It’s great that developers for Google’s mobile operating system Android have “risen to the challenge,” as a Google-ite said on the Android Developers Blog late Thursday. Google has received nearly 1,800 submissions from 70 countries for its Android Developer Challenge.
But at least one developer we know has ditched Android for the time being because his investors are demanding results, and so far he cannot deliver an Android solution in tandem with actual working hardware.
Peter Wojtowicz, the mastermind behind the Wi-Fi Army mobile game, announced early this year that his team would be developing the revolutionary game in Android, which generated a lot of interest from gaming, mobile, and Android blogs around the world.
Because Wi-Fi Army is cutting edge, combining a cell phone’s camera with Wi-Fi, bluetooth, location-based service, a back-end server architecture, and a slew of other complexities, investors interested in supporting his team have demanded proof-of-concept results that Wojtowicz cannot deliver with actual working Gphones. Adding to the frustration, Wojtowicz is often delayed when one Android SDK release isn’t compatible with an older one, forcing the team to lose time backtracking.
Time is something Wojtowicz doesn’t have as he — and others — are racing to get their next-generation games to market as quickly as possible. For the time being, Wojtowicz’s team is developing Wi-Fi Army simultaneously in Microsoft’s Windows Mobile and Symbian; he expects to start work on the iPhone when Apple releases the SDK in June.
“It would be a lot easier with the (Google-powered) phone in hand,” Wojtowicz said.
Wojtowicz said he would have preferred Google take the path that Apple did with the iPhone — develop the hardware and operating system in tandem, release the product to the public, and then follow up with an SDK to allow for third-party applications like Wi-Fi Army. Instead, Google formed the Open Handset Alliance, released Android, and manufacturers are independently developing handsets with the OS, while developers like Wojtowicz are working on apps.
Writing for the Android Developers Blog, Azhar Hashern, product marketing manager for Android, said the first round of the Android Developer Challenge has come to a close, with 1,788 entries from 70 countries submitted by the April 14 deadline.
Hashern did not provide much detail, other than to say that more than 100 judges will receive entry packets and laptops preloaded with submissions soon. In May, Google will inform 50 semi-finalists who will be awarded $25,000 each.
Google announced the $10 million Android Developer Challenge in January as a way to spark interest in developing third-party applications with the open-source mobile OS. The challenge is split into two $5 million contests.
As Silicon Alley Insider noted, Google has found a way to outsource the cost of Android programming — 1,788 entries thus far, $5 million bucks, working about to about $2,800 per application.
Unfortunately for Wojtowicz, he and his investors cannot wait around and have taken the non-Android approach for now.
“It will take some time,” said Wojtowicz, who expects to develop in Android at some point in the future. “I love Google. I can’t wait for the application to be on (Google-powered) phones. But I’m not sure it’s going as well as they hoped it would be.”
Previous last100 Android posts of note: Update: Android has landed, but it’s months away from a Hollywood debut, Worried over Google phones: What if they’re just ordinary?, and The Gphone is coming; how Google could rewrite the rules.