Friday, May 30, 2008

Details on the next public SDK

I had hoped to reserve judgment until after an official announcement from Google, however after speaking with Dan Morrill and Jason Chen at Google I/O, it seemed clear that the OHA, up the corporate chain, has not taken the development community seriously. I have confirmed that the ADC winners have now received an updated version of the SDK which they are bound by NDA to keep private. These projects are thus forced to be closed until the NDA restrictions are lifted, which include no source release, performance benchmarking, discussion of new features, screenshots, etc. These restrictions are expected to last until the next public SDK is dropped.

So, when is the next public release? Surely after over 3 months since M5 and only a few major releases so far it should be close, perhaps landing after round 2 of the ADC is over? Not so. The SDK is not expected until either shortly before handset launch later this year, or perhaps on or after that date. We can rest assured that there will be significant changes in this release: modified and new APIs, new core SDK features (like Wi-Fi, bluetooth, etc), modified UI, and of course many important bug fixes. As a result, our applications will require substantial revision to work [well] on this new version, reducing the likelihood that losing ADC entries will be able to "compete" for visibility on the handsets as they launch. Not to mention, generally stressing the larger development community with excessive unnecessary work and "wandering" development with no clear indication of what's coming and when.

I see this as a serious problem, running directly counter to the claims of openness and developer support, however Google and the OHA apparently do not feel that a commitment to openness is binding in the face of proprietary inconvenience.

So, I feel there is no choice but to suspend my development on the current platform and await the launch of handsets. Hopefully I will be able to catch up quickly and still offer a stable and feature-rich application within the first few months of handset availability. That said, I will now be starting on the desktop client for my media streaming system. If anyone is interested, my project is currently open source and I am actively interested in contributors, even if you want to work on the Android component using M5 *grin*.