So, we finally broke down and purchased a cheap Android device at work for development work. I figured I don’t need anything too expensive, I just want to test and make sure my Unity apps run on Android as well as iOS. We picked an Archos 32 “tablet”. It arrived today and I start tinkering.

The first thing I found out is that the Android SDK doesn’t detect Archos devices without intervention. You have to add the manufacturer ID (0x0e79) to the adb_usb.ini. Fine I did that and was able to deploy my app to the device. Yay!

Then I tried to install Unity Remote. I try to go get it on the Android Market…. Oh, I need an account. Fine. I go and try to set up my GMail account as my Market account…. Argh, how do I do this?!? Ah, on the device, fine…. Setup Failed!!!! Argh!!! WTF. Right, my iPhone connected to my iTunes and Gmail accounts without so much as a peep. This experience with Android isn’t impressing me.

So I do some hunting, I find out that Google, even though Android is “open”, doesn’t allow all devices to access the Market. Manufacturers must officially license Android for that feature. WTF. No one from Google ever mentions this publicly, and no one from Archos says, “Oh, BTW, we haven’t licensed Android, so you’re not going to have access to Market or any Google apps, or half of what Android can do.”

Also the device looks kind of crappy, the screen sucks, and the responsiveness is quite lacking (you get what you pay for). Perhaps that’s why Archos isn’t on Google’s approved devices list, however my apps run just fine.

Summary: I bought these things because everyone (other researchers and hospital staff) keep whining about my insistence on iOS and claim I should support Android because it’s more open and they love theirs. So I go to do this and find that all Androids are not equal. Google has way, way, way, way more catch up to do than I originally thought. My first day with Android is quite disappointing and any time someone waves an Android device at me when I use my iPhone4, I’m just going to laugh until Google fixes this crap. Maybe I’ll try a more expensive device later and compare to this one. In any case, stay away from Archos devices.