Tighten Up Those Apps Or Android 1.5 "Cupcake" May Break Them

tightenAndroid developers are obviously excited about the new 1.5 version of the SDK. The so-called “Cupcake” update features several new features and overall improvements. But, “don’t get too excited yet,” a post on the Android developers blog reads today. Apparently, the new release is going to break a number of current apps.

And these aren’t just random apps. Google said it has extensively tested some of the most popular apps in the Android Market, and found that many were broken due to “bad techniques.” As such, it created a list of five things to avoid when building your app — and suggests that anyone who developed an app using Android 1.0 or 1.1 pay attention.

The list is pretty straightforward. Google says you shouldn’t use Internal APIs, and shouldn’t go overboard with layouts. But one of the more interesting ones is “Bad Hardware Assumptions.” This notes that developers should not build for the Android assuming the hardware its running on has certain specs. The example they use is the physical keyboard, which the G1 has, but other upcoming Android phones — like the HTC Magic (aka the G2) — will not.

This speaks to a problem the Android platform presents developers, that the iPhone does not. While it’s great that Google has opened up Android and wants it to be on as many devices as possible, that also means that developers will need to develop programs that can be used on many devices. iPhone developers, on the other hand, know exactly what they’re developing for, as there is only one device (well okay, two with the iPod touch, but it has the same basic specs) that it will run on.

Here’s the 5 techniques Google says Android developers should avoid:

  1. Using Internal APIs
  2. Directly Manipulating Settings
  3. Going Overboard with Layouts
  4. Bad Hardware Assumptions
  5. Incautious Rotations