Thursday, September 30, 2010

More Countries, More sellers, More buyers

[This post is by Eric Chu, Android Developer Ecosystem. — Tim Bray]

Since we launched Android and Android Market, we have seen the population of Android users and devices expand into many countries. This widespread adoption has brought with it growing interest in Android Market’s support for the buying and selling of paid applications in these additional countries.

We have been hard at work on this and it is my pleasure to announce that effective today, developers from 20 more countries can now sell paid apps on Android Market. Additionally, over the next 2 weeks, users in 18 additional countries will be able to purchase paid apps from Android Market.

Support for paid application sales is now expanded to developers in 29 countries, with today’s additions of Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland and Taiwan.

In addition, Android Market users from 32 countries will be able to buy apps, with the addition of Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, and Taiwan. No action is necessary if you have targeted your paid apps to be available to “All Locations” and would like to launch in these additional countries. If you have not selected “All Locations” and would like to target these additional countries, or if you have selected “All Locations” and do not want to launch your apps in these additional buyer countries, please visit the Android Market publisher site regularly over the next two weeks to make the necessary adjustments as the new buyer countries launch.

We remain committed to continuing to improve the buyer and seller experiences on Android Market. Among other initiatives, we look forward to bringing the Android Market paid apps ecosystem to even more countries in the coming months. Please stay tuned.

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Arduino Bots and Gadgets

Make: Arduino Bots And Gadgets

Want to build your own robots, turn your ideas into prototypes, control devices with a computer, or make your own cell phone applications? It’s a snap with this book and the Arduino single-board microcontroller. Embedded systems are everywhere -- inside washing machines, cars, vacuum cleaners, and air conditioners. With Arduino, building your own embedded gadgets is easy, even for beginners.

This book gets you started with six fun projects: a stalker guard, robot insect, interactive painting, wireless smart home controller, boxing timer, and a cell phone controlled soccer robot. You’ll get impressive results quickly and gain the know-how and experience you need to invent your own gadgets.

  • Discover Arduino, the popular electronic prototyping platform
  • Get a great introduction to robots and electronic projects
  • Learn how to turn ideas into working physical prototypes
  • Use Android phones as key components in your projects
  • Get everyone involved with projects that even beginners can build

Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It's intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Reflections on G-Kenya

[This post is by Reto Meier AKA @retomeier, who wrote the book on Android App development. — Tim Bray]

Recently I visited Kenya for the three-day G-Kenya event. I was there for two reasons:

  • To talk about Android and the emerging mobile opportunities for African developers.

  • To ask questions and find out more about the reality of mobiles and writing code from the people there.

Of the countries I’ve visited to talk about Android, nowhere have people had such a close connection to their mobile phones as in Africa. While most Kenyans own feature phones, those mobiles are already used as much more than simple phones. Mobile payments are already common, and cheap data plans mean that many people access the Internet exclusively through mobile handsets.

There were two Android announcements while I was in town: a new low-cost Android handset (the Huawei U8220), and Android Market access for Kenyans. I can’t wait to see the kind of apps that come from developers who live in an environment where mobile is so pervasive.

Day 1: Students

G-Kenya was set within the beautiful campus of the Strathmore Business School, so it was fitting that day one was addressed to students.

Of the three groups, the students where the most enthusiastic about Android. This was likely influenced by their confidence that by the time they graduate, modern smartphones in Africa will have become the norm.

I love talking to student developers — without the commercial pressures of finding customers or a monetization model — they're free to innovate on whatever technology platforms they think are interesting.

Day 2: Developers

Modern smartphones are not yet prevalent in Africa, so it wasn’t surprising that many of the developers are currently focusing on feature phones. That said, it was generally acknowledged that it was a question of when rather than if smartphones would come to dominate. The trick will be picking the right time to invest in Android so that they're ready to take advantage.

Plenty of developers believe that time is right now. It was a pleasure to meet the guys behind Ushahidi, creators of an Android app created to report and record incidents during the 2008 election violence. Since their launch they’ve expanded to offer a global platform for crowd-sourced news where timeliness is critical.

I love opportunity the Android Market delivers to developers like the idea of developers like Ushahidi and Little Fluffy Toys (of London Cycle Hire fame). An app the solves a problem for your local community can easily be expanded to offer solutions to similar problems across the world.

Developer focus in Kenya seemed to follow similar lines:

  • Create products and services targeted at local communities (such as the developers creating a distributed system to help health-care workers record medical information in the field.)

  • Build robust cloud-based services that provide access to users from any mobile platform.

  • Expand from feature phones to Android to incorporate features like GPS positioning, maps, and recording video and audio.

Day 3: Entrepreneurs and Marketers

No one was surprised to see a lot of the developers from the previous day return for entrepreneur day, and the apparent lack of Android questions from Day 2 was more than made up for on day 3; the “AppEngine Challenge” on Day 2 fielded a record 30 entries, so it seems everyone was working on their entries rather than asking questions!

I didn’t speak on Day 3, but spent all day fielding questions from eager mobile developers hoping to catch the Android wave as early innovators and first movers. That included a team who were working to provide real-time public transit tracking of Matatu via GPS and Android devices.


It’s an exciting time to be a developer in Kenya. I regularly asked developers how long they thought it would take for Android devices to become common place. Many suggested if I came back this time next year I'd see a flood of Android devices. Even the more pessimistic predicted no more than 3 years.

As I traveled back towards Jomo Kenyatta International, listening to the radio offering a free Sony Ericsson X10 Mini to one lucky caller, the future didn’t seem very far away.

READ MORE - Reflections on G-Kenya

Saturday, September 25, 2010

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