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Cellphones Google Java Operating Systems Programming

Where Android Beats the iPhone 365

Posted by timothy
from the but-that's-not-how-jobs-wants-it dept.
snydeq writes "Peter Wayner provides a developer's comparison of Android and the iPhone and finds Android not only competitive but in fact a better choice than the iPhone for many developers, largely due to its Java foundation. 'While iPhone developers have found that one path to success is playing to our baser instincts (until Apple shuts them down), a number of Android applications are offering practical solutions that unlock the power of a phone that's really a Unix machine you can slip into your pocket,' Wayner writes, pointing out GScript and Remote DB as two powerful tools for developers to make rough but workable custom tools for Android. But the real gem is Java: 'The pure Java foundation of Android will be one of the biggest attractions for many businesses with Java programmers on the staff. Any Java developer familiar with Eclipse should be able to use Google's Android documentation to turn out a very basic application in just a few hours. Not only that, but all of the code from other Java programs will run on your Android phone — although it won't look pretty or run as fast as it does on multicore servers.'"
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Where Android Beats the iPhone

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  • by modmans2ndcoming (929661) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @05:26PM (#31363760)

    To those about to complain that screen resolution differences makes developing for android harder, then try using a UI measurement that does not rely on pixels, like em

  • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @05:38PM (#31363918) Journal

    Android not only competitive but in fact a better choice than the iPhone for many developers, largely due to its Java foundation.

    Now I don't want an Android phone. I thought it would be good or better for me as a USER, not as a developer. Silly me.

  • Not as fast? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dave562 (969951) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @05:39PM (#31363930) Journal

    From TFA
    code from other Java programs will run on your Android phone -- although it won't look pretty or run as fast as it does on multicore servers

    I'm not a developer but once of the criticisms I see constantly leveled against Java is how slow it is. Are there any mobile devices out there that can really handle even moderately complex / processor intensive Java code?

  • by Itninja (937614) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @05:57PM (#31364188) Homepage

    When complex and expensive productions from big studios start coming out for a platform, you know that the platform is popular.

    All one can really infer from that is Apple is in bed with big game studios.

  • by Mark19960 (539856) <Mark@noSpaM.freequest.net> on Thursday March 04, 2010 @06:07PM (#31364334) Homepage Journal

    Some of us carry smartphones to increase productivity, not play video games on a 4 inch screen.
    If grand theft auto on your phone is a selling point... god help us all.
    If you want to play games, buy one of those portable game widget things that Nintendo or Sony sells.

  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @06:21PM (#31364542)

    With our last website design for our shopping cart, we elected to go with a fluid layout and use em. Great right? Nope. We heard so many complaints from customers it was rather eye-opening. The fact that things were "a little different" from screen to screen (say a desktop vs laptop) annoyed and confused people even if a box was just had more space in between. Frankly we couldn't see it. If the screen was wider, there was a bit more separation in places. So we ended up going back and defining everything being centered and by pixels so it looked the exact same no matter if the user had a 12.1" screen or 30" LCD TV. If they had a bigger screen/higher resolution, they just got to see more of the background gradient. The complaints stopped and we didn't alter the design. So go figure....

    We also have clients who are insanely anal about their branding and virtually demand things to be "pixel" perfect. With the iPhone/iPod Touch this hasn't been a problem. Android it has. Not to mention the other hardware inconsistencies.

    But in our shop, Android is really starting to cost us a lot of money in QA testing. And we guarantee that our software works on all known models as of a certain date. It's in the contract and the clients do pay us well for it. Our testing hardware for the iPhone/iPod Touch has been $1600 over the past two years. (iPhone 3G, iPhone 3Gs, iPod Touch). We've spent over $2500 acquiring Android hardware just in the last six months of last year and have already spent another $1400 this year.

    As a result, the cost of us building an Android app is now double that of an iPhone app. And at the rate the new Android phones are coming out, that is likely to increase if customers want a full compatibility guarantee.

    Now we're about to launch our first application built using the PhoneGap framework. It's basically a web app wrapped using PhoneGap's "container" (for lack of better description) and should allow us to support iPhone, Blackberry, and Android by only having to support 1 framework and using web programming. But we'll see how well that works.

  • by Xebikr (591462) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @06:25PM (#31364592)
    Why was this modded down? Is it wrong? Apple has gone from evil yet innovative to just evil. Their recent lawsuits all but scream "We are out of ideas! Release the lawyers!"
  • Re:Windows Mobile (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dan East (318230) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @06:42PM (#31364824) Homepage Journal

    My game engine, which has been used in a Top-100 iPhone game, is 99% C++, and only has the minimum amount of Objective-C code required to handle various system events (around 200 lines of code). Of course applications intimately integrating with the iPhone's GUI API would require much more Objective-C. So Objective C is not the only officially supported language for the iPhone for generating native binaries.

  • by bjartur (1705192) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @06:46PM (#31364868)

    Then use a mix of em and CSS3 px (which are _NOT_ screen pixels), possibly with display ratio @rules. Convert to pixels at install-time if doing so on run-time is to slow. Problem solved. Or just use a Java layout manager...

  • by zullnero (833754) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @07:40PM (#31365406) Homepage
    Apple was only occasionally innovative. They generally stole a lot of their ideas just like everyone else. But I agree, they are evil, though they've only really been evil since they got their first big taste of success with the iPod and have slid into crazy evil. Once upon a time, they actually served a useful purpose as a company delivering a product that helped to motivate the whole market towards user-oriented innovation. Mainly by stealing good ideas that other companies had, nabbing ideas from here and there, and making them work within their closed loop and proving to the market that those ideas were good.
  • Re:Flamebait (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mswhippingboy (754599) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @07:48PM (#31365492)
    Developers making $$ on iPhone apps are few and far between. The odds are pretty slim that you can recoup your investment.

    http://www.fiercemobileit.com/story/most-iphone-developers-dont-make-money/2009-06-17-0
  • by Thinboy00 (1190815) <thinboy00@gDALImail.com minus painter> on Thursday March 04, 2010 @08:18PM (#31365732) Journal

    Think of the 1984 ad... a la role reversal (someone should do a parody replacing "big brother" with Jobs and the jogger with... Tux?)

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:14PM (#31366160)

    There are better options out there,

    Lets start with a Citation needed and follow up with 'Define better'.

    As a professional developer, I define better as better by the one that produces the highest net profit for me. Net, not gross. After taking all income and costs into account, including my frustration level or joy in doing it.

    No matter how you look at it, the iPhone and its app store is the clear winner to just about anyone on the planet that wants to make money rather than campaign for their favorite OS.

    I guess you and I have different definitions of better.

    Yours seems to revolve around being an emo/goth and struggling so hard to 'be different' that you end up being like every other angsty teenager out there and by doing so make yourself in fact just a tool of the very thing that bothers you. You try so hard to be different that you end up following all the other 'different' developers.

    Meanwhile, the rest of us well balanced individuals are laughing at you all the way to the bank.

    For a sheep, i seem to have a lot of spare time to do what I want and plenty of money to do whatever I personally feel like doing, while you seem to spend your time telling us how you're different. I've heard it before, you aren't different, you're just like every other tool who thinks he's different. I got news for you, Mommy lied, you really aren't special.

    Compared to more comprehensive and seriously powerful applications we used to write for older mobile OS's

    And once again ... Citation needed, but lets just skip straight to the point. You are a liar. 'We used to write more on less' ... yea, really, then why did you not write the same thing on these current phones? Because you didn't write better on less, you just thought you were bad ass for the crap you turned out before hand.

    God, what are you, a developer at RIM or something, thats the only place I've seen mobile developers make such retarded statements in a long time. They too seem to think their shitty phones are actually 'good' rather than 'sucking marginally less than the other crap on the market at the time'. I'm wondering when someone is going to clue them in.

  • by hunangarden (848442) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @11:14PM (#31367098)

    You don't have to buy all models of android phones to "prove" it will work. Android Emulator works just fine and you can test different OS versions, screen sizes and resolutions on it. I do own a Motorola droid and do test on it, but I don't lose sleep worrying about how my app will run on different phones, because the emulator testing works well.

    People let you know pretty fast if there is an issue with their phone model and you can release an update any time you choose (its actually instant, you post the update to the Android Market and users can immediately download the new version or update their old one).

    We've (LLC) sold about 1200 copies of our app for Android, so far it seems to work fine on all models that it was designed for.

  • by pydev (1683904) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @11:52PM (#31367414)

    It's actually even worse than that. PARC's GUI was a lot more advanced than the crap Apple actually shipped as MacOS; Apple merely imitated its looks but cut corners on the implementation. That's why MacOS was on a death spiral within ten years: it didn't have a solid architecture or foundation.

    OS X actually copied a bit more of PARC's technology, but even Objective-C and Cocoa are lousy compared to PARC's original technologies.

  • Re:Not as fast? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by scotch (102596) on Friday March 05, 2010 @12:16AM (#31367566) Homepage
    Java is getting closer, but not "as fast or faster" than C++ or C. At least the last time I looked at any half-way competently executed benchmarks. Maybe you have some new benchmarks for me to look at?
  • Re: Meh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ecuador (740021) on Friday March 05, 2010 @02:27AM (#31368256) Homepage

    I am a proud owner of a N900 for a week now. It is the first time a phone truly amazes me, and that is of course all thanks to the OS. I am a mobile developer, so I have so far developed for and owned BREW, Symbian and iPhone OS devices. I liked developing for the iphone, hated the other two, but from a user standpoint I did not enjoy any device, since even browsing was painful (no, I don't consider the iphone's ultra low res usable), and they wouldn't let me do much more than that.
    Enter the N900. Android is not a unix machine in your pocket, it is a jvm running java apps on top of a unix kernel, when Maemo is a full debian based distro. Things like opening several browser windows, running apt-get install in the background and switching (kind of expose-style) between them is easy on the device. With an 800x480 res and a full browser (Mozilla based with flash and everything) it is the first time I can browse from a phone (as I am doing right now). As a developer I really appreciated that I could do "apt-get install subversion", sync with my svn server and edit my code with vim.
    Don,t get me wrong, I also like android and usually recommend something like a nexus one to nom-power users, but I am sure the average slashdotter would really get excited with Maemo, not android.

  • !Java (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Skythe (921438) on Friday March 05, 2010 @03:25AM (#31368516)
    While Android is written in Java, the recommended way to program the GUI is using XML. That can be quite the stretch for someone that's never written a layout in XML (read: myself).

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