Core Android features?

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Core Android features?

Postby plnelson » Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:29 pm

Recently Businessweek announced that Android had passed iPhone for market share - 27% -vs- 23%. But when I pointed this out on Tech Republic one of their bloggers noted that this is a little misleading because the Android market is so fragmented - different phones have different features (e.g., Bluetooth support) so you can't just develop an app and deploy it to 27% of the market - some apps might use features not available on some phones.

I'm a newbie at Android development so my question is: Is there a CORE set of Android features that I can target so I can write Android apps that will run the same on all current Android phones? That is, to call itself an Android phone or Droid phone, or whatever, is there a minimum feature set which must be supported? If so, where can I see the list?

If no, then how can I guess what percentage of the Android phone market is capable of running some app I write?

If this is a dumb question, just remember, I'm a noob. Thanks in advance.
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Re: Core Android features?

Postby jonbonazza » Fri Aug 20, 2010 7:29 pm

There are no required hardware to run the android OS. hell, it doesn't even have to be a phone. The android OS is ran on all kinds of differnet devices such as tablets and even computers. Unfortunately, there is no possible way to provide to every device. Even if you wish to limit the criteria to just phones, there are too many variables, such as hardware, and OS version, but in all honesty, it is not much different than developing for a computer. There are various types of OS (i.e. Windows, Mac, Linux, etc...), various types of hardware; it's the same thing, really. Because of this, you need to implement similar design principals. Basically, you document the required specs for your app, then you find an document all of the devices that fit your criteria. Once you have that, you can analyze the sales and prospective sales for each device to find your potential user base. It's obviosuly more detailed than this, but I don't have a degree in marketing nor statistics,... lol
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Re: Core Android features?

Postby plnelson » Fri Aug 20, 2010 8:52 pm

jonbonazza wrote:There are no required hardware to run the android OS. hell, it doesn't even have to be a phone. The android OS is ran on all kinds of differnet devices such as tablets and even computers.

But I did say "phones", not "devices", so that should narrow it down.

but in all honesty, it is not much different than developing for a computer. There are various types of OS (i.e. Windows, Mac, Linux, etc...), various types of hardware; it's the same thing, really.

It's not really the same because on desktop PC's one OS - Windows - dominates the market. And Windows ever since NT has a Hardware Abstraction Layer so the hardware doesn't really matter much unless you're targeting a specific hardware feature like a webcam or something.

I write apps for Windows all the time and it's very easy to write an app that will run properly on the vast majority of present-day desktop and laptop PC's, regardless of brand. Unless you're writing something very specialized and demanding there is no need to do the sort of analysis you describe for PC's.

If I wanted to write an app that will run properly on, say, half of the android phones on the market, are there certain things I should avoid? Nothing higher than Android 1.5? Database? Multitouch? GPS?
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Re: Core Android features?

Postby jonbonazza » Fri Aug 20, 2010 9:09 pm

The thing with the OS version is that it is backwards compatibe. in other words, if an app was writting using the 1.5 SDK, it will safely run on a device running 2.2. With that said, you should stear away from deprecated methods.

As far as hardware goes, on a smart phone, there is really nothing that is going to be left out. The only thing that I wouldn't consider "standard" is bluetooth, and even that is quickly becoming so. Oh, and yea.. multi-touch. Most phones either do not have multi-touch or only have 2-point multi-touch. Some of the higher-end phones have 16-point multi-touch capabilities, but there are not too many atm. But yea, databases are supported in all versions of hte OS and are not hardware specific. Other than those two things, you are good to go.
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