domingo, mayo 11, 2008

I failed at ADC...oh no!!!

So, finally the so-longed Android Developer Challenge results come up and unfortunately I failed :P. It was not a big surprise for me honestly, since I never expected to win. Being active on the forums and chat channels for the last couple of months were sufficient for me to know the bar will be too high to get qualified for the next round (and win the 25,000 USD btw)

However, I got fun developing my little application. Developing something with a goal was a clever way to learn the platform. For those who may not know what I am talking about, Android is a new OS (based on Linux) from Google for mobile devices (mainly mobile phones). Likewise Linux, it is open source, which means anybody can get the source (although is hasn't been published yet, that'll happen when v1.0 come out), modify it, customize it, fix it, etc. Developing is made in Java and together with the programming language there is a whole framework which the developer interacts with.

Developing in Android is quite fast (specially if you avoid using Eclipse and go for the de-integrated developing environment approach, in this case, vim & ant). Android framework relies on 4 key concepts:
  • Views, user interface
  • Activities, the logic to be performed
  • Actions, the thing to be done
  • Intentions, the way activities communicate each other
There are also Services, which maybe consider a kind of Activity without an UI.

The Android platform is supported by the Open-Handset-Alliance, or OHA. The OHA encompasses teleco companies, handset manufacturers, and content-providers all having in common the mobile handset market.

In my opinion, with this strategy Google is trying to accomplish the following goals:
  • Neutralize the mobile business by making it vendor independent
  • Being searching and advertisement its main sources of income, Google needs to open new channels of communication and strength its position there. There are 1000 million internet connection worldwide, but 3000 million mobile handsets. Soon those 3000 million phones will be 3000 million smart-phones. The internet goes mobile.
  • By making mobile software development easier, Google tries to follow the same road as the web. Although writing Android apps is not as easy as writing a HTML page, Android states closer to the pro-am (professional- amateur) principle than other platforms. Almost anybody will be able to write applications for Android. That will bring lots of crap, for sure, but also innovation.
About my app, it is a purikura application for mobile phones, surprisingly called MyPurikura. Have you ever wander what to do with the pics you take on your phone? Well, one thing you could do is decorate them and make them funnier by adding icons, catch-phrases, etc. Purikuras are small photo stickers very popular in Asia. Applications like this have already started to spring up in Japan (where mobile innovation is actually happening) [1]

Although it needs some bug-fixing and code refactoring, I prefer to release it now. I know how these things work, if I delay it till got something that truly satisfy me, I will be postponing it till the end of time. It may be useful for somebody today, although I plan to carry on developing it in the next weeks.

Lastly, I may need some warm-hearted person who enjoys drawing and would like to contribute with new cute icons. Please contact me if you are interested!

Purikura power!!

[1] Graffiti Photos: Expressive Art in Japanese Girls' Culture

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