Monday, August 10, 2009

Google Keeps It 'Simple'

The Google Android platform has not taken off like its Apple counterpart. The iPhone app store is much larger, there is a bigger development community, and significantly more iPhones have been sold than Android phones. I've spent some hands-on time with the G1 Android phone. The OS is very intriguing, but still needs some refinement. The hardware of the G1 is even further behind - not nearly as slick or as polished as the iPhone. Updates to the OS have been encouraging and I think future Android phones will definitely improve upon the first-generation G1.

I think it's important not to underestimate Google here. In Android versus iPhone, I think we're looking at the tortoise versus the hare. Google is patient, slow and steady. They will gradually push out improvements to the Android OS, new improved handsets, more partnerships handset makers, and more developers. Just like improvements to their suite of cloud-based products, Google thinks in terms of incremental improvements and incremental gains. Releasing an open source basic-like language for development on the Android platform is part of that strategy. Google is tapping into the huge open source community and opening up Android development to a much broader audience - particularly when you compare it to Apple's choice of Objective-C as a development language.

Google Releases 'Simple' Android Programming Language
To help encourage software developers to write applications for its Android platform, Google on Monday released a new programming language called Simple.

Simple is based on BASIC, a programming language created in the 1960s that saw widespread use in the 1980s as the personal computer market developed. BASIC became even more popular in the 1990s when Microsoft released Visual Basic.

'Bringing an easy to learn and use language to the mobile world and the Android platform is the goal of the Simple project,' said Google software engineer Herbert Czymontek in a blog post. 'Simple is a BASIC dialect for developing Android applications. It is particularly well suited for non-professional programmers (but not limited to). Simple allows programmers to quickly write Android applications by using the components supplied by its runtime system.'

Google provides the source code for three sample Simple applications: a version of Etch-a-Sketch, a version of Tetris, and a speed dialing program.

Beyond living up to its name by being easy to understand, Simple also provides access to Android mobile phone hardware, like the accelerometer, the orientation sensor, the phone, and stored contacts. By contrast, developing applications for Apple's iPhone is not simple.

Available for Linux, Mac, and Windows, Simple is an open source project. It's not entirely complete, warns Czymontek. 'You are very likely to run into bugs as well as into situations were needed functionality is simply not implemented,' he says.
Simple applications, once completed and digitally signed, can be sold in Google's Android Market.

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...