Android Developers Show You How to Easily Target 1.5


In a trend that’s beginning to annoy many Android 1.5 and 1.6 (cupcake and donut, respectively) users out there, many new apps completely disregard the still-quite-large fanbase of users that haven’t gotten the pleasure of upgrading to Android 2.0+.


Fortunately, Google hears you guys and is looking to spread the word to developers regarding a staggered targeting system. In their latest article, Adam Powell shows us how you can take one codebase and target it toward every active version of Android out there.

I’m not going to go into specifics about what’s talked about here (since there’s a whole lot and – honestly – a lot of it goes right over my brain), but make your way over to the official Android Developers blog now if you have a 2.0+-only project that you’d like to adapt to older OS versions.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. I would rather they convince them to upgrade us all to a newer Version of Android instead of makeing they’re apps work on 1.5/1.6
    If the Modders can do it so can they!

  2. Sorry Goggle do me a favor push to get all of the phones updated to the more current versions not make more apps compatible with the older versions.

  3. I have a motorola cliq. Still on 1.5. I hate thid motoblur, sense, touch overlay bull@a#$. in an effort to be cutesy these companies put this bs on top of android slowing it down, preventing updates to the newest os, preventing apps from working, denying new competative feature sets. Latest build froyo 2.2 is an order of magnitude 2x faster on every java based application compared to iphone 4. And of course only nexus one users have access to it. What an excellent sales point, but all of us and most phones can’t bragg this ability bc of this proprietary bs. The companies are hurting themselves and the consumer bc they want to be different. Google please give us a nexus 2 with vanilla android!!! On allllll carriers gsm and cdma!

  4. That article was a really clever way to make sure the new apps you write can work with older devices. It’s nice that you can write something to take advantage of newer APIs while still run on older phones.

    I can’t wait to write my first app.

  5. Speaking as a developer who has done this (written an app with 2.0+ functionality that still runs on 1.5), it’s not very hard at all. Honestly, I think most developers just assume it’s difficult so they don’t look into it.

  6. Yes agreed, it’s not rocket science, and I dont think there is “fragmentation” that is making things “so difficult”. My apps run on 1.5 and on up, and some features are only enabled on 2.0 and up, and the apps work just fine.


  7. Really wish more devs would take the time to make their apps compatible with 1.5. Yes, I wish my phone would get 2.1, but until then there are a lot of great apps out there that I can’t use.

    Speaking of, does anyone know where to find a list of apps organized by android OS version compatibility?

  8. Dear Jim and Johnny,

    You can go straight to Hell!

    Dear Everyone Else (and Sprint if ANYONE there is listening finally),

    Read further to find out WHY I told Jim and Johnie to go to Hell. Their unthinking answer assumes they already know why those of us who won’t upgrade beyond 1.5 and 1.6, refuse to do so. They apparantely assume it is some combination of ignorance and inertia, and that ALL we need is a “push to get us onboard”. Needless to say, they have NO clue as to the real reasons. And, as I shall prove, it is people like them who function as “enablers” for the ignorant programmers at Google and Sprint, by “enabling” them to get away with inept programminng. Which in turn keeps the rest of us from upgrading to any later versions of Android.

    While I’m sure there are several reasons that different people have for not upgrading, the primary reason(s) are twofold–and are intrinsically related. They also have obvious and easy solutions. But these solutions rely on unrelenting pressure from the Android community for them to be developed and implemented. I ask for your support to force Android to implement the following “no-brainer” type upgrades, each of which should’ve been present in the first version of Android, and each of which would (and will be) universally popular with ALL users once Google finally acknowledges its mistakes and implements them, as they should’ve from the start. Alternatively, I ask for any devs who think they have the skill to write a workaround for this, to please have at it.

    These two necessities, which are inherent and expected features to all conventional O/S’s, are (1) Over-The-Air (no PC required) updating (with user “time-set”, auto-update feature of course, so it can be set to upgrade while the user sleeps via the cell towers), (2) Nondestructive upgrade procedure, which means NO “hard resetting of user data, settings and erasure of aps.

    In short, NO OTHER computer should be required for use in updating THIS computer! I should think that Google would already know this, but their archenemys Microsoft and Apple both already have O/S’s that neither of which requires the use of the other on a separate computer, to perform their own updates, and to preserve user data, so why would Google want to require the separate purchase of another computer to update their O/S?. Please notice that I make NO distinction between the world of smartphones and so-called “conventional” computers. These smartphones have the power of a pc from only a few years back, so I expect them to have the same type of O/S upgrading capabilities, if not greater!

    One of the very premises of a smartphone, is that, for many users, it can completely REPLACE the need for a so-called “conventional computer”. These little computers ARE increasingly the only “conventional computer” that many people need. Is it too much to ask that Google (and the other providers of smartphone O/S’s, take them as seriously as we, the users do?? For those of you whose response to that is “Whaaa?…Well they do, don’t they?” I reiterate–are these little phones not as powerful as their bigger brethern USED to be back in the day? Of course they are! And is it not Google, with the active cooperation of companies like Samsung and Sprint, who are writing the inept code that makes it “necessary” for users to go out and buy a whole different computer, for NO OTHER REASON than to update the Android computer? If making it necessary to buy another competing product, in order to update ones own product, is an example of Google taking Android seriously, then I would hate to see how they go about “not taking a of theirs product seriously”.

    If you go out and buy a Chevy pickup, does GM make it “necessary” for you to also buy a Ford in order to “update” the oil when it comes time to change it?? Think about that please!

    Now think about this as well. An Android phone costs in the vicinity of $200. A (worthy) laptop (the only thing I will consider getting) costs about $2000. That is a 10 to 1 ratio of price.

    If you went and bought a $20,000 Chevy pickup truck, and were told that it had an oil bypass system on it, and that you wouldn’t ever need to change the oil (I was told by Sprint reps that OTA was coming to Android, and told NOTHING of “hard resetting” the phone during the process), then after awhile you found out NONE of this was the case and that, in order to “update” or change the oil you would have to buy a $200,000 Ferrari–wouldn’t you by upset?

    What would be your reaction to GM if they built a $20,000 pickup that “required” one to also buy a $200,000 Ferrari, for no other reason than to use that fantastic engine to suck the old oil out of your Chevy and blow new oil into it?

    Now what if you were nonchalantely told (and were expected to just accept) that the very same “oil update procedure” would, due to General Moters ineptitude, cause all your personal belongings in the pickup, including everything in the pickup bed, as well as all aftermarket mechanical addons, to be force ejected up into the wild blue yonder–never to be seen again! Well, I say “never to be seen again”…UNLESS you used the big hay wagon you were pulling around with your $200,000 Ferrari to catch (or cache) all your data (I mean “farm implements”) as they came back down to Earth, and later re-installed them in and on your Chevy.

    Has ANYONE ever heard of such a crazy procedure for just changing the oil?? Requiring the purchase of a separate much more expensive device–just to update something?? It’s pure insanity–unfortunately “insanity” is the norm in the tech industry. Who else would conceive of using a “Start” button–to cause something to stop? And who else would think of calling something harmless that it merely didn’t like “an illegal operation.” I swear I looked around for the cops for months, back when I got my 1st laptop in 2001, everytime it said it had “performed an illegal operation” . And yes I DID have a laptop, and for reasons of my own, have another one on order right now. But for a couple of years I didn’t have (or most times) need one. And in any event refused to buy one just to update a smartphone, which should and could update itself via a cell tower–with NO loss of data.

    Bottom line is these updates should and could be (and ultimately WILL be) broken into pieces (if necessary) and installed incrementally, with extremely stable programs looking out for and keeping safe (on the phone) all user data and aps.

    I have contacted Sprint time and time again about this, to NO avail. Their answer is, “well you can just take your Moment in and hand it to our tech, and he will update it for free.” My answer is “in a pigs eye!!” No one gets physical possession of my phone but ME. Not for a minute. Besides–why should I EVER have to drive into a Sprint store to get an update that should COME TO ME!?!

    Besides it’s extremely less efficient to move a car than to move a radio wave, in order to accomplish the same thing. It’s on the order of moving millions or billions of electrons to get the update via the cell antenna already built in to the phone. It takes a fraction of one cent worth of energy to accomplish that.

    I’m guessing here, but it probably takes the moving of billions to trillions of WHOLE ATOMS to move my car a couple dozen miles to the Sprint store. Now, consider this, Google has a corporate Golden Rule of sorts that reads “Don’t Be Evil”. How is it NOT EVIL of them to require me to physically move billions of atoms at my own expense to drive to Sprint, instead of a few million electrons with an OTA update, in order to get an update–just so they can avoid the small expense required to make OTA/”non hard reset” updating possible? How can that kind of limited thinking NOT be evil? And that’s to say NOTHING of my data security.

    Yes, for reasons UNRELATED to Googles “evil failure” to even provide updates that are as easy to get as those in Windows 7, I am buying a Windows 7 laptop. But I am considering STILL not updating from 1.5, so that I can continue to push and prod Google into doing what they should’ve known to do from the start. And thereby avoid becoming an “enabler” for them, which is someone who gives into them and “does it THEIR way”, as opposed to someone who stands up and DEMANDS that they do it the RIGHT way.

    I would like to issue a call for any developer who thinks they can build an ap to make Android update the way it should, with little or no effort from the user, and with NO loss of aps or data, to PLEASE do so. As it stands right now, I would buy such an ap, even with a laptop coming soon, just to avoid the nonsense and hassles of having to re-install everything.

    Basically the ap could pretend to the servers which have the 2.1 and (soon) 2.2 updates, that the request for the update is coming from a “connventional computer” of some sort. The data it uses to spoof the servers should be of a sort that couldn’t be identified as being your ap, so they couldn’t block it (if they were even inclined to do so). The ap would determine how much SDcard space was needed for any data that was NOT already on the SDcard, which would otherwise be lost. It would record the file structure (and/or whatever was needed) to re-establish contact between the updated O/S and the info on the SDcard. It would move all data that would be lost from the phone, onto the card and save it there. It MIGHT(?) use the SDcard for temporary storage of the update (if needed). It would replace the old O/S with the new O/S and re-establish the connection between the updated O/S and the old data amd aps on the SDcard. It would also have previously looked for any aps that would need to be updated to a 2.1 version, and would make that happen either before or after (probably after) the successful update. There are probably a thousand other things that would need to happen, and probably the way I described it isn’t corrrect. I’m not a programmer (obviously) but there is no logical reason that an innovative dev couldn’t make this happen IMHO.

    Bottom line, there is a SCREAMING need for this type of program and service, since obviously Google and the phone makers and the carriers aren’t going to step up to the plate and make it happen. Android CAN be made as easy as Windows to update (and yes that IS intended to goad the Windows haters out there who are top notch devs, lol). So PLEASE feel yourselves goaded to try this, and bring Android UP to the standards of Microsoft where updating is concerned!! Anything Microsoft can do, Google and it’s devs should be able to do BETTER! Let’s NOT leave this a gaping hole in Androids side–OK!

    BTW, even tho I have a laptop coming, if your ap to fill this weakness in Android is rated as “solid” and user friendly, I would personally pay $10 to $20 to not have to hassle with backing up and reinstalling everything. So make it solid and un-buggy and they will come! Just like “Field Of Dreams.” Others might have their own reasons for not updating, but I guarantee, that for most (or at least many) the hassle factor is the big reason, or they (like me) don’t have a conventional computer, and don’t want (or can’t afford) to buy a 10 to 1 more expensive computer just for updating the smaller computer.

    Just think of my analogy of the Ferrari updating the Chevys oil and force-ejecting all the contents and addons of the Chevy into the river! If you are a dev, and want to make some money (and a name for yourself in all the blogs etc), and wish everyone would update to 2.1 or 2.2 besides, please fix the Android update system, since Google apparantly won’t.

    Thank you,

    Longtime Loyal (but frustrated) Sprint Customer

  9. This was the biggest drawback to bring stuck on 1.5 to me. There are quite a few apps that aren’t available. I’m glad they are trying to do something about it, but I’m more glad I have 2.1 now. (eris)

  10. there will be a tipping point when google decides to pressure hardware manufacturers and carriers to update the phones to the latest versions. I’m sure they’re just trying to up the user base now, but they’ll start leaning at some point.

  11. I want to buy a sony erricson Xperia X10, but it only runs 1.6, when will it upgrade to 2.2?????, does anyone know, I dont want to pay £400 for a new phone just to find out half the apps dont work

  12. Someone read “Longtime loyal (but frustrated) Sprint Customer” post?

    Only looking at it is pain for me;)

    There should be defenitly limit for one comment. For example 1000 characters…

  13. Longtime Loyal
    Not happy that updates need a PC
    Not happy that updates wipe data

    In a nutshell.

  14. however I’m on a G2 Touch so yet to experience the joys of an OTA update. I did here the OTA doesn’t necessarily wipe all data anyway. Plus my contacts/calender are all linked to my google account so don’t lose my important stuff

  15. have just updated my g2-touch over the air and didn’t lose any data. Just had to put stuff back onto the pages. Nothing needed downloading. Just a sync to server for contacts etc. Even kept my text messages.

    Mr Ranty your point is moot. Everything you asked to be addressed has been game over

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