Android Awesomeness

I’ve been waiting for an Android-based phone to be ‘officially’ launched in India for a while now. My wait seems to be near its end; there are (again) some rumours flying around that HTC is going to launch one of its phones in India in the near future. Sooner or later, there’s bound to be an Android-based phone available in India—if it’s not HTC, then it’ll probably be Samsung.

Why Android? If I wanted an ordinary smartphone, I could have bought an iPhone already. The iPhone’s problem is that I can’t really develop apps for it myself—the development environment is Mac-only. And I can’t install applications that aren’t on the official app store—unless I mod the phone, which I’m unwilling to do.

Android doesn’t have have iPhone’s polished UI. None of the Android-based phones out so far look as sexy as an iPhone. These issues don’t matter.

Android has a pretty decent (Eclipse-based) development environment. I was reasonably sure that I would be able to develop applications for my small needs myself; and that was before the awesome Android Scripting Environment (ASE) was announced.

ASE allows one to write tiny scripts (in Python, Lua or BeanShell) that can do awesome things. Like allowing me to scan a book’s barcodes and looking-up its details, sending messages, finding my location, using text-to-speech, and creating notifications.

Of course, all this is possible via a normal application. But providing a decent scripting environment really lowers the bar. The possiblity of creating a script in a couple of minutes that’s useful right away allows one to experiment with all sorts of crazy ideas.

The only thing I’m worried about is that when I do end up with an Android phone, I could end up wasting all my time customizing and scripting it. Technology is supposed to be unobtrusive, not all-consuming.

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