Google offers Android device dashboard

Google is offering a device dashboard for the Android mobile platform to inform developers of market penetration rates of specific versions of the platform.


Developers can use the dashboard to determine priorities in development of application features.


Google introduced another tool this week, the Browser Size tool, which helps Web designers gauge what viewers are seeing on a Web page.


“As a developer, I often wonder which Android platforms my applications should support, especially as the number of Android-powered devices grows,” said Google software engineer Raphael Moll in a blog entry on Thursday. “Should my application only focus on the latest version of the platform or should it support older ones as well? To help with this kind of decision, I am excited to announce the new device dashboard. It provides information about deployed Android-powered devices that is helpful to developers as they build and update their apps. The dashboard provides the relative distribution of Android platform versions on devices running Android Market.” Android Market enables access to applications and games for Android.


Data on the dashboard is based on the number of devices that have accessed Android Market with a 14-day period. The dashboard reveals that based on two weeks of data collected the first two weeks of December, Android 1.6 is on 54.2 percent of devices while Android 1.5 is on 27.7 percent of the handhelds. Just 0.3 percent ran Android 1.1.


“We plan to update the dashboard regularly to reflect deployment of new Android platforms. We also plan to expand the dashboard to include other information like devices per screen size and so on,” Moll said.


Also detailed on Thursday were sets of new sample code for developers to assist in working with the Android SDK. Among samples added include Multiple Resolutions, showing how to use resource directory qualifiers to support multiple screen configurations and Android SDK versions, and Wiktionary and Wicktionary Sample, featuring sample applications illustrating how to build an interactive home screen widget.


A Bluetooth Chat sample offers a demo allowing users to chat over Bluetooth. The demo shows how to discover devices, initiate a connection and transfer data. 

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