It was a matter of time until Amazon AWS would react to the recent price reduction by Google. With effect of April 1st they cut prices for EC2 and S3 massively again (up to 65% on S3 and 40% on EC2). For now the customer is the winner, lets observe how it develops on the long term.
Since it does make little sense to purchase am expensive (but soon outdated) Galaxy Tab, Toshiba 100 or any of its big brand brothers, I decided to go for one of these China wholesale Android devices that we need for some testing and development. You certainly come across the ads from dhgate.com and similar offerings that pop up on any Android related website. dhgate.com worked fine for me the first time, even it is nothing more than a trading platform for chinese products. So the product quality and delivery still depends on the seller, but you get certain assurance by the platform.
The Android I chosed: 10″ X220 Android 2.2, 1 Ghz CPU with 512MB RAM for 205.- U$ (about 258.- SGD) with free shipping
The order was processed within few hours and it did not take more than 2 days to be shipped to Singapore.
My first impressions of the SuperPad III:
- The device looks sturdy and is quite well assembled, it does not look cheap or like plastic china stuff.
- The appearance is very close to the Apple iPad.
- The resistive screen is smooth (much better than the Palladine Palroid)
- The performance is very good (we are talking about a 200U$ device!)
Some more details after using it for a while:
- The “built-in” GPS is an external GPS receiver that is plugged into the device. Not useful, except you mount it in the car.
- It comes with a ethernet connection (RJ-45). A bit contradictious to a mobile device.
- NO ROOT.
- It has NO USB port to connect the device as drive or for debugging. The is no debugging setting available. My attempt to adb wireless failed (due to no root).
- The market is the China “free-only” market which gives you no access to paid apps.
- Plug a headset into the earphone connector makes the screen shut off (hardware failure). I guess they would exchange without problems, I dont need it so I skipped the exchange.
Recommendation: If you look for a cheap alternative to play, watch movies on a decent speedy piece of hardware with a big screen, go for it ! No viable for development.
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.
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.
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.