Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mobile Programming with Android

Android, what is it? Android is an open source mobile operating system that combines and builds upon parts of many different open source projects. What does this mean to you as a developer? You have access to the source code of the platform that is running on the phone. This can help you better understand how interface controls and the various other pieces work. If you happen to find a bug, you can also submit a patch for the issue, though this is a more advanced practice. Google has also pulled together a large group of companies (called the Open Handset Alliance) that both contribute to and use the Android OS in their hardware devices. 

This means that there is industry-wide support for Google’s OS, promising wide adoption across well-known vendors. some benefits using Android are: Zero startup costs to begin development. The development tools for the platform are free to download, and Google only charges a small fee to distribute applications on the Android Market. Freedom to innovate. The Android OS is an open-source platform based on the Linux kernel and multiple open-source libraries. In addition to building applications to run on Android devices, developers are free to contribute to or extend the platform as well. Freedom to collaborate. Android developers are not required to sign an NDA and are encouraged to collaborate and share source code with each other. According to a survey by Black Duck Software, the number of open source mobile apps and libraries grew at a rate of 168% from 2008 to 2009, faster on Android than any other platform. This means more code that you can reuse in your own projects to bring them to market much faster. 

Open distribution model. Very few restrictions are placed on the content or functionality allowed in Google’s Android Market, and developers are free to distribute their applications through other distribution channels as well. Multi-platform support. There are a wide variety of hardware devices powered by the Android OS, including many different phones and tablet computers. Development for the platform can occur on Windows, Mac OS or Linux. Multi-carrier support. A large number of telecom carriers currently offer Android powered phones.

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