Wednesday, December 10, 2008


The last barrier to developing for Android is gone

Developing with emulators is “fine” but you have no idea how it works on the final device. Which is why I usually make builds for the real device as soon as possible to verify that what I am trying to do is feasible on the real device.

So I'm thrilled to see that Google has launched a $399 Android Dev Phone that is not locked to any provider:

The Android Dev Phone 1 is a SIM-unlocked and hardware-unlocked device that is designed for advanced developers. The device ships with a system image that is fully compatible with Android 1.0, so you can rely on it when developing your applications. You can use any SIM in the device and can flash custom Android builds that will work with the unlocked bootloader. Unlike the bootloader on retail devices, the bootloader on the Android Dev Phone 1 does not enforce signed system images. The Android Dev Phone 1 should also appeal to developers who live outside of T-Mobile geographies.

I got an Apple iPhone 3G this summer but this is pretty tempting as I haven't done much device coding after I changed jobs last year. I have got several requests for improving my Windows Mobile apps but I'm still evaluating my options; make cross device web apps (iPhone, Android, Win Mobile), buy a (very) expensive Mac, buy a expensive Visual Studio license or go for the free and open source Android. I had loads of fun, and I have learned a lot, developing the apps but at the moment they are frozen as I don't use my Windows Mobile device anymore.

I firmly believe that web apps (with syncronization in some cases) are the way to go but they are not very well suited for the apps I have developed for Windows Mobile so far (password manager, gmail notifier with Today Screen support). Android has a very interesting model for extending built in features so that may be the way to go (if Santa gets me a Android Dev Phone :-)