Oct, 27 2009

If you’ve been glued to the Android scene since Day 1 then you’ll remember way back in the day, after the first Android Developers Challenge, a huge divide in the Android developing masses occurred. You see Google needed help in analyzing and debugging a brand new version of the SDK but didn’t want a huge influx of developers to overwhelm the process. So what did they do?

sdk-nda

Created invite only access to the new SDK offered only to ADC1 first round winners and only after signing an NDA. We discussed this with Google’s Eric Chu way back in May 2008:

I pressed him about the recent Developer backlash. After learning that an updated SDK would be made available only to ADC Round 1 Winners, and that they had to sign an NDA promising to keep it’s content secret, many of the remaining developers felt alienated.

Here they were, a group of developers who were the first to embrace the vision of Android. And even though Chu admitted that “the number of great apps far exceeded the Top 50,” only the Top 50 were given access to this VIP SDK release.

“The best thing we can do, right now, is work with the Open Handset Alliance companies to get the platform completed as quickly as possible. The more we get distracted in trying to support everybody, in trying to talk to everybody, the slower we are going to be in getting the platform completed – and fewer people can take advantage of it.”

This is EXACTLY what is happening now with the Android 2.0 as is being reported by AndroidAndMe. Apparently developers of the top applications are getting Emails inviting them to exclusive 2.0 SDK access but only if they sign an NDA:

Congratulations!  Based on the popularity of your Android application,
we’d like to invite you to visit Google to test drive your code on new
test hardware.

This is an invitation only event to take place at the following locations:

* Monday, Oct 26 in Mountain View, CA
* Tuesday, Oct 27 in Mountain View, CA
* Tuesday, Oct 27 in London, UK

We’re opening a few slots next week for developers to come in and
explore new screen sizes and features of the platform.  During this
time you’ll have access to Android engineers, as well as test hardware
devices. All attendees are required to accept our NDA, which will be
sent to you upon registration.

It seems much more reasonable at this stage in the game and honestly, probably a great idea for Google. When you’ve got a small, select group of experienced developers you can get more in depth and personal feedback which allows for quicker and more sweeping improvement in the early going. Too many cooks in the coding kitchen would make a lot of unnecessary noise.

It looks like one of those events occurred yesterday and today there are 2 more – one in Mountain View, California and one in London, England. They’ll have access to “test hardware devices” with 2.0 which to me is of most interest. Any of you lucky lads snap a picture you could pass under the table?

We’re all very eager to see what tricks 2.0 has up its sleeve, we’re all eagerly awaiting the Motorola Droid and other 2.0 devices, and I’m sure developers have their own list of desires for an improved SDK, new APIs and more. One thing is clear – the wait won’t be long.