While we love apps like Titanium Backup that make restoring your data relatively easy when you upgrade phones, buy a tablet, or switch to a new ROM, what if they weren't even necessary? What if all of your apps' data could be stored in the cloud? This would not only make backing up and restoring easier, but it would save you a big chunk of SD card storage, right? It turns out that these capabilities have been present in the Android OS since the arrival of Froyo last year. So why aren't developers using them?
Check this out from the Android Developers' Guide:
Android's backup service allows you to copy your persistent application data to remote "cloud" storage, in order to provide a restore point for the application data and settings. If a user performs a factory reset or converts to a new Android-powered device, the system automatically restores your backup data when the application is re-installed. This way, your users don't need to reproduce their previous data or application settings. This process is completely transparent to the user and does not affect the functionality or user experience in your application.
The service is a "lazy backup," meaning the Backup Manager on the device determines when it's appropriate to back up after being asked to do so by an application. On the upside, it can back up game progress, API tokens, and other non-sensitive information. The downside is that it's not secure, so devs shouldn't use it to save passwords.
This sounds like a great service, but have you ever or anyone you know had an app automatically restore its previous data after an upgrade? I haven't. And why not? It's a fairly clean-cut process that shouldn't add too much labor to any developer's work - just have a look at the dev guide.
Sony just announced that they added cloud storage with their most recent PlayStation 3 update, and it was considered to be a pretty big deal. Save your game data to the cloud, save hard drive space, use your internet connection instead. Win for everyone, right? Granted, the Android equivalent says that it's primarily for installing the app on a new device and not for everyday use, but isn't this still a feature with some extremely useful potential that isn't being used at all?
We would love to hear your thoughts on this, both from devs and regular users who might be surprised to even know this feature existed. Give us your two cents in the comments below.
Source: Android Developers' Guide - thanks to Victor for raising the issue