Cover by Reto Meier

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Introduction

This is an exciting time for Android developers. Mobile phones have never been more popular; powerful smartphones are now a regular choice for consumers; and the Android ecosystem has expanded to include tablet and TV devices to further expand the audience of your Android applications.

Hundreds of stylish and versatile devices—packing hardware features such as GPS, accelerometers, NFC, and touch screens, combined with reasonably priced data plans—provide an enticing platform upon which to create innovative applications for all Android devices.

Android offers an open alternative for mobile application development. Without artificial barriers, Android developers are free to write applications that take full advantage of increasingly powerful mobile hardware and distribute them in an open market. As a result, developer interest in Android devices has exploded as handset sales have continued to grow. As of 2012, there are hundreds of handset and tablet OEMs, including HTC, Motorola, LG, Samsung, ASUS, and Sony Ericsson. More than 300 million Android devices have been activated, and that number is growing at a rate of over 850,000 activations every day.

Using Google Play for distribution, developers can take advantage of an open marketplace, with no review process, for distributing free and paid applications to all compatible Android devices. Built on an open-source framework, and featuring powerful SDK libraries, Android has enabled more than 450,000 applications to be ...

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