Angry Birds maker confirms that developing for Android is a nightmare - Macenstein

Angry Birds maker confirms that developing for Android is a nightmare

android angry birds sucks

Angry Birds maker Rovio has made a post on its blog addressing the performance issues many Android users are experiencing running its game, and in the process confirming Steve Jobs’ assertion that developing for a fragmented platform such as Android is a nightmare for developers.

Angry Birds Android Feedback
We have received a lot of feedback regarding the latest Angry Birds update on Android.

First of all, we offer our apologies to all of our fans who have had trouble running Angry Birds. We thank everybody who has sent their feedback and comments to us – we really appreciate you taking the time!

With our latest update, we worked hard to bring Angry Birds to even more Android devices. Despite our efforts, we were unsuccessful in delivering optimal performance.

Right now we are running even more testing and resolving all the issues we have identified. We are also looking at all of the feedback we have received, and trying to improve the ad performance.

Some Android devices not officially supported for now
We are aware that a number of our fans have had trouble running the game on their devices. For example, some older and lower performance Android devices are experiencing severe performance issues.

We are preparing a new solution for the next update, but for the time being, the Android devices listed below are not officially supported by Angry Birds:

    Droid Eris
    HTC Dream
    HTC Hero/T-Mobile G2 Touch
    HTC Magic/Sapphire/Mytouch 3G
    HTC Tattoo
    HTC Wildfire
    Huawei Ideos/U8150
    LG Ally/Aloha/VS740
    LG GW620/Eve
    Motorola Backflip/MB300
    Motorola Cliq/Dext
    Samsung Acclaim
    Samsung Moment/M900
    Samsung Spica/i5700
    Samsung Transform
    Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini
    T-Mobile G1
    Furthermore, devices running Android platform version below 1.6 or custom ROMs are not officially supported.

Holy smokes! To be honest, while I admit to not keeping up with the Android hardware, I would have thought that a list that long would include ALL the Android devices ever made, not just the ones that don’t work!

Remember earlier this year, when comparing developing for the iPhone vs the Android platform, Steve Jobs made that infamous statement about the Twitter App TweetDeck, claiming that in porting the app to Android the developers “had to contend with 100 different versions of software on 244 different handsets. That’s a daunting challenge. Many Android apps work only on selected handsets, or selected Android versions. This is for handsets that shipped 12 months ago. Compare with iPhone, where are two versions to test against, the current and most recent predecessor.” TweetDeck’s developers were quick to refute Steve’s claim, but it would appear that depending on the complexity of your code, there is definitely a per-device/brand headache you may experience in supporting the Android platform vs iOS.

13 Responses to “Angry Birds maker confirms that developing for Android is a nightmare”
  1. Raptor007 says:

    The core problem is with the carriers, yes I will admit Apple makes it their way or no way, take it or leave it. I got an iTouch 4G and dumped my iPhone 4 (carrier issues, go figure) I have to question is it really fragmentation or is the problem their app. Issues seemed to pop up with the last update for Android and from what I read it has to do with the ads portion. For me I use apps that are free (i.e. ad supported) I prefer to pay $$$$ for the app and not be hassled with ads on any device period.

    Please also acknowledge that Apple DOES have a forced upgrade path and if you decide NOT to upgrade your are not only left behind, but you are locked out. I say this as a Mac user, and from what others in the Mac community including techies have to say.

  2. Darrell says:

    I don’t think their statement claims that it’s difficult to develop for, but that they simply cannot support EVERY phone out there.

    It’s like making a game that supports windows 98, 2000, xp, vista, and 7. You simply cant maintain quality control at that level.

    And why would they want to? If there are 11 million iPhone players – a large portion who paid for the game, and 2 million android users who downloaded the app with ads and most probably can’t even run it – which platform will you put more effort into developing? This is where they should start narrowing it down and simply state “for droid x, and htc evo” instead of “for android”

  3. Apple does not have a forced upgrade path. In fact, my 2001 Pismo works just fine, thank you. Most Mac users keep their computers longer than most Windows users because they’re physically built better and they also don’t bog down with Windows DLL and registry crap until they’re unusable.

  4. Paul says:

    As a developer of both Android and iOS apps and a video game dev background, I can definitively say Rovio’s code is not the problem here.

  5. Mike says:

    “Not supported” is not the same thing as “doesn’t work”. My phone is on that list, and Angry Birds works just fine on it.
    A temporary delay in support – especially all the way back to the very first Android phone – is hardly a “nightmare”. Yeah, iPhone is easier, but as a developer I’ll trade that for a much broader choice of development tools.

  6. Wiseguy says:

    “It’s like making a game that supports windows 98, 2000, xp, vista, and 7. You simply cant maintain quality control at that level.”
    -Darrell (above)

    You’re right, you can’t maintain quality control at that level. But please draw a fairer comparison – that’s not the level we’re talking here. You’re simply saying that you can’t expect iOS apps to run on a Motorola RAZR or a bag phone from the 90s. This is not news, and everyone understands this (whether in your example or mine). The comparison to Windows products is more aptly this:

    Win XP on a new Dell desktop, Win XP on a new HP desktop, Win XP on a new Sony laptop, Win XP on a new system you built yourself. All of these systems were built to run Win XP. Then take something like Microsoft Word and it screams on some of those computers and slows to a snail’s pace on others. THAT is a problem which is not to be expected.

  7. SirSteven says:

    In fairness, some of those phones are budget models – especially that Huawei one which was made to retail for less that USD100 totally unlocked. an iPhone costs 6- or 7-times that, with beefier specs to match the price.

    So, it’s the fault of hardware makers and US telcos for wanting low-power phones. The HTC Wildfire, for example, has such a low-res screen and tiny processor that it was obsolete the moment the designer first sketched it.

    One solution is for Google to put hardware rules in place, which might well be coming with 2.3 or 3.0 – according to some recent sources – such as a minimum 1GHz procesor. And then we’ll see a more satisfactory app landscape, whereby a cutting-edge app is fine one 2-year old hardware (such is the pace of mobile development these days).

    However, Google really ought to do more to encourage some ‘halo’ apps for Android – the app scene is rather lame when compared to iOS (and that’s from an Android user).

  8. Robert says:

    I code mostly for iPhone but also for Android.

    I’m not going to ignore Android no matter what Steve Jobs says, and frankly neither will Rovio – they are reported to be making over $1 million per month in ad revenue, and this is just the beginning.

    Can google improve the situation? Well yes, and Android 3.0 will improve the situation – but some wags are going to say, well thats YET ANOTHER version of Android.

    But say what you want – as long as Android is a vibrant marketplace, it will attract the developers, and as long as they are attracting developers – the consumer wins.

    Right now iOS is a great choice – love iOS, and so is Android. I’d stay away from Palm/Win/BB/Nokia/non-smartphone

    Does anyone not buy a smartphone? Unfortunately yes – but I’d say that’s the worst choice of all

    But apple isn’t helping in that regard – the main reason people don’t buy a smartphone is to avoid a super expensive data plan – that’s where Android is coming out with really decent $250 – no data plan required smart phones, like the LG Optimus.

    iPhones, forget about the purchase price, even at free, they cost thousands when you factor in the contract. If you can afford an iPhone, buy one, by all means, its great, but if not – Steve will just give you the finger, he has no sympathy for you.

  9. T23 says:

    Angry Birds is a blatant rip-off of a much better and more original game: Crush the Castle.

  10. Daniele says:

    You think that there are just few android models? Really there are more than 100 different phones (and many other incoming)……….look the wiki

  11. piousminion says:

    It’s interesting that nowhere in the rovio feedback do the devs say ANYTHING negative about developing for android at all. To say that this article is biased is a severe understatement. I can’t seem to find a true statement in it. *shrugs*

  12. Mike C says:

    I’m a dev. I develop for ios, android, windows phone, xbox and lots of non-mobile platforms. Developing for Android is a nightmare. it is awful. The programming model is needlessly cumbersome and the device and version fragmentation is impossible. Why would we care about supporting all devices? Because when an app works most people don’t bother leaving feedback but when it crashes on their phone they think you must have done something wrong. So you can get lots of negative feedback though most people are content with the app. And there really is nothing you can do about it. Android is a flawed model. I have been an open systems guy all my life. I’ve written far more java than I have objective C or C#. But the windows phone and IOS models are far superior. Why is Android popular? Because there will always be some manufacturer making a really cheap bit of hardware that he will run Android on. Sorry Android fanboyz but the model sucks. I’m not happy about it. I’d rather have an additional venue for my wares but this thing just sucks so badly. And in case you don’t know, its all over the net that most professional devs agree and have walked away from the Android market. If you are ROVIO people already love your app and you can contend with some negative feedback. But most of us aren’t ROVIO.

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