Though it does have its less desirable points, Android is a great platform to develop for—particularly as a first-time developer. It’s probably one of the most developer-friendly platforms out there, and as a result, it boasts a thriving developer community. 

It’s all because Android is, as Google puts it, an open ecosystem. That means the source code is available to the general public. Developers are free to access whatever sections of the Android code they might need for their application, through the Android Software Development Kit.

What’s more, Android’s designed so that savvy users can easily unlock the operating system in order to install new bits and pieces of unofficial software from a wide range of different locations—a process known as ‘rooting.’ That’s not as irrelevant as you might think—a lot of developers enjoy having the sort of ‘power user’ privileges one gains from rooting a phone, so they flock to Android.


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Though it does have its less desirable points, Android is a great platform to develop for—particularly as a first-time developer. It’s probably one of the most developer-friendly platforms out there, and as a result, it boasts a thriving developer community. 

It’s all because Android is, as Google puts it, an open ecosystem. That means the source code is available to the general public. Developers are free to access whatever sections of the Android code they might need for their application, through the Android Software Development Kit.

What’s more, Android’s designed so that savvy users can easily unlock the operating system in order to install new bits and pieces of unofficial software from a wide range of different locations—a process known as ‘rooting.’ That’s not as irrelevant as you might think—a lot of developers enjoy having the sort of ‘power user’ privileges one gains from rooting a phone, so they flock to Android.

Since they’re most likely to develop for the platform they themselves use, developers start making Android apps. Many of them get involved in the community, and as a result, they’re available to help Android development newbies.

Android’s OS isn’t the only place where Google places an emphasis on openness. The Android market has a remarkably simple application approval process. You submit your application with a description, set the price, and … you’re done. As soon as you’ve got the app written and submitted, it’s pushed out to a very large market.

Let’s contrast that with the sort of process applications submitted to the iTunes store have to go through. Their approval process is, in a word, extremely stringent. While different developers have different experiences with this process, they all admit that Apple has a set of very strict rules on what they’ll approve and what they won’t approve.

I’ll give an example of just how detrimental this can be to developers. Some time ago, Opera developed a mobile browser for iPhones. Hanging a lampshade on Apple’s approval process, they set up a contest in which they took bets on how long it would take Apple to approve their application. It took them almost a month.

There’s also the size of the Android user base to consider. We’ve already established that they hold over fifty percent of the global smart-phone market. That’s a lot of potential downloads. In other words, developing for Android means that your application will not only get out onto the market faster, it’ll reach a larger user base than it might on other platforms. 

Because of the large amount of freedom afforded to developers for Android, they’re able to pick and choose their own revenue models. Though Android and Facebook are two very different platforms, it’s worthwhile to compare the two in that regard. Facebook is arguably an even more open platform than Android, as apps have no approval process. However, on Facebook, you’re unable to charge for your applications.

As a result, if you want to monetize on a Facebook app, you’re going to have to stick to in-app advertising and in-app purchases (microtransactions). As a result, there aren’t a great many popular functional apps on Facebook—most of the best-designed applications are games. With Android, you’re free to choose what you develop, and how.

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