December 19, 2014

Ask Not What Android Can Do For You...

jfkThe following is a reprint of a post I made to the [android-discuss] Google Group, slightly edited to make it independent of the context of the thread in which it originally appeared.

Approximately three-quarters of the content of [android-discuss] is “desired features, improvements, and upgrades you would desire to see in a future Android release”, frequently packaged as tirades, rants, and insults. There are thousands of requests logged in http://b.android.com and internal-to-OHA issue trackers. We are not short of things to do, nor are we short on opinions of which of them are important.

We are short on people to actually DO THE WORK.

Perhaps you to like to write. Android could use all sorts of things written, from application reviews to end-user guides to developer documentation. All of that will materially and directly help the platform.

If you have programming experience, why not head over to http://b.android.com and see if there are any itches you see there that you would like to scratch? Or, scratch some of your own itches and
publish the results. Or, write the definitive guide to help newcomers get going on modifying the low-level firmware (C) or frameworks and apps (Java) that go in a system image. All of that will materially and directly help the platform.

Do you want to play critic? Exercise the applications and file concrete specific bug reports, with useful steps to reproduce the problem, over on http://b.android.com. Or, volunteer to help test some third-party apps, perhaps with an eye towards those that might wind up contributing to the firmware (e.g., K9). All of that will materially and directly help the platform.

Do you know people in the consumer electronics industry? Evangelize Android and its devices, to try to get interest in people distributing devices, making quality accessories, or perhaps creating devices of their own. All of that will materially help the platform, albeit perhaps more indirectly than the other ideas in this list.

Do you enjoy public speaking or event organizing? Organize an Android Bar Camp for your region, to get together interested folk for a day to talk about each others’ experiences with Android. Or record an Android podcast series. Or see if there is interest in an “Intro to Android” seminar at your local university. All of that will materially and directly help the platform.

Do you speak and write multiple languages? Consider offering your assistance in translating key online Android material to other languages, whether that be official documentation or seminal third-party material. Or start a separate localized discussion list for Android developers, to help spur interest from and deliver information to people who are not facile in English. All of that will materially and directly help the platform.

Any of these things will help the people that do them make a mark for themselves within the world of Android, with possible benefits to their professional careers.

If you have questions about any of these ideas or how to get started, let me know.



  • Chris_Fagan

    I completely agree. Anyone can be critic but few are "do-ers"… I welcome and encourage feedback for our app(s) but nothing makes me madder than when someone leaves a bad rating for an app because it didn't include a feature that it was never designed and/or advertised to have!

  • Al Sutton

    Personally I would have happily helped fix some of the firmware bugs if I had a suitable 'phone that could be used to test changes, but as it is I'm not going to spend the $500+ it would cost to buy and ship an ADP1 to the UK after spending $500+ I spent on a G1 and it's contract when it was launched. Google have handled the Android launch very poorly. They don't use the public repository so bugs may have already been fixed, they've made a real mess of Markets copy protection and pay-for apps, and their respect for the Android development community seems to be based on the belief that developers will put up with whatever they do. As for the other issues, currently, I can't justify why anyone would buy a G1 over an iPhone, Nokia 5800, or Blackberry Storm, and until I can do that I'm probably not the best person to be an advocate.

  • Tamour

    Great post Mark. Fully agree, we need much more support and more Android "fanboys" to promote this great new OS. The iPhone has immense support from thousands of websites and developers around the world. Androidguys is doing an excellent job providing tons of information and accessories. At Androidster we're trying to help everyone out there build and market their app ideas.

  • Phandroid

    @Al Sutton: after your comment about nobody being able to justify the G1 over those devices, I thought this link might help you: ” target=”_blank”>http://tinyurl.com/dcgz5m

  • Abe

    The developers who are griping about difficulties with the Market etc. are actually trying to make Android better in a way. Android will only be successful if there are good applications available for it. But for them to continue to develop applications, they need support from Google, because Google is in charge of the Market, and the Market sucks. Nobody else can fix the Market. If application developers leave, Android will never be truly successful. PS. I understand there are other marketplaces, so if these other marketplaces get preinstalled on many devices, the problem may get fixed that way.

  • Al Sutton

    @phandroid : Try reading my post again, fully this time. I didn't say "Nobody" can justify it. I said "I" can't justify it. I'm sure there are people who will give reasons why they feel a G1 it's Android experience is better than the other 'phones, but personally *I* don't think it is. Now maybe you want to check your link out if youwant to tell me what *I* should think and what *my* opinions must be.

  • aranea

    I don't have much free time and I am not a programmer but I found what the least anyone can do without any effort. Have a signature stating that your emails ( or whatever else you choose) are send from your G1 running Android. Iphone has it, blackberry has it. So should Android. Spent one minute to set up and email signature and every email you send will be an advocate itself. Here is the one I use: "Sent from my G1 running Android"

  • pjv

    I agree. As a developer I could mostly use constructive criticism on my app and bug reports that don't go lost in the Market. Actually it is very easy to contribute just about anything (translations, bug reports, artwork): just go search for open source Android apps on ” target=”_blank”>http://launchpad.net (for instance ” target=”_blank”>https://translations.launchpad.net/androidsfortun… I quite urgently need help with translations to Deutsch and français

  • http://www.jfseostudio.com get online traffic

    lol nice post title.

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