Friday Droidcon keynote – John Kimani

(More Kenya notes)

On Friday morning at Droidcon, the keynote was given by John Kimani, developer ecosystem manager at Google. He talked about the state of the Android ecosystem, and also about what’s coming next in Android.

There were a lot of fascinating statistics in the talk. Two that stood out:

There were 1 Billion Android devices activated in 2022.

There are currently 3 Billion Android devices active in the world. This includes not just phones, but also watches and cars, among other things.

Another interesting thing that he talked about was memory requirements – specifically, that in Android 11 and earlier, there was a specific focus on keeping the OS small, so that it could run on older devices. This is particularly important in the African market, where there are lots of older devices in rural areas. The focus on low memory footprint meant that Android apps were typically also low footprint, and available to those customers.

But in the latest Android versions, that is no longer required, and as of 11, devices with less than 1Gb are no longer supported. This means that 60% of Kenyan customers can not run the latest version of Android.

American and European software companies do tend to ignore the rest of the world, in the rush for the latest and fanciest. Another talk I attended emphasized the importance of visiting your customer *before* you start developing, so that you can ensure that you’re designing for them, rather than for your own ego. (Link goes here, once I’ve written that one up.)

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