Android software development kit is a tool for smartphone programmers who want to develop software for Android OS. The ADT (Android Developer Tools) bundle contains the SDK (software development kit) and Eclipse IDE (integrated development environment). ADT is the official tool kit for developing programs for Android. With a exponential rise in popularity of the operating system there are up to 700,000 applications in the Android market as of October 2012 and the total downloads exceed 25 billion. Almost 67% of mobile users prefer Android, why? because a large number of applications in the market are free of cost. The developers earn money through advertisements inside the app which brings a win-win situation for both the user and the programmer.
Java is the base for Android and NetBeans IDE can also be used, though you need a plugin for it. The platform for developing programs for this OS includes Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows XP or higher. App developers are given the freedom to use any text editors to edit the existing java files and then use a command line tool to develop apps as well as control the user’s device. As the developer starts programming, he will need to update his version of Android to use emulators and other packages.
Though Eclipse is the official IDE for Android app development, one can also use other IDE’s for developing apps by downloading the required versions and plugins, or simply adding the IDE in the SDK manager. Eclipse IDE is updated later than NetBeans IDE , however Eclipse offers more flexibility as it allows plugins to develop other java based programs. Android open accessory development kit is used to develop software for tapping the resources of external USB devices among other accessories.
To help novice programmers get introduced to Android app development, Google has launched the ‘App inventor’ which allows access to the device’s GPS, accelerometer, phone functions among others. Another software for beginners is the HyperNext Android Creator which allows developing software without the knowledge of java or Android SDK. However this tool hass very limited capabilities and can be used in only one window phone applications.
HyperNext is based on HyperCard’s ‘HyperTalk’ language which is interpreted in English making software development a easy process. It also supports GUI control types and provides access to background service features. The Android Development Challenge was a competition amongst various professionals and hobbyists which had distributed prizes worth $10 million to various top developers to continue developing software for Android.
Apart from this fun and frolic there is a community of android users and developers who build and share the customizations they make in their device by ‘rooting’ the device. They also share a number of additional features in Android device making the final user experience more pleasurable. Rooting also allows the usage of apps meant for latest version of the OS to run in older versions. Though Android is a open sourced OS some of its basic functions cannot be unlocked like the app of Google Play, GPS navigation, etc.
Android major drawback is that it is not integrated with Java SE or ME and doesn’t allow full class libraries and other functions bundled with them. For those APIs and libraries developers have to use other tools available in the market that provide porting of ME services into Android.