A colleague forwarded me this link yesterday:
What we want to know is, how could Google allow this sort of thing to go down in the first place? I mean, don't they care about the Android brand and the developer community that tries to support it? Don't they want to attract more developers and businesses to their playground?
Wait, don't answer that. It's clear what kinds of answers we'd get. And we have to say, things are not boding well for Android these days. Just look at the issues:
- Subpar developer tools
- A Fragmented deployment model.
- An unclear path to aide in monetizing development costs
- Purported 40% return rate of devices to carriers
- Patent concerns up the wazoo.
We could go on but let's just cut to the chase shall we?
"it's about the developer, stupid!"
In case you missed it, it costs real money to develop software for mobile – it always has. Whether you're an app developer looking to launch the next great consumer-facing app or you're a dynamic business looking to empower your field force by streamlining their day-to-day jobs, building a stable, sophisticated and secure mobile application that properly serves the end customer is hard and more costly than you might imagine. Oh and then you have to support it once it's deployed.
Now don't get me wrong. There is money to be made in mobile for sure. With a sound idea, strong business case and a well-rounded infrastructure to build everything upon, your software development team has a very good chance of helping you succeed. Without those good tools however, you can expect your development costs to blossom, quality of your product go down, and the costs to support unreasonable as your team struggles with the tools.
This is why back in 2008 when Windows Mobile was being ushered out (our primary development platform at the time) and we had a chance to choose between Apple and the other mobile platforms out there, we went with Apple. Why? Because they seem to understand that without an excited and properly supported, compensated and empowered mobile software development community, they've got nothing.
Based on all accounts, I think we made the right decision. I mean, we're still here, doing better than ever and honestly, when is the last time you've heard of a developer conference selling out in something like 10 hours? (The last WWDC did just that.) Or people sleeping outside for the pending release of the next Apple iOS device? (Dare I suggest googling for that one?)
Look, we've been wanting to support another mobile platform for some time now, but man, can Google make it any harder? It's sad, but we've had to strongly advise against developing for Android unless there is a very clear path to monetize because of all the reasons I've mentioned above.
More to the point, who else is even worth considering right now? RIM is now faltering with every step (no unified ecosystem there), Microsoft simply cannot give away their new phones and well, we all know Symbian is done. That leaves HP / Palm Pre, which while I almost think has the best chance to be #2, can't seem to claw back their way into the market yet. Oh and please don't press the mobile web here. Yes – we're watching HTML5 closely and while we think it's a great tool for many things, the mobile web, by itself, is still not ready for complex data collection nor a more diversified mobile user experience.
Show us a straightforward way for the best chance at making our client's money back by developing for your mobile platform and you've got a developer to add to your community. But keep ignoring your mobile software development community's needs and problems (like allowing others to rip them off), and you leave us no choice but to continue to steer clear of your world.