Amazon Fire tablets are relatively low cost cost and very popular. Since the first models it has been possible to run the Android edition of Plant Base on Amazon Fire tablets (then called Kindle Fire). We have recently tested the latest version of the Plant Base app on a 7th generation Fire 7. It installs and runs perfectly and we have no reason to doubt that it will work equally well on newer generations and other model variants.
An updated version of the Plant Base Android app is released – version 1.42. Also a new version of its File Support app – 1.07.
This update has several bug fixes, mostly to resolve issues introduced in the previous version due to the larger changes required in adapting to newer Android releases. There are no other major changes.
An update for the Plant Base Android app is now available – version 1.41. Also a new version of its File Support app – 1.06.
The new versions resolve the problem of installing on the latest Android versions. They have been tested up to Android 14.
The Plant Base for Android app and its small Data Support helper app have been removed from the Google Play store.
This is due to a restriction introduced by Google a little while ago and which comes into full enforcement in a few days. Although this change was introduced for the sake of improved security, it has an unfortunate impact on the Plant Base app. Compliance with the new standard would make the app unworkable as it conflicts with the basic design. Plant Base is very unusual because the app opens a large on-device database in a dedicated separate folder. This is no longer allowed for apps on Google Play, so there was no choice but to remove it from the store.
The Android edition of Plant Base is now free for all users who already have a licence for the other editions. The APK for the app can be downloaded from the website after entering the licence code as validation. The app is then “sideloaded” onto the phone or tablet (instructions for the sideload install are on the web page).
The main changes are only for compatibility with Android API level 28, which is a requirement by Google Play. This does not impact compatibility of the apps with older Android releases.
There are also a few minor bug fixes.
The 1.35 version was targeted at Android 8 and previously tested in-house on several devices running various releases up to Android 7. It appears that changes introduced with Android 9 do not impact on the Plant Base app.
We have heard that some users have had strange problems after buying and installing the app from Google Play. Most notable symptom is failure to type correctly into the text boxes (for name search and so on). Initially we thought this was connected with hardware and/or Android version, but it turns out the same devices can run Plant Base perfectly when side-loaded from a download direct from our website. We still don’t know the cause for this but perhaps some problem with the Play store is indicated? If anyone has this issue then please contact us.
This version has some significant changes that bring it up to date with latest requirements for the Google Play store. The app should successfully run on Android 8 (Oreo) or later, but also remains compatible with older versions of Android.
In addition to OS compatibility there are a number of other changes:
To accompany the main app, a simple and free Data File Support app has also been released. This provides three file maintenance functions that are not included in the main app. A first essential for new users who do not run the PC or Mac editions is the database file download, which will install the database onto the device ready for the main app to run. So the entire install can be done on the device, without the need for a PC or Mac. The Data Support app also has an Import function that will be useful when there is an updated database release. There is also a database compact function, which may be good for some people.
These functions are quite heavy-weight and I did not want to bloat the main Plant Base app by adding them. Not everyone will need them, as these actions can be done via the PC or Mac editions.
The pricing of the main app is based on half the cost of the PC and Mac licence, plus sales tax which Google applies and collects. The tax part is a bit annoying! As I understand it because Google is essentially selling from the US, it adds VAT to all sales to EU countries including the UK. So despite the fact that we ourselves are well under the threshold and not registered for VAT, our UK customers will still pay VAT when buying through Google Play.
Our long-term customers, who registered before 31st March 2012, can get Plant Base for Android for free by direct download. The Android program replaces the old mobile edition included in their licence. Our Beta testers can also get the app for free – we are are very grateful for their help.