back to article Google releases Nexus One SDK

The Android variant found on Google's Nexus One handset now has an SDK, answering one of the criticisms aimed at the search giant's foray into hardware. The Android 2.1 SDK includes APIs for creating animated wallpapers, as well as some additional telephony functions and a couple of improvements to interaction with the WebKit …


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  1. Gulfie

    Oh the irony of using Java syntax

    I'm not sure of the technical detail here (I'm sure somebody will correct me if required). Android software is written in Java syntax and compiled down to something that the Dalvik VM can run. Tru java is late binding, so with some defensive coding it would be relatively trivial to abstract out the Android 2.1 API usage into separate classes. This would allow developers to write 95% of their code to run on any Android platform, and then to only offer the extra 5% of functionality if the handset reported Android 2.1.

    You could use this approach for all phone-specific and android version-specific functionality, allowing a 'lowest common denominator' application to be written that simply was more functional on some handsets / versions of Android.

    That there are so many headaches with applications across the different Android phones implies that this cannot easily be done. No late binding. But of course, if Google had adopted Java wholesale - VM and all - this would not be a problem. Google's desire to control has well and truly backfired on it here.

    1. Paul Shirley


      Are you trying to compete with the Reg's own biased nonsense? Android Java is compiled down to Java VM ops - the normal Java VM stuff - then converted to much more compact Dalvik instructions. How you think late binding get's lost in that is beyond me, nothing would work. There are nasty incompatibilities if you try mixing base libraries from normal Java environments but that's hardly a surprise.

      Apart from using less space than compressed Sun Java ops this appears to be a cunning way around Sun's control of the Java platform, Dalvik is compatible with but is not Java. Bye bye Sun.

      Java is crappy enough all by itself without making stuff up! It makes C++ look like childs play...

      BTW: want real Java? There's an app for that ;)

  2. Anonymous Coward


    Apple don't speak to El Reg, now you're aiming for Google to cut off contact ?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      There does seem to be a lot of negativity towards Google seeping out of El'Reg recently.

      Calling it "The Android variant found on Google's Nexus One," seems to deliberately imply that it won't be available on any other devices.

      "applications that won't run on lesser Android handsets from Motorola, Samsung and everyone else who signed up to Google's promise of a level playing field." is also misleading.

      Yes Google get first dibs on Android 2.1, they're developing it at their expense - why shouldn't they?

      Any other manufacturer is welcome to take 2.0.1 and build up privately as Google are doing, if they don't like that, they wait for Google to release their source.

      The "lesser handset" comment again seems to be intended to annoy owners of said "lesser" handsets. Those handsets are only "lesser" (strictly software speaking) if the manufacturers can't be bothered to update them to 2.1 when the source is available.

      Agreed that Google's support sucks, and it would have been nice to have had the SDK before the phone was released, but not a massive hoohar. Using those features before other handsets have updated is going to cut off a large % of the user base. 50% are still on 1.6, and about 25% each on 1.5 and 2.0.1[1]. Aside from playing with the live wallpapers, I can wait for the rest.

      Also... the 2G/3G issue, seems to be T-Mobile US related[2], and effecting more than just the Nexus, but the MyTouch 3G as well.



  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So, are they going to use the GooglePhone specific features, and limit their market, write code that only uses API's that run on most of the android phones, and increase their market, or, and here is the clever bit (ok, not really), have a run time switch to use GP specific features if they exist?

    OK, so some apps will specifically need the more advanced features, so will only run on the GP, but, er, so what? The phone has more features. Why shouldn't people be able to use them? Or should handset makers only make to a minimum spec? Rather a Luddite POV methinks.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: last paragraph.

    "But at least developers can now create applications making use of features exclusive to the Nexus One - applications that won't run on lesser Android handsets from Motorola, Samsung and everyone else who signed up to Google's promise of a level playing field."

    this seems to imply that Google has made Android 2.1 (or certain features of it) Nexus One-exclusive, which is not true at all. there's nothing special about the Nexus One (aside from its branding), and nothing stopping other manufacturers from releasing 2.1 updates for their own handsets. if they don't give enough of a fuck to support their existing products after release, that's their own problem. they probably do have good reason to be pissed off at google's marketing of this phone, but there's no reason they can't compete with it on a technical level.

    1. Doug 3

      re: last paragraph.

      good point, maybe one of the things Google is doing with the release of Android 2.1 on the N1 is it gives the current phone vendors a push/reason to adopt v2.1 also. If phones are tied to the telco for 2 years then what incentive is there to keep the phone OS current? By selling an unlocked phone and keeping the OS updated, Google sticks a carrot out there which might keep those tied to a 2 year telco contract happy because it keeps their device updated too.

      If anything, selling unlocked phones which are supported by the main vendor behind the OS on the phone means we should get a better phone experience all around.

  5. Gene Cash Silver badge

    3G/2G problem...

    It's all open source, why can't people debug the issue themselves?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Perhaps the average ...

      ... man in the street would prefer to devote their limited spare time to any new fork of MySQL that may arise at this critical time for that product.

    2. Shadowslayer19


      Because there are not enough people who actually know how to program.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh please

    If you're going to snipe, at least try to be accurate with your cynicism, or you appear ill-informed;

    "But at least developers can now create applications making use of features exclusive to the Nexus One - applications that won't run on lesser Android handsets from Motorola, Samsung and everyone else who signed up to Google's promise of a level playing field"

    The other manufacturers can use these features if they build and deploy Android 2.1 for their hardware, which they typically will do in due course.

    Google haven't really played fair by releasing the Nexus One with a new Android O/S before releasing that SDK to developers, but that's not a situation which will last long. It's a properly open O/S. Motorola/Samsung etc create their own UIs to run on top of Android, and no'one complains they don't share those with other manufacturers. At least Google are sharing 2.1 around, as they should.

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      Well, quite

      Give them a chance to stuff it up properly

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What's an SDK?

    1. Blain Hamon

      SDK. Software Development Kit. Noun

      An SDK is the tools, software libraries, header files, compilers, and other parts needed to make a program on the SDK's target. Documentation, sample code, and other such help can also be considered part of the SDK.

    2. ScientologyIsACult


      Software Development Kit or type 'define: SDK' into that search engine thingy, erm.......ah.....oh GOOGLE!

    3. Pigeon


      I think 'Software Development Kit'. To develop add-ons to an O/S or hardware platform. What this one does, I cannot say, but as long as it knows all the api calls, and can compile the application, then it would qualify. Tools I have used support breakpointing and full emulation, but I suppose they could be called a SDK. In this case, maybe the application doesn't even have to be (cross)compiled

    4. Oninoshiko


      Software Development Kit

    5. This post has been deleted by its author

    6. heyrick Silver badge


      This may have already been answered (your question is the last posting as I read), but in case not... SDK means something like Software Development Kit. Basically it is concise documentation of the system calls and libraries and everything you need to do to get stuff done. For example, the Windows SDK documents loads of DLLs and how to play video using the built-in codecs (plus many other things). I would imagine the Android SDK is similar (like how to read/send SMS/MMS, how to work with the camera, etc etc...).

      In another topic (the one with the twit holding a gun to his head) it was asked what sort of phone can send pictures home. Well, with the SDK and a knowledge of coding, it shouldn't be too difficult to design an application to run on the phone that takes photos and sends them, perhaps when the phone is used, perhaps periodically...?

      1. Fred 24

        oooo yeessss

        I've looked into this very thing, and with the android.hardware class and org.apache.http classes (plus others) it looks like (though i've skimmed through a lot of pages) not only can this be done, but the phone can also host its own apache server to dish the images out... if im wrong please correct me!

    7. Keith Williams


      Space Defense (initiative) Killer

    8. Anonymous Coward


      A Stochastic Device Killer

    9. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: Ignorant

  8. Anonymous Coward


    SDK == Samurai Deeper Kyo

  9. Anonymous Coward

    other Android phones cant use eh?

    there is certainly no problem with other Android phones running Apps as

    this article seems to imply - the manufacturer just has to update their phones

    system to the 2.1 - so, once Motorola upgrade their Droid to 2.1 then it'll be

    just as capable as the Nexus One.

    I dont know why this article was getting all high and mighty. there is nothing special

    about the Nexus One excepting that it was the first 2.1 device out there and was released

    before the 2.1SDK came out (that was a bit naughty of the developers but common with

    many other manufacturers)

  10. Levente Szileszky
    Thumb Down

    Google = NO SUPPORT (and that includes Google Apps Premiere)

    Seriously: I wonder how thick is that pimped skin on E>S.' face - last imt ein som3e interview he claimed you can just call support when you have GA Premier... well, you CANNOT unless there's an outage, period.

    Goggle has NO SUPPORT - even their email-based support is nothing but some "SMART SCRIPTS" (= they are pathetically lame and broken) parsing your mail then firing back a CANNED RESPONSE.

    For the free Google Apps it's fine - for $50/year/user it's A JOKE.

    And now they are playing the same stupid, clueless-arrogant game with their mobile customers - they are inflicting PERMANENT DAMAGE to the Google brand & cloud.

    Way to go, blokes, way to go.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Animated wallpaper is absurd

    Animated wallpaper looks cool in a demo. In real life, it's a really stupid distraction. It shows that the nerds who put this thing together are more interested in being cool for other nerds than they are in creating something that is most effective for real people.

    For the person who asked what an SDK is, it's a software developer kit to allow applications to be written for a platform.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Ignorant

    That'll be a Software Development Kit ... in this case a fully featured Java library and supporting tools that you can use to write your own Android app, if you're so inclined.

  13. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    @ Ignorant

    Software Development Kit

  14. Anonymous Coward

    So the first major worm or virus is due?

    Some time tomorrow evening?

  15. Fred 24

    Im impressed!

    After following the link to the Android SDK page it looks like it wont be long before I can make my own programs for the nexus.

    The only gap in my knowledge is how to actually get the code i write from the SDK into the phone... years ago this was a nightmare, I'm hoping this is a case of being able to upload from bluetooth/web/file and simply run. If anyone knows better please let me know!

  16. James Katt

    Fracturing Android

    It is so interesting that one needs a specific SDK for every variant of Android and that each variant has problems running versions for the other variants of Android.

    This must be a nightmare for developers to support. This fractures Android into incompatible versions and lowers the potential income for developers and increases the costs for developers to support each version of Android.

  17. Mick Sheppard

    Googlegasms galore

    Its really funny reading some of the comments on here. If Microsoft pulled the same trick there would be howls of protest about it being typical Microsoft behavior. It's Google though, they 'do no evil', so they can be excused.

    The bottom line is that Android isn't turning out to be what all of the Linux using OSS advocates imagined. Instead its turning into what anyone that looks in from outside that mind set expected. Its the Linux ideal on a phone. This is going to lead to branches, to incompatibilities, to end user problems. None of the OSS fanatics will accept this. They'll counter every argument with the fact that 'you can download an app to fix it', or its Google and 'they do no evil'.

    The more that is seen of Android, and Google's approach, the less compelling it becomes.

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