Novell has released Mono for Android, a collection of development tools to enable programmers to use Microsoft's Visual Studio 2010 to create .Net applications that will run on Android phones and tablets.
With this new offering, Novell is betting there's a market of .Net and C#-savvy developers who are interested in writing for non-Microsoft platforms. (Not a bad thought, given Android's dominance in the smartphone operating system space here in the U.S.)
It's hardly the first time the Mono team has made this bet; they've already done .Net tools for Linux, Apple's Mac OS X and Apple's iOS.
Here's the latest pitch (from Novell's April 6 press release):
"Developers trained in Microsoft Visual Studio can stay within their preferred IDE (integrated development environment), while using their existing skills and .NET code, libraries and tools, as well as C# programming knowledge, to create mobile applications for Android-based devices. With the Visual Studio 2010 plugin, engineers can develop, debug and deploy their applications to an Android simulator, an Android device or the Android Application Store."
The Mono for Android bundle includes the core Mono runtime, bindings for native Android APIs, a Visual Studio 2010 plugin to develop Android applications, and a software development kit with tools for building, debugging and deploying applications.
Mono for Android Enterprise Edition is available for $999 per developer for a year's subscription (which includes maintenance and upgrades). A five-developer license costs $3,999 per year. A Professional Edition is $399 per developer for a year-subscription. MonoTouch customers can get 50 percent off the Android Edition by using their activation codes as discount codes.
Mono is an open source, cross-platform, implementation of Microsoft's C# and Common Language Runtime (CLR) that is binary compatible with .Net.