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Build a GPS Speedometer: Getting Into AIR for Android

Just about every smart phone out there these days has GPS capabilities but apps that take advantage of this don’t all have to be about boring old maps. This tutorial will introduce you to Adobe AIR for Android and lead you through the development of an ActionScript 3.0 speedometer app that will run on Android 2.2 devices.

Check out part two of this tutorial Build a GPS Speedometer: User Interface and Polish over on our sister site Activetuts+!

Those who are interested in the platform but don’t yet have an Android device can follow this tutorial and test within Flash Professional.

Adobe AIR for Android creates many exciting opportunities for Flash developers wishing to move to the mobile space.
This tutorial will introduce you to the subtle differences when applying your ActionScript skills to mobile. It will lead you through the steps required to write, deploy and test a fully functioning app on your Android handset.
Particular attention will be paid to the geolocation and filesystem classes, which are specific to the AIR SDK.
Don’t worry if you don’t have an Android 2.2 handset. You’ll still be able to build and test the ActionScript within Flash CS5.

Before you can start developing you’ll need to download and install the following components:
  1. Flash Professional CS5 (30-day trial version will do)
  2. The Adobe AIR runtime for Android 2.2
  3. The Adobe Flash Professional CS5 Extension for AIR 2.5
  4. USB Device Drivers (Windows Only)
  5. Adobe AIR 2.5.1 SDK
If you don’t already have Flash CS5 then you can download a 30-day trial from Adobe.
If you plan to deploy and test on an actual handset then you’ll need to install the free Adobe AIR runtime from the Android Market (just search for Adobe AIR in the Market application).
I used a Google Nexus One for this tutorial but AIR will run on Android devices that meet the following system requirements:
  • Android 2.2 operating system
  • ARMv7-A processor with vector FPU
  • OpenGL ES 2
  • H.264 and AAC hardware decoders
  • 256MB of RAM
If AIR for Android is not supported for your Android handset then you can still follow this tutorial and test in Flash CS5.
You can download the Extension for AIR 2.5 from Adobe Labs. Instructions detailing how to install the Extension can be found here. If you’re using Windows then you’ll also need to follow the steps detailing how to install USB device drivers that allow your Android device to communicate with the Android SDK.
Finally, download and install the latest version of the Adobe AIR SDK.
Okay, we’re read to start coding.

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