Try Android apps on your Windows Phone today

At Microsofts yearly developer conference, Build this April; they announced two interesting projects or bridges as they call them: Project Astoria and Project Islandwood. These bridges are intended for getting apps created for other platforms, namely Android and iOS to run on Windows 10.

Project Astoria contains a whole Android sub-system and will in its first rendition only be available on Windows 10 Mobile; which means phones and phablets only. Sorry desktop users.

In the latest builds of Windows 10 Mobile released through the Insider Preview Program the Android sub-system has been reportedly been a part of that package. Many pictures of developers and enthusiasts analyzing files and namespace have circulated on Twitter, and earlier today tools and documentation leaked for Project Astoria; making it so that some of us with supported phones can sideload Android apps onto our device.

Project Astoria currently works on a small set of phones, but it has been theorized that the next build of W10M will open up for a lot more devices. The current list of supported phones:

  • Nokia Lumia 920
  • Nokia Lumia 925
  • Nokia Lumia 929 / Verizon Icon
  • Nokia Lumia 830
  • Nokia Lumia 930
  • Nokia Lumia 1520
  • Nokia Lumia 635 (1GB RAM variant)
  • Nokia Lumia 730
  • Nokia Lumia 820
  • Nokia Lumia 435
  • Nokia Lumia 928

Unfortunately the new Lumia 640 and 640 XL aren’t supported which happens to be phones I have access to here while travelling so I have no way of testing, verifiyng or uploading a video to show of the features. I will make a video in a few days when I’m back home so be sure to check back for more detailed information.

In case you have a supported phone and want to test it out, you can head on to Neowin and check out their installation process, but beware, it can end up badly (well, hard reset badly) for the phone.

Xamarin Android: You are trying to install this package into a project that targets ‘MonoAndroid,Version=v2.2’

Today I created a new Xamarin Android project, and I wanted to test out Material Design on my phone (still runs 4.4.2) using the revamped AppCompat v4 library. To my disappointment I was unable to install the AppCompat NuGet package:

Turns out this can be a common problem when using Visual Studio and the “Compile using Android version” is not explicitly set. The default in my case is “Use Latest Platform”. What this does is making VS to add the proper TargetFrameworkVersion property in the .csproj file. It seems that sometimes this does not get set at all when creating a project and “Use Latest Platform” is set. Weird. In any case, setting this explicitly fixes things and NuGet understands which version of MonoAndroid to use. The default is 2.2, but we want something newer, preferably Android Version 5.

So change this:

01-compile-using-latest

To this:

02-compile-with-21

Reload the project when asked by Visual Studio and install the package again!

Thanks to the awesome community over at the Xamarin Forums for being on top of this already — check out the post here.

UPDATE: Haha, never mind the blurred out assembly name in the first image. Don’t know why I did that 😉

Skype Qik Impressions

Skype announced earlier today a new app: Skype Qik (pronounced Quick I guess), a video messaging app which bears similarity to apps like Snapchat and Facebook Messenger.

skype-announced-qikThe tagline is “The new mobile messenger for swapping videos with groups of friends”, and that is exactly what and all it does. In Skype Qik you have the ability to send videos to a person or groups of people at the same time. Nothing more, nothing less. How does it fare? Find out after the break

OneDrive ups its value; 15GB free for everyone, 1TB for Office365 subscribers

Microsoft announced earlier today that they are increasing the storage plans for everyone using OneDrive and lowering the cost of the storage plans of up to 70 %. That means for users of OneDrive they will be upgraded in the coming months to 15GB storage, a little more than doubling your storage space previously. This is for the regular free version, and  if you have paid for more space then you will continue to get that but at lower rates.

The OneDrive team reports that the monthly pricing of their storage plans have dropped, and is now priced the same as Google Drive, at $1.99 per month for 100GB of extra storage, and $3.99 per month for 200GB. This is great news for users. With prices equal to Google Drive and both having lower rates than Dropbox ($9.99 per month for 100GB), it’s a competition on who can deliver the best service for the same price.

This is not the only announcement they made today. Office365 subscribers will soon get 1TB of storage per subscription. For Office365 Home users ($9.99 a month) that means 1TB per person (up to 5 people). That is quite interesting, as the Office365 subscription includes access to the Office Suite and other perks as well, and for the prices ranging from $6.99 per month up to $9.99 per month (or $74.99 for 4 years in the University package) that is great value you’re getting.

If I were you, then I would certainly go for the Office365 subscriptions and get access to the Office suite which now is available on Windows, OS X, iOS, Windows Phone and Android, as well as 1TB of online storage.

Source: https://blog.onedrive.com/new-onedrive-storage-plans/

Finding the distance between two points using Android MapView

In developing an application that is soon to be released in the Norwegian marketplace I’ve been struggling a bit with finding the distance between two points so I can use the MapController’s zoomToSpan method that zooms to fit a given span/region.

The solution that was presented to me was using Location.distanceBetween(latA, lonA, latB, lonB); but little did I know that I would spend hours of tracking down why this method wouldn’t work for me.

The solution? We already know (at least by now) that when you’re given coordinates in the form of “Lat: 51.45999, Lon: 10.344” you need to extract those values and multiply it by 1E6 (10^6) to get a valid GeoPoint in micro-degrees. The problem I was having was that I passed on to Location.distanceBetween those values instead of the original values which caused some head-scratching moments and lots of frustration.

In order to use Location.distanceBetween(); correctly I had to divide my GeoPoint locations by 1E6 in order to get a valid calculation.

So if you’re struggling with distanceBetween and zoomToSpan make sure you’re working with valid data!

Removing or editing the pressed err.. highlight color of ClickableSpan in Android

I’ve been struggling for some hours with TextView and Spannable.. ClickableSpan to be precise. It seems that when you tap the clickable text it gets an ugly orange stroke (might differ on devices) around the text and if you so happen to have this in a custom view as an item in e.g Gallery it really stands out by highlighting it everytime you scroll away from that view. Annoying, yes?

The solution is extremely simple and was provided by a thread over at Stackoverflow.com.

To edit or remove the higlight color you can simply set the TextViews highlight color itself to any color you want or Color.TRANSPARENT if you don’t want any color.

or in code

So there you go!