Go for Android!!!

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
ciaocibai said:
Still, I'd love to see the day where you could ship your own branded device, quite cool to think about. Maybe we should start calling you future Steve Jobs - first an electronic dictionary, and then, the world.
Heh, funny how back in the 90s everyone said "future Bill Gates" and now we say "future Steve Jobs" - in the end game I think it'd be more fun to be BillG, work hard and be thoroughly vilified for more than two decades (worst-case Jobs will have to put up with being the bad guy for maybe 1/4 that long before he retires) but then get to spend the rest of your life using $80B to try to make the world a better place.

But a branded device isn't exactly a fortune-maker, it's just a way to possibly get ourselves into schools and such that won't shell out for $500 iPads - could also get a surprisingly large amount of interest from people in the global intelligence community, many of whom work in workplaces that won't allow electronic devices with any wireless transmission capabilities whatsoever (which effectively keeps them from using any modern handheld or smartphone or tablet).

sui.generis said:
My main interest is in high end landscape sliders, but I have very stringent standards on keyboards. Looking at the Droid's keyboard, for example, I'd rather just use the screen, and I've heard the same from users with my standards who've tried it. HTC has two fairly high end qwertys coming, the HTC Vision (3.7ish inches) and one yet unnamed 4ish inch monster that's started showing up in photos. Both use 4 line keyboards which are a turn off for me. I like a dedicated number row. They do maintain the same nice key offsetting and spacing as the Touch Pro2 though, so maybe I'll learn to live with it.
Right, sorry, for some reason I read TP2 as "Treo Pro" :) I hardly ever see Droid users with actual sliders, but then again given the popularity of the Evo / Incredible / etc I think the market is pretty clearly trending away from keyboard-equipped devices; better keyboards might win back a few more people, but in another generation or two we could have non-keyboard phones as thin as iPod Touches, at which point keyboard devices will start to feel as chunky as they did back in the TyTN days.

sui.generis said:
mikelove wrote:
Oh absolutely - I'd like to believe / hope that interest in Android would evaporate rapidly in the event that Google took a less permissive stance towards non-Market apps, so hopefully we can get back to the good old days of keeping the whole price (minus 3-4% or so in credit card fees) for all of our Android sales.

I think it would at least hurt Android and definitely violate longstanding Google tradition if Google nixed it.
Hopefully so, but now that they've "caught up" market-share-wise (at least in the US) they may not feel like they need openness to stay competitive any more - if Verizon came to them and offered to delay a Verizon iPhone by a year in exchange for a 40% cut of Market sales and Google's blessing for their locking out non-Market apps, I doubt Google would say no. It's been quite a while since I saw an ad for an Android phone that actually touted its support for non-approved apps, nowadays it all seems to be about veiled Antennagate references ("rule the air," hah) and ridiculously large screens - they seem to have concluded either that users don't care about that or that the users who do care already know that Android allows unapproved apps and iPhone doesn't.

character said:
The other possibility is a BT keyboard such as the Logitech diNovo Mini which should pair with whichever Android you get.
True, but that would pair with an iPhone too :)
 

beirne

进士
I'll add my name to the list of people that would love to have Pleco on Android. I just switched from an iPhone 3G to a Droid 2 yesterday and have apps to do what I need except for Pleco and Omnifocus. I'll keep my iPhone around as a PDA and use that, but I'll be happy to get the Android version when it comes out. It will also be useful for my fiancee. I just moved her from the Palm to an iPad a week ago but she carries a Droid Eris all the time and it would be nice to have Pleco there.

Thanks,
Beirne
 

caesartg

榜眼
Hi Mike

I'm now looking into getting an Android model. I know you're rightly reluctant to give any promises about which Android devices Pleco might be supported on but to turn that on its head would it be possible for you instead to give some idea if there are any devices currently available that simply won't cut it, upgrade or no upgrade (I.e. Limitations of the hardware will impact on the Pleco experience irrespective of the future OS).

For example, you mentioned that some devices have terrible touchscreens - which ones? I think you said the Droid's touchscreen is disappointing for hand-writing characters and I think I'll avoid it as that's quite important to me. Do any of the devices have quite good touchscreens or are all the ones you came across similarly dogs?

Also, I see many of the devices have 3, 5 or 8 megapixel cameras with AF and at least 640 x 480 video, presumably enough for the OCR function. But do you already know that one or other of the cameras has some limitation that means OCR won't be possible? (E.g. If the video can't be autofocused).

If I get a device that ends up not being able to run Pleco reasonably sometime down the line, that's my own gamble but it would be good to know now if there is some model that you already think probably wouldn't cut it or has drawbacks whatever happens as that could only improve the odds of success.

Thanks

Ben
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
caesartg said:
For example, you mentioned that some devices have terrible touchscreens - which ones? I think you said the Droid's touchscreen is disappointing for hand-writing characters and I think I'll avoid it as that's quite important to me. Do any of the devices have quite good touchscreens or are all the ones you came across similarly dogs?
Haven't found one yet that works as well as iPhone, actually - I'm not sure if there's a good way to answer this question without recommending a specific device as working better than the others, which I most definitely don't want to do since it would be a terrible thing if that device didn't turn out to be able to run Pleco.

caesartg said:
Also, I see many of the devices have 3, 5 or 8 megapixel cameras with AF and at least 640 x 480 video, presumably enough for the OCR function. But do you already know that one or other of the cameras has some limitation that means OCR won't be possible? (E.g. If the video can't be autofocused).
Well we haven't even promised to bring OCR to Android yet... honestly all of our testing of it so far has been with iPhone cameras, so we won't really have a sense of what the hardware requirements for OCR on Android might be until we actually start working on an Android OCR system and testing it on devices. HIgher-resolution video capture is probably better than lower-resolution, though, and AF is certainly more likely to be able to run OCR than non-AF.

caesartg said:
If I get a device that ends up not being able to run Pleco reasonably sometime down the line, that's my own gamble but it would be good to know now if there is some model that you already think probably wouldn't cut it or has drawbacks whatever happens as that could only improve the odds of success.
I wish I could help you more, but I really have to be vague here because other people reading this might not read / might not buy into the "that's my own gamble" part and cheerfully go off and buy a particular Android device based on my recommendations. (but if you PM me with the list of devices you're looking at I can try to give you an individual reply on which one is likely to work best)
 

sfrrr

状元
mikelove said:
sfrrr said:
But, as far as PD is concerned, I'm trying to hedge my bets by buying a cheapo iPod Touch--if there is such a thing.
Wait for September - even if the new models aren't that big a leap, they should drive prices of the old ones down a good bit. (actually even now they can be had for $100 on eBay, which is around what most people paid for their used Palms back in the day) Though I really really hope the new iPod Touch has a camera, since that could massively expand the market for our OCR feature.

BTW, why did you choose the Dell Streak? It seems like kind of an odd mix to me - too big to be pocketable like a phone (though if you carry a handbag I guess you might not mind that so much), but too small to provide the text-reading / web-browsing advantages of an iPad-like device; I've been assuming that the real Android tablet boom would come from devices similar in size to the iPad but cheaper or with extra features (bright-sunlight-friendly screens, e.g.).
Mike--I don't think I replied to this--I've been having frustrating email problems. I chose the Streak because (a) I wear cargo pants 99% of the time, so the Streak still fits in my pocket. (b) I like the larger display--you're right that it is still too small, but not as too-small as my other possibilities. (c) It's a Dell and I loved my Axims for several years. (d) I desperately needed a new mobile phone--iPhones were out for various reasons, and my beloved WinMo was abandoning me (and Pleco). Anyway, so far I'm happy with it--I love having to learn a new operating system even if it is just (just!) a PDA OS,and can't wait for a few more revs of the Android OS to pull it out of its awkward infancy. But I'm still using my iPaq 211 (and carrying it around with me alongside the Streak) because I use Pleco many, many times a day.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
westmeadboy said:
Also, if I was buying a new Android device now, I would only buy something which was guaranteed to be updatable to Android 3.0.
Yes, I'd have to concur on that one even though it's not clear yet what exactly 3.0 will bring - you don't want to buy something and have it be out-of-date in a few months.

sfrrr said:
I chose the Streak because (a) I wear cargo pants 99% of the time, so the Streak still fits in my pocket. (b) I like the larger display--you're right that it is still too small, but not as too-small as my other possibilities. (c) It's a Dell and I loved my Axims for several years. (d) I desperately needed a new mobile phone--iPhones were out for various reasons, and my beloved WinMo was abandoning me (and Pleco).
Makes sense - I hadn't considered the cargo pants angle, but it would be a perfectly-sized mobile device those :)
 

Pampuk

秀才
just a comment on the announcement on main page of pleco.com :

I think you shouldnt write about your decision to develop a Android version here !

this is now the first think people coming to your site will see. It will only make them hesitate to buy an iphone/itouch to use pleco. Better keep the info in forum/special page and announce it when product is near completion.
 
The following advice is free and worth every penny. Take it at your own risk.

Froyo runs on a G1, so updatability extends pretty far even for really out of date hardware (the G1 is as out of date as my TP2, which is basically a TP1 in a new body) if you're willing to go unofficial, just stay with popular devices. The devices with millions of users will be serviced by cyanogen et al. A good snapdragon with WVGA is set to be relevant for years since we've reached a small performance plateau in mobile chipsets -- a lot of chip work is going to be towards efficiency and size in the next year or so. Dual cores are coming, but they aren't going to become minimum specs for anything anytime soon (if ever). Something like the HTC Incredible (another version of the Nexus One) will get unofficial updates if not official ones for a long time to come. The big dogs (4"+), Droid X, Galaxy S and a new unnamed HTC vzw slider are likely to be hacker favorites even if they don't do gangbuster sales (much as the HTC HD1 was).

If you only want official updates (as I kinda do), best to stick to the Nexus One (still sold if you pretend to be a developer) and any successor that should arise. Honestly, I'd even be wary of the original Motorola Droid. As popular as it is, I don't trust Motorola and all companies have some incentive to cut off support at some point to provide further encouragement to a user to upgrade. Motorola is going to want you to buy the Droid 2 at some point. At this moment, I know of no android maker that has made explicit what updates will come with a purchase. Short of a very explicit promise, caveat emptor.

Google has promised that Android's core is maturing, and that once it reaches a certain plateau, major feature changes won't come with each update (nor will updates come as often) as they have to date, and that more features will be added through market-downloaded applications (Google Maps, Google this, Google that) instead so they won't go through delay filters of manufacturers and carriers. When that plateau will really occur is anyone's guess, but my guess is 3.0. Just a reminder that update concerns are probably as heavy now as they'll ever be. Slower updates will also mean more predictability for manufacturers who can make better guarantees about what version they'll give you free updates to.
 

character

状元
My free advice is:

Be prepared to buy a new Android device for Pleco for Android when it comes out. Be prepared to jump to a new one when Pleco drops support for that device and supports another.

Buying a device which Pleco supports is not a new phenomenon; a lot of us have done it. It comes down to finding enough value in running Pleco to justify the expense/lack of choice.
 

sfrrr

状元
character said:
My free advice is:

Be prepared to buy a new Android device for Pleco for Android when it comes out. Be prepared to jump to a new one when Pleco drops support for that device and supports another.

Buying a device which Pleco supports is not a new phenomenon; a lot of us have done it. It comes down to finding enough value in running Pleco to justify the expense/lack of choice.
Not just choosing a Pleco-friendly device but an entirely new Pleco-friendly OS. I've bought a cheap iPod so I can use Pleco in its currently best form. When the Android version comes out, I'll buy whichever Android device Pleco likes and then I'll need to carry only one gadget.

Until then....Whatever Pleco wants, Pleco gets, and little one, the Pleco app wants you. (It more or less fits.) (Sorry. It's one of my frequent American references that are useless outside of the borders of the US.)
 

character

状元
sfrrr said:
Not just choosing a Pleco-friendly device but an entirely new Pleco-friendly OS.
True. Perhaps OCR will convince people they should get an iPhone 3GS or 4 to run Pleco while waiting for an Android version.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
character said:
Be prepared to buy a new Android device for Pleco for Android when it comes out. Be prepared to jump to a new one when Pleco drops support for that device and supports another.

Buying a device which Pleco supports is not a new phenomenon; a lot of us have done it. It comes down to finding enough value in running Pleco to justify the expense/lack of choice.
That seems a bit unfair; we almost never drop support for devices on a given platform. Our iPhone software runs on every iPod / iPhone / iPad ever made (we think) - if your iPhone 3G has started running Pleco more slowly in the last few months, that probably has a lot more to do with iOS 4 than with us - and our Windows Mobile software has had the same system requirements for its entire life (and in fact if anything it runs more smoothly on the older models); we've never supported Pocket PC 2002 and earlier and we've always supported Windows Mobile 2003 and later. We have dropped backwards compatibility on Palm OS a few times, but very very cautiously and only many years after they'd stopped making the devices which we'd dropped support for.

And anyway, the mere fact that we're not releasing new features on a given platform doesn't mean that the old platform is useless for running Pleco - we still get lots of email from people running our 2003-vintage Palm software quite happily on their 2003-vintage Palms. If you want to be running the latest and greatest version of Pleco then chances are you also want to be running the latest and greatest mobile hardware anyway.

I realize some people are a little sore that we've been paying relatively little attention to Windows Mobile ever since we released the iPhone version, but it really is a dead platform now, and if you talk to anyone outside of the Pleco user community they're usually just surprised that we've stuck with WM for this long. And anyway I'm not quite sure what else we could be doing with WM that we're not doing now, aside from a few user interface refinements - OCR is a complete non-starter, our total WM sales for the last few months would barely be enough to cover the royalty advance, and engine-level improvements to searches / flashcards / etc are generally still making it to WM within a few months after they show up on iPhone.

And as far as Android discussions are concerned, there's absolutely no reason to replace an iPhone with an Android phone to run Pleco unless you personally prefer Android (which is hardly Pleco's fault) - given my oft-professed dislike of Android and the fact that it's still much harder for us to program for than iPhone, you can expect the iPhone version of Pleco to continue to be more polished / get more attention from us for as long as iPhone continues to be a viable platform. (which if I have my way will be even longer than Android continues to be one)
 

character

状元
Sorry, I gave the wrong impression, you're quite right about your supporting existing software on existing supported platforms.

I was trying to dance around and avoid saying "it's not a good idea to try to buy Android hardware now for Pleco's eventual Android release."
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
character said:
I was trying to dance around and avoid saying "it's not a good idea to try to buy Android hardware now for Pleco's eventual Android release."
Understood. And yes, it probably would be best to wait, though I realize that for some people that's simply not an option.
 
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