The open-source, Linux-based and hardware-independent Android mobile OS, with the new Android 2.3 Gingerbread release is giving mobile developers a whole new ball court to play in. Android is the fastest growing mobile OS among its competitors and with its share in the Smartphone user market growing, Android is attracting more and more enthusiastic developers.
Being a Java developer I jumped right into Android development about a year ago. There is a whole list of reasons why I chose to develop Android apps over other platforms and here are some of them:
There is almost no cost to develop an Android app. There are no required licenses, specific IDEs or limited distribution channels. You may end up spending money on development and testing expertise, use of specific app stores and the purchase test devices, but the sum of all that is still a fraction of what you would pay to develop on other popular mobile platforms.
2. Open and free
The two words every developer wants to hear are ‘Open’ and ‘Free’. Now you can have that on your mobile! This baby is license and royalty free because its underlying SDK architecture remains open source. The entire environment is available for customization, and developers and organizations can provide as detailed feedback as they want to the Android development team and watch as their issues get addressed in frequent new releases.
3. Various distribution channels
Developers are not limited to the Android app market or any other channels to get their apps on consumers’ phones. Apps can be legally downloaded and installed from any unknown sources.
4. The good old Java
Being Java based, Android uses a rich pool of libraries that provide extreme flexibility and room for uncapped creativity. Android’s topnotch documentation means virtually anyone with a working knowledge of Java can get Android applications off the ground.
5. Flash Love!
Before Android gathered its well deserved power and popularity, Flash was thought to be a dying technology since it wasn’t supported by other mobile industry giants. There is obviously a ‘but’ here! The green robot embraced flash and took mobile web surfing to a whole new level.
Android is heavily meshed with the cloud and it carries superior Google connectivity solutions. Google’s cloud tools are already soaring on the popularity list and they come right to the palms of the users’ hands with Android. One can also take advantage of browser connectivity solutions for Chrome and Firefox. In addition, Android provides open Bluetooth communication, something that is missing on some other popular platforms. Versions 2.2 Froyo and later allow the phone to become a portable hotspot. Now that is cool!
The awesome obviously doesn’t stop here. In my next post, I’ll talk about Android 2.3 Gingerbread features and what there is for us mobile app developers to play with!