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Google Developer Summit 2015

By | Android, Apps, Cape Town, Cobi News, development, Events, Mobile Development, Uncategorized | No Comments

Cobi attended the Google Developer Summit on Tuesday, 25th August 2015. The event was organised by the Google Developers Group for Sub-Saharan Africa and was divided into two tracks: Android and Web Development/Cloud. The team attended the Android track to gain more knowledge on this rapidly changing platform.

The first of the morning’s talks was called “Building for the next billion users” and was presented by Abodunrinwa Toki, a software engineer at Google focusing on Android UI Toolkit and Google Docs. The talk discussed the challenges that developers face when developing Android apps for users in emerging markets. These challenges include:

  1. Smart data usage
  2. Minimising APK size
  3. Smooth and responsive user interface
  4. Minimising memory usage
  5. Minimising battery usage
  6. Optimising app architecture

The following talk gave us deep insights into Material Design and was presented by Takuo Suzuki, Developer Relations Japan Lead at Google. Takuo explained that Material Design is a set of design principles that unifies apps across all platforms whether it be mobile, web etc. The talk explained the four tenets of Material Design: tangible surfaces, print like design, meaningful motion and adaptive design, followed by a discussion of the design support library.

The afternoon was devoted to a code lab that was coordinated by Alex Koller. This gave developers an opportunity to experiment with the new material design features available in the design support library. We implemented some of the most common features such as Toolbar, RecyclerView, CoordinatorLayout, SnackBars and the FloatingActionButton.

Google Drive

A Mobile Developers Guide

By | Android, BlackBerry, iPad, iPhone, Mobile Development, Uncategorized, Windows Phone 7

App design is a thorny problem for most people. This is doubly true on mobile devices, where maintaining a sleek, user-friendly interface is trickier than it looks. Thankfully, there is a wealth of information on this subject, making it just a bit easier to decide on what an app should look like.

First is the  iPhone and Android site http://www.mobile-patterns.com/. Consisting of a gallery of the most successful apps (including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc), this site contains a list of categories that may be giving you problems. This list contains a handy menu of the most common features in apps, such as Lists, Camera Controllers and the like. Each page contains images of examples in practice, providing guidance on how to achieve a similar effect in apps currently being worked on.

Second is the iPhone only site http://pttrns.com/, which provides a similar service to the above site, albeit focused on iPhone. Apart from the magnifying glass enabling your cursor to see up close to the images, it’s all pretty similar to the site above. Where it differs though is selecting an image that you like doesn’t just display the image in a fuller size. Instead it takes you to all images listed on the site under the same app, along with a link to the iTunes website and ratings for the app.

Apart from the above sites, there exists a host of other sites in a similar vein. These include dribbble.com, www.lovelyui.com and www.androidpatterns.com. Sadly, these are all related to Android and iPhone, and I have been unable to find a site for BlackBerry devices. Thankfully, the BlackBerry site contains tips on how to create a standardised UI across BlackBerry devices. How to implement these features in code is a whole different problem. Hopefully I will address that in a future update!

Johann Van den Bergh

Mobile Software Developer

Cobi Interactive

Latest releases- VW Team Assist, News24 Samsung Smart TV and Sticky Art

By | Android, iPad, iPhone, Mobile Development, Releases, Web

In addition to numerous application updates, Cobi has recently developed an Android, web and iPhone app for Volkswagen Team Assist (commissioned by Amsterdam based FONKmobile), a Samsung TV app for News24, and our internal product division has created an iPad app called Sticky Art.

Team Assist is a driving schedule application for amateur football players in the Netherlands. The app gives users an overview of current and future games directly from the KNVB. Players can access the latest information about the games; see which team members are playing, the location of the next game, who is driving and where and when to meet.

The News24 application is the first locally developed Smart TV application in Africa. It allows users to access news content on their Smart TVs and navigate to stories or sections of interest using the remote as a cursor.

Sticky Art lets you design sticky-note art using your iPad. You can either create the design manually, or use the trace feature to convert a regular image into a sticky art. The app allows users to customise the window size, zoom in and out to get perspective of how the design will look and email or print the design from your iPad. A design inventory is also shown on your design so that you know how many stickies you need.

Download the VW Team Assist iPhone app

Download theVW Team Assist Android app

Download the VW Team Assist web app

Download the Sticky Art iPad app

The News24 app is accessible from the Samsung Apps Store via the Smart TV UI


The Padfone

By | Android, Smartphones | No Comments

Asus has announced it’s Padfone. It’s a mobile phone with a “pad” you can plug in into if you want something with a bigger screen. It’s concept is similar to that of Motorola’s Atrix. I like the ideas, but I would prefer something wireless. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could just buy a generic tablet or netbook that you could connect any phone to rather than a specific phone. I guess that would be the next step and a little closer to moving to the cloud.

Dual screen android phone!

By | Android | No Comments

Sprint announced their dual screen phone, the Kyocera. Very interesting device. They’ve had to customise it to make it work dual screen, which I think is not a good thing. It means that if there’s ever and Android update, you’ll probably have to wait forever for them to update their custom UI. And to write apps to support their dual screens, you’ll probably have to download their own custom SDK making it that much more complicated writing apps for Android. It’s cool, but I think it needs to go.

Google’s honeycomb event wrapup

By | Android | No Comments

So Google just had their honeycomb event. I can’t say I was very impressed. The googlers were excited about fancy animation frameworks and 3D graphics performance, all which looked pretty average to me. In my opinion honeycomb looks a bit like Windows with it’s widgets on the desktop and toolbar at the bottom with its home/start button on the left and time/notifications on the right.

Google also showcased their web store. It’s kinda of like xbox live where you can browse apps on the web, buy them and they automatically get downloaded on your phone.

The Google event was a bit disappointing for me. At least when Steve Jobs presents something average, it’s still somehow seems awesome. Hopefully he gets better soon.

Samsung Galaxy Tab video

By | Android | No Comments

I’m a bit torn between what I think about the new Galaxy Tab. It’s a tablet that’s only a little bigger than some of the Android phones out there, but yet it seems like a more portable device than the iPad. Anyway..it looks pretty good, although there were some of the standard Android jitters in the video. Interfaces looks like a copy of the iPad, but anyway, that’s the norm in the industry now.

Android 2.2 (Froyo)

By | Android | No Comments

Android 2.2 home screen

Android 2.2 (codenamed Froyo) is out. Froyo, while not much of an update cosmetically, is said to provide up to 2x – 5x performance gains for applications thanks to its Just In Time (JIT) compiler. Read more about it here.

Word on the street has it that Google handed out new HTC EVO 4G phones to the developers at this years Google IO conference (19 – 20 May in San Francisco). Last year Google handed out free HTC Magic phones…. a testament to how things have advanced.

Firefox on Android (Fennec)

By | Android | No Comments

If you’re a Firefox supporter, you can now try Firefox on Android 2.0+ devices. We tried it on our custom 2.0+ rom, but it kills it. From the videos it looks like it has quite a nice interface, but currently looks horribly slow to use.