Apps don't just happen. A trip to the Big Android BBQ Europe gave me a fresh perspective on how challenging it is to make great Android applications.

One of the best things about this job is meeting the incredibly smart people who make the devices we use great. I spent a large chunk of this past week in Amsterdam at the Big Android BBQ Europe getting to know some of the top European Android developers — the people responsible for making the great apps we all use every day — and learning how they do it.

I know just about enough about programming to get myself in trouble, but even I came away with a fresh appreciation for how much skill it takes to create apps for the billion or so Android phones out there. The quick version: It's still a challenge to deal with the sheer breadth of variety in the Android world, especially when some types of phones don't play by the rules. Nevertheless, Android is more accessible than ever for self-taught coders — in part because we all have devices, in part because mobile development is inherently easier to interact with than anything on a desktop. And the nuts and bolts of how devs create Android apps has changed significantly over the past year, and is sure to evolve further with new trends like Kotlin, wearables and desktop apps through Chrome.

For the longer version, we're going to hear from the developers themselves. Starting this weekend, we'll be running a new set of interviews with some of these incredibly talented developers, starting with Blendle's Jolanda Verhoef. We're following a similar structure each time, letting these people go freeform on some of the benefits and challenges of working with Android, how newbies can get started, and where it might all be going.

Look for a new interview every other day for the next couple of weeks.


Other quick hits for a working weekend:

  • I'm in New York this weekend for a few days to hang out with the AC team and hustle on some of the big plans we've got for the latter half of 2016. No spoilers yet, but we've got some fantastic things in the works.
  • I got to play around with the U.S.-spec Honor 8 in NY, ahead of next Wednesday's European launch. (I'll be there for the launch event in Paris.) We'll have a review from Andrew in due course, but my tl;dr: A great phone that should significantly raise the profile of Honor in the U.S. There's still some software wonk in EMUI (albeit way less than there used to be.) But it's a solid product, and one that's only going to get better once EMUI 5 and Nougat roll around.
  • We're rapidly approaching IFA, the annual Berlin-based trade show that's normally packed with exciting new Android stuff. We've got a good roundup of what to expect from this year's show, which is looking like being dominated by new Android Wear smartwatches. (It's about time.) Huawei's going to be huge at IFA too — hopefully we'll see what's next from them in software.
  • Entering the Nougat era is going to be a big break from the usual Android release cycle. The new Android version should be dropping on Monday, making official the OS we've been seeing in preview form since March. Don't expect any huge changes in this final release compared to the most recent dev. preview 5. But Nexus time this year (I'm thinking mid-late September) should be really interesting.
  • If you're not following @androidcentral on Instagram, you're missing out on a lot of fun behind-the-scenes stuff in our Instagram story.

That's it for now. It's going to be a crazy awesome next few weeks in Android, so keep it locked to AC!