A few years back, I became very interested in the idea of using Android and IPhone devices to control homebrew radio modules. Looking at programming options, I quickly became aware of a couple of roadblocks:

  1. Apple is parochially ‘closed’, making you do all development on an Apple computer and severely limiting what you can do with simple serial data interfaces.
  2. Android is based on a complex Java foundation that’s difficult (for me, anyway) to master.

My feeling was that Android would probably garner the larger part of the worldwide market share (which is has everywhere except North America), so I decided to focus my efforts there first and try to find an easy way to program Android devices. After looking at many alternatives, I finally discovered a development environment called “Basic for Android” (“B4A”) that uses a simple Visual Basic programming paradigm while retaining the Java underpinnings. It makes developing Android apps much easier. It has now grown to be an extremely capable  platform with a large support community and many, many special purpose libraries. The B4A team recently unveiled variants of the B4A platform for developing  IPhone/IPad applications, as well as a version that compiles platform-independent Java applets. They’re called B4I and B4J respectively. You can learn more about both of these development platforms here.

My grand vision for the BSS Transceiver project is to have a Bluetooth serial interface to my Android device. The Android will serve as a ‘virtual front panel’ eventually relegating the radio hardware to being a small, battery powered ‘brick’.

Stay tuned to learn more about this.


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