Friday, June 04, 2010

Motorola Droid for Air on Android Development

Realistically, a huge hurdle for developing Air on Android apps is having a new Android phone fast enough to actually perform decently. We all know how expensive the newest generations of phones can be…

Luckily for me, some guys from work at Roundarch had the good fortune of attending Google IO. One of my comrades was also nice enough to give me his freebie Motorola Droid* he got at Google IO (he kept the EVO 4G though ;) ).

As you could probably guess, the Droid is really, really slow (600Mhz) compared to the newer Android phones (Nexus One is 1Ghz). What this means is your Air on Android apps will be *significantly* slower on the Droid than the newer phones. For example:  testing Jesse Freeman’s current iteration of the FlxFrogger app, my stock Droid ran at about 8fps  whereas it runs at 13 fps on his Nexus One (There’s still work left to optimize the app itself, so those numbers will improve).

Luckily, Droids can be overclocked. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK**

My Droid now runs at 1.2Ghz

This process will probably take 30 minutes. Here are the best resources I’ve found:

1. Flashing -

2. Rooting -

3. Custom Rom Installing -

^^^I did spend the $3.99 for the Rom Manager (it’s SOOO much easier than finding the right downloads, transferring files, rebooting, backing up, and installing yourself). Also, on part 3 step #7, I had to wipe my data and cache since I was coming from the stock 2.1.

After going through these steps, my Droid runs at the same fps as Jesse’s Nexus One. I also tried the free marketplace app “BenchmarkPi” and scored a 2358. I don’t know how that compares to other phones yet or if there’s a better way to benchmark. Let me know in the comments.

*It came pre-installed with Android 2.1. I imagine you can find Droids for cheap on ebay to use as a dev phone, but I don’t know what they would have installed.

**I don’t know how risky this is and your results may vary as far as overclocking goes. I don’t know what effect it may have on battery life or how it could harm any other parts of the phone. For me, this has been completely stable and very fast, but, again, this is strictly a development phone for me. It doesn’t even have a sim card.

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