Pre-release of new Android app for phones and tablets! Print E-mail
Wednesday, 09 November 2011 21:34
Inspectors will be happy to hear the new app for Android™ phones and tablets is now in the final beta testing phase, with official release imminent. Any of our users who have a compatible phone or tablet are welcome to contact tech support about getting a pre-release copy sent to them immediately.

For the best user experience possible for inspectors, the programmers working on the 3D Inspection Systems app for both Android™ and Windows® Phone 7 invested the time and resources to design them both as truly "Native" apps for their respective operating system. What does that mean? Other developers sometimes "cheat" in a manner of speaking, in order to get an app more quickly to market by producing an web-based, HTML5, or "hybrid" app (web/HTML5 app in a native wrapper) instead. The best method to use though really should depend on the actual purpose of the app and what it needs to do. These external articles provide insight into these options and the challenges mobile app developers face when determining the direction to take:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/fredcavazza/2011/09/27/mobile-web-app-vs-native-app-its-complicated/ 
http://www.webmonkey.com/2010/08/how-do-native-apps-and-web-apps-compare/

While inspecting, one primarily is collecting site information and data, not surfing the web, emailing, and the like (although you may have noticed even popular email providers are now producing native apps to reap benefits).  So a native app is especially ideal for the primary task at hand, and can provide a much richer and smoother interface.  In addition, our Phone3D apps only require connectivity for actual uploading and downloading inspections to and from the devices. Most inspectors load up their phone or tablet for the day's inspections before heading out anyway. This provides an added benefit of being able to just use one's home/office wireless router for such connectivity, rather then using any device data plan minutes to do so (especially with some carriers recently eliminating "unlimited" plans). This also expands ideal devices to include less expensive ones that have wifi connectivity only, or perhaps no data plan. Even unlocked or no-service phones may be used with Phone3D this way.

That isn't to say that web resources and features that make use of connectivity can't or shouldn't be used while out in the field. For example, Android devices have built-in abilities to do voice-to-text conversion, which may be handy for inputting some information directly into your 3D report. Windows Phone 7 also has some voice-to-text features (on WP7 though one would have to copy and paste such info, from say a composed text, into the report). In both cases, such voice-to-text technologies require internet connectivity to work. Also bear in mind that the technologies used by both systems are not perfect, and so results with using these may vary from individual to individual. So although these are extremely cool, it is possible time spent making corrections needed for professionalism could negate the time savings.  Features like these are a fabulous for hands-free texting, but possibly a little overrated for heavy-duty work. Your mileage will vary.  Naturally, the most efficient reporting is done when most typical comments are already set up in your forms as pre-written boilerplate, with only a few edits or tweaks needed for any particular job. And just tap, tap, swipe and tap your report right to completion, with photos taken right into the spot when and where they apply.

Other handy internet-based features available on both Windows Phone 7 and Android powered devices include visual search options (Bing vision search / Google Goggles). These features instantly scan barcodes, QR codes, or text for easy lookup. I foresee such possibly being a pretty nifty way to look up data plate information or the like, but are probably better suited for activities like comparison shopping. Still there are quite a lot of novel features and gadgets that do make good use of connectivity, and only expect them to keep improving! And that's great, because you can now have the best of both worlds- a real native efficient 3D Inspection System app for easy inspecting on your light-weight portable devices, and access to cool additional features when you need them!

Learn more about your options, and check out the Phone3D  apps for Android phones and tablets and Windows Phone 7 devices.

Portions of this page are reproduced from work created and shared by Google and used according to terms described in the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License.

Android is a trademark of Google Inc.  Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.  Other product or brand names listed above may be registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective owners. No rights to these are given expressed or implied.
3D Inspection Systems and Phone3D are trademarks or servicemarks of 3D Inspection Systems, Inc.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 November 2011 22:34