Novell has unveiled Mono for Android, a toolset that will let developers create .NET and C# applications for Google's Linux-based mobile operating system using Microsoft Visual Studio.
Announced on Wednesday, Mono for Android widens the scope for mobile developers who use Microsoft's .NET framework — Novell released a similar product, MonoTouch, for Apple iOS devices in 2009. Mono is the open-source implementation of Microsoft's toolset, designed to make it possible to run .NET applications across multiple platforms.
"Since the introduction of MonoTouch in 2009, developers have experienced how Mono streamlines mobile application development," Novell developer platforms chief and Mono project founder Miguel de Icaza said in a statement.
"As a result, many asked us to build a similar tool for Android. We developed Mono for Android to give both individual developers and businesses a way of sharing their code across multiple mobile platforms, increasing efficiency and reuse of their C# and .NET expertise across the board."
GNU project founder Richard Stallman has warned against the use of Mono, arguing that those building Mono applications are opening themselves up to future patent-related litigation from Microsoft.
Mono for Android includes the core Mono runtime, bindings for native Android APIs, a Visual Studio 2010 plug-in for developing and testing Android applications, and a software development kit (SDK). The enterprise edition costs $999 (£613) per developer per year, including maintenance and updates. A five-developer enterprise licence costs $3,999 per year, and a professional edition costs £399 per developer per year. Those developers with existing MonoTouch licences can get a 50 percent discount on Mono for Android "for a limited time", Novell said.