Android: 50 questions, 50 answers

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As the Google I/O conference came to an end last week, the Android development team got up on stage and fielded questions from developers in the audience. It’s taken a few days for the full transcript to show up online, but ZDNet’s got it.

Some of the highlights:

Q. What if my app uses location api, and service provider shuts that off, can they?
A. They can do that… it’s not a perfect world. Rather than having us dictate what carriers and OEMs support, we let developers develop killer apps that will require it.

Q. Java is more than a language. Google implemented its own VM. Could we use the Sun JVM? Explain the reasoning behind having your own.
A. We can have a more efficient interpreter and less memory pressure (by having Dalvik). You have to consider the holistic system performance. We had no choice but to run multiple VMs and processes. Share read-only memory across processes was important. Dalvik does that.

Q. Does Android have USB support? External keyboard, etc.?
A. The hardware should support it but it’s not enabled in the software. Maybe in a point release.

Q. If a small device manufufacturer wants to run Android, can they just download it and go?
A. Once it’s open source, anyone can download and port Android without joining OHA. Android will be open source before the end of the year.

Q. What is Android’s business model?
A. Somebody could rip out the Google stuff and put in Yahoo stuff. That’s ok. Our job is to continue to create killer apps that people will want to use. Google search, GMail, maps, etc.. If we ever fail to delight users our core business will go away. That’s why we felt comfortable using the Apache license.

Q. Any details on next round of the Android developer’s challenge?
A. For part 2… we don’t have a lot of details. It will be the other half of the $10 million, and will be after devices are on the market. Probably early next year.

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