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Microcontroller based apps for android mobile phones

Recently I obtained a Samsung Galaxy Ace S5830 android mobile phone. It was released a year before but it seems to have enough power to run most of apps you can find around.

It is powered by Qualcomm MSM7227 ARM11 processor running at 832MHz. Has internal 158MB of internal memory and can support up to 32GB MicroSD flash card. Other features include GPS, WiFi, 320×480 TFT touch screen, 5MP camera and so on. Device is powered by Android OS v2.3. These are specs you can find on any mobile website. To get your own Samsung phone, check out phones4u.

Smart phone devices are as valuable as there are some useful apps there. So I started wandering if there are electronics/microcontroller related apps that could be useful in daily work. Lets see what can we find in app store. First of all we are interested in free apps. Search on AVR microcontrollers gave me coupe results: AVR Fuse Calculator and Using Atmega128 apps. Lets see what are they capable of.

AVR Fuse calculator

This is free lightweight app for android phones developed by Michael Schwarz. If you have used web based fuse calculator this app practically has same functionality. It has a list of 144 supported AVR devices. Touch screen makes it easy to select device and mark fuses by selecting check-boxes with full fuse names. Instantly high and low fuse bytes are updated on the top of screen. After you have selected fuse you can easily generate AVRDude command line that can be used during MCU flashing.

This is number one app for daily use with AVR microcontrollers.

Using Atmega128

Another app I could find is Using Atmega128 (AVR128). This application is nothing more than a reference to Atmage128 specifications. It has some organized info on this microcontroller like specs, link to datasheet, some common circuits like clocking, reset, ISP, serial. There is a section about setting fuses using PonyProg and using bootloader.

This app is only reference so it can be used for quick refresher. But it is tied to single microcontroller so it might be useful for very small group of people.

AVR128 Assembly summary

This is another reference app developed by Black Lake. It is a Atmega128 assembly language reference. When you open it you can scroll through all asm instructions. Select any instruction to view its extended information including operand, its operation, flags affected and required clock cycles. Great reference if you are programming AVR using ASM language. But probably you will be using a PC based document when writing program. Also I find very hard to read grey fonts on a black background.

What about Arduino?

Speaking of Arduino, there is a better situation. There are two many of them so I would mention few of them. First app that is compatible with Samsung Galaxy Ace is called Arduino Reference developed by Rod Lalonde. It practically holds reference information you can find in Arduino project page. This is great for online use. Sadly it doesn’t keep track of changes. Last supported Arduino IDE is 0019.

Domotic Home with Arduino application is a nice attempt to automate home appliances using android device WiFfi functionality. All you need is Arduino with WiFi shield and relay board.

If you are looking to synchronize mobile with Arduino this is worth trying.

Another interesting App that can be used with any microcontroller is Audio Serial Out. Haven’t tested it but it looks promising. It allows controlling devices using audio output jack for serial data transfer. It lacks real time control but could be used to control robots, cameras and other gadgets with cheap implementation.

After this follows bunch of bluetooth communication apps that can be used for sending data to Arduino Bluetooth shield. As I have no means to test them right now I will leave this topic open.

PICmicro Database

The last app I’m gonna mention is PICmicro database. This application allows easy searching through mocrocontroller list, filter by several criteria like program memory, RAM and family. Can display specifications on selected micro as you would see in datasheet.

There are several more apps but mostly references or demo versions of paid. It seems that there is still way to go in this segment as smart mobile phones are spreading like a virus.

One Comment:

  1. Hi Scienceprog,
    In addition to your post I was wondering, I need a recommendation for what language I should use to do serial communications over RS232. I know a little C++ but all I learned was console apps. I have tried VB because there is a “com control” already in it, but I didn’t get very far with it.

    I need something that I can set up my own protocol as well as the standard com stuff (baud, Xon/Xoff, etc.) It will be communicating with a microcontroller. Right now is communicating via “Hyper terminal”, but I want something…. prettier. I well be starting another C class in a couple of weeks, but I think its going to be another “Intro to…”

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