Data Collection Terminal based on Google Android platform (part 1)

Author:   Kravchenko Andriy,
As is known, ANDRIY.CO in the arsenal of its developments has enough successful product TCU Mobile. Unfortunately, the lifetime of the Windows Mobile platform is coming to an end. But life goes on, replace it come to new platforms. Throughout 2010 we have been closely following the development of new platforms, comparing technologies, development prospects and attractive solutions based on them. It is known that solutions to the mobile platforms business has its own specifics. Criteria for mobile software for businesses are very different from mobile software for personal use.

    describe those criteria.
  1. PDA (smart phone) should not be expensive. Distribution companies rarely gets a single device. Typically, the account goes on dozens. Of course, preference will be given to the device, which costs 200 dollars, and not to the device, which will cost 400-600 dollars. If a single device can save you $ 200, then to 10 devices savings obtained impressive. Especially great when you can use smart phones from different manufacturers that are available in any shop. When the range of vehicles is broad, we can always choose the best solution. Sales reps who use smartphones, not very sorry for these devices. Their drop, forgotten in cars, was the case even moved the truck unit. Of course, no one removes the liability from the sales representatives. But the damage of $ 200 - significantly less than the expense of 400 dollars. In general, the cheaper the machine the better.
  2. CPC must be reliable. Our experience shows that the device is not always the most reliable known manufacturers. Moreover, we assess the reliability is not on failures of individual devices, and operating experience of dozens of devices for 2-3 years.
  3. software should behave extremely reliable in all conditions. Low qualification of users should not become the cause of failures and malfunctions. As an example, we can reduce area of data exchange between handheld and computer. Firstly, it is desirable that communication is not performed on the cord USB, and on the radio. Unfortunately, Blue Tooth - the technology has proved to be totally unsuitable for use by the broad masses of sales representatives. Loss of connection settings, the loss of the connection, you can not connect with the correct settings for unknown reasons - is the "bouquet" of problems that arise constantly. Had to abandon the blue tooth - the connection and reset the data solely on the cord. Accordingly, this part, the time delay. You could use Wi-Fi connection, but the bulk of devices with Windows Mobile, produced in 2006-2009, Wi-Fi technology is not implemented. The new devices on new platforms, Wi-Fi has become almost standard, so data transfer must be made solely on this technology.
  4. stylus. On this little stick is possible to argue for very long. Especially on how to lose its sales representatives. And what are the explanations for this follow. But even worse, when the stylus is used as a ballpoint pen. The screen of the PDA is like a map with rivers and road networks. Therefore, the CCP on the new platform should only have a capacitive screen, and, accordingly, "finger" entry. The absence of films on the screen, that is a solid glass screen, positively affecting both the appearance of the device and its reliability. Resistance (film) screens have shown themselves vulnerable to scratches and damage.

One can list many more criteria, but if briefly, is available in the market, price and reliability.

What we have on the market.

Apple IPhone - The device. But according to the criteria price and availability of our requirements do not fit.

Windows Phone 7. We watched this project from Microsoft since the first reports. After they learned that the user interface is built using Microsoft Silverlight, say to yourself, okay. The fact that we have some experience with this technology, and it left a mixed impression. The main question that arises is - where under it to take such computing resources? When Microsoft released the hardware requirements for the new platform, we realized that the programming classes at our favorite Visual Basic. Net for mobile platform is hardly necessary. The price for such devices is less than $ 500 does not loomed. In this case, at the time of this writing, the available devices based on Windows Phone 7 stores in Ukraine and Russia do not. Well that's all ...

Who is left? Symbian? Bada? Both platforms are rigidly adhered to the manufacturer. A platform is an international need.

There is here one such ...

It's called Google Android .

Knowing assertiveness Google and its ability to make money is not where expected of him, us throughout 2010 it seemed that with this platform may have something interesting.

Around October 2010, we deployed all the necessary development tools for the Google Android platform and began quietly to study it. Lack of experience in Java development we are not bothered. This C-like language, object-oriented programming with inheritance and polymorphism, it is the same everywhere, that VB.Net, that in C #, that in C + +. Few were surprised that, as in C + + classes have no direct sales of properties, such as, for example, in VB, VB.NET or C #. But it's not too annoying. Can live. Generally, a comparison of Visual Studio 2010 and Eclipse Helios gave an interesting experience. But it's probably a topic for another article.

Celebrated the New Year, and the first news from across the ocean once showed - HISTORICAL . So, our new mobile platform Google Android!

Has been selected and ordered a new phone Samsung I5500 for 205 dollars and we run a traditional "Hello world!" After Visual Studio 2008 in conjunction with the Windows Mobile startup performance is simply stunning. Well, fine.

But she got a bunch of questions! How to organize the interface? How to roll out thousands of commercial titles and thousands of client records? Obviously, everything here is on a different platform and need to study carefully before you take up engineering. The idea to write a simple application rather as a research or educational mission.

Coincidentally, at this time we learned about the lack of data collection terminals at an affordable price. Thus, we were simply required to write an application "Terminal Data Collection».

    This would solve several problems.
  1. learn how to program Android-application.
  2. master the techniques for building the interface of such applications.
  3. develop technology Android-installing applications via the Android Market.
At the moment the main work of creating the application is now complete. System passes through beta testing, and about from February 20 will be available for download.

Description of the application ANDRIY.CO Data Terminal can be seen in the second part .
Note: This article was obtained through a machine translation. We would appreciate any comments.

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