Together with BogDan Vatra, the main author of the Qt for Android port called Necessitas, we have agreed that he will contribute his work into the Qt Project. This is great news and I am truly excited on the things we can do together in the Qt Project. The Qt 5 Android port will be based on the work done in the Necessitas project and BogDan will also continue his work in this area within the Qt Project. This co-operation will enable us to reach Tier 1 status of Qt for Android faster.
Qt for Android is developed actively under the KDE-hosted Necessitas project. There are already many developers who have deployed their apps with it, and an impressive number of users of the Qt-based apps on Android devices – currently over 800.000 active users and 2,7 million downloads. The work done with Qt 4.8 in the Necessitas project provides an excellent baseline to create Qt 5 support together within the Qt Project. Digia is planning to invest into the further development of Qt on Android and aims to introduce Android as fully supported platform of Qt, i.e. as a Tier 1 platform during 2013.
The efforts of getting Qt to run on Android began in late 2010 by BogDan as a hobby project using the newly available QPA of Qt 4.8. The first Alpha release was made available in February 2011 and the port has been steadily growing with supported features, maturity and amount of users. With Qt 5 Android development moving to the Qt Project, the Necessitas project will still continue the work around Qt 4.8. It is expected that the port on Qt 4.8, currently in beta maturity, will be completed in the coming months with most of the work being able to be leveraged on top of Qt 5 in the Qt Project.
It is truly an impressive achievement to create the Android platform support of Qt as well as the Necessitas SDK extending Qt Creator for Android development, and the Ministro installer that allows applications to fetch the needed Qt libraries. BogDan has created most of these, but there have been also many others, for example Ray Donnelly, helping him with the port as well as many others providing feedback.
KDE has been a significant help to the work by providing the needed infrastructure to distribute the SDK as well as the Qt libraries for Android devices. We are grateful for this contribution and hope to be able to continue our co-operation with KDE.
BogDan has expressed interest in being the Qt Project maintainer of the Android port, and I think that would be really great! In addition to BogDan, we want to continue the co-operation with the other members of the community, as we do believe that it is the best way to reach excellent results faster. We are also fully committed in keeping the Android port open and available to all Qt licensees, on both commercial and open-source licenses. The Android port is expected to be available as a development project on top of Qt 5 later this year, and reach full maturity with Qt 5.x releases during next year.
At Qt Developer Days next week in Berlin, we will have a couple of demos running Qt applications on the Android Necessitas port. Hope to see you there. Make sure to sign up! www.qtdeveloperdays.com.