People looking for a cheap Android tablet have a new option from a respected player: The Asus Pad 7
Although not exactly falling over themselves in excitement (it is an entry level, budget device after all), reviewers are finding a lot to like in this device. But Delphi developers hoping to sell their apps to users of this device – and similar – will have to wait for Embarcadero to address a fundamental issue with their technology.
The problem that devices such as the Asus Pad 7 present for Delphi and for FireMonkey, is that it is built on x86 hardware, rather than ARM. This distinction should be of no interest or concern to an Android user of course. It’s not even a concern for Android developers using, say, RemObjects Oxygene or C# (or Swift). Or any other development tool chain that creates platform native solutions.
When I raised this hardware affinity as an issue with the Embarcadero’s “native” code approach (where “native” in their sense means code that is native to the hardware, as opposed to code that is native to the platform), it was mostly brushed aside as a trifling concern that really only had any bearing on the ability to test/debug in an x86 virtual machine running Android.
Not surprisingly, Intel of course had other ideas and have been encouraging device manufacturers to adopt their hardware in their Android devices. And it seems this is starting to bear fruit.
Which is not such good news for FireMonkey developers.
Fortunately, Embarcadero are on the case, with new support for MIPS, x86 and ARMv6 devices in the XE6 compiler.
Unfortunately, this support consists of providing “shim” code that politely informs users of such devices that your app will not run on them, should they presume to try.
Perhaps XE7 will support more diverse devices ? Though whether any such future “support” will consist of more Apology Shim’s or actual support, developers will just have to wait to find out.