Tagged: developer

Alternatives to the Android Market

So you have an Android phone that you want to be able to make your own, or you may feel a little restricted by Google’s Android Market.  What other options are out there?  I do a lot of talking and linking to things in Android Market, but I also talk and link a lot about the Amazon Appstore. The Amazon Appstore (among others – see below) is an alternate place to download apps for Android and along with the below list gives you the freedom to get your apps from anywhere.

I will cover a handful of app stores below. Feel free to check them out and comment about your experiences.

Name: SlideME App Store
Description:
SlideME is a great alternative to the Google Android Market, and is the site that has made recent (geek gamer) news because of the user yongzh getting booted out of Google’s market and pulling all of his apps and moving over to SlideME and releasing them for free. He is the author of the (insert-classic-system-here)OID games like, NESOID, SNESOID, GameBoid. Just for those apps alone you should go check out the SlideME appstore.
Download Link: http://goo.gl/P8VoU (SlideMe.org)

Name: AndSpot.com
Description:
AndSpot takes a unique approach to the idea of an app store. One that all you power users out there will love. They have a monthly service that gives you UNLIMITED Android app downloads for a low low monthly rate of $8 per month. It is in Beta so you have to sign up for it and wait to get an invite.
Download Link: http://goo.gl/2EEMd(AndSpot.com)

Name: Aproov
Description:
Aproov is a web based app “store” that specializes is only Free apps. This is great if you are someone that spends a lot of time looking through the regular market’s free section and struggle with it because it is not designed for just free apps, where this app store is designed just for that.
Download Link: http://goo.gl/Y930E (Aproov.com)

Name: OnlyAndroid (Mobihand.com)
Description:
OnlyAndroid is an app store that has an option that is similar to the Amazon Appstore. It offers a “deal of the day” on an android app or service. Although it is not a free app, but it also does include services, for example the deal for today (7/29/11) is a 15 month subscription to the SmrtGuard service which gives you data backup and a lost phone finder service for 50% off. It is definitely a site to keep tabs on because they might offer a great deal on that certain app you have been eyeing.
Download Link: http://goo.gl/kNGYB (onlyandroid.mobihand.com)

Name: Amazon App Store
Description:
Amazon Appstore is the alternative appstore that I am obviously a huge fan of mainly because of the feature they offer every day that gives you a FREE app that you can just download. No strings attached. They have a great selection of apps and almost all of the apps have a sale price that is cheaper than the “normal” Android Market.
Download Link: http://goo.gl/BRkOt (Amazon.com)

Some “Best of the Best” accessories for your Android phone:

0

Android Debug Bridge (ABD) Beginner’s Guide

ADB (Android Debug Bridge) is a fancy tool that Google has made available to Android users and developers. It is part of the Android SDK (Software Development Kit).  Basically it creates a connection (Bridge) between the Android and the computer. It was originally used as a tool to achieve root on the phone, and to be able to do some additional functions, similar to a linux command line.  A lot of the same commands can be done on the phone through a terminal emulator program (right on the phone), it is so much easier to be able to type it all on a full sized keyboard (plus it makes you feel more like a computer nerd).

Although all of this may seem a little complicated at first it is very simple to setup and use.  At the bare minimum you just have to download the software, install it (I usually install it to c:android), change a setting on your phone (See “Phone Settings” below) and plug the phone and computer into the USB cable. A very simple installer has been put together entitled ADB for Dummies by AndroidSamurai that provides an installer that puts all the files in the right places.  There is a simple command you can do to verify that everything is installed properly.  Open up a command prompt (Start -> Run -> CMD) and switch to the “Tools” folder (wherever you installed the above mentioned software) and type the following command:

adb devices

You should see a long string that will be the ID number of your phone.  You don’t need to memorize it, you just need to see it there to know that the computer properly sees the phone. If you don’t see it, it is most likely an issue with a driver.  Go to the manufacturers site, or simply search google for the manufacturer and the word driver.

Phone Settings – Another troubleshooting step is to make sure the phone is setup for the USB connection. To do this all you have to do (on the phone) is:
Settings -> Applications -> Development -> USB Debugging (Make sure it is checked)  That’s it!

Once you have it installed there are a few cool things you can do with it. Let’s say you want to make a backup of all the apps on your phone.  All you have to do is key in this command:

adb pull /data/app ./

This will backup all the .APK files so you can reinstall them at a later time.  So now lets show you how to do the restore.  Put your APK files all into a single folder (c:apps), navigate to that folder and type in this command:

adb install *.apk

How about changing your boot logo?  Easy as can be…  Find a boot animation on the web that you want to use, and make sure it is a .ZIP file (that you have no need to open or modify, because it probably won’t work if you do) and rename it bootanimation.zip.  Copy the bootanimation.zip file to your “Tools” folder inside your Android SDK installation.  Finally type the following 2 commands to copy it to the phone:

adb shell mount -o rw,remount /dev/block/mtdblock3 /system
adb push pirate_bootanimation.zip /system/media/bootanimation.zipck/mtdblock3 /system
adb reboot

 Watch the phone screen and you should see the new boot logo!

So this is a brief look at what ADB does, and how to get it.  For more information check out the official Android ADB site and learn all you can on it.  Also remember to backup before messing around too much.  We are not responsible for data loss!


Some “Best of the Best” accessories for your Android phone:

0