Work’s been crazy. I’ve got to add PDF support to our reader-ish commercial app – and it’s one hell of a mess on Android.
About the only decent solution I’ve found is muPDF – but it’s GPL. We could buy a commercial license of course – there’s an option for that – but given our focus on selling customized versions of our app this might prove to be financially impossible. Swing’s pdf-renderer, while fairly decent, produces a lot of creepy artefacts instead of text in a lot of documents and a significant amount of work must be done to support CMYK in its Android version.
And given that there’s only one GPL library that works well and even most of shareware libraries have their own issues (no outlines and acid-colored CMYK in Qoppa, barely usable androidpdf.mobi and so on) it seems unwise to develop an in-house PDF renderer.
Honestly, at this point I’d consider porting Pdf.js to Java. Not like it’s a realistic solution, but if all else fails…
Google + Samsung
The biggest news this week was the 10-year patent deal between Google and Samsung that is essentially going to unite the efforts of two giants in regards to Android. Which means Google will focus on Samsung hardware, possibly killing off its Nexus line down the line – which is a pity since many great devices were adapted for it with a reasonable price-point in mind – and Samsung will focus on Android and likely Chrome OS, contributing to the development of the former and cutting most ties with Microsoft over Windows laptops and Intel over Tizen.
In case of Microsoft they seem to have an Android patent dispute – since Microsoft holds enough patents to make money from almost every Android device on the market – and Samsung wants to drive them off the mobile market altogether out of spite. Not like Microsoft is a significant player, with only two left, but still. Samsung doesn’t have the same kind of animosity towards Intel, but they have their own chips to sell so we’re likely to see more and more Exynos-powered devices in the years to come.
I didn’t intend to make a digest of the articles analysing the subject, but if I skipped that my concerns would look out of place. The state of the mobile market is dangerously close to ending up just like the state of the desktop for decades. A grand unrivaled alliance in the form of Samsungle, much like Wintel of the past, and Apple offering an alternative. Apple’s market share will inevitably fall, but will yet again remain high enough to matter, though most trends will probably be set by Samsungle.
That leaves us with no place for any third party. And that is a sad state of things as both iOS and Android have their fair share of issues that, while largely irrelevant to the general consumer, make them not as attractive for the smaller audience of “power users” to which I think I more or less belong. That said, Android might end up becoming just as good as Windows in five to ten years, but during that time the only hope I have is that the Wintel crowd will keep producing awesome things like the Surface Pro. Since there’s nobody who will be able to deconstruct the established market.
The chance for the likes of Ubuntu Touch, Tizen, Sailfish and others to take off seems to be largely gone, and only Windows Phone might or might not keep their minor share, depending on how well Microsoft does in other areas of its business. This might be for the good of most people, but really disappointing for me.
Just as a side note, I do intend to bring Yuno to Android as a C++ or a D library, I’ve started that one a long while ago and after I get some experience with actual games I’m considering making a “once and for all” framework. The one issue I’m struggling with, except for the lack of experience in coding shaders, is the script subsystem. Once I figure that out – I’m really interested in creating a VN/SRPG framework, that being one of my favourite game genres. First of all though – the platformer that’s long overdue.
I just have to let go of the complicated design thoughts first and start with a simple rectangular dude jumping on simple square tiles…