Google Warns Android Coders: New OS Could Break Your Apps

Google (GOOG) is readying a new version of its Android mobile operating system — version 1.5 or “Cupcake” — for release. But there’s a risk that some popular Android apps could break because they aren’t compatible with the new software.

Google has published a handy how-to-make-sure-you-don’t-get-hosed guide for developers. In brief, it says:

  • Don’t use internal, unsupported APIs, or hooks into the OS.
  • Don’t change system settings without warning users.
  • Simplify your layouts.
  • Make sure you can support software-based, virtual keyboards — not just key presses on a physical keyboard.
  • Make sure things don’t get screwed up when someone turns the machine sideways, which trips a device’s motion sensor.

A nice, transparent guide. But also represantative of one of the shortcomings of an “open” operating system — where developers don’t need Google to approve their apps before they’re distributed.

iPhone developers: We don’t have access to Apple’s developer message boards. (Or do we?) Would they ever publish something like this?

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