With the ability to get root access to some of these new powerful pieces of hardware we call cell phones, we’re a bit surprised we haven’t seen more interfacing with external hardware. Here’s an example of some rudimentary connections between an Android G1 and an Arduino. To do this, you must have your G1 rooted, have the Android SDK installed, and then a custom python program running. There is also a simple level shifter from 3.3v to 5v necessary for the connection to the Arduino. You can get all the details from the instructable. They’ve documented the process quite well adn we’re excited to see what kinds of stuff people come up with.
[Matthias] from Intuity Media Lab put together a nice bit on controlling office lights with XMPP from his Android phone. In the article, he explains the components involved in the project, why he chose XMPP, and lists everything you need to replicate it. The project makes use of a wide variety of tools and libraries, weaving together code from multiple languages to achieve its goal. Overall, his project is a welcome change in a world full of Twitter-based solutions.
It’s been many months since the T-Mobile G1 was initially rooted. In that time, the process has been streamlined and tools have been built to make it much easier. Having a rooted phone has become even more desirable with the recent release of the 1.5 firmware that includes an onscreen keyboard along with other improvements. Having a rooted phone means you can do tricks like setting up a 3G/WiFi bridge. [Taylor Wimberly] has written a guide to help you easily root your G1 without having to go digging through forums for software bits. The process starts by using [Mike Moussa]’s rooting app to revert the phone to the RC29 build. You then use the “Android stupidly executes everything you type” exploit to launch telnetd and upgrade the bootloader. After that, the upgrade process is fairly easy. You just flash a new baseband and build. Once you’ve got your new custom firmware, you can do future updates using an app from the Android Market. We recently updated our Android Dev Phone 1 to 1.5 and haven’t had any issues.
For those wanting to do some hacking or kernel debugging on their G1, [macpoddotnet] shows how to make a serial to USB cable. He gathered enough information on the Android platform google group to be able to piece something together. He’s using a USB 2.8V serial TTL level converter, and lists several available that should work. Looks like a pretty easy build.
AndroidAndMe is running a bounty program for Android applications. Users can request a specific application and pledge money to be awarded to the developer who delivers the functional app. [Alec Holmes] just fulfilled the first request by creating Torrent Droid. You can use the app to scan media barcodes and then download the related torrent. It uses the phone’s camera to capture the product’s UPC barcode (similar to Compare Everywhere‘s price lookup) and then searches major torrent sites like The Pirate Bay to find a copy that can be downloaded. After getting the .torrent file, the app can submit it to uTorrent‘s web interface for remote downloading. The app will be released later this month and you can see a screenshot tour of it on Alec’s blog. It’s doubtful that an application like this would ever clear Apple’s App Store approval process.
[ghostwalker] has put together instructions for running X11 on your Android device. This means you can run a full-blown Linux desktop environment on your phone. It requires you to already have a Debian shell on the phone, which we covered earlier. Instead of having to come up with a custom display driver, it’s hooked to a VNC server. You can connect to it using an Android VNC viewer on the phone or via any other VNC client. The how-to suggests either IceWM or the even lighter-weight LXDE for a window manager. You could potentially install Gnome or KDE, but we’d be surprised if it was any faster than dog slow. Let us know if you have any success with this and what you think the best use is.
Many G1/ADP1 owners have been using the app Tetherbot to get internet access on their laptop via USB to the phone’s data connection. The app relied on the Android Debug Bridge to forward ports. It worked, but people wanted a solution better than a SOCKS proxy. The community figured out a way to create a properly NAT’d connection using iptables and then [moussam] rolled them up into easy to use applications. There’s one for setting up a PAN device on Bluetooth and another for adhoc WiFi networking. It requires you to have root on your phone, but hopefully you’ve achieved that and are already running the latest community firmware.