device drivers your kind of thing?


FXPAL would like to hire a summer intern who wants to work on Android internals. In particular, we are talking with a vendor for an innovative pen/touch interface sensor. We are exploring how to effectively support pen and multi-touch interface controls on forthcoming tablets using this sensor. While Android (Gingerbread) has some interesting touch events, there are some things this hardware provides that are not reflected through to the Android event system. Depending on exactly what happens in Honeycomb, we are thinking about modifying the device driver and event mapping code to show through some additional device information. This information would then be reflected in an application we are developing that combines pen and touch inputs in novel ways.

While it would be nice to find someone with Android source code experience, we would be happy to offer an internship to someone who was an experienced OS person (Unix?) who is interested in learning Android.

Please see the FXPAL internship page for more information about applying, and do not hesitate to ask me any questions you might have about this project. Please disregard the January application time-frame.

Google tablet strategy, or lack thereof

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I wonder what Google is up to. They’ve announced that Froyo is not designed for tablets, and rumor has it that Honeycomb, the preferred Android tablet flavor (honeycomb a flavor? oh well), won’t ship until some time 2011. Of course there’s the also the possibility of Google Chrome tablets.

The message this sends to hardware vendors, software vendors, and consumers is that Google doesn’t have a coherent plan, and that cannot help anyone but Apple.

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Too much variety?

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Tweetdeck recently published an interesting summary of their testing efforts for a Twitter client for Android. The short post enumerates the set of hardware and operating system versions they had to contend with in testing their software. I counted about 250 different devices and over 100 versions of the OS in the Tweetdeck charts in a population of 36K beta-testers, many of whom, admittedly, are early adopters who are more likely to use wacky devices and odd versions of the OS. But still, that’s a lot of potential wierdness.  This proliferation of versions and configurations can be seen as a sign of the vitality of the platform, but it is also suggestive of some potential problems.

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Two months with Android: the PC of mobile phones


Lucky me. I a few months ago I won a ticket to Google I/O by posting a comment on Techcrunch.

Google gave each attendee an Android phone; the new ones are due out this August. The phone came with a one-month SIM card from T-Mobile, including 3G connectivity. It initially looked like a cheap iPhone: the touchscreen doesn’t respond well while scrolling web pages (I still don’t know if it’s a bad hardware or slow software, or a combination), the soft-keyboard is slightly too small and suffers from the same problem as scrolling pages.

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