All Quiet on the Android Front

The Big G has gone silent on the issue of Android these past few months. Very little of substance has come out since the Google I/O conference in late May. Even worse? The API hasn’t been updated since early March, the latest version being m5-rc15 as of this writing.

This wouldn’t be so annoying if there wasn’t evidence to suggest that Google made updated SDKs available to the winners in the Android Developer’s Challenge, but not to anyone else. There have been bugs in the SDK since March, that we’ve seen no movement on, and I refuse to believe that Google’s gone static. Others are upset about this as well.

Why is this a problem? Simple. The iPhone. Google was in a position at the beginning of this year to make a lot of progress on the developer goodwill front. Android is a better development platform than the iPhone as it has fewer restrictions on Applications, it has means to share data between programs, it doesn’t lock the developer into one single distribution model, and it doesn’t lock the user into a single hardware platform. Will there be a specified baseline Android phone? Very likely. It’s easier for me as a developer if I have a reasonable expectation of a certain level of functionality. And the HTC Dream seems to be that baseline.

Plus, Android users can actually talk about developing for Android. Something that iPhone developers still can’t do. But, the iPhone is apparently taking over the smartphone market. People are excited, consumers are signing up in droves, and developers are scrambling to get on the platform. Of course, there is a second part of this: The rush of Developers to the iPhone has undoubtably sold more Macs, as you must be on an Intel-based Mac to run the SDK. My only Mac is PowerPC, so just as Apple has given me the finger, I’d just like the pass them along a nice big fuck yoo too.

But, the iPhone is here today. And while Android is still on track for the end of the year, those of us who didn’t enter or win the developer’s challenge, need some love too. And we need it before handsets hit the market. If Google wants any chance to unseat the quickly growing iPhone market, they need to help us. We want to talk about Android. Give us something to talk about. We know you’re working hard, but you’re just not meeting our needs.