More Thoughts about Android

Open Platform
Despite Android being a open platform (you can download the complete OS sourcecode and compile by yourself if you have the urge to do so), there 10.000’s of applications and only very few of them are open too. Android as an open platform to deliver closed and proprietary products. Lets see how that works out in future. Unlike Ubuntu which is an Open Source OS with a vast Open Source applications ecosystem. I suspect with more hardware manufacturer coming on board its going to be more complicated, hopefully it wont start splitting or forking at some stage.

Market Access as Developer
Is it impossible to get into the market with a new application, the top 100 is dominated by applications that are around since Android was born (having a high download rate or just being the first to create a specific application type that was not there yet) or because they have a very good concept and are implemented very well and then spread virally.
So for you newbie developer it is very hard to get a serious user base. You better have a unique idea and some design skills !
With 300.000 newly registered Android Phones every day, any application in the market will be downloaded by someone. My simple counting application was downloaded more than 100 times.
Assuming you can sell an application at 1$, can create a serious amount of cash. Even 10.000 downloads is a lot of money, and I see lots and lots of ridiculous pay-apps where I just wonder who pays for this.
It is all statistics ! And more interesting, it is impossible to track for the finance departments of governments, you potentially make 100.000 a year without paying tax. Your earnings come via google payment.

Visible Trojan Horses
How often do you seriously look at the permissions an application ask for while installing ? Now, I look what they ask for, earlier I just press OK. Why does a memory games for kids needs full internet access and the ability to make phone calls ?? Its is not a big deal to create an app that secretly scan the SD card and happily transfer it to somewhere.  With windows you dont see Trojan Horses coming in, with Android you invite them openly (if you dont open your eyes!).

IP Protection ?
Copyright infringement is widespread. There are hundred of memory games, puzzles, wallpapers, drawing games and soundboards with images and sounds of movies and cartoon characters, created by anyone but not licensed (by the copyright holder) developers. It seems there is a tutorial about Android memory games somewhere, if you search for memory games, there are hundred’s, just with different images. I wish there would be a filter when browsing through the market.
Update: Here it is > http://mobile.dzone.com/news/memory-game… The complete sourcecode for your to create one more memory game !

On the other side I wonder when you can download or torrent complete CD’s full with APK’s of commercial applications and your apps start spreading around without you getting any payment. I think there are some concepts but no enforcement of 1 app runs on 1 device. Could be part of the download and installation process

Dont buy tablets now !
I almost bought a Galaxy Tab last week (after passing the crap Palroid to my daughter of 3 years). But reading the online news (rumors) reveals there will be no Android 3.0 for it, but rather a Galaxy Tab 2 presented in mid February. So any money spend on Android 2.x tablets is wasted money.

Hardware overkill
Android 3.0 is targeting tablets which become more and more powerful (and expensive). What will happen to regular phones ? Soon we will have widespread of applications that wont run on a phone because of less powerful hardware. They might even introduce a power benchmark index for each application and if your phone is lower than the required index you cant run it.

Pricing
What is the point of tablets beyond the 1000$ mark ? They are venturing into another market that just died, netbooks. I like Android because it is cheap and powerful, if I spend more than 1000$ I get a notebook and load it with Ubuntu. And a 10″ tablet is not that much smaller than a notebook. The same time we will see notebooks becoming smaller with removable keyboards. This year will be interesting where the market and demand will shift towards.

Google released Android 3.0 SDK Preview

Finally we get a first hands-on experience with the latest version targeting the tablet market. All official info at here.

How to get it ? If you are running Eclipse and already develop for Android, no problem. Just open the SDK Manager and select the package:

Install honeycomb Preview

Create a new Virtual Device

Android Device

Create a  test application, start the emulator (which is significantly slower then the earlier Android versions!)

Honeycomp Test Application

Android Honeycomb Emulator

PS: I am still waiting for Android 2.3 for my Nexus One (supposed to be aired after a few weeks as of early December 2010). Instead we got a 2.2.2 fixing the SMS bug and others.

Thoughts on Android Tablets

  • The tablets are becoming, actually they are already, the new hype, no doubt. There will be more coming this year, specifically with Android 3.0 to be launched this year. Even I wonder how much in advance a hardware manufacturer gets his hand on the OS, to be able to release a device in reasonable time after the launch of 3.0.
  • Rumors (link) say there might be a hardware restriction for 3.0. That will really make a lot of devices out-dated immediately.
  • There are many tablets running 2.1, lots from China at a low price. They are certainly not update-able to 2.2 or higher. Waste of money.

    China Tablets

  • The few serious (and more expensive) devices are Viewsonic, Samsung and Toshiba, all running 2.2. Will they be able to run 2.3 ? Or even 3 ? The Samsung Galaxy Tab is sold at almost 1000S$ without contract. This device potentially renders old stuff in 6 months time.
  • Why does any device with 3G costs cost 200..300S$ more or is only available with a telco contract ?
  • Toshiba AS100 and other market-less devices: Why in the world are they selling devices without App Market ? How much sense does it make to have a device and you cant add applications ?