Selling applications

A mobile platform is ultimately valuable only if there are applications to use and enjoy on that platform. To that end, the topic of buying and selling applications for Android is important and gives us an opportunity to highlight a key difference between Android and the iPhone. The Apple AppStore contains software titles for the iPhone. However, Apple's somewhat draconian grip on the iPhone software market requires that all applications be sold through its venue. This results in a challenging environment for software developers who might prefer to make their application available through multiple channels.

Contrast Apple's approach to application distribution with the freedom an Android developer enjoys to ship applications via traditional venues such as freeware and shareware and commercially through various marketplaces, including a developer's very own website! For software publishers desiring the focus of an on-device shopping experience, Google has launched the Android Market. For software developers who already have titles for other platforms such as Windows Mobile, Palm, or BlackBerry, traditional software markets such as Handango (http://www.Handango.com) also support selling Android applications. This is important because consumers new to Android will likely visit sites like Handango because that may be where they first purchased one of their favorite applications for their prior device.

The high-level, touchy-feely portion of the book has now concluded! The remainder of this book is focused on Android application development. Any technical discussion of a software environment must include a review of the layers that compose the environment, sometimes referred to as a stack because of the layer-upon-layer construction. The next section begins a high-level breakdown of the components of the Android stack.

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