Department of Computer Science
Computer Science Honours Project Proposal
A qualitative and quantitative comparison of the Google’s Android API against
the Sun's Wireless Toolkit for Location-based Services
By Takayedzwa Gavaza
Project Supervisor: Mrs Madeleine Wright
1. The problem statement
Due to the competition between mobile phone companies, new platforms for
developing mobile data services are now emerging. We want right tools that provide
us with quick and easy to use mobile data services. In this case we are comparing the
differences in the strength and weaknesses of the emerging Google Android API
against the well established Sun’s Wireless Toolkit
2. Importance of the research
The increase in the number of people in transit on a daily basis also leads to an
increase in demand for services offered by mobile phones. Most of the daily
transactions nowadays are being done over the internet, but because people are always
on the move, it’s no longer so easy for them to use desktop computers for their
required services. Mobile devices are no longer just voice communication devices.
Many mobile data services are now being incorporated into mobile phones, from
instant massaging to GPRS and many more to meet human needs.
To improve the speed and quality of data services on our phones, programming must
be implemented to decrease load on the phones and to use less memory. Also the
strength and weaknesses of the platforms must be figured out so that they can be used
to improve mobile data services.
Due to the increase in competition and the number of services being offered by
mobile phones, new platforms for developing mobile data services are now emerging.
This triggered my interest in comparing the mobile data services developed by the
emerging Google Android API against the well established Sun’s Wireless Toolkit.
As a result of stiff competition in the mobile phones industry, mobile operators are
now forced to produce quality data services to differentiate themselves from their
These mobile data services require the best development tools to ensure rapid and
efficient creation, deployment and management. The solution to these challenges is
the ability to quickly and easily create, deploy and manage content and applications
on mobile devices. It’s critical that mobile phone content developers have the right
tools that respond to the challenges of the growing mobile phones.
3. The Literature review
With the advancement of technology leading to improved audio quality, speech
quality is no longer a competitive factor in attracting and keeping customers. This
resulted in the falling of voice revenues. On the other hand SMS text messaging is
growing. This greatly shows the shift in the factors that are contributing to the
increase of revenue for mobile operators.
Mobility companies are now looking to mobile data services to address the problems
they are facing. Mobile data services are any services offered on a mobile phone
Mobile data services could reduce the switching of customers from one Mobile
network Operator to another by offering unique and vibrant services. It is believed
that the increase in the use of mobile data services will result in the increase of voice
Today’s real-world applications are often focused on location parameters for mobile
applications. Convergence of Location and context are one of the major research
focuses on LBS and Geographical Information System (GIS). The ever increasing
demand for location-aware mobile devices triggered our interest in researching
towards LBS and GIS-related work.
The LBS market is believed to have first emerged in South Korea and Japan, driven
by personal navigation and some family- and people-finder services. In the United
States, Nextel and Sprint initially drove LBS adoption with a focus on fleet
applications. Verizon Wireless also entered the market in 2006 .
LBS are services accessible with mobile devices through the mobile network and
make use of the geographical position of the mobile device. LBS include all
information and entertainment applications that make use of location and geographic
data. LBS enable brand new applications not possible on the desktop world [Yuan,
2004:346]. These applications including receiving information about your current
location as you move from place to place, locating users in emergency situations and
There are a large number of location-related standards like OpenGIS which use a
protocol for requesting location information from a database . Most of the mobile
location-aware applications are driven by the ability to retrieve data from application
Past location-aware applications were created by connecting a non-mobile GPS
receiver that streamed strings over a serial connection, which could be implemented
over a cable or wirelessly via Bluetooth. Modern LBS applications require more
interaction with the device . According to Elsevier , handset–initiated APIs give
a software developer great control over the properties of the data returned.
Mobile devices and cell phones with GPS receivers have their location information
available on the device, but their browsers send HTTP requests which do not contain
this information, so it is impossible to use location-based services with these devices
outside of the proprietary infrastructures provided by cell phone carriers .
For most of their history mobile devices have not been location-aware. A location
management framework was implemented as a web proxy. Mobile devices had to
visit a Web-based UI which lets them configure their location. The information was
stored in a database and users had to update their browsers.
The new generation of open mobile devices such as Android and OpenMoko will
make it easier to embed location-based service on the client side, without the need to
re-implement the service for every single device  because they have more
functionality. Android's location API looks promising, but on the other hand has no
obvious way to hook into the Android browser for accessing information from the
internet. So while Android implements a LocationManager, there probably is no way
that this manager could be made available in the browser, which means that in order
to deploy a location manager and a location-enabled browser on an Android platform,
a complete browser must be deployed as a new application component .
The core technology for any LBS solution is the Geographical Information System
(GIS), which performs important functions such as determining street addresses from
coordinates and vice versa .
4. Project Aims or objectives
The main aim of this project is to make a qualitative and quantitative comparison of
Google’s Android against Sun’s Wireless toolkit and work out how best to use each
platform’s strength and avoid its weaknesses for the development of the mobile data
The idea is to find a platform with which a developer can quickly and easily create,
deploy and manage content and applications on mobile services.
5. Equipment Requirements
The hardware required for this project includes a Nokia phone that runs java, a phone
that runs Google’s Android and a desktop computer for developing mobile data
services. Currently there is no any phone running Google’s Android, so I am going to
use emulators. The software that I am going to use includes Google’s Android
Toolkit, Sun’s Wireless Toolkit and JMeter for measuring speed. I am also going to
use emulators inside Eclipse and its plug-in.
Mobile phone data services can be developed on both the Google Android toolkit and
the Sun’s Wireless Toolkit. A qualitative and quantitative comparison can then be
done between the two development environments. Conclusions can then be drawn
based on an analysis of results obtained. Given figure 1 below is the timeline of what
is to be accomplished.
Period Duration Starting dates What is to be accomplished
1st Two weeks 03/03/08 Installation of the toolkits and learning
Term to work with them
2nd Four weeks 31/03/08 Read as widely as possible in the
Four weeks 28/03/08 Choose and start implementing and
application across both platforms
depending on the strength and
weaknesses worked out
3rd Five weeks 21/07/08 Transferring the application to the
Two weeks 25/08/08 Starting write-up
4th Five weeks 15/09/08 Write-up
3/11/08 Project Submission
Figure1. Timeline of what is to be accomplished
7. Dissemination of research findings
At the end of this project we are going to find the strength and weaknesses of both
development environments. We will also be able to figure out the advantages and
disadvantages of one platform over the other. The findings will help mobile phone
9. Elsevier B.V, Computer Communications, Volume 31, Issue 6, 18 April
2008, Pages 1091-1103, Advanced Location-Based Services, Location API
2.0 for J2ME – A new standard in location for Java-enabled mobile
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21 Oct. 08