Yesterday the Wall Street Journal ran a story about Google planning to hire Android application developers which, to me, seems to have the potential to be the worst possible thing they could do to the Android eco-system. I’m going to outline the reasons why I hold this view but I’m always open to other, well reasoned, points of view. The reasons I currently have this view are as follows; 1. It does nothing to help non-Google developers who are currently struggling to make a living from developing Android applications.
Some people have noticed some niggles with the Android Honeycomb Previewemulator, so I’ve put together a few tips which may help improve your experience. I’ll do my best to keep this updated with tips and post hints on my twitter account as I get them. Things you can do something about Emulated memory size By default the Honeycomb AVD is created to emulate 256MB of RAM, my advice is to increase this significantly.
(This was prompted by a question asked by Reto Meier) As many of you may know my company built and later sold AndAppStore over the course of two years. During that time we kept an eye on the competition and received feedback from users and developers and got a good idea of what both sides wanted. I commented on Google Market because it was the main distribution channel for developers, but I rarely commented on competitors alternative app stores because each of them has their own business plan and all of the legally operating ones seemed to be doing their best to strike a balance between what they need to survive and what users and developers want.
Some of you may already be familiar with multi-core programming, so a lot of what I’m going to cover will be very familiar to you, but some Android developers may have never written for (or considered) how the multiple CPU cores available on CPUs such as Nvidias Tegra 2 chips (as rumoured to be in the Motorola Honeycomb Tablet) can improve the speed of their applications if the applications are written in a multi-core friendly manner.
I’m personally thrilled to announce that my company, Funky Android Ltd., has sold AndAppStore to the Seavus Group. As part of a refocusing process, Funky Android Ltd. had been looking to sell AndAppStore, and, when approached by a representative of Seavus, they felt Seavus could provide AndAppStore with the resources it needed to grow the store faster and larger than Funky Android could realistically achieve. Everyone at Funky Android has found working with developers and users via AndAppStore thoroughly rewarding, and we will continue to be involved with it as and when Seavus ask us to.
(the code and application links are at the bottom of the article for those who are a bit impatient) At DroidCon UK this year I presented a talk on why Android developers should be thinking about tablets and I touched upon creating UIs which can adapt to the device they’re on. Anyone who attended DroidCon UK has now had plenty of time to get a head start so I’m now going to show one method of getting an Android application to adapt itself to present an appropriate UI.
Since Android 1.6 Google have beenasking developers to use specific size and density groupings for their graphical resources to ensure that their user interfaces looked good on a range of devices, but unfortunately developers are not fully supporting it and now OEMs are making their devices report the wrong densities. I’ve blogged before about developers not supporting the various sizes and densities fully which resulted in UIs which look odd and empty on tablets, but OEMs reporting the wrong densities seems to be a new phenomenon which means even if a developer provided graphic assets for all the screen sizes and densities Android supports they may still see the wrong assets being used and their UI looking odd on some devices through no fault of their own.
At the end of October I’ll be giving a talk on Android Tablets, eReaders, and other devices at droidcon London, so if you’ve found my posts on the subject interesting (or if you want to see any of the other speakers who are going to be presenting), the you can register to attend the Droidcon UK website.
A short while ago I posted about how many Android applications hadn’t allowed for tablets by assuming a direct correlation between screen density and screen resolution. I used the Android Facebook application as an example, and as they’ve just released an update I thought I should follow up the previous post and look at the changes they’ve made. Unfortunately it seems they’re heading in the wrong direction. The biggest backwards step is the removal of landscape mode.
Today is a sad day for me as I’ve decided to greatly reduce my involvement in the Android community, and I thought it best to explain why rather than leave the rumour mill to run its' course. For those who don’t know my background my involvement with Android started when Dan Morrill demoed Android at the London Google Developer Day in 2008. During his session my brain started ticking and came up with a method of using cryptographic signatures to show approvals and create trust brands so users could tell who thought which apps were “safe”, I mentioned it to him, he seemed interested, and so I expanded on the idea in a blog post, and from there on I was hooked.