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Put your Best People on Mobile

So first the biggest number – 5.2. That is in billions with a B. There are 1.2 billion personal computers in use worldwide including desktops, laptops and tablet PCs like the iPad. There are 1.1 billion fixed landline phones. There are 1.0 billion automobiles registered and in use. There are 1.6 billion television sets, 1.7 billion credit card users, 2.0 billion internet users, 2.2 billion people with a banking account, and 3.9 billion radio receivers in use worldwide. Mobile utterly dwarfs them all – with 5.2 billion currently active, ie fully paid mobile phone subscriptions. Active mobile phone accounts. 5.2 billion. yes, 4.5 times more mobile phone subscriptions than personal computers or landline phones. 2.5x more mobile accounts than all internet users. 3 times more mobile subscribers than the total number of television sets. Mobile is huge. – Tomi Ahonen

These numbers are simply staggering.

For sometime now Myself and pretty much everyone else for that matter have been speaking quite a bit about the significance of Mobile. And while it may seem quite obvious that Mobile is huge, understanding the sheer magnitude of Mobile is truly put into perspective when some real world comparisons are made.

To get an idea of just how big mobile is, consider the recent article published by Tomi Ahonen, (which I found thru Brian O’Connor) in which some rather astounding numbers are provided in his aptly titled post: All the Numbers, All the Facts on Mobile the Trillion-Dollar Industry. Why is Google saying: Put your Best People on Mobile?. Certainly a must read for anyone interested in Mobile Development.

Technological Innovations and the Arts

Successful innovators in sciences and technology are artistic people. Stimulate the arts and you stimulate innovation.

I have always maintained that any skill or talent acquired can be attributed in part to an innate creative impulse; be it to learn something new or build something new. I am sure many of you can relate to this: that never ending fascination and driving force which compels one to create. Ultimately, creativity is the driving force on which all software is based and, one could argue, on which everything is based.

Recently, I came across a rather interesting article on scienceblogs titled “The Art of Scientific and Technological Innovations”. The article describes numerous scientific and technological breakthroughs which are based on artistic concepts. These include breakthroughs in such fields as engineering, medicine, biology and more.

Certainly a good read for any UI Engineer. Also, for those who find the link between creativity and programming interesting, I highly recommend Pragmatic Thinking and Learning by Andy Hunt.

Fixed Comments Bug

It was recently brought to my attention that users have been unable to leave comments on my Blog for quite some time now. Exactly how long and the extent of which the issue has impacted users remains unknown.

The problem appears to have been directly related to an overzealous spam plugin which I have since disable. I have tested the fix and all appears to be back to normal; however, in the event you would like to leave a comment and find yourself unable to do so, please send an email to eric at and I will be sure to get back to you.

Special thanks to Jeff Guthrie for informing me of the issue.

5 Years…

This month marks the 5th anniversary of this Blog. A lot has changed in the time since and I am happy to say the future is looking brighter and more exciting than ever before.

While the content and subject matter may have varied over the past five years, the goal of this site has remained the same, and that is to simply share ideas and experiences with other developers and, in doing so, hopefully make a positive difference somehow, in some small way.

So if you have found any of my posts useful in the past, then I am quite fortunate as I have accomplished my goal, and I hope to continue to do so in the future as well.

AIR for Android

As you may be aware, Adobe currently has a private beta of AIR for the Android Operating System.

Although still in it’s early stages, the core platform is quite stable and support from the AIR engineering team has been very good while the pre-release forums have also been quite active with lots of useful information being shared daily. In just a little under an hour I was able to have two POCs demonstrating the Accelerometer and MultiTouch Gesture capabilities running flawlessly on my Droid. Additionally, I was also able to develop a very basic Geolocation prototype in next to no time at all which accurately conveyed latitude / longitude, altitude and even speed. In the time since I have been focusing on real world applications and the results have been excellent for such early stages of the platform.

Some notable features I have been working with are: GPS, Accelerometer, Multitouch / Gestures, SMS/TEL URI Schemes, IME, S/W Keyboard, Screen Orientation, Screen Dimming, Menu/Back keys and more.

As the pre-release and my applications built on AIR for Android progress I will share my findings as well as provide open source APIs, code examples, videos and / or screen shots of the apps I am working on, so stay tuned for more information.

The Flash Platform and Android

Rather than going into any detail regarding my thoughts surrounding Apple’s updated iPhone developer license clause last week, I instead prefer to focus on the more exciting and positive developments the future has to hold for the Flash Platform in the mobile space; and at the moment, it’s Android

As you may be aware, beginning with Adobe Flash Player 10.1, the AIR 2.5 for Android SDK and Android, the Flash Platform will now begin to close the gap in terms of developing and deploying Web, Desktop and Mobile applications. Thus it appears this could open up some very exciting possibilities in the RIA space as, a write-once, deploy-anywhere solution for Mobile, Web and Desktop applications is obviously highly desirable.

For those of you unfamiliar with Android, it is a premiere software stack for mobile devices which provides an Operating System built on the Linux kernal, a very well designed middleware layer and core applications including an E-mail client, SMS program, calendar, maps, browser, contacts and more. Android also provides an Application framework, a Dalvik virtual machine which is optimized for Mobile Devices, an integrated web browser based on the widely known WebKit engine, SQLite storage, common Media support, hardware dependent Bluetooth, EDGE, 3G, WiFi, Camera, GPS, Compass, and Accelerometer support as well as many other features.

Originally developed by Android Inc., which was later acquired by Google, Android is now governed by the Open Handset Alliance; a consortium devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices. Currently, over 50 mobile phones are expected to come shipped with Android in 2010. Moreover, Google and their hardware partners are now shipping 60,000 Android handset units each day! If this trend continues (which it certainly appears will be the case) this equates to over 21.9 million devices shipping with Android per year.

Traditionally, getting started with Android has been quite simple for developers who have experience with Java as one need only download and unpack the Android SDK distribution and install the Android Development Tools (ADT) Eclipse plugin. Managing different Android platforms as well as other SDK components is accomplished via AVD Manager which come with the SDK. As expected, the Android SDK also comes with a very high quality device emulator which feels similar to the BlackBerry JDEs device Simulators.

While developing applications for Android with ADT is certainly convenient (and quite fun), from a Flash Platform development perspective it is much more desirable (as well as economical) for developers to leverage their existing skill-set and APIs to develop a single application targeting Flash Player or the AIR runtime that will work with any device shipped with Android. And with Flash Player 10.1 and the current private beta of Android AIR 2.0, the Flash Platforms reach will now include the Android platform. The most significant of these new possibilities is the ability to develop a single application which supports both Web and Mobile devices alike. Thus considerably simplifying the development and deployment process. Of particular interest is the ability to leverage Mobile Device specific features such as Accelerometer, GPS, multi-touch, gestures screen orientation etc. from an AIR application.

Flash Player 10.1 will support devices running on Android that meet the minimum software and hardware requirements, which at the moment appear to be devices with an ARM v7 (Cortex) processor. Both Droid and Nexus One carry ARM v7. Architecturally, I am quite interested in seeing how this all comes together in terms of memory and cpu optimization.

Working in conjunction with Adobe, as part of the Open Screen Project, Motorola is helping to develop Flash Player 10.1 so it works on Android. Motorola will also be deploying the Flash Player broadly across its Android product portfolio going forward; releasing Flash Player updates for existing devices such as the Droid (which I happen be actively developing for).

Adobe is targeting the end of July 2010 to have the Android AIR 2.0 Beta and Flash 10.1 for Android available. For updates sign up for:

  • Adobe Flash Player 10.1 Beta for Android Notification
  • Adobe AIR 2.0 Beta Android Notification