The obj file goes in your /sdcard folder, you can send it via DDMS to the phone. If you're doing emulator instead, read up on android's site about creating a sdcard in the emu. The obj file was made and exported in Maya, it is a simple 8 slice by 8 slice sphere. I kept it this low to reduce the file size and loading time, which is roughly 13kb.
I had the OBJ loader working correctly but my renderer wasn't displaying it. I grabbed Google's Kube example on the android sdk site and used that instead and voila my sphere appeared!!!
It isn't textured yet, and it shows up as just a black sphere on a grey background. Using the kube framework isn't as efficient as it could be if I held the buffers directly, as my original example did. Even with my original code, large meshes were a problem because I had to use an arraylist to initially parse the data. I still use that arraylist to parse out all the vertices before passing it all to the GLShapes. I'm not really sure how to get around this.
Suffice it to say this loads magnitudes slower but at least I can see it now. You have no idea how exhilarating it was to see that black sphere show up.
I'm sure by releasing this here, others will be able to take it even farther than I. I'll keep trying to enhance it.
For anyone who doesn't know, OBJ is sort of the defacto rudimentary 3D mesh format that all 3D modellers can export and that is lightweight to load. It doesn't support by default any concepts of animation, skinning, shaders, etc. Which, if you think about it, makes it the perfect for mobile phones that need a simple mesh format. There's a lot of potential here. Hope this helps someone out!
Note: I made the mistake of using my particles project and didn't rename Particles.java (where the main activity is) when I rewrote it to load obj files. Sorry about that.