Keys-by-TEARN mobile platform
Diary of a passionate, tech Dad
from TEARN i.e. teach to learn

Feb 13, 2010

Developing for Google Android

Android is an open-source, mobile platform from Google. The software development code base uses Java, and supports open-source development platforms like Eclipse. Webkit is the base technology behind the browser, similar to the Chrome desktop browser.

Strengths of Android
  • Google technology, reach.
  • Great alternative versus proprietary platforms like the iPhone or Palm.
  • Wide adoption and interest among phone makers - including Acer, Dell, HTC, HP, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Samsung, SONY, Toshiba, ZTE, and possibly Nokia. See caveat below.
  • Immediate, easy access to the Android Market - versus slower submission process at the iTunes app store and Palm app catalog.
  • Simplest submission/update process.
  • Connected with Google checkout - for servicing buyers and sellers of paid apps.
Weakness of Android
  • Least Common Denominator (LDC) - Since each device maker chooses different screen resolutions, gesture support, and accelerator detailing - the platform causes problems for developers seeking to push-the-envelope on cool interfaces. In the interest of cross device use, developers often settle for the LDC of available features across phones. Thus, iPhone is likely to still command the most innovative apps.
  • Google - known for great code, but poor User Interface design. The app review mechanism is an example of questionable UI.
  • Google - war with China - stopping adoption among China device makers. China is the largest mobile market in the world.
  • Not ready for international distribution and payments.
  • Weak DRM - discouraging legacy publishers from submitting their content as apps.
  • Fragmentation - Struggle to control app store between Google w/Checkout; and carriers with their own stores and credit via phone bills. (ref T-mobile, Verizon Vcast, WAC) China Mobile, European carriers, and Facebook all plan to brand Android with their own names.
  • Missing support for tablets with higher screen resolutions.

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