[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 fullofTwitter–basedsolutions.
Layar brings augmented reality to your cellphone with the release of Layar Reality Browser 2.0. Partnering with Layar, Brightkite improves the experience by accessing their content, along with Wikipedia, Twitter, and other services; then by using the camera on your cellphone, maps friends and other users data on the screen, over top of the live feed. Simply aim your camera at a bar and find that two friends are inside, and read a reminder to yourself that you didn’t like the live music. It’s interesting to see how much is already implemented, and with an additional 500 API keys released, what new things will come from Layar?
In the last few days, rooting the T-Mobile G1 and myTouch 3G has become much easier. [Zinx] released FlashRec which lets you flash a new recovery image onto your Android phone. It takes advantage of Linux kernel vulnerability CVE-2009-2692. The app lets you backup your current image and then flashes Cyanogen’s Recovery Image 1.4. Once that’s done, you can use any custom Android build you want. Android and Me has documented the entire process on their site and points out the ridiculously large number of custom ROMs that are out there. Embedded below is a video from [unknownkwita] showing the rooting process.
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.