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Developing Apps and Games with Android

written by: •edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 5/20/2011

If you’re interested in Android development, whether you’re developing an app or a game, you’ll find some useful resources here.

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    Android logo The Google Android operating system is growing more and more popular with each passing month and there are a wide range of Android smartphones now available. There are also well over 100,000 Android apps and games to download from the Android Market. It is pretty clear that Android is here to stay and the platform will continue to grow.

    People create apps for all kinds of reasons and they are roughly categorized in the Android Market, although it can be tough to find the best Android apps unless you know exactly what you are looking for. There are loads of completely free apps and games; there are also apps and games which are ad supported; there are plenty of apps and games which cost money.

    Whether you are looking to make some money, create a name for yourself or just dip into Android development for fun you can find some help getting started here.

    If you’re still wondering whether to develop for Android check out our Android Market vs Apple App Store article for a comparison. There is no doubt the iPhone offers a much bigger market right now but Android is beginning to catch up and the future looks bright for Google’s platform.

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    Getting Started with Android

    You will eventually aim to release your app or game in the Android Market but you’ll want to test it thoroughly before release. One of the first things you’ll want to learn is How to Install APK files on your Google Android Phone.

    We also have a number of useful tutorials to help you get started in Android development. Why not kick off with this five part series on Developing Apps for Android? This will show you how to set up the environment for Android development and then take you through the structure creation and help you to get started on your user interface. You might also prefer this Eclipse Android Tutorial to help you get set up.

    You can also check out this other series on Android development, which starts with How to Create a UI with Droid Draw. The later parts show you how to debug, how to work with the Android source code, how to work with databases, and there is a final section on understanding Android development programming terminology.

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    Remember to Test

    Anyone engaged in Android development, or even software development in general, needs to remember the importance of testing. Since there is little in the way of quality control the Android Market has been flooded by poor quality apps and games which disappear into obscurity. Don’t make the same mistake. You should test your app or game thoroughly and to help you with this you can try Working with JUnits. You should also try to test your app or game on a wide variety of Android phones and with different versions of the Android software. This is a time consuming part of any Android development but it is worthwhile because if you release something that doesn’t work you’ll soon regret it. Remember that negative reviews and comments can sink your app or game very quickly.

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    Planning

    There are so many options in Android development that you should make sure to write up a detailed plan before you begin. This will allow you to focus your time and effort more efficiently. Think about the specific functions which your app or game requires. You can boost interest in your app or game by including Android functionality in imaginative ways; many of the best Android games do this to great effect.

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    Specific Android Development

    Let’s take a look at a few specifics. For example, it is highly likely that you’ll want to be able to Run Background Applications or Processes. There are many other specific functions that you might want to access; you may want to be able to Translate Applications into another language or perhaps even access the camera functionality so you can Take Pictures. Maybe you need some help Working with Bitmap Images? How about Creating a Calculator or Address Book? As you can see there are an awful lot of options to consider, and Android development provides you with a powerful set of tools to create great apps and games.

    For some help with creating alerts and getting your layout right on multiple resolutions check out this batch of Android Programming Tutorials. You can also find another five part series of tutorials if you want some targeted information on Creating Menus in your Google Android Application.

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    Why Android?

    As with any new operating system there is a learning curve with Android development. However there is plenty of help out there and the potential benefits of creating an app or game in Android, or even porting an existing app or game from iPhone or some other operating system, are huge. A large potential audience for your finished product and a genuine hunger for some quality releases in the Android Market make Android development a very attractive prospect.

    With new versions of Android being released periodically the platform keeps improving. The next big release is Android 3.0 (Honeycomb). There are also more and more powerful Android devices being released all the time. As the average processor speed and other specs increase, so do the possibilities for Android development.

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    References

    Android, http://www.android.com/