11 November 2010

Market Housekeeping Alert

We’ve had quite a bit of discussion in this space recently about how to make sure that your app is visible in Android Market to any device that can run it, and only to those devices. In particular, check out two recent pieces by Reto Meier, Future-Proofing Your App and The Five Steps to Future Hardware Happiness.

As Reto points out, Market used to infer some <uses-feature> settings for older apps that were uploaded before certain device features arrived. This hasn’t been the case for applications uploaded since June of this year; developers have had to be careful about <uses-feature> and its android:required attribute. From what we see, it looks like most of you have got this sorted out and things are working smoothly.

However, there are still apps that haven’t been re-uploaded since June. In preparation for introducing some new Market features (that we think you’ll like), we’re about to launch a re-scan of all those legacy apps, looking at their Android Manifests and updating Market’s database. This means that if you have an app that you haven’t updated since June, and it lacks up-to-date <uses-feature> settings, it may stop being visible on certain devices.

We think the set of apps that will have this problem will be small, if only since most successful apps are updated regularly. If you want to be sure, check Reto’s advice here under "Android Market Rule #2”.

We’ve said it before but it bears repeating: There are a lot of different sizes and shapes and flavors of Android devices in the product pipeline, and you want your app available on every one that can possibly run it. So this is an area that is going to be requiring attention from developers on a continuing basis.