Cinder Roxley pointed me towards LittleSight, a simple SL client for Android.
The application has been around for at least a year or so, going on the download page comments, and is now at version 1.0.4 (reviewed here). There does not appear to be any dedicated website for the application, and it is not listed in the TPV Directory.
Compared to the likes of Mobile Grid Client and Lumiya, the functionality is extremely limited, however, if you want a quick means of accessing SL on-the-go for the purposes of IMing others, it may offer something to you.
The application is free – although it limits you to being logged into a random location and will display ads at the top of the screen. You can unlock additional log-in options and remove the ads on payment of around $1.28 / 1.05 Euros / 0.82 GBP via Google play.
Once installed, LittleSight is simple to use. The log-in screen comprises fields for your user name and password, with an option to save the password for future use.
log-in: unpaid (l); paid (r)
As mentioned above, using the application in unpaid mode will log you into a random location (this used to be “Yamato of Japan”, but the region no longer appears to be active). If you opt to pay for the application (via the Start At button), tapping the Start At button will present three further options in addition to “Yamato of Japan”:
- The last location you visited
- Your home location
- Any named region (default arrival point: 128,128 – SLurls do not appear to be supported).
Once logged-in, you are presented with a simple and clean (other than the ads in the “unpaid” mode) interface. At the top are four buttons:
- Chat – will display all local chat going on around you (if any), with avatar name / profile pictures displayed against their text. Tap the text input box to open your on-screen keyboard and start chatting
- IM – allows you to display IM conversations and converse one-to-one
- People – displays a list of people nearby / friends on-line
- Map – displays a map of the region you’re currently in.
In addition, two further on-screen buttons – Logout and Settings can be displayed by tapping the menu button on your device..
Logging-in opens the People display by default. This may display a list of people within chat range (if any) and / or your friends who are also on-line (if any).
People nearby (l) and people nearby & friends on-line (r) (note ads displayed in “unpaid” version)
If none of your friends are on-line and no-one is within chat range, all that is displayed are the list headings at the top of the screen.
Long-touching a name in either list will initiate an IM conversation (see below).
Starting an IM conversation requires a little bit of screen-swapping. First you need to long-touch the name of the person with whom you wish to converse via either the Chat screen or the People screen. In either case, you’ll see a pop-up prompting you to Send IM. Tapping on this will swap you to the IM display, with the name of the person you are about to IM displayed at the top and text entry field immediately below it. Enter your message and tap SAY.
Any new incoming IMs are automatically sent to your IM display, and you can respond to them directly from there.
IM only displays one conversation at a time – to swap conversations, tap on the name of the person with whom you are currently conversing. This pops-up a list of all active IM conversations. Tap the name of the person you wish to switch to in order to display the conversation.
IM conversations display and swapping between conversations (tap the name of the person you are currently IMing to display a pop-up list)
LittleSight automatically logs and saves all chat and IM conversations, some / all of which is automatically displayed on opening Chat or when initiating an IM conversation with someone you’ve previously IM’d. logs can be deleted through the Settings options (see below).
The Map option offers a reasonable image of the region you are in, with avatars displayed as familiar green dots. Tapping on any dot will display the name of the avatar at the bottom of the map. You own avatar is displayed by a dot which is slightly larger than those of other avatars, having a yellow circle around it. The only real annoyance with the map is that the region name isn’t displayed; given log-ins can be random, it would be nice to work out where you are rather than having to ask a passer-by.
The application includes a number of settings options, which are accessed via the menu button on your device and then tapping the on-screen Settings button. From here you can:
- Set the application to display an icon in the status bar of your device when it is running
- Prevent the screen of you device from sleeping when the application is running
- Set audible (ringtone) or vibration notifications when friends log-in to SL, someone logs-in nearby, when you receive chat or IMs
- Delete the Chat and / or IM logs. Note that when you do this, the Chat and IM displays will be cleared of all current conversations as well.
Several reviews on the LittleSight Google Play page indicate problems when using the application, particularly on Motorola Droid devices. While the application has, for the most part, run OK on my Samsung Galaxy S2, I did encounter a problem which I could only resolve by re-installing the client. This manifested in the application crashing while entering my log-in credentials, then repeatedly force-closing on me, which not even a shut-down and restart of my ‘phone would clear. The re-install did finally resolve the issue as a last resort, which has since not recurred.
LittleSight is a simple, lightweight and largely intuitive SL client. The displays are all clear, and conversations in chat / IM are easy to follow are displayed well, with names (and profile images) appearing against text entries, complete with time & date stamps. If chat / IM is all you feel you need when accessing SL when away from your computer and you’ve not tried a mobile client before, then it might be worth a go.
However, if you already have the likes of Mobile Grid Client and Lumiya, LittleSight really has little to offer. Similarly, if you need mobile access to SL to do more than chat / IM, you’ll probably be better-off looking elsewhere.