Home > Articles > Mobile Application Development & Programming

Getting Started with Android App Development for the Kindle Fire

  • Print
  • + Share This
Shane Conder and Lauren Darcey explain the Eclipse development environment, show you how to create your first Android project, review and compile working Android code, and run your newly created Android application on the Android emulator as well as on a real Kindle Fire.
This chapter is from the book

Android is the first complete, open, and free mobile platform. Developers enjoy a comprehensive Software Development Kit (SDK), with ample tools for developing powerful, feature-rich applications. The platform is open source, relying on tried-and-true open standards with which developers will be familiar. Best of all, there are no costly barriers to entry for developers: no required fees. (A modest fee is required to publish on third-party distribution mechanisms, such as the Android Market.) Android developers have numerous options for distributing and commercializing their applications.

Introducing Android

To understand where Android fits in with other mobile technologies, let’s first talk about how and why this platform came about.

Google and the Open Handset Alliance

In 2007, a group of handset manufacturers, wireless carriers, and software developers (notably, Google) formed the Open Handset Alliance, with the goal of developing the next generation of wireless platform. Unlike existing platforms, this new platform would be nonproprietary and based on open standards, which would lead to lower development costs and increased profits. Mobile software developers would also have unprecedented access to the handset features, allowing for greater innovation.

As proprietary platforms, such as RIM BlackBerry and Apple iPhone, gained traction, the mobile-development community eagerly listened for news of this potential game-changing platform.

Android Makes Its Entrance

In 2007, the Open Handset Alliance announced the Android platform and launched a beta program for developers. Android went through the typical revisions of a new platform. Several prerelease revisions of the Android Software Development Kit (SDK) were released. The first Android handset (T-Mobile G1) began shipping in late 2008. Throughout 2009 and 2010, new and exciting Android smartphones reached markets throughout the world, and the platform proved itself to industry and consumers alike. Over the last three years, numerous revisions to the Android platform have been rolled out, each providing compelling features for developers to leverage and users to enjoy. Recently, mobile platforms have begun to consider devices above and beyond the traditional smartphone paradigm, to other devices, like tablets, e-book readers, and set-top boxes (like Google TV).

As of this writing, hundreds of Android devices are available to consumers around the world—from high-end smartphones to low-end “free with contract” handsets and everything in between. This figure does not include the numerous Android tablet and e-book readers also available, nor the dozens of upcoming devices already announced, nor the consumer electronics running Android. (For a nice list of Android devices, check out this Wikipedia link: http://goo.gl/fU2X5.) There are more than 200,000 applications currently published on the Android Market. In the United States, all major carriers now prominently carry Android phones in their product lines, as do many in Asia, Europe, Central/South America, and beyond. The rate of new Android devices reaching the world markets has continued to increase.

Google has been a contributing member of the Open Handset Alliance from the beginning. The company hosts the Android open source project and the developer website at http://developer.android.com. This website is your go-to site for downloading the Android SDK, getting the latest platform documentation, and browsing the Android developer forums. Google also runs the most popular service for selling Android applications to end users: the Android Market. The Android mascot is the little green robot shown in Figure 1.1.

Figure 1.1

Figure 1.1. The Android Mascot (Bugdroid)

Cheap and Easy Development

If there’s one time when “cheap and easy” is a benefit, it’s with mobile development. Wireless application development, with its ridiculously expensive compilers and preferential developer programs, has been notoriously expensive to break into compared to desktop development. Here, Android breaks the proprietary mold. Unlike with other mobile platforms, there are virtually no costs to developing Android applications.

The Android SDK and tools are freely available on the Android developer website (http://developer.android.com ([http://goo.gl/K8GgD]). The freely available Eclipse program has become the most popular integrated development environment (IDE) for Android application development; there is a powerful plug-in available on the Android developer site for facilitating Android development with Eclipse.

So, we’ve covered cheap; now let’s talk about why Android development is easy. Android applications are written in Java, which is one of the most popular development languages around. Java developers will be familiar with many of the packages provided as part of the Android SDK, such as java.net. Experienced Java developers will be pleased to find that the learning curve for Android is reasonable.

This book focuses on the most common, popular, and simple setup for developing Android applications:

  • We use the most common and supported development language: Java. Although we do not teach Java, we try our best to keep the Java code simple and straightforward, so that even beginners won’t be wrestling with syntax. Even so, if you are new to Java, we recommend reading Sams Teach Yourself Java in 24 Hours by Rogers Cadenhead and Thinking in Java, Fourth Edition in Print, by Bruce Eckel. (The third edition is free at http://goo.gl/mtjoz, provided in a zip file from Bruce Eckel’s website at http://www.mindviewinc.com/Books/.)
  • We use the most popular development environment: Eclipse. It’s free, it’s well supported by the Android team, and it’s the only supported IDE compatible with the Android Development Tools plug-in. Did we mention it’s free?
  • We write instructions for the most common operating system used by developers: Windows. Users of Linux or Mac may need to translate some keyboard commands, paths, and installation procedures.
  • We focus on the Android platform version available on the Amazon Kindle Fire: Android 2.3.4, API Level 10.

If you haven’t installed the development tools needed to develop Android applications or the Android SDK and tools yet, do so at this time.

Let’s get started!

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020