Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The stories behind the apps

As we mentioned yesterday, the Android Market is now open for developers to upload their applications. I'm pretty excited because Market, along with the availability of the first Android-powered phone and the Android 1.0 SDK, puts the basic pieces of the Android platform into place for developers to create and distribute their apps.

To help developers better understand what's available to them, we've collected stories from some Android application developers. In the videos, you'll hear them talk about how they built their apps, their takes on the Android platform, and also some tips they want to share with other developers. I think they have a lot of insight to share about Android application development, so I hope you'll find these videos useful.

Here are the first two developers in this series:

Jeff Sharkey is an ADC finalist—he built CompareEverywhere.

Jacob Abrams is from Glu Mobile and helped to build their first Android app, Bonsai Blast.

Keep an eye on this blog, our YouTube channel, or the playlist for this series for more of these videos in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Android Market: Now available for users

Last month I outlined some details around Android Market. Today, Android Market launched for users to download applications along with the first Android-powered phone—the T-Mobile G1.

With Android Market, users can easily download apps to their Android-powered phone. Users can also rate the apps they've downloaded and leave comments. These users' ratings along with anonymous usage statistics help determine how apps are ranked and presented within Android Market.

If you're a developer, you will be able to register and upload your applications starting next Monday, 2008-10-27, when we've wrapped up a few final details. In order to make sure that each developer is authenticated and responsible for their apps, you will need to register and pay a one time $25 application fee. Once registered, your apps can be made available to users without further validation or approval.

Starting in early Q1, developers will also be able to distribute paid apps in addition to free apps. Developers will get 70% of the revenue from each purchase; the remaining amount goes to carriers and billing settlement fees—Google does not take a percentage. We believe this revenue model creates a fair and positive experience for users, developers, and carriers.

There are already over 50 apps available in Android Market today. You can view a showcase of some of these apps—which include multimedia, location-based tools, barcode scanners, travel guides and games—at http://www.android.com/market/. Now that Android Market is live and ready for contributions, we hope to see developers adding their own compelling apps starting next week.

In the coming months, we'll continue to roll out additional tools and enhancements to Android Market. We also expect to see additional Android-powered devices rolling out by different carriers around the world. Starting today, you can get a device, test your apps on it, and get them ready for upload. On Monday, to share your app with the world, simply register, upload your application and publish it. It's really that easy. I look forward to seeing what you bring to the Market.

Update: As of Monday morning (2008-10-27), http://market.android.com/publish is now available for developers to publish their apps on Android Market.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New Android Maps API Terms of Service and Key Enforcement

When we released the 0.9_r1 beta SDK, we mentioned that the Maps API included with Android would soon require an API key to function correctly and load map tiles. Part of the reason for this was that the Terms of Service (ToS) for the Maps API had not been finalized.

Today, I'm pleased to be able to tell you that the new Android Maps API ToS are now finalized and they're actually pretty exciting. Most of the restrictions present in the old ToS are now gone—for instance, it's now permissible to use the Android Maps API to build "friend finder" style applications. There are still a few limitations, but not nearly as many as before.

Now that the ToS are finalized, it's time to take the next step. Until now, developers have been able to use any value for their Maps API key—that is, the Maps API keys weren't enforced. However, starting early tomorrow morning (Oct 22nd, PDT), we are turning on Maps key enforcement, so the grace period is ending very soon. This means it's also time for developers to acquire and begin using real API keys. Here's what you'll need to do:

  1. Visit http://code.google.com/android/maps-api-signup.html, fill out the required information, agree to the Terms of Service, and submit.
  2. Take the key you are given in response, and place it either:
    • In the XML layout where you declare your MapView, or
    • In your source code, where you instantiate your MapView object

The way the keys work is that when you use a MapView, it queries the system to find the public fingerprint ID of the certificate used to
sign the currently-running application. The MapView then works with the server to verify that the certificate which signed the current application is the same certificate to which the current Maps API key belongs. If they match, then tiles are displayed; if they do not match, then no map tiles are displayed.

You will need one Maps API key for each certificate you use to sign your applications. That is, you'll need separate Maps API keys for both your debug-time signing certificate used in the emulator, and for your release-time certificate you'll use when publishing your apps. Fortunately this is free, and there is no limit to the number of keys you can acquire. Finally, note that this only applies if you're using a MapView in your
Android application. If you don't use Maps at all, or if you use an Intentto launch Google Maps, you don't need to follow these steps.

Be sure to get your Maps API key now to avoid a disruption.

Android is now Open Source

Over the past year, we announced Android, released several SDKs (eventually resulting in the 1.0 SDK), gave out the first half of the $10,000,000 prize money for the Android Developer Challenge, and prepared the first Android-powered device for users. Tomorrow, the T-Mobile G1 goes on sale.

But today, we're making what might just be the most exciting announcement of all: we and our Open Handset Alliance partners have now released the source code for Android. There's a huge amount of code and content there, so head over to http://source.android.com/ for all the details.

I'd like to offer a huge thank you and congratulations to my colleagues and the Alliance partners for what I hope will be a red-letter day for the open source community, and openness in the mobile industry.