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Author Topic: Track your Asteroid (=car)  (Read 1985 times)

kovlaszlo

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Track your Asteroid (=car)
« on: July 14, 2015, 06:00:38 AM »
At the beginning I was looking for an app, which lets me track my car, through the Parrot Asteroid Smart fitted in the dashboard. Simple request. Very soon I recognized, that it is not as easy, as I thought. After playing with some apps available on play store, I recognized that the critical point is the place, where you store the tracking info.

Approaching logically: most such apps do nothing, but establish a connection between the tracked device and an other device, and through this connection app sends the location info. The other device can be a PC, a smartphone, whatever. But what if the google account was laready deleted? What if the sim card was changed? What if the battery is down, or the device is just switched off? The connection is not possible to establish, and the app does not help you at all. You can find hundreds of such applications in play store. In the other hand, I recognized a very important fact regarding these: they are useless. This judgement remains, even if I consider, that you would also like to lock and erase your data from your Android gadget, even when you are far away from it. Just check what "Android manager" was created for, and how it works...

So, I think you see already: the app that we need must be capable for tracking by a 3rd party, a server. Sending information to the server, running independently from google account and sim and the way how it is connected to the network. Plus, update frequently and punctually enough, and of course a way, how we can read the data from the server. From the point that a server is needed, it is clear that the service can not be free: someone has to pay the serverís costs. Due to this, you can not expect, that a free app provides you, what you need. After this only three apps remained in my search at play store, out of the hundreds.

Letís see first googleís device manager as a benchmark:

application: Android device manager
tracking data stored on server: no
developer: google
link: not relevant
apk size: not relevant
tracking via web or other Android device: web
cost: free
test expreiences - smartphone: Works only in case, that at the moment of location request, the device is on. The device has to be linked to a google account. But, if these are fulfilled, the function is available for you without any further action
appears in google play store on Asteroid: not relevant
test experiences - Asteroid: tested, works
Asteroid rooting required: yes, requires google account, therefore rooting
conclusion: works, but only if device is on, and still linked to your account

And here are the three apps, that I considered good:

application: Location Tracker
tracking data stored on server: yes
developer: MobileappSquare
link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.WhizNets.locationtracker
apk size: 4,5 MB
tracking via web or other Android device: other Android
cost: free, with advertisements
test expreiences - smartphone: Generates reasonable amount of data traffic. Update frequency is around some seconds. You can view the tracking info on an other Android device in a nice view on google maps. Has everything that you normally need, and in addition to that a panic button, with which you can warn other members in yur group when you are in trouble, and let them know, where you are. Punctual enough. The only thing that makes me annoyed, is risk. The developer is a small company, who knows if the app itself is not a troyan?
appears in google play store on Asteroid: no
test experiences - Asteroid: Fast, no force closes, does not influence Asteroid boot time and run. On Asteroid unfortunately tells that google play is not available on the device (even if it is), therefore it does not want to start tracking. Seems to be compatibility problem. It is annoying, because I liked it very much on my phone.
Asteroid rooting required: yes, requires google account, therefore rooting
conclusion: does what you need, but not for Asteroid


application: Family Locator
tracking data stored on server: yes
developer: Sygic
link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sygic.familywhere.android
apk size: 7,2 MB
tracking via web or other Android device: other Android
cost: free, 16 EUR for max one week history
test expreiences - smartphone: works fine, but highest location update frequency is 5 minutes. Despite of this, in many cases I recognized that data was not sent for more, than 5 minutes, or was not sent during a 15 minutes trip at all. Generates more data traffic, than "Location Tracker", despite of the lower update frequency. The free version shows the last known position, showing 7 days history costs 16 EUR, for lifetime
appears in google play store on Asteroid: yes
test experiences - Asteroid: Makes Asteroid boot and run VERY slow. Uninstalling the app after some weeks of use opens the door for a new world. On Asteroid a big disadvantage is that when I was running Sygic navigation (same developer!) Family Tracker app did not send tracking info to server. Dear Sygic, this is awful, sorry.
Asteroid rooting required: yes, because it does not work, if you do not have play store
conclusion: use it only, if Location Tracker does not work on your device, and/or you do not trust MobileappSquare



application: GPS Tracker
tracking data stored on server: yes
developer: GPS-server.net
link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gpsserver.gpstracker
apk size: 0,3 MB
tracking via web or other Android device: both
cost: 20 EUR/year
test expreiences - smartphone: Professional app for professional fleet operators, and this is absolutely visible in every of it's detail. Location is sent to server every 10 seconds in average (max 30 seconds, to my experience). Data traffic and battery need is therefore significant, but you definitely get the benefit from this (not like in case of Family Locator). In case that data connection is lost, tracking info is saved on the device itself, and at the first moment when it is connected again to a network, saved data is sent to server. Together with the 10 seconds update frequency, this means no history lost! You can follow the location via web-page (very nice with lot of useful functions), which has as well a layout optimized for handheld. In addition to this, you can download an app to an Android device to view tracking (tried, works fine, but no real advantage compared to web). Moreover, the tracking app has a hidden version, which appears to be a battery manager. I would also like to point out that the apk size is 0,3 MB, and the whole, installed app requires 0,8 MB storage space, and 11MB RAM. Just as a comparison, Family Locator apk is 7,2 MB, installed 22 MB, RAM 33MB. The backside: it costs 20 EUR / year / device. For a private user it is in best case "affordable", but most of the benefits does not worth this cost for someone who would like to track the phone only more-or-less. In the other hand, and to be honest: after seeing once this, all other tracking apps seem to be toys for kids.
appears in google play store on Asteroid: no
test experiences - Asteroid: I installed the hidden version, works very fine, no difference in boot up, no difference in Asteroid operation. Just works like a charm.
Asteroid rooting required: I think it could work without rooting, but it was too late to test :)
conclusion: The only option if you want professional, and for sure malware-free tracking. Otherwise use it only, if you are a hardcore tracker, or a fleet manager.


Summary

in general I would recommend MobileappSquare "Location Tracker". It is free, precise, tracking updates are frequent, and data is stored on server. In case "Location Tracker" does not work on your device, or you are afraid of malware, or you need a professional solution, it worth to use GPS-server.net's GPS tracker, and pay the 20 EUR yearly.
I like the navigation app of Sygic very much, unfortunately I can not tell this about their tracker. Idea is good, business model is good, user interface is nice, but the program content is a crap. Eats up too much system sources (processor, RAM, battery), and despite of this does not really give you what you need, due to the 5 minutes update frequency, and the unreliable tracking. Only use it if you do not trust MobileappSquare