Android App Advance Orders ?

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With Challenges facing the Android application I am willing see if I get a reaction here or rotten tomatoes thrown at me
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James Nelson

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Posted 11 months ago

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allenfr

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Well, what Android app?
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James Nelson

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Aha .... there is life out there  ... I thought so.... To get the ball rolling I am curious to see how many users are out there like me that are willing to Pledge or Advance order the app if we could order this over this via the Flexradio Web store refundable if unable to complete. Clearly there needs to be some reward for costs in tools and time to get this moving so I  Lets say we have 20 to 30 users who like me are willing to order this up front just maybe that me be enough incentive to get the project moving... Anyone care to join me ?   (no rotten tomatoes please)

James  VK2JN
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Ken Hansen

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I think you vastly underestimate the effort involved in creating something with even passing similarity to SSDR on Windows or even iOS SSDR. If 20 to 30 people paid/pledged $100 each, that's only $2-3K, that's enough to cover a couple weeks work for, say, two developers, little more.

Unless you can find someone with a deep passion that is interested in coding the app 'on spec' and is not interested in money, I don't see how this could move forward.
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James Nelson

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As I am led to believe by snippets of what I have read, its not quite the chaos it used to be and the app can be designed for 5.0.1 onwards with the most popular hardware supported. Thanks Dan ... just trying to keep the ball rolling. I wish I had more under the skull to have a go myself.

Thank you
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Ken Hansen

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The numbers just aren't there to 'pay' someone with the appropriate skills if they don't have a interest beyond money in the project. Understand there is no code re-use between anyexisting software (OS X, Windows, or iOS), so the developer is starting with a clean slate.

100 x $100 is only $10,000 - which sounds like a lot, until you start drawing a paycheck from it. But you can't reasonably expect to get more than, say $50 per user from the project, based on the price point and feature set of the existing iOS app...

I'd love to have an Android app some day, I have the iOS app, but I prefer to travel with my Android (actually Amazo Fire) tablet as it only cost less than $100 new, has an HD screen, and wouldn't break the bank if I lost it on vacation.

And again, honestly, I can run the current SSDR cluenton a $100-150 windows tablet/laptop today, that is the competition for an android port.
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James Nelson

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Yes Windows tablets are small now and that's what I use.. in saying that carrying one device in place of two is very appealing. Many of us listen to WebSDR on our androids with HTML5 so it makes sense to have SmartSDR in our pockets.. Thanks for your comments !
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Ken Hansen

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As for versions, the issue isn't the number of different versions available new, it's the number of older, orphaned, android devices that are effectively stuck running 2-3 yr old OSes that users will want to use. Compare that to the comparatively few numbersof iPhone/iPad devices and OS combinations possible...

You have to ask yourself a simple question - who is the intended user? I think the market is limited to users that own Flex radios (obviously), but that also own no iOS devices and refuse to buy a Windows device. That is a potential customer base that numbers, at best, in the several thousands - and that's being generous.

At $0 it never happens, no incentive.

At $10 it gets a few thousand users - maybe.

At $50 it's competing with the mature iOS app.

At $100 it's competing with a Windows laptop/tablet running the official Flex SSDR with all available features.

At $1,000 it's competing with Maestro.
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James Nelson

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Good input, and I have a Windows tab that's great as well .... it would be nice not to have to worry about carring another gadget just for the radio. All opinions respected. This discussion is all about a hands up who is interested. Thanks Ken
(Edited)
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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This is not something that we would entertain doing.  It would have to be funded outside of FlexRadio. This sounds like a Go Fund Me project.
(Edited)
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James Nelson

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Thanks Tim ..... Go fund not a bad idea... Just trying to get some enthusiasm happening Thank you !
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Philip KA4KOE

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It's all about market share and effort involved. Engineering, whatever your flavor, is not cheap. I'm an engineer and I know that I am definitely NOT a cheap date. :)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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I know there are a lot of non apple users out there, me included, I have an android phone. I would purchase software for my phone.
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Bob Gerzoff, WK2Y

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I wonder what the potential size of the user base would be, especially relative to IOs.  I have a friend who has written two chess apps for Android  and yes , there are several of flavors of Anrdroid floating around which complicates matters. 

73,
Bob, WK2Y
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Duane N9DG

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At this point in time I wouldn't even consider trying to support any Android version older than 6.x.

And if this project is done with the future trends in mind it would be designed from day one to play nicely on Chromebooks that support running Android Apps.
(Edited)
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Duane N9DG

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Additionally this Chromebook support idea being primarily targeted for the "flip" or convertible form factor Chromebooks, ones that can switch between a laptop form factor to a tablet form factor. Then being run in the tablet configuration, because a convertible Chromebook in the laptop configuration would not be very user friendly with the user control scheme I'm thinking of (as described below).
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Ken Hansen

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This can be done today with a convertible 2-1 windows notebook, and it even supports a directly-attached FlexControl.
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Bob Gerzoff, WK2Y

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I should mention, I would definitely like it.  My phone and tablets are all Android.
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VK6SJ

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I've had quite a few customers asking about an Android version of SSDR (I am the Australian distributor for Flex), and would be happy to contribute something towards it. Even if it didn't contain the pan adapter for a start it would be good to have something out there. While on this subject, it would also be great to have a dumbed down version for IOS and Android suited more for mobile operation. Something with big keys and just enough information to use the radio in a mobile environment.
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Norm - W7CK

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If you don't need the pan adapter, just use RCForb.  I've been using it for years and it works very well on every Android device I've tried it on.

Norm - W7CK
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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You can always use CommCat which works with Flex..

It also works with my Apple Watch
(Edited)
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Ken Hansen

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Nifty - very "Dick Tracy"!
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Milen KG2C

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I have some experience with small-scale development and have a few thoughts on the topic.

First, money alone (via pre-order or crowdfunding)  would not be sufficient incentive. $20-$30 per person for 100 people is enough only for about a week of full-time development for ONE developer. I doubt this is enough time to learn enough about the library, communication between the radio server and the client, and to learn VITA-49, let alone code anything using that knowledge.

Second, there is a possible way, which involves someone meeting all of the below criteria:
  1. Lots of free time to pursue uncompensated work
  2. Already owns a Flex 6000-series radio
  3. Wants to use said radio from Android often
  4. Absolutely detests Apple Inc
  5. Has programming skills, preferably in cross-platform projects
  6. Likes to work for free for the fun of accomplishing a task via his own code
Third, (if I remember correctly) there was a guy who tried that and was posting here on the forums. I don't remember what happened to him or his code but it looks like the effort was abandoned since I haven't heard about it since I originally read that topic. I remember he got as far as figuring out some VITA-49 stuff to get the panafall working and he had most UI elements working. Was his code open-source? Maybe someone can pick up where he left it...?
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AA0KM

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James Nelson

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Yes ... thank you .... been watching that old thread for a while, without being nuisance I just wanted to revitalise the subject again.

James VK2JN
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James Nelson

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Thanks Milen, yes the Vita 49 post from Steve was correct, while not an apple fan I wouldn't like to start Apple bashing, that's very imature. It's more about wanting to carry ONE gadget for those that have a close relationship with their Androids and could be considered power users if I may. I am happy at $100 so therefor 100 users at $100.00 is $10000. All comments welcome.

Tim mentioned "Go Fund Me" ?

James VK2JN
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Kevin K4VD, Elroy

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I would consider contributing to an Android effort if a good plan was presented and I agreed with the direction. If it is just another clone of SSDR I'm out. Some of you know from my past posts I'm not a fan of SSDR.

I'm surprised someone hasn't picked this up as a college project or hobby. Better than an Android app would be an app written for the web so it didn't make a difference what OS camp I was in.

I don't believe the result has to be a full-blown, replace SSDR/Maestro/..., client. It can be pretty darn simple and be highly effective. Maybe some base SWL core with modules added depending on how you'd use it. Most important would be reliability and simplicity and ability to work in almost any environment. Nothing available today can claim these traits.

Simple means things like pan adapters, waterfalls, high fidelity stereo are not required (by me). If I'm remote, I just want a reliable setup that doesn't require the latest networking QOS technology to let me knock off some QSOs in the mode of my choice. A nice, simple ADIF format logger would be handy.

Simple.

73,
Kev K4VD
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Duane N9DG

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Include me on the simple UI approach mindset. And one that is optimized for the small screen and form factor of these devices. Don't try to recreate SSDR with all of its features on a phone or tablet device. And do not draw pictures of traditional radio controls, displays, metering etc. either, that is the absolute last thing you should want to do. Make the screen's controls be entirely optimized for easy, minimal hand movement, phone or tablet use.

Provisions for just one spectrum display and perhaps just one RX/TX will be fine for what this kind of a app would be intended for. Modest restrictions of maximum displayed bandwidth of the spectrum display would be appropriate too. A max bandwidth of 1M or even 500K may be adequate for the vast majority of users.

I've thought of some ideas for UI designs that allow the user to only ever have to use controls and scroll areas on each side edge of the the screen, and with minimal need to ever move fingers to touch things in the middle of the screen. Though the user can do so in certain cases for certain things. But most user inputs for most things being driven from those edge of the screen controls. That eliminates the need to be continually repositioning hands and fingers to manipulate controls in the middle of the screen. And I'm thinking this will most likely only work in a landscape orientation exclusively.
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James Nelson

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Thanks Duane, sadly I don't have the knowledge (and possibly the brains) for this however just hoping someone that can will pick up the thread here and see if the ball can start rolling again. If it can be done in iOS it cant be impossible in Android even if there are some GUI compromises. Thanks for you comments.

James VK2JN
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Ken Hansen

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Like this?

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Duane N9DG

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Nope, not even close, especially the "knob" part.. That is pretty much just a traditional physical radio's controls drawn as a picture on a computer screen. Precisely what you don't want to do. And there are way too many controls presented at one time.
(Edited)
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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CommCat.

No
Spectrum.

Which is why I prefer SSDR for iOS
(Edited)
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James Nelson

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Interesting, you mean HTML5 Browser ? Great thinking. Thanks for your input although the cogs and wheels has my limited brain working overtime as it need a pc server after the Radio. Thanks Kev,


James VK2JN
(Edited)
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Jonathan Straub

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While I would love to have an Android app, as I won't own an Apple product unless absolutely necessary, I would need my new radio shipped first (I hope the 6400M production run will be finished soon). To be honest, the occasions I would want to operate the radio remotely, I would have a laptop with me in a hotel room anyway.
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James Nelson

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Sure, everyone has their own style and I use a Windows tablet that's great, I guess I am always remote and that would mean one extra thing that I could leave behind when I feel lazy. Remote around the house on LAN or WAN overseas is my modus operandi full time really. For the last three years the Flex sits in a rack with an Ethernet cable, it's just a black box I don't touch actually. The 6000 series release network radio was the major draw card for me I ordered on day 1 and there is no radio that has given me so much pleasure. In October I enjoyed in the Philippines on a connection of barely 1mb and it blew me and my ham buddies away. Do enjoy you new radio, there is nothing quite like it as the networking is engineered into the architecture from the ground up.

James VK2JN
(Edited)
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Bob - W7KWS -

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Remote Desktop and a good SIP audio client on the PC works great while we wait for a native Android client.  When there is one, I'm in for a license.  $100 wouldn't be too much  if it controls the Flex and the rest of the station too.  If it looks like what I'm doing now on my 5.5 inch Android phone it would be fantastic.

(Edited)