I FIRST STARTED PLAYING WITH THE ANDROID SDK before it was officially released as version 1.0. Back then, the tools were unpolished, the APIs in the SDK were unstable, and the documentation was sparse. Fast-forward three and a half years, Android is now a formidable mobile operating system, with a following no less impressive than the iPhone. Having gone through all the growing pains of Android, I think now is the best time to start learning about Android programming — the APIs have stabilized, and the tools have improved. One challenge remains, however: Getting started is still an elusive goal for many. What’s more, Google has recently released their latest version of the Android SDK — 4.0, a unified mobile OS for both smartphones and tablets. The Android 4.0 SDK includes several new features for tablet developers, and understanding all these new features requires some effort on the part of beginners.
It was with this challenge in mind that I was motivated to write this book, one that could benefit beginning Android programmers and enable them to write progressively more sophisticated applications.
As a book written to help jump-start beginning Android developers, it covers the necessary topics in a linear manner so that you can build on your knowledge without being overwhelmed by the details. I adopt the philosophy that the best way to learn is by doing — hence, the numerous Try It Out sections in each chapter, which first show you how to build something and then ...