Wednesday, July 20, 2011

You Can't Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

Android has a lot of features to it, a lot of services that make development easy, reliable, and convenient for the end user. And this list is constantly growing. And that's a problem.

Right now, we support any Android device that runs Android 1.5 or higher. That means any phone made in the last two years can run the 2cloud Android app. Which is really cool, don't get me wrong. But I was looking at the stats today, and 234 of our users use either Android 1.5 or 1.6. Which seems like a lot, but they really only amount to about 2% of our user-base, give or take. And yet, we're not taking advantage of new APIs (things like the Accounts API) because we're too busy futzing around and fixing bugs with outdated, legacy things (things like the OAuth implementation). 98% of our users are getting a sub-optimal, overly complicated, sometimes buggy experience so that 2% of our users can have any experience. As I was trying to coerce App Engine's OAuth implementation into submission today, I realised something: that's wrong.

Therefore, the 2.1 release will be the last release to support 1.5 or 1.6. New versions of 2cloud will only work on 2.1 and higher. Much like your pet Spike, who (as your parents claimed) "ran away" one summer while you were at camp, we're euthanising our 1.5 and 1.6 client. We will not update it after the public 2.1 release. It will remain on the Market, but any Android 2.1+ users who download it will be prompted to download the new application instead.

In a month or two, expect a new package to hit the market. This will be namespaced to the project (something like com.twocloud.android) and will match only 2.1+ devices. It will be built to support the latest features, and we'd like to include things like tablet support and a certain C2DM API I've heard something about. I can't promise the feature-set yet, but this is our public announcement: from now on, we're looking towards supporting the future, and looking away from keeping the past on life-support.

If you're one of our 200 1.5/1.6 users, I'm sorry. I wish I had the time to support all the devices perfectly. I don't. If you want to port new features over, we'll gladly accept pull requests and update the Market app every now and then. Our code is on Github. But if, as I suspect, you don't want to take the effort, please don't blame us; rather, ask whoever is controlling your updates why you're still on a version of the OS that was released 2 years ago.

As always, you can ask questions and raise concerns in the comments or on our help forum (in the questions forum). We'd love to hear from you.

7 comments:

  1. Paddy it's obvious you've had some difficult choices to make. I am grateful that you are at the helm of adroid2cloud technically and as spokesperson. Thank you for your foresight and for your ability to make tough choices. It's an exciting future for adroid2cloud.

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