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General => Technical Help => Topic started by: Vinwad on Thursday 21 April 11 20:55 BST (UK)

Title: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Vinwad on Thursday 21 April 11 20:55 BST (UK)
Has anyone used a mobile phone app (Android system) as a research tool? I've seen a couple of apps on the web which say they can read and update gedcom files but not sure if the write-ups they give themselves are just hype.

It sounds good in theory (update your tree when you visit libraries etc) so I'm tempted but just wanted to know if anyone has tried it already. Thanks
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Falkyrn on Thursday 21 April 11 22:35 BST (UK)
There are two available from the Android Marketplace but

 Family Bee which can be the cheapest only reads the gedcom file and returns a reasonable display - there is a trial version available for free from the Marketplace - better to try before you buy.

Family Bee requires you to transfer a copy of your gedcom file to the sd card on the phone but the latest update added the facility to also access your gedcom file from Dropbox (an online storage and synchronising facility) which means that the file can be shared between your machines and that they are using the most up to date version of the file.

The other main one is Gedstar Pro The android app is free but unless you are using the program The Master Genealogist (TMG) you have to purchase a converter program (Windows only) which converts your gedcom file to a database format. The display and search facilities from this are excellent although purchasing the converter makes it twice as expensive as Family Bee. There is also a time limited trial version available.
My only quibble with this app is that it does not use your gedcom file but its own database format which means that any changes to your gedcom file mean that the database has to be re constructed and transferred each time.

Family Bee http://www.mobilegenealogy.com/family-bee/
Gedstar Pro http://ghcssoftware.com/android/index.php
Dropbox        http://www.dropbox.com/

My own preference is for Family Bee and this is simply down to the convenience of using the linked Gedcom file although I do prefer the layout etc of Gedstar Pro.
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: swebby on Friday 22 April 11 15:41 BST (UK)
If you use Legacy Family Tree software then there is the following paid app:
Families
http://www.telgen.co.uk/families/index.html

I have no idea what it is like as my Android Version is too low.

Sean
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Vinwad on Friday 22 April 11 17:34 BST (UK)
Thanks Falkyrn & Sean (swebby).

The Legacy version sounds goods if it syncs with the free Legacy programme. I'll give both a try (Legacy & Family Bee) and see which one runs smoothest.
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Falkyrn on Friday 22 April 11 18:24 BST (UK)
If you use Legacy Family Tree software then there is the following paid app:
Families
http://www.telgen.co.uk/families/index.html

I have no idea what it is like as my Android Version is too low.

Sean


Never noticed that one tucked away near the bottom of the search results.

It seems a strange operation in that it that it requires a "companion program" to transfer the files over from your PC.
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: mrwilson on Wednesday 01 June 11 13:48 BST (UK)
If you use Legacy Family Tree software then there is the following paid app:
Families
http://www.telgen.co.uk/families/index.html

I have no idea what it is like as my Android Version is too low.

Sean


The updated version of GedStar Pro works with The Master Genealogist and Legacy Family Tree software now supports use of Dropbox* for wireless data file transfer.
http://ghcssoftware.com/android/index.php it's a paid app for android, iphone etc;.

*http://www.dropbox.com/
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Vinwad on Friday 28 October 11 20:57 BST (UK)
Thanks for all the advice. I checked out some user forums and in the end opted for "Families" which works well with Legacy (got the link from the Legacy site).

I've been using it for around a month. It's working quite well and at at only 10 quid was well worth it. It syncs fine both ways between my computer and HTC phone via a USB lead so I'm able to do work at the local history library and upload when back home.

It's also very good when talking to family and friends as I can always show them the family tree on my phone and don't have to be near a computer.

I haven't used any other phone software so can't say if one is better than another but I would recommend to anyone with a smart phone to start using it for research as it saves lugging a laptop around!
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Alan b on Saturday 29 October 11 20:35 BST (UK)
Ancestry are working on a Andriod app which should be in beta testing soon according to their last email they sent on it.
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Redroger on Sunday 30 October 11 18:34 GMT (UK)
Is the Legacy app a heavy battery user? Interested if not, but the downside with Android phones seems to be battery life.
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Nick29 on Monday 31 October 11 12:46 GMT (UK)
You can make the battery life a bit better by turning off bits that you don't need (Bluetooth, wi-fi, sat nav), and reduce the frequency that your phone checks for email. And make sure that you terminate applications once you are finished with them, otherwise they just carry on running in the background, using up CPU time and battery power.

P.S. Dropbox gets my vote - it's brilliant if you are sharing census images and photos with other genealogists.


Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Falkyrn on Monday 31 October 11 13:35 GMT (UK)
A useful free tool for turning off unwanted or battery intensive background applications is Android Assistant
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Vinwad on Monday 31 October 11 19:09 GMT (UK)
Is the Legacy app a heavy battery user? Interested if not, but the downside with Android phones seems to be battery life.

I haven't really noticed any exceptional drain on the battery. As Nick29 says, if you turn off the bits and bobs you're not using the battery life is pretty good. 

Should point out that I don't use the internet on the phone to carry out any genealogical research on the web - I use the library computer for that and then record whatever I've found straight into my family tree app.
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Falkyrn on Monday 31 October 11 20:41 GMT (UK)
The only time I have noted excessive battery drainage is when using 3G to access the Internet other than that the two Genealogy programs (Family Bee and Gedstar Pro) I have tried have had minimal effect on the battery.
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Redroger on Tuesday 01 November 11 15:58 GMT (UK)
Sounds promising then. I downloaded Android booster to try and improve battery life, but it seems to be something of a battery hog. Will try Android Assistant.
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Braindead on Thursday 03 November 11 21:51 GMT (UK)
The first beta version of the Ancestry android app is now available for download on Android Marketplace.
You need at least Android 2.1 and must be a subscriber to Ancestry to use the beta version.
It's read only at the moment. My impression is that it's clear, easy to use & looks good. Not a lot of functionality, but for reading your tree, it's fine.
Perhaps later beta versions will let you do more.
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: KGarrad on Thursday 03 November 11 21:57 GMT (UK)
My Samsung phone (apparently!) has Android 1.5.
If I go shopping for phones, nowhere do the shops tell me what version of Android they are using and (surprise, surprise!) the shop assistants give me a blank look when I ask!

Shall have to wait for a contract update, I suppose?  :(
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Braindead on Thursday 03 November 11 22:09 GMT (UK)
I have a Sony Xperia X10. When I first got it it had Android 1.6, but updates have brought it up to Android 2.3.
It may be worth going into your phone's settings to check the Andriod version & see if there are any updares available.
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: KGarrad on Thursday 03 November 11 22:20 GMT (UK)
Tried that!

NPC (Samsung New PC Studio) tells me no updates are necessary!
Kies says my phone model is not supported!

Have a Samsung i5700
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Braindead on Thursday 03 November 11 22:36 GMT (UK)
This pdf document (http://pages.samsung.com/ca/spicaupgrade/English/spicaupgrade_en.pdf) Gives instructions on how to upgrade to version 2.1, but if Kies says your phone is unsupported, then perhaps get in touch with Samsung technical support.
According to this page (http://www.samsung.com/ie/support/detail/supportPrdDetail.do?menu=SP01&prd_ia_cd=1903&prd_mdl_cd=GT-I5700UWAXEU&prd_mdl_name=GT-I5700&srchword=Samsung%20i5700) there is an updated version of Kies, released 29/09/2011. Perhaps give that a go and see what happens.
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Nick29 on Friday 04 November 11 10:04 GMT (UK)
The problem I had with my HTC Desire was that upgrading always takes up more memory temporarily, because the phone has to store both the old and the new versions of Android at the same time.   My phone is always so full of apps (that I rarely use !) that I invariably have to dump a few to enable the new version to be loaded.  Last week I even had to upgrade the internal SD card because it was nearly full - I thought 4GB would be plenty for a smart phone  ::)  :)
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Redroger on Friday 04 November 11 20:59 GMT (UK)
Will a higher capacity SD card fit?
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Falkyrn on Friday 04 November 11 21:16 GMT (UK)
Will a higher capacity SD card fit?

I have a 16Gb card in mine and I have seen 32 Gb cards advertised as compatible
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Redroger on Friday 04 November 11 21:21 GMT (UK)
Thanks for info. What is the phone? Mine is HTC Desire.
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Falkyrn on Friday 04 November 11 21:31 GMT (UK)
Original HTC Desire (not the HD one that came out afterwards)
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Nick29 on Saturday 05 November 11 10:19 GMT (UK)
Mine is the original HTC Desire too, and I can confirm that after transferring the contents of the 4GB card to the 16GB card, it works just fine, and doesn't object now when I want to take a photo :)

Incidentally, the cheapest 16GB micro-SD card I've found in the UK is from Amazon at 12.72 + 2.75 P & P (which is where I got mine).
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Falkyrn on Saturday 05 November 11 15:11 GMT (UK)
Try Moby Memory, card is slightly dearer at 12.89 but free post & packing.

http://www.mobymemory.com/
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Nick29 on Sunday 06 November 11 09:43 GMT (UK)
I've just discovered another useful 'app' for Android phones for people doing genealogical reasearch. This free app is 'Google Cloud Print', and it enables an Android smart phone to print to a printer connected to your home PC, and the Android phone does not have to have wi-fi access.

What is required at the PC end is that the PC must be switched on (of course), and must be running the Google Chrome browser, and you must be registered as a Google user (that's free).

The phone sends the image for printing via 3G to Google's cloud server, and from there it is sent via the internet to your PC, and then automatically to the default printer attached to your PC.

Google Cloud Print can also be used to print documents on other people's printers from a PC.   Printers are now appearing on the market that are 'cloud ready', which means that they don't need to be connected to a PC to print from Google Cloud.

Another useful Android app is Dropbox, which we've mentioned before, so I won't elaborate.

Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: mhg on Sunday 06 November 11 12:13 GMT (UK)
Don't forget that if you use any cloud print service, such as Google's, you will have to change your firewall to enable the service to access your PC (or IP-enabled printer) directly through your router.

Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Redroger on Sunday 06 November 11 16:07 GMT (UK)
That is in the current Android magazine if I remember correctly. While I'm at it would a 32GB card fit? Mine is the HTC desire (original version ) too.
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Falkyrn on Sunday 06 November 11 18:23 GMT (UK)
That is in the current Android magazine if I remember correctly. While I'm at it would a 32GB card fit? Mine is the HTC desire (original version ) too.

According to the Android forums 32Gb is the maximum however they appear to agree that the minimum spec should be a Class 6 card although Class 10 is preferable. Must admit though that I haven't tried anything bigger than 16 Gb myself.
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Redroger on Sunday 06 November 11 19:06 GMT (UK)
Sounds as though I've got some technical reading to do!
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Falkyrn on Sunday 06 November 11 19:31 GMT (UK)
The classes refer to the minimum write speed of the cards

Class 2 is 2mb per second.
Class 4 is 4mb per second.
Class 6 is 6mb per second
Class 10 is 10mb per second

The higher the class the higher the price as the card is allegedly of a higher specification
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Redroger on Monday 07 November 11 10:39 GMT (UK)
Thanks for that, a further question, does the quality vary between suppliers so that a top range Class 4 might be better than a lower range clas 6?
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Falkyrn on Monday 07 November 11 11:41 GMT (UK)
Personally I've always gone for known brands ... The difficulty with the class system is that the classification is decided by the manufacturers not a standards body/association
Title: Re: Genealogy on Android smartphone
Post by: Nick29 on Monday 07 November 11 12:03 GMT (UK)
Don't forget that if you use any cloud print service, such as Google's, you will have to change your firewall to enable the service to access your PC (or IP-enabled printer) directly through your router.



Google's service doesn't work that way.  You can only print through Google's service if you are signed up to Google, and if you're running the Google Chrome Browser.  You have to enable Google Cloud printing in the Google Chrome settings.

Another way of printing from your smartphone (or any other PC for that matter) is to buy one of the new printers which has its own email address.  The new HP ePrint printers have their own email addresses on HP's own servers, and will print a picture attached to an email.  These printers do not need a PC to do this, and because the pictures to be printed are in the form of email attachments, there is no need to alter your router settings.

At the moment Argos are selling the HP 5510 e-All-In-One Wireless-n/USB Printer/Copier/Scanner for 69.99, which is remarkable value.