For Android developers, finding an audience for your application is becoming increasingly difficult. Therefore, the Android Developer Conference in Boston focused on everything from quality control, to integrating third-party devices, to porting applications to other platforms, all in an effort to help developers make their applications stand out in a busy marketplace.
The opening keynote for the show was given by Yahoo executives Albert Song (senior director of design for mobile and emerging products) and Alex Hanuska (senior software development manager). The pair worked with a larger team at Yahoo to create the Yahoo Weather app, and their keynote explained the depth to which they went in optimizing and streamlining it.
(Related: An interview with Song and Hanuska)
Their talk showed just how high the table stakes are in the mobile application space. Yahoo Weather is just that: an application to tell you what the weather is like. And yet the team at Yahoo built this application using dozens of technologies and frameworks, all geared toward making the application responsive and beautiful. The pair showed a complex architectural diagram for the application, which belied its simple look and feel.
Again, the table stakes for a simple weather application on Android are now this high: All weather applications from development groups large and small are competing with the development teams at Yahoo.
This sentiment spilled over into the rest of the show, as developers enthusiastically listened to talks aimed at giving them the advantages they needed to compete with much larger and more popular applications.
In order to further this goal, many of the conference’s exhibitors demonstrated application development and testing tools and services.
Application monitoring was a big theme at the show, with Crittercism and New Relic offering their mobile application monitoring tools to developers. Dolby Labs showed off its Dolby Audio API, which quickly enhances any sounds or music your application creates.
Moving Android applications to other platforms was also a big topic at the show. BlackBerry showed developers how to port their apps to that platform, while Intel showed off a path to making Android applications work on x86-based Android platforms. Amazon was also pushing its own app store as an alternative to the Google Play Store.
Developers also had plenty to choose from when considering cross-platform development frameworks and tools at the show. Alpha Software was on hand to show off its cross-platform development system. Its CTO, Dan Bricklin, is better known for having co-created VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet.
High praise from the man who invented the spreadsheet.