Thursday, February 16, 2012

Google's Android Market and Apple's App Store (part2)

Some days ago I wrote about a comparison between Google's Android Market and Apple's App Store.
In this blogpost I will describe what happened after the first blogpost.

Valve response

We got the following email from Valve.

Valve recently filed a takedown notice with Google’s Android Market based on infringement of the trademark Steam by Nasa Trained Monkey’s “Steam Mobile” app. Valve is the owner of trademarks in Steam and the Steam logo. The Steam mark is registered in many countries.

We are happy for developers to use the Steam APIs, but we are concerned about confusion with your use of Valve’s trademarks. Unfortunately, Google’s infringement notice is very generic and does not allow us to explain what we want from the app author. Both of the following changes are required to remedy the trademark issues:

1. Change the name of your app in the title and/or icon to not contain “Steam” first, such as “Nasa Trained Monkey’s Chat for Steam” or some other name that does not confuse the public into thinking Valve created the app.
2. Use an application icon (and any other associated imagery) which does not include Valve’s Steam logo.

If you can make these changes, we’d be happy to see your app going back up. We do appreciate your support of the Steam community. Please respond with any questions. Thank you.

Google response

My blogpost was read by Matias Sulzberger @sulzberger. I studied with him in the university and he now works in Google Argentina. He contacted me and told me he was going to show it to someone inside Google.

Thanks to Matias, I met Nicolas Bortolotti @nickbortolotti.
Nicolas is a Developer Relations Program Manager in Google. He took the time to come to our offices to talk about the Android Ecosystem in Argentina.

We explained him our issues with the Android market and how different it is in relation with the AppStore. He told us that he will use our case to find a way to improve the experience.

For now, the situation stays the same but I am happy that someone is doing something about this.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Global Android Dev Camp desde Argentina!

Ayer el GTUG La Plata envió un comunicado sobre su participación en el Global Android dev Camp. Les dejo la información.

El fin de semana del 18 y 19 de Febrero hay un evento mundial de programación en Android, el Android Dev Camp. El evento es una competencia de programación en la que se desarrolla un aplicación durante las horas que dura, y se realiza en muchas ciudades al mismo tiempo.

Luego del evento se va a votar la mejor aplicación y van a haber varios premios, entre los sponsors globales están o'reilly, paypal y sony. Y se pueden sumar algunos más esta semana.

El evento en La Plata se hace en las oficinas de devsAr y durante el evento se dará ayuda con el desarrollo, y va a haber video-conferencias (hangouts) de 15 minutos cada 2 horas sobre distintas APIs de Android.

Los que estén interesados llenen este formulario para participar:

Para información del evento global visiten:


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Porting android apps to the Playbook

Last night I tried to port two android applications I have in the Android market to the Playbook. This is my experience so far.

With the Playbook and BB10 supporting the Java Android Runtime, RIM opened the door to android developers. You can basically repack your android app to work inside the Playbook and BB10 powered devices.

After installing the Eclipse plugin and started working to get this done.

Super simple app
My first app to repack was a simple sound bank app called TanoPasman.
I opened the project in Eclipse,

Right click on the project => Blackberry tools => Add Blackberry Nature to the project.
Right click on the project => Run as... => Blackberry Android Launch.
That's it. First application repacked!

More complex app
The second app I repacked was a bit more complex.
It's called EstadoDelTransito and it's a traffic status application for Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Source code is available here.

I did the same process but this time it failed. Google maps are not allowed.
What!? Which are the limitations again?

Here's the full list.
Inside that we can read:

The following Java software packages:
Vending (In App Payments):
Cloud To Device Messaging (Push):
Google Maps:
Text to Speech:

I ended up removing the google maps dependency and every call to the map library.
After up the launched without any issue but another problem appeared. ACTION_SEND is not supported :(

Looking for alternatives
Honestly I was quite pissed that I couldn't use maps inside the Playbook.
A traffic status application without a map sounds kind of lame. That's when I remember an open source project for maps existed, osmdroid.
I didn't port EstadoDelTransito code to that yet but I did test it out with an app called bikeroute and it did work!

Here you can see a screenshot:

Big thanks to Bryan Tafel and Mariano KIWO Carrizo who help me testing this apps in their Playbook.

Interesting facts
Becoming a Vendor
I tried to become a vendor on October. The confirmation mail never arrived.
I ended up registering with some other email three days ago. I will see what happens.

You just need the apk
The funny thing about repacking is that you don't need the source code!
If you get an apk, you just need to get the command line tools and you are ready to upload someone else work as your own! I don't know how RIM is dealing with that but it's kind of scary.

Both of my apps use Admob. No ads were shown while running in the Playbook.
I am not sure how I am supposed to port that.

Free Playbook!
RIM provide one free 16GB BlackBerry PlayBook tablet to every registered BlackBerry App World™ vendor who converts their Android app for use on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet and submits it to BlackBerry App World between February 2, 2012 and February 13, 2012. Link.

I am quite sourprised how easy it was to port an android application to Playbook.
I hope I can get a Playbook so I can start testing some stuff.
I can think of:
  • Testing cocos2d-x with the native SDK. (It was ported by RIM themselves!)
  • Finding out if it's possible to mix an HTML5 with Android
  • Looking for a way to support admob.
If you have an android application in the market, port it. There is no excuse.