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Ask Slashdot: Data-Only Android For Development? 203

Posted by timothy
from the how-far-has-the-tide-lifted-the-boats dept.
UrbanaMan writes "I am about to start developing Air and Flex apps for Android and need a smartphone to use for debugging. I want to be able to carry on working in the UK as well as in the US. I don't need to use the phone, so I am looking for an unlocked phone that can be used on pay-as-you-go data plans on both sides of the Atlantic. For app testing I need Flash Player (plus a processer pwerfull enough to support flash), a reasonable amount of memory, GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, camera and USB (inc charging) and Android 2.3 or later. Are there any such phones/deals available for non millionaires?"
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Ask Slashdot: Data-Only Android For Development?

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  • ...a Lore, too?

    • Might as well beta test your apps on a B4 unit.
  • Flash (Score:5, Funny)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @05:40PM (#35580170)
    Dude, the Flash thing was just to annoy Jobs, you're not supposed to actually use it.
    • by blair1q (305137)

      He flashy-thinged Steve Jobs?

      (man, i am stuck in a movie-reference rut today)

      • by iluvcapra (782887)
        Did you ever flashy-thing me, K? Did you ever flashy-thing ME?
      • hahahaha. I made that mistake. Installed flash, and it worked so well I had to add a mile long hosts file just to eliminate the ads on my phone!
    • by KZigurs (638781)

      +5 funny? This should be +5 Observant!

    • Re:Flash (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @06:56PM (#35581040)

      FUCK YEAH! Thank you, somebody gets it. Fuck Apple for no-flash, but let's never forget: fuck Flash.

  • ... seems data-only apps and tablets seem to go well together, since tablets aren't phones and usually have non-3G options...
  • Craigslist (Score:5, Informative)

    by scot4875 (542869) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @05:44PM (#35580232) Homepage

    If you can get by with wifi-only for your data connection, just grab whatever phone you'd like off of Craigslist. I'm currently debugging with a Hero and an Evo that aren't tied to any plan, and rarely leave my desk.

    Also, the emulator works for debugging the vast majority of the time, and gives you access to whatever networks the host is connected to.

    --Jeremy

    • Agreed
      I dropped my Verizon contract and went back to Sprint because I couldn't afford the data plan any more. (Yes, I saved money even after paying the $150 contract breaking fee.) Ever since, I've been using my Droid doing all the same things I used to do before - except talking on the phone - as long as I can get a Wi-Fi connection, which is just about everywhere I go. Heck, I could never use the thing outside anyway because the screen is awful for reading in sunlight. So, in the end, I am getting just a
  • Sounds like you're describing a Nexus S. The only part I'm not sure about is whether you can use it as a phone in the UK. In the US, it should work fine with T-mobile's pay-as-you-go plans.
    • by Tumbleweed (3706) *

      Good thing he specifically said he didn't want to use it as a phone, then, eh?

      • But he did say he wanted cellular data access. Perhaps I should have said "cellular access" instead of "use it as a phone".
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      the guy is an idiot, or was asking this just to post his ref links to places like expansys(.com or co.uk or wherever he is).
      I mean, a simple bing/yahoo/goduckgo/google search would have netted him a zillion devices to choose from ranging from 150 to 700 unlocked, the information about the networks used in these countries is out there too.

      zte blades break. just a friendly warning(roll with stock fw for a while to check mechanical problems regardless of what you choose though).

    • You can use a Nexus S as a phone in the UK.

      You can even buy it in the UK, though it is cheaper if you get it from Best Buy in the USA

  • Nexus One? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Uh....Nexus One from ebay? Lots of T-Mobile users in the USA are likely to be listing them soon...

  • It looks like the Droid SDK has an emulator. http://www.brighthub.com/mobile/google-android/articles/66317.aspx [brighthub.com]
    • by Gondola (189182)

      The emulator also runs like a piece of frozen dogshit. Its speed is horrible, and should not be used as any indicator of performance.

      Additionally, it cannot emulate (without a LOT of effort) any of the specialized sensors like accelerometer, multitouch, GPS, and so on.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just get any GSM handset with Android 2.3 and you'll be fine.. Probably cost you 400 bucks on ebay or go somewhere in eastern Europe and get one..

    • Pretty much this. From the main manufacturers, you have:

      HTC

      - Desire S (desire HD/Z/ incred. S will get Gingerbread soon)

      Samsung

      - Galaxy S2 or Nexus S.

      Sony Ericsson - Xperia play/neo/arc.

      LG, Motorola etc don't have any 2.3 phones announced/on the market yet. If you want working 3G in the UK, you should get a *shudder* AT&T phone because they have the correct bands to work in the UK/Europe

      • Urgh, slashdot really fucked up my formatting ._.
      • by rrossman2 (844318)

        I've played around with the Samsung Galaxy S GT-i9000 a lot, and have tried a few different firmware options (both stock as well as homebrew/hybrids).

        I noticed a few weeks ago SamFirmware.com shows 2.3.2 in the European firmware section..

        I9000XWJV1 ## 512.PIT Version 2.3.2 2011 February DOWNLOAD 1 file select NO .PIT

        I haven't tried it yet myself, as I"m using a hybrid with a US (Rogers Canada) based modem since it covers the frequencies I need, but I'm curious what the 2.3.2 holds. If it's a

        • I don't even know where to start. samfirmware doesn't know what he's on about, market has been working fine from whenever it was Google flipped the switch on the buildprint. The 2.3.2 ROM is decent, but not really ready for day to day use. The memory settings aren't set out correctly. so it doesn't quit out of applications when the memory is needed, leading to your phone crawling when it hits around 30mb RAM left. Apart from that, there are other problems like random reboots, and the phone not waking from s
      • by afidel (530433)
        I guess my question is why is he debugging on a Gingerbread phone when the *vast* majority of devices on the market are on 2.1 or 2.2?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Developing Flash "apps" for a phone, eh? Here's a quick set of instructions:

    - buy shotgun and ammo

    - load shotgun

    - insert in mouth

    - pull trigger, repeat as needed

    Seriously, I can't think of anything more suck-tastic than Flash apps on a phone. Piss-poor battery life, miserable performance and a UI that'll probably still think there's a mouse around...

    • by Bobfrankly1 (1043848) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @06:07PM (#35580502)

      Developing Flash "apps" for a phone, eh? Here's a quick set of instructions:

      - buy shotgun and ammo

      - load shotgun

      - insert in mouth

      - pull trigger, repeat as needed

      Seriously, I can't think of anything more suck-tastic than Flash apps on a phone. Piss-poor battery life, miserable performance and a UI that'll probably still think there's a mouse around...

      Steve, the nurse said you need to get back in bed for your sponge bath...

  • What do you mean by non-millionaires? I get the whole populist concept that you should be able to get anything you want for free just because you want it, but there are costs involved in producing high end phone hardware that don't just vanish because of the ethics of those who don't like paying for stuff.

    • What do you mean by non-millionaires? I get the whole populist concept that you should be able to get anything you want for free just because you want it...

      Or maybe he just wants to make a minimal investment. It's nice to know that wisdom is a trait of people with a sense of entitlement.

    • I took him to mean that he'd be willing to forgo certain "high end" features, invest time looking for a good deal (no one said "free" but you), and put in effort making up for any shortcomings. A millionaire might not be willing to make those trade-offs.

      Anyways, capitalists are usually the ones who say ethics doesn't apply to commerce. The "fair" price is whatever the market will bear, by definition.

      • he "needs" a cpu powerfull enough to handle flash (good luck with that, intel just barely manages to make those) and android 2.3, that pretty much screams "high end android device"

  • by xaxa (988988) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @05:52PM (#35580352)

    Personally, I bought my HTC Desire from e2save [e2save.com] since I worked out it would cost about the same as buying the phone and using pay-as-you-go (£20/month × 24 = £480, but the phone alone cost about £380 at the time).

  • by Pengo (28814) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @06:12PM (#35580548) Journal

    There are almost no phones that are affordable running 2.3.

    I do development and use a unlocked Incredible on Verizon, but it's not activated, I just have it using WiFI.

    On the road my kids can use it as a portable game device, i have a hotspot 3g card so the phone works as a phone, even when roaming.

    I paid less than $200 in a local paper to get the phone, it was in perfect condition and runs fine. I actually enjoy that phone so much with Cyanogen i'm tempted to use it in place of my iPhone (also on Verizon).

    I personally would never buy any Android phone that wasn't supported by the Cyanogen developers. (I'm looking at you boot-locked Motorola!) :)

    • by rrossman2 (844318)

      I posted this above, but I'll post again:

      I've played around with the Samsung Galaxy S GT-i9000 a lot, and have tried a few different firmware options (both stock as well as homebrew/hybrids).

      I noticed a few weeks ago SamFirmware.com shows 2.3.2 in the European firmware section..

      I9000XWJV1 ## 512.PIT Version 2.3.2 2011 February DOWNLOAD 1 file select NO .PIT

      I haven't tried it yet myself, as I"m using a hybrid with a US (Rogers Canada) based modem since it covers the frequencies I need, but I'm curious what t

    • by Necron69 (35644)

      Ignore new phones and get just about any Samsung Galaxy-S/I9000 phone off eBay. The Cyanogenmod guys have a quite usable port of Gingerbread 2.3.3 ported from the Nexus S now. It isn't quite mainline yet, but it works great:

      http://forum.cyanogenmod.com/topic/17020-all-models-cyanogenmod-7-for-samsung-galaxy-s-phones-build-20110303/ [cyanogenmod.com]

      My hope is that since the Nexus S is so new, and the Galaxy-S phones are nearly identical hardware, I'm now good for another couple years of Android versions. I've never been hap

  • Needing flash means you need a current phone and / or tablet. $$$

  • That's what I did. I bought a super dinky POS tablet for $82 off of newegg just to have something to develop on since I could care less about actually using the thing. Since I'm primary an iPhone developer and user, it was a good way to get my feet wet. Personally I find it a horrible platform, but if my client's want a version of their mobile app I'll just slap something together with a cross platform API.

  • If you want to do fancy apps you need the V7 (aka Cortex) processor, and most of the cheap stuff (like the phones from Virgin Mobile & Cricket) are the V6 processor (Arm 11). Anyone know a cheap V7 device?
    • by Svartalf (2997)

      Nook Color: 7" tablet reader with an OMAP3 at 800 MHz and can boot Honeycomb and Froyo off of a microSD.

      • $270+ is kinda steep... Plus you've got to rely on rooting the tablet, and you never know when Barnes & Noble will fix the root exploit that lets you run whatever you want. This [newegg.com] looks nice, but I've yet to read anything good about sub $200 tablets :(... Plus I'm not sure if the Marvell Aspen CPU is the right kind of ARM chip.
        • by ajlitt (19055)

          The "exploit" is that the CPU boots form the microSD slot (and USB) before it boots the embedded flash. This is a hardware configuration setting and can't be changed by software.

          Unless B&N hires ninjas to break into people's houses and swap out all the existing Nook Colors, you're safe buying one now.

  • I have an almost unused Nexus One that is unlocked. It is tuned for T-Mobile. I had to get one tuned for AT&T, but still have the original that Google gave me at last year's Linux Collaboration Summit. I only used it for about 2 months. You can send me a private message about this if you are interested.
  • Nexus One. Get a used one if you want it cheap.
  • by GWBasic (900357)
    There are a lot of free Android phones given out at Google conferences, and people sell their old ones. Just check eBay, and if you're buying international, check with the seller to make sure he or she is okay with shipping overseas.
  • Buy a G2, root/unlock, install Cyanogenmod 7.0 (Gingerbread/2.3), or any [xda-developers.com] one [xda-developers.com] of [xda-developers.com] the other [xda-developers.com] Gingerbread ROMs. You can buy a G2 from here: http://swappa.com/buy/htc-g2-t-mobile [swappa.com] - there's currently six listings, from $335 to $410, and all of them are rooted. The phone should work in the UK, too.

    I have the same phone, running CM 7.0 (nightly 38), and I love it. I had the original G1 until recently, and it's a night and day difference. I firmly believe the G2 will suit your needs and more.

  • Any international GSM phone will work on pretty much any prepaid plain in most EU countries. You can get really cheap plans and pay by day or month.

    In the US, that's a different story. AT&T has a prepaid GSM plan, but you pay $20 for 100 Mbytes and 30 days limit. For that to work, you need a phone that's compatible with AT&T's frequencies. T-Mobile has no usable prepaid data plan. Sprint, Verizon, MetroPCS, and Virgin Mobile use networks that only work in the US.

    Your best bet is to get a Europea

  • I know the original post said GPS and Camera, but apart from those two the perfect bet would be a hacked Nook Color :) List price of USD 249 but was sold on eBay for 199 and it runs Android 2.1 (eclair), 2.2 (Froyo) and 2.3 (Gingerbread) just fine and flash 10.2 in the last two of these.

  • Device anywhere allows you to rent time on basically any phone you want, and they have data center in different countries on different carriers. You might consider testing your app out first on an emulator, then when it is pretty much working, rent some time on DeviceAnywhere's phone system, to easily try different configurations of carriers/models/countries. Here is the link [deviceanywhere.com], it may or may not be something that works out for you, but you should be aware of it anyway.

    Disclaimer: I am currently doing some
    • Oh, BTW, please don't think that my sig is referring to my current company! :)

      (if you are wondering, it is mainly referring to the android framework and kernel additions, which are hopelessly under-commented)
  • by Drethon (1445051)
    The Zii devices look interesting to me: http://www.zii.com/Technology/HardwarePlatform/ZiiTrinity [zii.com]

    However I think they may be more focused on low level development when it sounds like you are more after app development. Also I haven't looked much into them but I don't know what networks they will run on if any...

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