Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Smartphone wars: our side is winning!

I knew that sales of Android phones were already surpassing those of Apple's iPhone, but I had no idea that actual Android marketshare had overtaken all other types of smartphones!

Looks like I'm on the winning side. Well, okay, I'm on the winning side to the extent that I fancy myself an Android developer, which I've become of late, having a lot of spare time left over from my present employment debacle as Emerson Network Power closes down Avocent's offices in Salt Lake City. So very sad; but, as I say, an opportunity to learn something new and exciting!

If you've been following, I've also dabbled a wee bit in BlackBerry. (Be warned: I lapse into the arcane for the next few paragraphs.)

That platform is a great deal less exciting than Android because the Java support is constrained to what's referred to as J2ME or Java Platform, Micro Edition. It is super-restrictive, so tiny, there is a great deal missing from it that an ordinary Java programmer finds important. In my case, I need to write an XML parser that runs on BlackBerry because (so far) I haven't found one available. Not a huge task if I settle for just the functionality I need, which is very slight, but a difficult challenge without Java reflection, something missing from J2ME:
import java.lang.reflect.Method;
private void doThis( Class c )
    Method[] methods = c.getMethods();

Sorry, mate: can't possibly do that!

Rolling separate code in the form of a library (JAR) into a BlackBerry application is another mountain I've not succeeded in climbing yet either. It appears to be a black art. Precious little of any code I write for Android will work on the poorer platform and none of it in the form of an external JAR.

Moral: buying BlackBerry is like buying a car sporting a hand crank, spark-advance control and a manual choke in our day.

Anyway, I'm having lots of fun on Android doing some cool things that seem to work well and I'll have an application out in distribution soon. Which is not to say that it will make me any money. It's a free part of a bigger product and money will only come in based on many other factors. Alas, there the planets and stars may never align. Nevertheless, the journey is the reward and I will not have sunk my entire life into it.

1 comment:

  1. I must admit, I am one of the 33%.... tragedy is that while I have this phone with awesome capabilities, I really only text.