01 April 2007

April Fools Day is Here!

I suppose I'd forgotten the date. I read Google's proposed, free ISP plan with shock and horror. Then it hit me. Enjoy that one.

In other news, I'm playing with my Sprint A900 handset to use Location Based Services (LBS). It's frustrating, to say the least. Sprint's lackluster support of the developer community makes it all the more difficult. Googling the subject reveals post after post on bulletin board after bulletin of people bemoaning no support of LBS on Sprint handset since 2002.

Apparently, for all but a select few phones (the Blackberry among them), JSR 179 (the javax.microedition.location packages) isn't supported at all. In their stead is Qualcomm's proprietary JQAE API (probably because the GPS chipset is Qualcomm for a lot (if not all?) of their devices).

That's fine, I'm willing to use a proprietary API and do the god-awful "detection" dance I find is the norm in J2ME:

try {
  Class.forName( "javax.microedition.location.Coordinates") ;  
  // it has support
}catch (Throwable t){ 
  // it doesn't. Try loading the Qualcomm API

See this and/or this for more information on that.

However, it turns out even there things aren't so easy.

Before you've tried anything in code, you need to enable your phone's developer root. Translated: they've restricted access to certain APIs (Among them: "LBS: Location Based Services", "JSR-135 Mobile Media 1.1 API", "JSR-120 Wireless Messaging 1.1 API" and "JSR-75 Personal information Management (PIM)). You can access them assuming you've signed your MIDP with Verisign's $500 certificate and that you've unlocked your specific handset's (up to 200)  privileges from the Sprint.com developer website. I haven't gone through the process, and so I don't know if this will work, but it's certainly frustrating.

And, from what I've been reading, you also need to be a Sprint business partner! I don't even know how you begin to procure that, nor do I care for the moment. It's as if they don't want people developing on their platform.

Nokia's phones are exponentially more approachable.

If I find anything, I'll report back on this.