October 1, 2014

ADP1: Just Say Swap

The Android developer phone — the ADP1 — suffers from two main flaws at present:

  • It does not support priced applications. I believe that is because it lacks the 1.1 firmware, which is still under development for that device. Once that firmware is released, the ADP1 should, as far as I know, support priced apps. This assumes, though, that there are priced applications that are not intrinsically copy-protected, because…
  • It does not support copy-protected apps. This appears to be a permanent decision, to help prevent app piracy.

A number of developers are up in arms about this, since these limitations, particularly the latter, were not exactly well-advertised when the ADP1 went on sale. For those people who bought the ADP1 for firmware development, these limitations may not be a big deal. For those people who bought the ADP1 because they wanted Android hardware and could not get a T-Mobile G1, these limitations are far more painful.

One simple solution for the latter group: sell your ADP1. Use eBay, Craigslist, or a regional equivalent. Tweet that you have an ADP1 for sale, or post a note on [android-discuss], or JavaRanch, or anddev.org, or wherever.

Once you have recouped at least some of the ADP1 cost, you have two main courses of action:

  1. Stick with the Android emulator for now. If you bought the ADP1 for application development, you should have a fairly good idea at this point how well the emulator mirrors actual hardware for whatever application(s) you are working on. It may be you can get by without an actual Android device for the time being. It may be you permanently stick with just the emulator, or perhaps you wait for some other Android hardware to become available.
  2. Buy a T-Mobile G1. There are a few hundred up on eBay now, plus what looks like dozens or hundreds more across craigslist, let alone from other sites or buying one officially from T-Mobile. Prices are lower than what the ADP1 cost, even before the ADP1 shipping fees come into play.

Is this a headache? Yes. If you have been using the ADP1 as your actual phone, you will need to switch to some other phone, at least for a while. And you have to find a buyer, deal with shipping, and all that hassle.

However, it is likely to be faster to make this change than wait for an ADP1 release that supports copy-protected apps.

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