Google has done a lot to improve the web version of the Play Store since it was launched, but there has always been one major flaw: one-way comments. Users could leave comments about what is good, bad, or broken about an app, but developers had no way to reply to the comments. Ergo, many developers started to include a disclaimer at the bottom of their listings that states they cannot reply to comments, so users should contact them via email with issues.
What an interesting turn of events - Oracle just sued a notorious patent troll Lodsys, seeking invalidation of four of Lodsys' patents. In fact, these are all the patents Lodsys owns - if Oracle wins, Lodsys will have nothing to threaten innocent developers with.
If you haven't been following the Lodsys drama for the past year+, let me step back for a brief history lesson. Lodsys LLC, a Texas patent troll shell corporation, has been harassing various developers since early 2011, including many with Android apps in the Play Store.
From May 24th to June 1st, a boatload of your favorite Android games will be going on sale in celebration of pricing freedom. Because We May, a coalition of game developers that is "preparing for launch," announced the sale recently, explaining that the purpose of the sale is to "celebrate online stores that give us control over pricing."
The stores involved include the iOS App Store, Mac App Store, Steam, Google Play, and a few others (including a "Direct from Developer" option).
In case the parade of trade shows and device announcements in the first half of the year aren't enough to keep you excited, Google I/O stands as the centerpiece of Android and Google hype. If you're just too eager to see what's going to happen late this June, then here's something to whet your appetite: The Google I/O schedule is now live at Google's developer site.
The schedule includes information for all tracks, including Android, Chrome, Google TV, YouTube, and all your other favorite Google products.
All manufacturers want to make sure that apps work properly on their devices. Of course, the best way to make sure an app works on any given phone is to actually test the app on the device in question. For developers, though, that could cost a substantial amount of money - just think about how many Android devices are out there at the moment.
As an answer to this quandary, though, Sony has come up with a unique plan to allow developers to borrow Xperia devices.
Google must be trying to warm my heart lately. After a video circulated of a legally blind man behind the wheel of Google's self-driving car made its rounds recently, Google now announces its Translator Toolkit. The new toolkit offers developers a suite of services for localizing their apps. This is the future we all dreamed of.
The toolkit will allow developer to upload certain files from their apps to translate the text to another language.
In the past, Android apps have been limited to a 50MB file size. App developers who needed to add extra data, as is the case with most big games, would have to have a secondary, self-hosted download after the user first launched the game. Today, that changes with Google introducing support for up to 4GB of "expansion files". While APKs must still be under 50MB, Google will host two 2GB files that include extra data for developers' apps.
To say that DLC is a growing problem would be an understatement. Of the last five games I've reviewed for this site, all of them have had some form of in-app purchases to expand the game or unlock content. Sometimes it's awful, sometimes it's not so bad, but all of them guarantee you only get most of a game. A new service called Pocket Change, however, wants to let game developers charge on a per-play basis.
Google's not one to shy away from engaging its developers. Between the Android developers blog, Google Groups, and a myriad of other contact methods, Google is pretty open about talking with developers. If you're looking to get a bit more social, you can now add the official Android developers page to your circles Google+.
If there's one thing we love, it's an open community of developers working together. Google has been pushing harder to try and steer its developers in the direction it wants.