Android Market will soon allow developers to upload different app versions for different Android devices
May 11, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
Android fragmentation problems? Poppycock! Google has just confirmed that it is releasing new developer tools that should give developers – and consumers – a way to alleviate some of the stress that comes from Android growing so fast and to so many device types..
At the Google I/O 2011 breakout session “Android Market for Developers,” Eric Chu announced that developers will soon be able to design multiple versions of their apps that can work better with certain Android phones or tablets.
Beginning in June, Google will launch Multiple APK, which will allow Android developers to support apps on different screens, versions, and compression formats – all under one name in the Android Market. A developer will update the many versions of an app, and then the Market will automatically deliver the Motorola Xoom version to Xoom’s, Galaxy S II version to those phones, and so on. Developers can still have a single APK and use the manifest to show on a variety of devices, but Multiple APK gives them the option to target specific phones/tablets with a specific APK file.
Anyone who browses the Android Market may recognize that there are frequent complaints saying “Doesn’t work on HTC EVO” or “Forces closes on Motorola Cliq.” Despite frequent diagnostic reports and many attempts to address those problems, developers may often have trouble fixing issues related to one phone’s processor, software, or screen size. Changing the app to work with Hummingbird processors used in Samsung Galaxy S phones may then break connectivity with Snapdragon processors on the HTC EVO 4G. Multiple APK removes the need to have one file work across all devices; developers can have multiple versions when necessary.
While this does not erase fragmentation concerns for developers, it does give them more options for addressing problems associated with creating apps for so many different phones, tablets, Google TV’s, and the subsets of issues that arise from that process.