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How to Give Away an Android · You take your nice mod­ern An­droid, you factory-reset it, and you give (or sel­l) it to a rel­a­tive (or friend, or stranger). (In my case, “give” and “son”.) But when they turn it on they see a screen la­beled “Verify your account” with text read­ing “This de­vice was re­set. To con­tin­ue, sign in with a Google Ac­count that was pre­vi­ous­ly synced on this device.” Here’s one way to fix the prob­lem ...
 
Pixel Notes · I pre-ordered the ba­sic Pix­el (5", 32G, Sil­ver) be­cause the 5X was get­ting on my nerves (more be­low); here are early-days notes. Tl;­dr: Ug­ly, solid, fast, cool cam­er­a ...
[3 comments]  
On the Nexus 5X · Wel­l, the OnePlus One was a lot of phone for the mon­ey but, on­ly a year old, is dy­ing; the GPS has checked out and the pic­tures it takes look bad. I didn’t feel like phone-shopping but when I did, the 5X was an easy choice. It’s just fine, but on­ly three fea­tures mat­ter. With win­ter beach pix ...
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One + Four Months · Which is to say, I’ve been car­ry­ing the OnePlus One since ear­ly Jan­uary; a third of a year, out­side the event hori­zon of most mobile-device re­view­er­s. I stand by the con­clu­sion in my Jan­uary write-up: It’s a lot, re­al­ly a lot, of de­vice for the mon­ey. Here­with the his­to­ry, which sur­pris­ing­ly stretch­es back to 2011; al­so how the O+1 has changed my mo­bile habit­s ...
[3 comments]  
Keybase Client · I got in­ter­est­ed in Key­base.io the day I left Google in March, and I’ve been evan­ge­liz­ing it, but even more the idea be­hind it: Us­ing au­then­ti­cat­ed posts here and there to prove public-key own­er­ship. Al­so I’ve con­tribut­ed Keybase-client code to OpenK­ey­chain (let’s just say “OKC”), a pret­ty good An­droid cryp­to ap­p. I’m more or less done now ...
[6 comments]  
Mac + Android = Screencast · If you want to show off your An­droid good­ies and you have a Mac, it’s ab­surd­ly easy to make a decent-quality screen­cast; the tool­ing will cost you $29.99 ...
[2 comments]  
ART and Dalvik · The An­droid avalanche to­day at IO in­clud­ed an an­nounce­ment that An­droid L will use a new de­fault run­time called ART. This is re­al­ly a pret­ty big deal, that is if you’re an application-runtime geek ...
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LifeSaver Works on KitKat · The 4.4 re­lease of An­droid broke my LifeSaver 2 ap­p, which mi­grates phone-call and SMS logs from your old phone to a new one. It was my fault not Android’s, be­cause the API for the SMS database was un­doc­u­ment­ed and thus un­of­fi­cial. With KitKat, now it’s of­fi­cial. And slight­ly dif­fer­en­t ...
[2 comments]  
Retina Screen Tab Sweep · When you’re run­ning your 15" Reti­na Mac in high-rez mode and you still don’t have room for all your tab­s, you prob­a­bly have a lifestyle prob­lem. One so­lu­tion is to pub­lish the links, so if your don’t-kill-this-tab in­stinct turned out to be right, you have In­ter­net Me­mory on your side ...
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What Are Handsets For? · I got a Nexus 5 from Google for Christ­mas; it re­places an old Nexus S used as a dumb­phone. But in some ways I was hap­pi­er with the S, even though the 5 is way more ca­pa­ble. I’m think­ing (once again) that Size Mat­ter­s ...
[10 comments]  
Tab Sweep: Hallowe’en · Well in­to Q3 and au­tum­n, and my SAD is al­ready stir­ring in the back cor­ner of my brain. But any sea­son is Har­vest sea­son on the We­b ...
[2 comments]  
2013 Nexus 7 with LTE · I bought the top-of-the-line mod­el from the Play store for $349; I was still lik­ing last year’s mod­el but this is sleek­er and pret­ti­er and goes faster. The dif­fer­ences are less dra­mat­ic than I’d ex­pect­ed, but they’re good things ...
[6 comments]  
New Mobile Rhythm · You know that An­droid Ver­sions dash­board? It mat­ters less and less for de­vel­op­er­s. And it’s been ir­ri­tat­ing me for months now that the mobile-device com­men­tari­at ap­par­ent­ly hasn’t no­ticed. I’m hop­ing today’s news will help make my point ...
[10 comments]  
Maximum N7 · Way back in Au­gust of last year, I tweet­ed “Would to­tal­ly pay ~$300 for a Nexus 7 with tele­pho­ny & cel­lu­lar data.” So I did; with my own mon­ey I mean. You will be un­sur­prised to learn that it’s my fa­vorite An­droid de­vice ev­er ...
[5 comments]  
Client + Server - Passwords · This has been live on our servers for a while, but is now an­nounced and open for gen­er­al use. Here’s the short ver­sion: If you have an An­droid app and a web-server back-end, you can au­then­ti­cate the per­son us­ing the app to your back-end se­cure­ly, ef­fi­cient­ly, and with no prompts or pass­word­s ...
[11 comments]  
Two Million Saved · Back in April of last year, I not­ed that my LifeSaver 2 app had saved a mil­lion call records and SMS texts in­to the cloud. Now it’s two mil­lion, and by a much more use­ful mea­sure. But there’s more work to do and it’s go­ing to be fun ...
[1 comment]  
Play services · There’s a new re­lease of Google Play ser­vices, which brings some love to the long-unrevised Maps API, and in­tro­duces Pho­to Sphere APIs. The world hasn’t fig­ured out how big a deal Play ser­vices is; one of the highest-impact changes in Android’s his­to­ry ...
[1 comment]  
Android OAuth via Google Play services · It start­ed launch­ing this morn­ing, to ev­ery com­pat­i­ble An­droid de­vice in the world run­ning Froyo or high­er. That’s a lot of de­vices, and even at Google scale it’ll take some time to roll out. This is a sub­tle but sig­nif­i­cant change in the ecosys­tem ...
[4 comments]  
Finding the Ways · I just read The Old Ways: A Jour­ney on Foot by Robert Mac­far­lane. It isn’t a per­fect book; but it’s a good one, which I en­joyed im­mense­ly be­cause I found a new way of read­ing ...
[3 comments]  
Seven · The oth­er re­views of the Nexus Seven out there are prob­a­bly un­bi­ased, but they’re aw­ful­ly rushed (VergeGad­get get ’em on the air in less than 24 hours, which is im­pres­sive, but stil­l). Mine are pre­sum­ably bi­ased, but the fruit of much longer ex­po­sure. Mine are ab­so­lute­ly bi­ased by my pow­er­ful con­vic­tion that the 7-inch form fac­tor is the right one for most per­son­al us­es of a tablet. (10-inch wins for shar­ing across the desk or along the so­fa) ...
[8 comments]  
Now on Identity · As of Ju­ly 1, I’m mov­ing from Google’s An­droid team to our Iden­ti­ty group, to work on OAuth, OpenID, and that sort of stuff. Back to be­ing a full-time Web guy, for a while any­how ...
[24 comments]  
Android at IO 2012 · I was co-lead for the An­droid ses­sions at Google IO this year, so I’ve seen ba­si­cal­ly ev­ery ses­sion, most of them twice, some even more. Here’s a high­ly per­son­al guide to the ten I’d go to if I had to pick just ten ...
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Sensplore · I’ve been work­ing on some ideas for clean-screen app­s; in­stead of con­trol­ling them with the touch screen, you wave your de­vice around or tap it or shake it. To do this, I’ve been learn­ing about the out­put of the sen­sors you find on An­droid de­vices. I’ve found that the doc­u­men­ta­tion, while com­plete, con­tains some scary-looking math and as­sumes you know more about quater­nions and ro­ta­tion vec­tors than the av­er­age de­vel­op­er. Wel­l, more than I do ...
 
Sensor Kinetics Pictures · Re­cent­ly I’ve be­come in­ter­est­ed in the sen­sors that live in­side An­droid de­vices, and how to use them. It turns out that in­ter­act­ing with them is a lit­tle on the non-obvious side, as is in­ter­pret­ing the read-outs. So I drew some graph­s. [Up­date: The graphs were wrong. So I delet­ed them. But I’m about to post a bet­ter ver­sion.]
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A Million Lives Saved · Wel­l, not re­al­ly. But my LifeSaver 2 app has now up­load­ed over a mil­lion calls and mes­sages for a tem­po­rary stay in the cloud and (in the­o­ry) trans­fer to oth­er de­vices. This is not as im­pres­sive as it sounds since the num­ber of unique users is still just a few hun­dred; but it pleas­es me nonethe­less. I ob­serve that the num­ber of down­loads is quite a bit small­er; it seems that peo­ple up­load, and then it takes them longer than they thought to get their new de­vice brought up and LifeSaver in­stalled; long enough for the cloud scrub­ber to have erased their up­load, so they have to do it again ...
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Undocumented Territory · What hap­pened was, there was an ir­ri­tat­ing lit­tle bug in my LifeSaver ap­p. Which turned in­to a re­al prob­lem, since I was us­ing an un­doc­u­ment­ed API. The sto­ry of the bug’s death might be use­ful in giv­ing a feel­ing for the 21st-century open-source world ...
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LifeSaver 2.0 · Way last fal­l, I took my old LifeSaver app and re-wrote it to store his­to­ries in Google App Engine back-end as op­posed to the SD card, most­ly be­cause lots of mod­ern phones don’t have SD card­s. Then I had an at­tack of fear about de­ploy­ing it, then I went on a world tour and got sick and took va­ca­tion and got dis­tract­ed. I just pub­lished LifeSaver 2.0 ...
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Safe Unlocking · There are a bunch of ways to un­lock your An­droid de­vice. More or less all de­vices sup­port swipe, pat­tern, PIN, and pass­word. Which should you use? ...
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Mobile 2011 · What a year. I’ve been do­ing tech­nol­o­gy for way more than half my life and some oth­er times have been as in­tense but noth­ing I re­mem­ber com­bines speed and scale like the last twelve month­s. How about a year-end sur­vey? ...
[7 comments]  
Bar Android & Twicca · On Mon­day night­s, this funky lit­tle tee­ny second-floor bar in Shibuya be­comes Bar An­droid, a gath­er­ing place for An­droid geek­s. This last Mon­day, which was Hallowe’en, I wen­t; what a blast, and I got a new Twit­ter clien­t ...
[10 comments]  
Up and Back · There’s been a mini-flurry of de­bate on the An­droid Back but­ton, with Christof­fer Du Ri­etz ar­gu­ing that it’s harm­ful and bro­ken, and a small cho­rus of the usu­al Android-hater sus­pects chim­ing in. Steven Van Bael push­es back. There are in­ter­est­ing sub­tleties here ...
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ICS and the New Nexus · I’ve been car­ry­ing the Galaxy Nexus (let’s say “GN” for short) around for week­s, watch­ing An­droid 4/Ice Cream Sand­wich (let’s say “ICS”) come to­geth­er. It’s a pret­ty nice phone. Size mat­ter­s. But soft­ware mat­ters more ...
[15 comments]  
Android App Engine Client · Re­cent­ly I wrote a scary App-Engine back end for an An­droid app. I want­ed it to be se­cure, which should be easy be­cause An­droids have Google ac­counts and App Engine knows about those. I got it to work, but the pro­cess ir­ri­tat­ed me enough that I de­cid­ed to pack­age it up as a pub­lic ser­vice. So now there’s a lit­tle open-source li­brary called App Engine REST Client. It of­fers GET and POST meth­od­s, in­cludes an Authen­ti­ca­tor class, and tries to be as sim­ple as pos­si­ble to use ...
[4 comments]  
Cloud Lifesaving and Fear · Last year I built (and of course blogged) this nifty lit­tle An­droid app called LifeSaver, which would copy your telephone-call and SMS logs on­to an SD card, so you could move the SD card to an­oth­er phone, run LifeSaver again, and get ’em all back. Calls and texts aren’t mi­grat­ed by the ex­cel­lent An­droid back­up sys­tem ...
[26 comments]  
Use the Source! · I’m work­ing on an An­droid app and the doc­u­men­ta­tion didn’t stop me mak­ing a stupid mis­take. If it weren’t open-source, that might have been a prob­lem ...
[14 comments]  
Current Dessert Snapshot · It would have been bet­ter with a blue sky, but still a cheery sight ...
 
Xoom With Honeycomb · I’ve been dog­food­ing one since De­cem­ber, through ever-so-many builds of An­droid 3.0. I’m way too close to this sto­ry to write what any sane per­son would call a “review”, but I can share some im­pres­sion­s ...
[8 comments]  
Android Constructors · At the Hon­ey­comb event to­day, I was im­mense­ly pleased to hear both Andy Ru­bin and Chris Yer­ga shout-out to the en­gi­neer­s; Andy fol­lowed up on Twit­ter. I just want­ed to say that I’ve been in this busi­ness com­ing up on three decades, and had the plea­sure of work­ing with many soft­ware leg­end­s. The An­droid plat­form team is the most ac­com­plished I’ve ev­er been close to. Not just by a lit­tle bit, ei­ther.
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Nexus S with Gingerbread · I’ve been car­ry­ing the new thing around for a few weeks now, and had fun tak­ing pic­tures of it ...
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What Android Is · Be­ing an il­lus­trat­ed run through the ba­sic­s ...
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Tab In My Pocket · Fri­day af­ter­noon, Septem­ber 9th, Fedex brought me my Sam­sung Galaxy Tab, and from here on in let’s just say “Tab”, which I pre­dict ev­ery­one will too, and may rep­re­sent mad product-naming skil­lz from Sam­sung. Since then it’s been in my pock­et and liv­ing room ...
[28 comments]  
Nexus One PUK Unlock · Un­less you found this ar­ti­cle us­ing a search en­gine, which means you’re prob­a­bly hav­ing the same prob­lem I did, you’re very un­like­ly to be in­ter­est­ed in its so­lu­tion, so you can stop read­ing now and get on with your life ...
[3 comments]  
Galaxy Tab · So, there’s a new kind of An­droid de­vice in the world. The world still isn’t sure just where it is that tablets are the right tool for the job. That grant­ed, this is a nifty pro­duc­t. And I’m de­vel­op­ing my own the­o­ry of what tablets are for ...
[21 comments]  
Tethering · I trav­el quite a bit, and I have found that the “tethering & portable hotspot” fa­cil­i­ty in An­droid 2.2 is just ab­so­lute­ly won­der­ful. It has saved me con­sid­er­able mon­ey and got me reasonably-good con­nec­tiv­i­ty in places I wouldn’t oth­er­wise have had it; I’m look­ing at you, big-name US ho­tel chain­s ...
[19 comments]  
Late Summer Tech Tab Sweep · Some of these pup­pies have been keep­ing a brows­er tab open since April. No the­me; rang­ing on the geek­i­ness scale from ex­treme to mostly-sociology ...
[2 comments]  
Small Airport Victories · Two of them in the last cou­ple of days, both cour­tesy of hav­ing the In­ter­net in my pock­et ...
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Other Android Languages · I’ve been hav­ing this same con­ver­sa­tion with a va­ri­ety of pro­gram­mers in re­cent days, and so I ought to share it with the world. I think it would be nice if you could build An­droid apps in oth­er lan­guages. The lead­ing can­di­dates seem to be Ru­by and Python. Peo­ple are work­ing on it. This is my take on the state of play ...
[32 comments]  
Indie Android Interview · I was do­ing “Office Hours” at Google I/O, and this guy walked up with a ques­tion and we got to talk­ing. His name is Derek James of Poly­clef Soft­ware; he comes from a dif­fer­ent plan­et from the one this Web guy has been liv­ing in, one where Psy­chol­o­gy Ph.D. can­di­dates build ac­tu­al re­al busi­ness­es, start­ing part-time, via single-handed mobile-device pro­gram­ming. I did an email in­ter­view with him ...
[9 comments]  
Windy · Cana­da has long been a tele­phone oligopoly: Rogers, Telus, and Bell Cana­da; Cana­di­ans gen­er­al­ly feel that prices are high and ser­vice on­ly so-so. Now we’ve got a new mo­bile play­er, Wind Mo­bile. I signed up as soon as they got to Van­cou­ver, at least in part for rea­sons of ide­ol­o­gy; com­pe­ti­tion is a good thing. So far, Wind looks like a good thing too ...
[4 comments]  
Compatibility and Fragmentation · Over on the An­droid Developers’ Blog, we just pub­lished On An­droid Com­pat­i­bil­i­ty by Dan Mor­ril­l, who man­ages both the Open-Source and Com­pat­i­bil­i­ty work here ...
[3 comments]  
Practical Open Source · An­droid is an open-source pro­jec­t, which has a bunch of cul­tur­al and eco­nom­ic con­se­quences. I’m go­ing to ig­nore those to­day, and de­scribe how I use the source code to get work done ...
[23 comments]  
Private APIs · I wrote a post in the Android-Developer blog to­day cau­tion­ing about the use of Con­tent Providers that aren’t part of the pub­lished An­droid API. John Gru­ber pounced, de­duc­ing that, con­trary to our stat­ed pol­i­cy, this con­sti­tut­ed ev­i­dence of “private APIs”. Let me ex­plain ex­act­ly what’s go­ing on here ...
[31 comments]  
Blogging at Google · First of al­l, I should an­nounce my ed­i­tor­ship (start­ing to­day) of an­oth­er blog, the An­droid Devel­op­ers Blog. But at Google there are sto­ries be­hind the sto­ries ...
[8 comments]  
LifeSaver Lessons · I can’t pos­si­bly do this job un­less I get my hands dirty with An­droid tech­nol­o­gy, and then keep them that way. To start this pro­cess I just wrote a lit­tle util­i­ty app called LifeSaver (source here), which scratch­es one of my own per­son­al An­droid itch­es. It’s in the An­droid Mar­ket and maybe some­one else will find it use­ful. I think the lessons I learned in the pro­cess are more in­ter­est­ing and use­ful than the app it­self ...
[19 comments]  
That Iterator Again · Last week I wrote Con­tent Provider Iter­a­tor, which sim­pli­fies the task of deal­ing with Android’s Con­tent Provider­s. Re­to Meier, the au­thor of what is cur­rent­ly the best An­droid de­vel­op­er book, got all ner­vous about my ap­proach. He’s got a point, but so do I ...
[12 comments]  
A.D. XV: Content Provider Iterator · Be­ing a small morsel of Android-specific geek en­ter­tain­ment in­volv­ing an ex­am­ple of the kind of think­ing that be­ing a Ruby­ist pro­vokes which how­ev­er may be grievous­ly wrong.
[This is part of the An­droid Diary.]
 ...
[11 comments]  
Essential Advice · The fact that this isn’t post­ed on de­vel­op­er.an­droid.­com is a bug, I’d say. If you’re go­ing to be do­ing any An­droid pro­gram­ming, you re­al­ly need to get Re­to Meier’s Pro­fes­sion­al An­droid 2 Ap­pli­ca­tion Devel­op­ment. Yeah, he works for Google (same group as me) so I’m prej­u­diced. What­ev­er. For the mo­men­t, Reto’s book is the Bi­ble.
[3 comments]  
An Android Side Project · I want to be able to write apps for my phone in in some­thing oth­er than the Ja­va lan­guage; for ex­am­ple Ru­by or Python. This isn’t one of the things my group at Google has asked me to look at, but I think it’s worth do­ing and worth some of my time. I’m writ­ing this to­day be­cause I’m amused by the con­trast with the cur­rent hub­bub over Ap­ple hav­ing tight­ened the de­vel­op­er thumb­screws ...
[53 comments]  
Nexus One on Android 2.1 · That’s what I’ve been car­ry­ing around for a month and a bit. It’s aw­ful­ly good; which doesn’t mean I don’t want more ...
[18 comments]  
Being Kind to the Cat · What hap­pened was, a few days ago I want­ed to try out some fan­cy lan­guage tech­nol­o­gy on An­droid. A cat got in the way but the WiFi saved the day ...
[7 comments]  
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