updated 05:35 pm EDT, Mon May 16, 2011
Starbucks says Android app writing too diluted
Starbucks' mobile lead KC MacLaren chose an interview Monday to criticize Android development. Although a Starbucks app was coming and wasn't affected by the issues, he saw some developers facing a "watered down experience." Many ended up with a lowest common denominator app where, to serve the most possible devices, they had to cut down on the features they could offer, GeekWire was told.
"They can't deliver a consistent [experience]," MacLaren said of Android developers. "If they are using a lot of native device elements -- like the accelerometer and the camera and gyroscope and all of the different pieces of the hardware -- those are handled very differently on different devices. So, if you needed that, you might not be able to deliver that in a great way. You might have to take that feature out, for example."
Android's development kit was also in a rougher state. Google was catching up, but it was "a year behind" where Apple was, MacLaren said.
Variety has often been touted as one of Android's advantages by giving users different sizes, the option of a hardware keyboard, and new features early. The divisions have nonetheless hurt certain categories of apps, most of all gaming, where having a consistent platform and deep hardware access are advantages. Apple is still much further in gaming support and had Netflix support much earlier than Android, which got it only on five devices because differences in hardware prevented consistent copy protection on 2.x devices.
Some limitations were still present across platforms. MacLaren didn't expect customers to directly order their drinks from a phone because of the experience, he said. iPad owners also likely wouldn't get a native app, since scanning a barcode at the store with an iPad "doesn't make a lot of sense."