Category Archives: Android

Android ‘A Look Under the Hood’ Presentation at the BAUG

Sat 24 April 2010. Attended the third ‘meetup’ of the Bangalore Android Users Group (BAUG).

I came in late; heard an interesting session by Askhay Dashrath (the lead organizer).

Was asked by Bhavya to talk about something on Android, so gave a presentation on ‘Android: A Look Under the Hood’.
The coverage included:

  • how Android is different from a “typical” embedded Linux device / product
  • Android Architecture
  • Google’s Android enhancements to the Linux kernel
  • brief demo on a device using ‘adb shell’

The session was well received, with a good number of questions from participants.

The presentation docs were subsequently uploaded and are available here.

An enjoyable and enlightening time for me as well!


Most Useful Android Apps

[Update, May 2015]

I use a Samsung Note 3, recently firmware updated to Android v5.0.

Apps that I find most useful and use on a daily basis include:

  • GTasks (Google Tasks; syncs with Tasks on the PC, etc)
  • Torch
  • Evernote (and Skitch)
  • Drive
  • Maps
  • Alarm Clock Plus
  • Chrome
  • Inbox
  • SwiftKey keyboard

Not on a daily basis, but useful:

  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Quora
  • Dropbox
  • Stack Exchange
  • Google Translate
  • Camera360
  • Wikipedia
  • Exercise
    • Nike Running
    • 7 Minute
    • Workout Trainer
    • JEFIT
    • Abs
  • Amazon Kindle
  • Easy Uninstaller
  • Security
    • Lookout
    • Lastpass
  • Misc
    • Android Wear
    • Contacts Optimizer
    • xe currency
    • Gravity screen
    • S Planner


Very useful app- ASTRO File Manager – as one can backup all existing installed apps onto the SD card and (re)install them from there..
Also realize that apps that sync data online are the way to go..

So, among my Best Android Apps are:
Built-in: Contacts (w/ gmail), gmail, (google) calendar,
Sync: 3Banana, twitdroid.
LBS: GPS Status, MyTracks, Compass, SnapPhoto,
Misc: ASTRO, Useful Switchers, ToggleBlu

More to follow…

Ok, an update (6 Oct ’09):


Internal Memory Widget : useful to see how much space remains on internal flash (as all apps get installed there).

MoonPhase : as it says, and really done nicely.

Continue reading Most Useful Android Apps

Google-Android (ABO) Executive Conference, 5 Mar 2009, Bangalore, India


Was happy to be a speaker at the ‘Google-Android for Executives Conference ’09’ organized by ABO Ventures, held in Bangalore on 5 Mar ’09.

I made a brief presentation entitled “Android – A Look Under the Hood”, which was pretty well received. It included a couple of demos on the Android Developer Phone (ADP1):
– changing brightness of the LCD screen (using a shell script, low-level hardware access via /sys – not the recommended way to do it!)
– flashing the device: saving and restoring the bootloader, kernel and system/app images.

Some pics taken during the flashing process below:

ADP1 hooked up to the laptop via the USB cable

ADP1 (Android Developer Phone v1) hooked up to the laptop via the USB cable.

ADP1 showing the bootloader-loaded recovery util (JF v1.3)

ADP1 showing the bootloader-loaded recovery util (JF v1.3).


ADP1 ‘Settings/About phone’ screenshot after upgrade (flash).

A few “Android FAQs for Beginners” Answered


  • Q. Are there actual physical Android devices?

    A. Yes, as of this writing, the HTC “Dream” T-Mobile G1 and the unlocked Google Android Developer Phone 1 (ADP1). Also, very recently (24 Feb 2009) the HTC “Magic” Vodafone G2 has been released. All handsets have been built by OHA-member HTC.

    Update [2 May ’09]:
    Samsung has just released the Samsung I7500 Android mobile smartphone; the announcement was made on 27 April 2009.


Application Development

  • Q. Prerequisites?
    A. You should know (at least the basics of) Java programming.

  • Q. How does one develop applications for Android?
    A. First, download and install the SDK. Read the Developer Guides, tutorials, books (etc). Write applications (using Java, and probably, the Eclipse IDE with the Android ADT plugin). Start here.

Porting Android kernel to the TS-72xx board (EP93xx)

Porting Attempt

From: Android base (2.6.25-android-r1.0), ARM11, on android phones (like G1)

To: TS-7200 SBC, ARM9,… (Matt’s) kernel.

Upside: TS72xx learning, android learning, porting experience.

Downside: no full LED screen/touchpanel, moving to lower-powered processor, toolchain (asm) issues?


Verify TS-7200 board running off a 2.6 kernel (because it ships with 2.4.26)

So: downloaded kernel codebase of 2.6.21-ts from here:

tskernel-2.6.21-ts-src.tar.gz 56618 KB Thursday 15 November 2007 12:00:00 IST

$ wget


=> ‘tskernel-2.6.21-ts-src.tar.gz.1’


Connecting to||:21… connected.

Logging in as anonymous … Logged in!

==> SYST … done. ==> PWD … done.

==> TYPE I … done. ==> CWD /ts-arm-sbc/ts-7200-linux/sources … done.

==> PASV … done. ==> RETR tskernel-2.6.21-ts-src.tar.gz … done.

Length: 5,79,75,931 (55M) (unauthoritative)

2% [> ] 13,86,578 18.46K/s ETA 25:18


Use the correct configuration file.

Continue reading Porting Android kernel to the TS-72xx board (EP93xx)