Android Hardware Information

,Tool Kit

1912 Motorist Tool, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Do you need to know what is inside your Android device? No need to get out your tools. Use these free applications instead. Find the specifications for your device's processor, memory, display, and cameras. Use the WiFi Manager to find and measure WiFi signals on your Android. View the system logs to evaluate how the system is performing. The Hardware Tests application displays real-time data from each sensor as well as the sensor's manufacturer and specifications. It can be fun to watch the sensors measure acceleration, temperature, angular rotation, ambient light, magnet fields, and atmospheric pressure.

,Android Hardware Info

Android Hardware Info, Fair Use

Android Hardware Info

Android Hardware Info by JFDP Labs provides hardware specifications for Android devices in an easy to read format. A nice feature of this software is the ability to email the specifications. I emailed the specifications report to myself and saved it as a record of the capabilities of my Android device. The report has the specification categories of system, display, processor, memory, camera, sensors, graphics modes and features. See the Nexus 7 article for an example of the report. The small application only requires 51k of storage space and works on Android 2.1 and up.

,Android System Info

Android System Info, Fair Use

Android System Info

Android System Info by Electric Sheep contains a sharp-looking dashboard containing critical information. System information is broken down into several categories with detailed information in each category. This application also contains useful software functions, such as the Task Manager which shows the memory and cpu usage of all apps and allows you to end or switch to tasks. The Apps function gives many details about each installed application (permissions, services, flags, certificates, installation date, package location, UID, and various memory sizes). The Logs function allows you to view the system logs. The log messages are color coded so you can easily distinguish the warnings from the critical errors. The application works on Android 2.0 and up.

,Device Info

Device Info, Fair Use

Device Info

Device Info provides a detailed listing for Android devices. The software listed the following information for all 13 of the sensors in my Nexus 7: name, vendor, version, power, resolution, max range and min delay. It also provided details about the Android operating system, such as the version numbers for the kernel and bootloader as well as the build time and fingerprint. Devices IDs including the Android ID and Device Serial number are listed. Partition sizes, cpu and architecture details, display specifications, and network details are also listed.

,Hardware Tests

Hardware Tests, Fair Use

Hardware Tests

Hardware Tests by Newton's Apple LLC is a fun application that tests the processor, touch screen, display, and sensors. The touch-screen test shows a circle under each finger you touch on the screen. It measures the finger's X/Y coordinates and the touch pressure. The touch-screen on my Nexus 7 was able to measure up to 10 fingers at one time. I did try to measure more than 10 fingers at once (yes, I had help), but 10 seems to be the limit.

The section on sensor testing provided real-time information and was fun to observe for each sensor. The accelerometer measures acceleration, but also indirectly measure motion, speed, vibration and tilt. The accelerometer test provided real-time measurements of the X,Y, and Z gravitational forces. My Nexus 7 uses an accelerometer by InvenSense. A beginner's guide to accelerometers can be at Dimensional Engineering.

The gyroscope measures angular rotation and is used for gesture recognition, and image stabilization. The gyroscope test provided real-time X, Y, and Z measures in radians per second. iFixIt has a teardown of an iPhone gyroscope explaining how the electronic component works. Thomas B. Greenslade Jr. of Kenyon College Ohio has a website that contains 1,850 pictures of historical measurement apparatus. The section on gyroscopes contains historical pictures of gyroscopes.

The light sensor measures ambient light and helps the display select the appropriate brightness. My Nexus 7 used a light sensor by LiteOn. The sensor measures in lux units with a maximum measurement of 72,945 lux. For reference the range of office lighting is 320 -500 lux and direct sunlight is 32,000 - 130,000 lux. In my computer room with the light turned on, it measured 300 lux. I tested in next to a 60 watt light bulb and it measured about 40,000 lux. When I moved it two feet away for the bulb it dropped to about 250 lux.

The magnetometer measures magnetic fields and is mostly used to create an electronic compass. The magnetometer in my Nexus 7 has a maximum range to 5,461 micro Teslas. This range would easily measure the strength of earth's magnet field. It would also measure as high as the suggested exposure limit for cardiac pacemakers.

,WiFi Manager

WiFi Manager, Fair Use

WiFi Manager

WiFi Manager by Kostya Vasilyev is an application I use frequently. At home I use it whenever I suspect problems with my WiFi. Outside of home I use it to scan for hot spots for connection to the internet. The list mode displays a list of information for the WiFi signals it detects. In the radar mode it has a graphical display showing the signals channels and strength. The application is configurable through the settings menu and has a change log that lists details about the software update. It is a very handy application. The application works on Android 1.6 and up.