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What platform to use?

Galen Palmer
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 09, 2007
Posts: 29
What should I look for in a tablet if I want to try out this book? I don't have an android phone so I thought I might pick up a "cheaper" tablet to test things out with. Any recommendations for minimum specs or any other gotchas I might need to be aware of?
Mario Zechner
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 06, 2011
Posts: 47
First off: you can to some extend test things out on the emulator. It is however a buggy and slow beast, and i wouldn't recommend developing games with it (especially not OpenGL ES based games).

In terms of minimum specs there's no lower limit. All the games and examples have been tested on a variety of handsets: HTC Hero, Motorola Droid, Nexus One, HTC Desire HD. Those are phones, not tablets though. I'd try to get a cheaper Android phone or buy one of the ones i listed from ebay. I'd aim for a second generation device (Nexus One, Droid) if you buy one on ebay. Those are sufficiently fast for almost all types of games still. If you can afford it try to get your hands on a more recent phone like the Nexus S or an HTC Evo.

In terms of tablets there's not a a lot available on the market yet that is cheap and functional. If you want to go for a tablet i'd try to get my hand on an Asus EEE Pad Transformer. I have no experience with the Samsungs Galaxy Tab or other similar small-form-factor tablets (ArchOS comes to mind as well, stay away from it).


Book: "Beginning Android Games" Blog Twitter
Galen Palmer
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 09, 2007
Posts: 29
Thank you for the quick, comprehensive response.

A (probably) dumb follow up question. I'm the kind that still holds on to his old mobile for years so I'm unlikely to change phone, but can you test on a Android phone even if you don't have phone service on that phone?
Mario Zechner
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 06, 2011
Posts: 47
Yes, you can. One usually connects the phone via USB to the desktop on which you program. To run the app on your phone you just do the usual Eclipse magic (Run As -> Android Application) and select the connected device you want to run/debug the app on. I personally have a tablet (nvidia dev kit, it's special :p) that is Wifi only. For tablets that's totally fine imo.
Rockie Lowe
Greenhorn

Joined: Sep 30, 2003
Posts: 1
I notice you mention Eclipse (of course). Could Net Beans be used?
Mario Zechner
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 06, 2011
Posts: 47
Yes, Netbeans and IntelliJ Idea work as well. The officially supported IDE is Eclipse though. Purist can go all CLI with ant if they want.
Stas Nikso
Greenhorn

Joined: Sep 15, 2008
Posts: 13
Hi.

Perhaps it would be better to acquire a lower-end tablet, such as ones powered by 1Ghz or even 800 Mhz, rather then going on Tegra 2 to cover a wider spectrum of the market?
Mario Zechner
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 06, 2011
Posts: 47
If you want to cover a wide spectrum of the market and use OpenGL ES you have to chose by GPU. You should have at least one device with:

- A Qualcomm chip (preferably an Adreno 200 or above). Anything from HTC will do that's more recent than 8 months.
- A PowerVR chip. Samsung uses PowerVR in many of it's mid to top range of phones. Some Motorola phones feature a PowerVR as well.
- A Tegra 2 chip, see basically every new phone and tablet
Stas Nikso
Greenhorn

Joined: Sep 15, 2008
Posts: 13
For example, what about this particular model?

http://gadget-mobiles.com/android/dropad-a8-apad-m7009-android-2-2-samsung-s5pv210.html

Comes about 184$ here:
http://www.dealextreme.com/p/1080p-7-touch-screen-lcd-google-android-2-2-tablet-pc-w-wifi-hdmi-camera-tf-usb-cortex-a8-1ghz-57770

It basically Galaxy tab, analogue, for half of the price. It has 1Ghz CPU and Power SGX540 with OpenGL ES 2.2.
The review mentioned Angry Birds running smoothly (seems Angry Birds becomes the gaming benchmark of the mobile world), so I reckon it should be enough for development needs.
Mario Zechner
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 06, 2011
Posts: 47
I'm afraid i don't know this specific device. If the specs are legit (the review is a little shoddy imo) then it should be a good enough test device. Angry birds is certainly not the benchmark for Android games though
Hauke Ingmar Schmidt
Rancher

Joined: Nov 18, 2008
Posts: 433
    
    2
Mario Zechner wrote:I have no experience with the Samsungs Galaxy Tab or other similar small-form-factor tablets (ArchOS comes to mind as well, stay away from it).


The Archos "Home" tablet brand is ... not that good. The (more expensive) "Internet" tablet brand is fine.
 
 
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