Is Google trying to poach iPhone developers for Android? If not, they should.

April 19, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka

Google Android

Is Google trying to poach iPhone developers for Android? If not, they should.

The New York Times has an interesting post in which an iPhone developer claims that he received an email from an “Android advocacy” program supposedly affiliated with Google. According to the developer of Text From Last Night iPhone app, a Google rep offered to send him a free Nexus One for testing should the developer decide to port his app to Android.

Is this part of Google’s push to encourage more Android development? I’m actually surprised that Google hasn’t already made more overt efforts to encourage developers to work on Android. Sure, Google has provided plenty of development resources to make the creation process easier, but this is the first I’ve heard of Google actively trying to spark interest from a proven winner in the iPhone ecosystem. It makes sense for Google to nudge popular app makers in the right direction, evidenced by the comments the TFLN developer made:

“It shows that Google is actively recruiting developers to their platform, using the enticements of free hardware and open communication.

“Contrast with Apple’s approach: it took us about three months of resubmitting our app to Apple before they stopped rejecting it for inappropriate content. And even now (after we peaked at the No. 7 paid app), we still have no relationship with anyone there. Huge difference in approaches between the two companies.”

For small developers who have limited resources, the iPhone often proves to be more attractive based on sheer numbers of customers and sales. Will a free phone sway that tide? Absolutely not, but it will be a big help in getting Android in the hand of more people with great ideals that could flourish on the OS.

Besides, it’s not like Google can’t afford it. Since January, Google has been giving out Nexus One phones like it was part of the stimulus package. With billions of cash coming into the company every quarter, I’d love to see them spend some of that money on growing the Android development pool.