Effective Android - Getting Started Guide for the Android Dev Phone 1

2009-05-28 Software-Engineering Mobile Android

This week I spend a day to get my new Android Phone up and running.

At the end I figured it might make sense to write up a cookbook on what to do when you finally get your hands on the box and unwrap your new toy. Here we go ...

The (ultimate :)) Android Getting Started Guide (for Mac Users :))

First things first: This guide assumes that you got yourself an Android Dev Phone 1. It will not work for the T-Mobile G1.

Obviously the first thing you want to do is to open the box, put the battery into the phone and charge it (for at least 3 hours). The phone comes with an US power-supply and an USB-cable, means in Europe you either need to have an adapter or you need to charge the phone with the USB-cable (I charged it with the cable).

The phone comes with the Android 1.0 firmware pre-installed, but the current version is 1.5 and is much better (yes, believe me - it is better). Therefore while charging the phone you might want to download a couple of files:

  • the Android SDK 1.5 - you need this for the tools
  • the Android 1.5 firmware (download ota-radio-2_22_19_26I.zip and signed-dream_devphone_userdebug-ota-148830.zip) - this is what you want to install on the phone (make sure to configure your browser (e.g. Safari) NOT to unzip the files after download - you need the zip files).
After the phone was charged I put my SIM-card into the phone and followed the instructions on the Start Here! Setup Guide that comes with the phone and went through the setup process. As part of this process you have to login to your Google Account (no comment :)). That also means that you need to have a GPRS connection and that means that your SIM card needs to have a data plan and that your APN must be configured to work with the phone (if this sounds like a little bit of a hassle - it is!!!).

After everything is up and running you might want to replace the very small 1GB microSD-Card with something bigger (you need to do this sooner or later anyway). I recommend at least an 8GB card. Just follow the instructions in the Setup Guide (and do not forget to unmount before you take the card out of the slot).

The next step is to install the SDK. Just unzip the file to a/the location of you choice (in my case /opt) and add the .../tools directory to your path (e.g. in the ~/.bashrc file).

Plug the phone into one of the USB-ports, start a shell and type ...

~\> adb devices
List of devices attached
HT93MLZ00125 device

... to verify that you can see the phone. You then need to follow the instructions from the HTC-website to upgrade the firmware to 1.5. A couple of observations ...

  • the firmware updater is always looking for a file called update.zip in the root of the SD-card, means while copying/pushing the file to the device you need to rename it to update.zip
  • to switch on logging you have to type ALT-l(og) not ALT-i (hard to read or I need new glasses :))
  • "5. Use the adb sync command to copy the contents of the radio image package to the update.zip archive on the device's SD card:$ adb push .zip /sdcard/update.zip" ... should probably read ... "5. Use the adb sync command to copy the contents of the recovery image package to the update.zip archive on the device's SD card:$ adb push .zip /sdcard/update.zip" (looks like an honest copy-and-paste bug :))
Afterwards you probably want to find a WLAN-Hotspot to speed up the rest of the configuration/setup process. But be aware ... my WLAN-Router was using channel 13 and initially the phone is configured to use only 11 channels, means my phone did not find my hotspot. To fix this you need to go to Settings > Wireless Controls > Wi-Fi Settings and press the Menu button, select Advance > Regulatory domain and tell the phone to use (all) 14 channels (took me *only* an hour to find this one :)).

The next step is to sync/upload you contacts to your Google Account and sync the contacts and the calendar. The sync is only working, if you have an iPod or an iPhone. Otherwise your best option is to upload your contacts.

Configuring the email client to work with your POP3 and/or IMAP mail accounts is straight forward.

Last but not least you want to install a couple more programs. Here is my hit-list ...
  • Twitteroid - a must have (obviously :))
  • Pixelpipe - very good (offline) (micro-) blogging client
  • Chess - the only game you need
  • GPS Status 2 - cool GUI
  • Hi AIM - one way to do IM
  • Skype (Beta) - was not able to make it work (yet)
  • NewsRob - RSS client to read your Goggle Reader Account
  • Par 3 Golf - ok, the "other" game you need
  • Glympse - to keep people in the loop on your whereabouts
To put some structure into the application space I created folders on my home screen and moved the apps into the appropriate folders (e.g Games, Tools, ...). BTW ... if you want to change the name of a folder you have to open it and put your finger on the title bar until the change-the-name dialog opens.

Finally you want to sync you iTunes Playlists and Podcasts with the phone. First you need to install software and then you need to mount the SD-card to the laptop. You can do this by pulling down the status/notification bar on the home screen and push the "USB connected" notification.

All of this took me (on and off) 8 hours. Next step is to set up a/the development environment. Sounds like another 8 hours of good fun lie ahead of me :).