August 11, 2009

Making a smartphone out of the HTC magic

As mentioned in my last post, the HTC Magic marketed in India, as it comes out of the box is no smartphone. It is crippled in not having access to the android market. Which means you have to hunt for apps available outside the market to make your phone smart. These are the apps I have found in about a month of searching - what are yours ?

Android Scripting Environment
A fantastic application that gives you a scripting environment, currently for Lua or Python on your phone. This is an early python script written as a poor man's mapping solution. Obtain your coordinates from GPS, construct an url fit for consumption by google maps and open the browser.


A great way to see the night sky. Using GPS and position information from the phone, the objects in the night sky in your field of vision are displayed.

A secure shell client allowing you to get a local shell (connect to localhost) or connect to an ssh server on a pc. Second screenshot shows emacs running in an ssh session.

A very good ebook reader.

In the absence of the google maps application, this is an option to use a map with a GPS. Quite comprehensive maps and a wealth of options. On the flip side, this is free only until 01-01-2010, you cannot use offline maps and the interface is a little messy.

A truly free mapping system. You have a choice of renderers (including google maps) and you can store the maps offline by 'preloading' them.

And finally, installing the android SDK on the pc is helpful in various ways. I used adb a couple of times to install apk files when for some reason it wouldnt work when browsing from the phone. And also, of course, to get these screenshots.