When Google announced the development of Android, the field of mobile platforms
was already well established. Even in the narrower category of open source platforms,
a number of viable alternatives were being pushed by proponents. Yet Android has
stimulated not only widespread technical interest but rampant speculation about its
potential to completely transform the world of the personal device. Instead of a con-
venient prop to support a set of familiar functions, such as phone calls, email, and
restaurant lookups, the electronic device could become an open-ended window into
the whole world—could become, in short, anything that the user and the developer
could think to make it.
How much of the cogent analysis and fervid hype will come to pass can be discussed
elsewhere; this book is for those who want to get to know the programming environ-
ment for Android and learn what they themselves can do to make a difference. We have
spent many grueling months investigating the source code over multiple releases and
trying out the functions of the library and development kit. We have been working hard
to uncover the true Android, going beyond any documentation we could find online
or in print.
This book, read carefully, can enable any Java programmer to develop useful and robust
applications for Android. It also takes you into the internals in some places, so you
know how Android supports what you’re doing—and so you can play around with its
open source code if you like.