EffectiveUI R&D Project, Android Comic reader

I had no idea people were reading comics online! I knew Marvel had their eComic thing going on for the last year or so, but didn’t think anyone was using it. Or cared.

Who knew that there was another alternative, that’s existed for who knows how long, the CBZ and the CBR.

Essentially they’re zip and rar files with a different extension, that comic reader apps know how to unpack.

I got turned onto this scene at 360|Flex San Jose, and found an app for the mac called, Jomic. It’s not an easy experience but certainly interesting to read comics on my laptop on long flights.

So my point (other than wanting an excuse to post my Domo Halloween pic) was to say I heard about a really kick ass Android R&D project we’re working on here. With today’s Tmobile announcement, Android is officially leaving the vaporware space and hitting the mainstream.

Android has (or might have, or will have) some cool potential, and we’re making sure we’ve got that knowledge when the train leaves the station. We set up an R&D project, and the team on it, decided to create an android comic reader. It takes the comic archive files from an SD card (An emulated one at the moment) unpacks and handles all the images. Totally a proof of concept, and purely research, but how cool!

It allows navigation by touch screen, and nav buttons, so that no matter what kind of android phone it is, you can navigate it.

I asked josh, one of the developers working on this project, what his thoughts on Android were,

“Android dev for me so far has been a breath of fresh air after doing as3 for so long.  I’ve missed java.  The xml based layout is nice and has obvious similarities with mxml, but has a long ways to go until it
catches up with the quality and power of that present in flex.
However, the android team has done a lot to even improve that aspect during the beta.  I have also come to appreciate that Android is basically a mini version of linux, so that also makes a lot of the aspects of how the phone will operate fairly intuitive.”

I asked what the hardest part of developing this app has been so far,

“The hardest part so far with our application has been the relatively
small heap size restriction (16MB).  One high res image alone can
easily bring our app crashing up against that limit.  But it’s still
manageable for the most part, and we’re figuring out ways in which we
can optimize our data caching to work around that restriction.”

Gizmodo has a video demo of the G1, which looks like it’s running some things that aren’t currently in the SDK. Wonder if there will be ‘flavors’ of Android that are carrier specific?

The G1 becomes available October 22nd. The video shows some pretty compelling features, it’ll be interesting to see how Android changes/improves the iPhone market, assming Apple pays attention.

*Watchmen is a trademark of DC Comics

Wanna work on cool and compelling Android apps? iPhone apps? Let us know

4 thoughts on “EffectiveUI R&D Project, Android Comic reader

  1. Leif Wells Post author

    Since you are on a Mac, I’d strongly suggest that you purchase ComicBookLover (http://www.bitcartel.com/comicbooklover/) . To me it was worth the $25 just to avoid the crashing I had to deal with using Jomic. The application looks and acts a lot like iTunes, without the store.

    I am amazed that the comic book industry holds such a death grip on their analog delivery mechanism, though I am a bit empathetic towards folks you love the feel and smell of a comic book.

    As for reading comic book like the Watchmen (damn, I am looking forward to seeing the movie and wish Alan Moore wasn’t so cranky), I doubt that I will ever want to read it on an iPhone or G1. What might be needed is a new wave of digitally enabled creative teams (and knowledgeable publishers) to take advantage of the benefits of moving from the page to the screen.

  2. John Wilker Post author

    @Leif

    I’ll have to try it out. Yeah Jomic is the suck.

    Yeah I’m not sold on comic reading. The goal with our RD project is to allow some cool nav. The hope is to be able to navigate from pane to pane. They’re also working on full size zoom, since obviously full screen like the screen shots is a bit tricky to read. LOL

  3. John Wilker

    @Leif

    I'll have to try it out. Yeah Jomic is the suck.

    Yeah I'm not sold on comic reading. The goal with our RD project is to allow some cool nav. The hope is to be able to navigate from pane to pane. They're also working on full size zoom, since obviously full screen like the screen shots is a bit tricky to read. LOL

  4. Leif Wells

    Since you are on a Mac, I'd strongly suggest that you purchase ComicBookLover (http://www.bitcartel.com/comicbooklover/) . To me it was worth the $25 just to avoid the crashing I had to deal with using Jomic. The application looks and acts a lot like iTunes, without the store.

    I am amazed that the comic book industry holds such a death grip on their analog delivery mechanism, though I am a bit empathetic towards folks you love the feel and smell of a comic book.

    As for reading comic book like the Watchmen (damn, I am looking forward to seeing the movie and wish Alan Moore wasn't so cranky), I doubt that I will ever want to read it on an iPhone or G1. What might be needed is a new wave of digitally enabled creative teams (and knowledgeable publishers) to take advantage of the benefits of moving from the page to the screen.

Comments are closed.