Although I’m primarily an iPhone user with the occasional Windows Mobile device, I have to admit I’ve been keeping an eye on Google’s Android platform. The thing that gets me is the hardware – performance, expandability, and display resolution. Now that PDAs and smartphones/mobile phones have merged, for all intents and purposes, things are changing – there is more of an interest in mobile computing and mobile genealogy especially. There have been a couple of TV shows on in the US recently – Faces of America on PBS which just wrapped up, and the new “Who Do You Think You Are” currently running on NBC, which are helping this as well. The hardware is moving along while coming down in price. In fact, some of the Android devices are getting into resolutions of 800x which was not possible not too long ago – you were looking at a low-end netbook with that kind of resolution. Then there is the iPad, but more on that later in a later post.
Anyways, there are currently two genealogy-related applications for Google’s Android platform that have been developed over the past 4-5 months (or at least released). Both are basically family tree/GEDCOM viewers/browsers, and both are being actively developed. They may not be as polished as their iPhone or Windows Mobile counterparts, but I think they are probably coming along a lot faster given that both developers appear to be new to the mobile genealogy software scene. Both allow for importing GEDCOM files.
The first is AGeneDB, and it’s still considered to be at an “Alpha” development stage. It’s free at this time, and future plans include adding families, individuals, and events to the GEDCOM file/genealogy database. I don’t have that much information on it, unfortunately.
The second is Family Bee, which is $10, and is much more polished at this point. It has a variety of ways to import GEDCOM files – through web browsing, email attachments, and hooking up to a computer via USB. The GEDCOM files are stored on an SD card, and it’s been reliably tested out to 12 MB of data (which is over 30,000 names).
I don’t like to recommend software or platforms I really haven’t tested, but if I had to choose, it would probably be Family Bee, although it wouldn’t hurt to try AGeneDB either since it’s free. Family Bee has (to me at least) more features and is garnering more favorable reviews on the various Android app websites. I don’t have an Android device at this time to test these out, but will be acquiring one soon.
2010 is shaping up to be a very good year for mobile genealogy software. In the coming days, I’ve got a lot of updates to the site I’ll be rolling out – some really useful stuff for mobile users. More on that as they are rolled out.