Porting iPhone apps to Android

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by imPoddible, Sep 25, 2008.

  1. imPoddible macrumors member

    Jul 13, 2008
    Hey guys,

    As the title says, really. I have a couple of iPhone apps in dev and, with the Google/Android phone on the horizon, I wondered if anyone has any thoughts on how easy it would be to port these iPhone apps to make them available on the other platform.

    I haven't downloaded the Android SDK yet - but am assuming dev is also done in Objective C?

    Obviously, apps which make extensive use of multi-touch or any other iPhone-specific features will be harder to port.

    Anyone have any ideas?


  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    You assume wrong. Outside of Apple products Obj-C is hardly used at all. Couple that with the fact that Apple own all of Cocoa and the foundation layers underneath it it's not surprising that this is not used on Android. To port you are looking at a complete re-write in Java and learning a new API from scratch.
  3. imPoddible thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 13, 2008
    OK cool - thanks for the quick response Robbie.

    At least that clears things up for me as I was mulling the idea around for a while. Anyhow, for the time being I have enough on my hands with iPhone dev to worry about another platform :)


  4. Pring macrumors 6502

    Sep 17, 2003
    It's also worth noting that the Android marketplace doesn't yet allow 'paid' apps... it will do at some point but they've not said when. That takes some of the drive to port to Android out for me... at least for now. The market will also take a lot longer to grow so you're not going to miss too much by not being on board at the start.
  5. moopf macrumors member

    Aug 28, 2008
    United Kingdom
    I've been thinking about this a lot over the last few days and, at present, I'm going to hold off for a few reasons:

    1. I want to better understand what the differences are going to be between the first generation of handsets, e.g. the hardware specs, screen sizes etc.
    2. I want to see what happens with their marketplace.
    3. I want to see what the uptake is like.
    4. The handset won't be available in the UK (where I am) until November (and elsewhere until 2009 by the sounds of things) and I wouldn't contemplate developing until I had one. As we know from the iPhone simulator, developing in a sim is likely to give a false impression of the performance on the actual devices.

    There are too many unknown quantities for me to eek out time getting into the Android SDK at present. I'm really interested in number 1 the most, as this could raise a whole heap of potential complications when developing for Android. One particular issue that number 1 brings up is that independant developers may find it extremely costly and, maybe impossible, to test their application on all devices or provide support for devices that they do not own. That could give independant developers nightmares.

    As an aside, the device that was presented the other day didn't really instill much excitement in me - it looks awful and it looked clunky to use (I'm a toucher, not a typer these days). I'm sure there will be much sleeker models on the market early/mid 2009 and that might make a big difference to uptake.

    All in all, I'm in "wait and see" mode :)
  6. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    iPhone apps have to be written in C, C++ and/or Obj-C, with the UI elements in Obj-C and Cocoa. Android apps look like they have to be developed using Java lite with a custom toolkit.

    Looks like a complete rewrite to port any app back and forth, except for maybe the basic idea and algorithms.
  7. keehun macrumors regular

    Mar 17, 2008
    Just to add, even experienced Java developers are quoted for Android's pretty hefty learning curve.
  8. Wunk macrumors newbie


    Nov 17, 2008
    Personally I'm rooting for someone to write some sort of layer that will compile Objective-C to an Android compatible format, a bit like Adobe did for the flashgames that are out there..

    Same goes for Windows mobile ;)
  9. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    Very unlikely. Java under Android, because of its memory protection, does not make a good target for a C compiler. It would work much better the other way around: write apps in the Android Java subset, and have them cross-compiled to low-level C, plus a Java/Android-like library run-time support lib.
  10. dwm-1945 macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2010
    It is worth noting that circa 3Q2009, Android announced support for use of C/C++ for developing Android applications.
  11. Ubunter macrumors newbie

    Mar 29, 2011
    Yes, the license it's transferable, but how?

    Hello People,
    Well this question is the same which bring me here, and I'm sorry that the answers aren't right...
    I mean... We purchase a license to use a Software, NOT the software itself, which is an intangible material...

    So, the license, which is the right it's transferable, like minimum in European Union, according to ECC 29/2001, sec. 28, the right holder have right to transfer, and sale his right and the manufacturer have no any right to interfere in that.

    So, the issue, for example, I have acrobit's Softphone client, with code g729 licenses purchased from apple store... and now, when i don't use iphone any more, the same license exist in android store, I mean, i need to purchase Acrobits Softphone, and the g729 codec license, and in theory, I should have the right to transfer that license purchased from apple to android, because it's the same software license. I mean, the software license, which is the right of use, not the Software it's self, which is downloadable product from this store or other.

    The issue is how to process for that "theoretical // Hypothetical" right, no idea?

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