You want news about Android? I got your news about Android right here, buddy! Even discounting the growing storm of anticipation that is the Google Phone, there is plenty going down for Android watchers today – from Android OS updates, to development budget cuts and the new Google Dashboard.
Sprint has delivered a little surprise for those waiting for their Android update. The two high-end Android phones that the operator carries are the HTC Hero and the Samsung Moment, and an update to the 2.0 version of these devices was promised for early 2010.
But with news that the Google is (apparently) testing Android 2.1 on the Nexus One, Sprint has announced that these devices will jump straight to 2.1 – do not pass GO, do not collect €200.
Gameloft sticking to its guns:
We reported on mobile games developer Gamelofts decision to seriously downgrade its investment in Android late last month. The games makers has been hit by a lot of market reports since, showing rapid growth in the number of apps available on Android Market (16,000 according to Google) and the surge of interest in the Google Phone.
But Gameloft is sticking to its guns and going ahead with the cut. Basically, this is because its initial complaints about the platform haven’t changed:
1) Gameloft says the Android Market is not as easy to use as the iTunes app store, for both buyers and sellers.
2) The large variety of different Android devices makes it hard to design an app that will work on all of them – developers have to choose a subset of Android devices to develop for.
Interestingly, our third story is about how Google is taking steps to correct this very issue
Complaints about fragmentation in Android devices have been on the rise. To combat this, Google has released the Google Dashboard, which collates information on which versions of Android are being used to access the Android Market:
This will help developers figure out which version of Android they should develop for… but it’s not really much help when it comes to the actual physical devices. After all you have screen size, buttons, keyboard type and other factors to account for. On the blog post announcing Dashboard, Google had this to say, somewhat unhelpfully:
“Starting with Android 1.6, devices can have different screen densities & sizes. There are several devices out there that fall in this category, so make sure to adapt your application to support different screen sizes and take advantage of devices with small, low density (e.g QVGA) and normal, high density (e.g. WVGA) screens. Note that Android Market will not list your application on small screen devices unless its manifest explicitly indicates support for “small” screen sizes. Make sure you properly configure the emulator and test your application on different screen sizes before uploading to Market.”
So Google is trying to address one part of fragmentation… but there’s a lot more to do.