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The Android Experiment: Investigating HTML5, Photoshop and Blu-ray support

Episode eight answers more of your questions
Fri Jan 24 2014, 15:26

I'M ON THE HOME STRETCH, and this time next week I'll write my conclusions about what a rollercoaster its been, but for now the Android doctor is scrubbed up and ready to address more of your questions and challenges.

Where's this video edit you keep promising?

Well might you ask. Although I've successfully edited the piece once, it was infested with watermarks, so I've had to start again, this time using a different, paid app. And it's been a disaster ever since. I shall tell you more if and when the finished product is revealed.

Can you connect to devices on a LAN and transfer files?

Yes. The magnificent ES Explorer app not only has a LAN setting but it will even scan your network to sniff for servers and ports.

Can you make an Android device a media server?

Definitely, a lot of devices are DLNA compliant right out of the box. Otherwise, there are loads of apps you can try. I've been using Bubble UPnP on my mini PC stick and that works pretty well.

Have you tried the Samsung Optical Smart Hub as a means to access CDs and DVDs on your device?

Yes, I took delivery of one yesterday. I'm playing with it and will let you know how it goes, however I can already see that there's no way to rip to MP3s from Android, limiting its usefulness for me.

Can you use Android to control and manage other computers?

The first thing to say about this is, of course, and to note that this week Logmein became a premium service after years of offering a free version. The good news is that the evergreen Real VNC has just come down from $9.99 to free in response to the move by Logmein. There are also a number of PABX exchange telephone kits and server managers.

Can you code a simple HTML5 website?

I won't lie, I haven't tried yet, but I think it will be possible. There are also a few WYSIWYG web creators in the Google Play store. If time permits, I will come back to this one.

Can you print to your printer?

Yes! I have a Kodak printer that has its own app, built around Google's Cloud Print service. I can do almost anything from there, even run the printhead cleaner. However, your mileage may vary.

Can you configure a wireless router?

Given that most wireless routers use a web interface, as long as I have a microUSB to ethernet port, and yes, I do, then it's no bother whatsoever.

Can you use Photoshop?

There are two Photoshop apps - Photoshop Express , which is a glorified Instagram, though a very pretty one, and Photoshop Touch, which costs £6.99. I haven't had a chance to play with that yet, though. I also note with interest that someone has ported open source favourite GIMP to Android. That might be worth a look.

Can you play a Blu-ray rip as mkv and as an iso file?

Yes and yes. The one thing I can't do, however, is rip the files in the first place.

Can you run old DOS programs with an emulator?

Yes! There are a lot of DOS emulators for Android. Most of them are for games like the ZX Spectrum , Sega, PSOne and so on, but in among them there are DOS emulators. I just can't stop playing Manic Miner now is all.

That should answer a lot of questions that have come in. Even if I've only been able to answer in brief, I'm really grateful for everyone who has taken the time to contribute. In this last week of the challenge, I'm going to be stretching the devices to their limits as we explore the murky but ultimate rewarding world of self-modding your device through hacking it. Maybe I'll even achieve that multi-window, multitasking magic that I've been craving.

Plus, maybe I'll actually finish editing that video at last. I'm moving house too, and will see if working with Android surrounded by packing boxes is the straw that breaks this camel's back.

Keep the conversation going. You can suggest more challenges for me, or suggest ways to solve each others' questions in the Disqus comments below, or you can tweet @INQ with the hashtag #INQAndroid. µ

You can find the previous episodes of The INQUIRER Android Experiment here:

Prologue - We introduce the experiment.

Episode one - We learn that this won't be a walk in the park.

Episode two - We explore all things musical.

Episode three - We nearly give up, but then release a chart topper tune.

Episode four - We answer some of the questions you've put to us.

Episode five - We decide that when it comes to Android, size matters.

Episode six - We realise that life without multitasking is a pain.

Episode seven - We talk about the hardware that made it possible. µ


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