Developers angry at lack of Nexus One SDK

Developers are not able to test their apps against the latest version of Android, which runs the Google smartphone, and Google has no release date for the SDK
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Application coders have protested strongly at Google's failure to release a software development kit for Android 2.1, the operating system that powers the Nexus One smartphone.

The Nexus One was announced by Google on Tuesday and went on sale immediately through the company's new online web store. The device had been handed out to some Google employees before Christmas, so they could try it before it became widely available.

However, although the public can now buy a handset running on Android 2.1, developers are not able to build apps for the operating system, as Google has not released the SDK. In addition, they cannot update apps that already exist for the earlier version of Android.

"How is it even remotely acceptable that people will have 2.1 in their hands before developers even get to touch the SDK?" Android developer forum member pcm2a asked on Tuesday. "I already have users using the Nexis-Droid 2.1 rom saying that my highly used widget doesn't work. How am I supposed to test this out in advance without hacking our phone all up?"

Developer Wayne Wenthin complained on the same Android developer forum thread that "if this breaks apps, which it is certain to do, [Google is] just further infuriating the developers that are trying to make [Android] a great platform".

However, Google employee and Android framework engineer Diane Hackborn argued in a post to the forum that "for developers, the changes in 2.1 are really not that significant".

"Pretty much all of the stuff (little that it was) that could impact existing applications is already in 2.0.1," Hackborn wrote. "2.1 adds some new [application programming interfaces] for things like Live Wallpapers, but a little delay in being able to use those won't harm anyone."

Google developed Android 2.1 in-house, and until the SDK is released the code for the operating system will not become open source. "We hope to release the 2.1 SDK soon," a spokesman for the company told ZDNet UK on Friday, but could not give further details.

As of December last year, there were around 20,000 applications in the Android Market, with just under 38 percent of those being paid-for apps. Users of Apple's iPhone platform, a major rival to Android, can access more than 100,000 apps.

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