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Rhodes University


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Rhodes University

  1. 1. Rhodes University 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.
  2. 2. 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 competitors. 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 besides voice. 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 usage. 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.
  3. 3. 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 [6]. 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 other scenarios. There are a large number of location-related standards like OpenGIS which use a protocol for requesting location information from a database [7]. Most of the mobile location-aware applications are driven by the ability to retrieve data from application servers. 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 [9]. According to Elsevier [9], 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 [5]. 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.
  4. 4. 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 [4] 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 [4]. 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 [8]. 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 services. 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.
  5. 5. 6. Methodology 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 Term literature 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 Term devices Two weeks 25/08/08 Starting write-up 4th Five weeks 15/09/08 Write-up term 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
  6. 6. companies to have the right mobile data service tools that respond to the challenges of the growing mobile market. 8. References 1. Micheal Juntao Yuan, “Enterprise J2ME, DEVELOPING MOBILE JAVA APPLICATIONS”,2004 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Professional Technical Reference, Upper saddle river, New jersey 07458 2. Sing Li and Jonathan Knudsen, “Beginning J2ME, From Novice to Professional” THIRD EDITION 3. Jonathan Knudsen, “Kicking Butt with MIDP and MSA: Advanced MIDP and Mobile service development” 4. Ableson W.F, Unlocking Android, A Developer’s Guide, Copyright 2007 Manning Publications 5. Djuknic G.M & Richton R.E, “Geolocation and Assisted GPS,” IEEE Computer (34:2), February 2001, pp. 123-125. 6. Fabris N, GPS-Enabled Location-Based Services (LBS) Subscribers Will Total 315 Million in Five Years by Nicole Fabris NEW YORK - September 27, 2006, last accessed 03/11/2008 7. Open Geospatial, Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc., Location Service (OpenLS): Core Services, © 1994-2007 Open GeoSpatial Consortium, Inc. 2008/04/09 last accessed 15/05/2008 8. Yuan MJ, Enterprise J2ME DEVELOPING MOBILE JAVA APPLICATIONS (MJY) 2004 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Professional Technical Reference Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
  7. 7. 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 phones, _ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6TYP-4RR1NT4-5&_user=736737&_rdoc=1& _fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_us erid=736737&md5=d29807cf202d7c8d20c061dca97d248b last accesses 21 Oct. 08