Design and implementation of and Android context-aware application based on Floating Content
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Communication and information are two concepts that cannot be separated. Right now we are in the middle of the the Information Age (also known as the Computer Age, Digital Age, or New Media Age), a period in human history characterized by the shift from traditional industry that the industrial revolution brought through industrialization, to an economy based on the information computerization. During this Information Age, we saw how the way of exchanging information mutated and evolved towards more flexible, dynamic and infrastructure-less means with a transition spanning from the advent of the personal computer in the late 1970s, to the Internet's reaching a critical mass in the early 1990s, and finally to the smart-phones, with a widespread public application started late 2000s. We started to feel the urge to be "always connected" and so smart phones were born to fulfil our needs. They brought into the hands of every person the chance to access the Internet, share their experiences and feelings, upload photo and videos, playing online games and so on, whenever they had the chance to. Content sharing via the Internet became a widespread means for people to foster their relationships irrespective of physical distance and smart phones supplied the perfect mean the exchange information in a mobile environment. Right now, smarter mobile devices continue to dominate worldwide and Android is at the forefront. Total smart mobile device shipments worldwide grew by 37.4 percent annually during the first quarter to approximately 308.7 million units, according to the market insight firm. Overall, Android remains on top as 59.5 percent of all smart mobile devices shipped last quarter were running Google's mobile operating system. The growth of mobile computing, and the pervasiveness of smart user devices is progressively driving applications towards context-awareness, i.e., towards applications and services that allow users to exploit "any information that can be used to characterize the situation of an entity". But relying on infrastructure based networks for location-aware services may often not be desirable, while they are still essential to overcome distances and connect people around the world. By exploiting the diffusion and flexibility of the Android OS combined with the globally-adopted Bluetooth technology, I developed a context-aware, infrastructure-less, application focused on content sharing, solely dependent on the mobile devices in the vicinity using principles of opportunistic networking. The net result is a best effort application for floating content in which: 1) information dissemination is geographically limited; 2) the lifetime and spreading of information depends on interested nodes being available; 3) traffic can only be created and caused locally; and 4) content can only be added, but not deleted. This thesis is structured as follows: Chapter 1. Introduction on social media and content sharing. Chapter 2. Floating content networks, description and applications. Chapter 3. Bluetooth, characteristic and protocol overview. Chapter 4. Presenting "Floaty", an Android application for floating content networks. Chapter 5. Performance evaluation and tests results. Chapter 6. Future works and conclusions.