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.
Although iOS appears to currently be the platform of choice for developers, research firm Ovum suggests that Android is set to surpass it "in terms of importance to developers within the next 12 months".
Traditionally, the Apple App Store has generated higher revenues than the Android Market as users are more likely to download paid apps, thus luring developers. However the Android platform has been incredibly successful in the past few months and the number of app downloads have been significant, so it comes as no surprise that developers are bullish on Android's prospects in 2012.
Following up on last week's editorial, I decided it may be interesting to take a look at the other side of the story – that is, what effect has Google's 10 Billion App promotion had on the developers who were invited to participate?
To begin with, I think it would be wise to take a look at just how developers were invited, and how Google ran the promotion overall. We've heard from a handful of developers about this, so we've got a pretty clear picture of how things went.
In order to make it easier for Android developers to get started with creating robust applications, the Android team today formalized and unified various coding tutorials into one clearly defined area of the Android dev site: Android Training. The tutorials, or classes, are very well put together, with splits into logical steps to make them flow well, along with sample code you can utilize to "do your homework." There is no fee for taking any of them - think of Android Training as a collection of well organized and curated tutorials.
You can now email developers with a question or a bug report right from the web Market - a feature previously available only in the device Market. For example:
The email url is a simple mailto: link, which should pop up your favorite email client (Gmail in my case).
So you're doing a mockup in Photoshop, and you want to see it on your device. You've got to save it, email it to yourself, and open it on your phone, right? Not Anymore. Today, Google - well, Roman Nurik, a guy who works at Google - released "Android Design Preview," a little utility that will mirror your screen over ADB.
The app has a box that matches the resolution of your device, just start it up, stick it the alignment box over your Photoshop mockup, and you have a live preview of your work.
Over on the AndroidDevelopers YouTube account, Google has produced a little video about the development of Wind-Up Knight.
It's a short interview with the founders of Robot Invader, the developer behind the game. They talk about what a good idea it was to develop for Android, and go over some of Android's advantages for developers. They reach 100 devices with a single binary, they can update builds in 24 hours, (*ahem* ..Apple) and they're approaching a million users in only 2 weeks.