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New Android Developer - Target API

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Hello GameDev,

This is my first post to the forums, so i appologize in advance for any mistakes i make.

My question is this: As a developer that is taking his first stab at developing for the Android system, what API level should i be targeting? Should i stay above a certain minimum, or is it all soley based on what i want my app to do?

Please excuse my knowledge of the general Android framework ( or lack thereof ), however, i assumed it would be best to ask those who know.

Thank You!

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Hello GameDev,

This is my first post to the forums, so i appologize in advance for any mistakes i make.

My question is this: As a developer that is taking his first stab at developing for the Android system, what API level should i be targeting? Should i stay above a certain minimum, or is it all soley based on what i want my app to do?

Please excuse my knowledge of the general Android framework ( or lack thereof ), however, i assumed it would be best to ask those who know.

Thank You!
I think 90+ percent of people are still on Android 2.x. 3.x is a special tablet only version, but it's been replaced with 4.x. Almost no one is using 4.x.

Google doesn't care and the device makers really don't care. If you want a newer OS, you can buy a new phone from them.

It's hard to even call any version of Android a platform anyways, because every single device manufacturer has forked their own version of it. So anything you write will fail miserably on most devices you aren't able to physically test on. The whole situation is a mess.

Good luck.

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http://developer.android.com/about/dashboards/index.html

I'd target 2.2 and up since that's the first version the supports OpenGL ES 2.0. Also I think the incompatibility issues are greatly exaggerated by the previous user.

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Also I think the incompatibility issues are greatly exaggerated by the previous user.
I wish that was the case. After piracy, it's the biggest issue effecting Android development.

Google is trying to unify all the forks going forward with their new PDK system. We'll see how it turns out.

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Google says to develop with the highest and only for release set back to the lowest to support. Must be cause of code optimisations etc.
Daaark you're a Mac freak?

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I think 90+ percent of people are still on Android 2.x. 3.x is a special tablet only version, but it's been replaced with 4.x. Almost no one is using 4.x.


I'm not sure about that. When I take a look at Android versions in my developer console, I notice about 20% are on Android 4.x

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Google says to develop with the highest and only for release set back to the lowest to support. Must be cause of code optimisations etc.
Daaark you're a Mac freak?
Well, I'm posting right now from an Android tablet. ;-) Unfortunately, that doesn't change the reality of the situation. There are thousands of Android devices and counting. All with their own forks, own bugs, and own quirks. Even google has trouble getting their own apps to work across the board. Many popular apps have to patch almost daily to try and keep up.
It's always fun when firmware updates hose half my apps too!


[quote name='Daaark' timestamp='1343709330' post='4964711']
I think 90+ percent of people are still on Android 2.x. 3.x is a special tablet only version, but it's been replaced with 4.x. Almost no one is using 4.x.


I'm not sure about that. When I take a look at Android versions in my developer console, I notice about 20% are on Android 4.x
[/quote]The percentage was in the single digits a little while ago. I'm on 4.03 myself, but Asus has been good about that. Samsung has refused to upgrade a lot of their devices because there wouldn't be enough space for their touchwiz crap.

The entire situation is a mess, and a never ending uphill battle.

LibGDX seems to be solid at least.

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Android programming is primarily done in Java. There is an NDK (Native code Development Kit) that allows you to write parts of your app in C/C++. but you are still writing a Java program that calls your native code from a shared library.

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I'm with Daaark on this one.

Compatibility could be much better. Look at the somewhat successful apps and you will see a long list of incompatible devices. Many devices lie about their capabilities, other devices have forked in subtle incompatible ways. However, in some ways it is better than compatibility in the PC land where every machine has a unique combination of hardware and drivers; at least in Android you have a smaller and better-defined number of combinations.

I would target the 2.x range if you intend to release something on the app store, or 3.x if you need tablet-specific functionality. 2.2 is a good recommendation for broad distribution, but if you see some must-have feature that is available later in the 2.x series, make that your minimum spec.

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