Tuesday, 10 May 2011

XBMC control for Motorola Xoom

Been a while since my last post, so thought I'd try resume with a quick and fairly non-technical post.

Bought myself a Motorola Xoom the other week (month?) there and have been loving it. It's one of these things which enters your life with such subtlety that one would be forgiven as branding it a needless luxury. It's not how much it changed my life when I got it that surprised me, rather, how much I can't now seem to function without it.

There have been many poor attempts at justifying me spoiling myself to some shiny luxury. However, one of the big ones I reckoned would be to have this portable browser in my hands one second, allowing me to play on Facebook research the social dynamics of my generation, then quickly switch to a remote for my PC, enabling me to control the background, yet necessary, TV show I inevitably watch whilst doing other things. I'm a fiddler. Worse, I like to fiddle as a background task.

Anyways, I have to say as much as I love the Xoom, I was pretty disappointed to find that there isn't any decent XBMC remote control apps for it. At least not free ones; god forbid I pay for an app to control my ill-begotten totally legit TV show collection. A few apps kicking around, obviously built for Froyo 4" devices and the likes.

Then I had the notion to code one myself. How hard could it be really? Well, obviously my first task was to canvas the market, see what tools were already available. Aha! The full source code for the official Android XBMC app is available - bound to come in handy!

And handy it is. Building an optimised version of XBMC Remote is actually as easy as downloading the source, and making sure you can build for Android SDK 11 (Honeycomb). Within a matter of seconds of opening up the source code in Eclipse, I had my APK file, fairly well optimised for my tablet.

A remote literally bigger than my hands. Beautiful.

The file is available to download from http://www.cdrussell.com/downloads. No warranties offered if it accidentally makes your life worse somehow.