Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Android Apps

android emulator - web browser based on WebkitI've just got hold of Google's Android SDK, which includes an emulator of the Android platform. I must say I'm pretty excited about this, it looks like Android has the potential to create the "ideal" PDA OS - that is, one based on open standards (Linux), and that doesn't lock anything down (quote from the Android website:
Android does not differentiate between the phone's basic and third-party applications -- even the dialer or home screen can be replaced.) This is really going to be great for everyone who loves the iPhone's features but wished it wasn't locked down so much.

So, I started up the android emulator, and was extremely impressed with the sleekness of the interface. It's also very responsive - even with my CPU going 100% and no graphics card. The interface is very smooth and polished, with the capability to create translucent windows and animation effects.

I'm certainly looking forwards to writing apps for the Android. It uses a pseudo-Java VM called "Dalvik" (can anyone hear an "exterminate!" here?) to run third-party apps, and although there are a few new UI concepts (Activities, Views, Intents...), the API is overall very easy to learn. To encourage developers to write "great apps" for the Android, Google is offering USD$10 million worth of prizes for the most promising apps. This should create a huge incentive for developers, and I expect to see plenty of Android apps by the closing date of March 08.

Overall, the Android looks pretty darn good - it's not just the iPhone opensourced, but a whole new concept of open, integrated phones. I'll give you updates as I get used to the API and OS, but for now, rest assured that all the hype about the "gPhone" has been justified - and doubly at that. I just can't wait for the "official" release in late 2008!


Nick Georgakis said...

Finally a mobile platform to be extremely happy to work with.
I cannot way to get in my hands a working simulator / emulator and later on a working device.
PalmOS was ... a long time ago ... great and JAVA (think mobiles) is so restricted that makes developing anything else than trivial games a permissions horror.

David said...

Exactly right, Nick. So far I've been very impressed with the Android model, and it is absolute heaven after the existing "open" mobile development models. And the main advantage of this is that it's truly open - open source, so that it won't suffer the same proprietary woes that PalmOS had.



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