It takes a special breed to become a mobile developer, and while this community is growing in tandem with Android’s booming ecosystem, there’s plenty of bumps along the way. After mobile app developers in Europe shared their frustration over Google’s late payouts to Android app makers, Google finally sent out developers’ revenue cut nearly two weeks late. The tardy payout came with an apology from Google, as employee Crystal H. writes, “we apologise for any inconvenience you may have experienced and appreciate your understanding.”
More than 100 developers from Norway, Austria, Portugal, France, the U.K., Germany, Ireland, Sweden and Spain complained that they hadn’t received their regular payment from Google for apps downloaded in the Google Play store. Payments typically are issued on the second day of the month, hitting bank accounts by the seventh of the month. It was after a full week had passed in March that developers began posting to a Google forum that they hadn’t yet received their payouts.
Linux bakes in Android
While the frustration around this particular debacle was in Google’s slow response, there are several developments looking to ease the annoyances of developing for Android’s open OS. Linux has a unique and broad solution, having baked Android into the latest release, Linux 3.3. The integration ends years of discussion over how the Android and Linux open-source software should be blended, making things more straightforward for developers seeking cross-platform distribution. Android and Linux have always shared a good deal of code, though the underlying kernels have been separate. The new release means manufacturers can put their hardware-specific drivers into a Linux-based gadget and still have a functional Android device. The hope is that the integration will avoid more Android forking, though this could simply branch off another path for Android’s OS all its own.
“For a long time, code from the Android project has not been merged back to the Linux repositories due to disagreement between developers from both projects,” reads the Linux 3.3 release notes. “Fortunately, after several years the differences are being ironed out. Various Android subsystems and features have already been merged, and more will follow in the future. This will make things easier for everybody, including the Android mod community, or Linux distros that want to support Android programs.”
Filling in the gaps
And while Linux, MoSync and others fill in certain gaps across the current mobile plane, Google has updated its Google Play marketplace to make things easier for developers and users alike. The recently re-named Google Play store has been updated to include the review sorting features first introduced in the web app pack late last year, adding device and app version information to user reviews. This means developers no longer have to rely on an end user including their device info when they write a review, and users can opt to read only those reviews under a certain version of the app.