Announcing the SAP Cloud Platform SDK for Android
There’s no question that we live in a digital age. On average, every person on the planet has between 4 and 6 connected devices – and its predicted that we’ll reach 50 billion connected devices in less than two years. Companies who aren’t thinking about how to provide access to information in this digital world are bound to be disrupted by those who are.
The question is, how can you get ahead, when you’re spending so much time keeping the lights on?
The answer to that question is twofold. SAP customers globally are transforming the way they do business with the cloud – leveraging SAP Cloud Platform to integrate everything without interrupting core business functions. And they’re also ensuring that they focus on mobile as a key channel.
Success in mobility is critical
It’s undeniable that advancements in technology have fundamentally changed the way we live – including the way we talk, shop, play, listen to music and even read. I can now do every one of these things from my mobile phone. These trends are impacting expectations for how we work. For better or worse, the line between our work lives and are personal lives has blurred; people expect the same mobile experiences at work as they do at play. For that reason, a big part of your digital transformation strategy should be related to enabling mobile access to information. Mobile is the face of digital!
As mobile has evolved it has become clear that a mobile strategy should support both Android and iOS. Globally, I’ve seen research that shows Android holds anywhere from 65 – 80% of global market share for mobile devices. Robust security and management powered by Android Enterprise means that Android is also clearly built for business. With a wide variety of form factors and price points available, Android is appealing to many businesses. With OEMs like Zebra, Honeywell and Panasonic backing the Android platform, lines of business requiring ruggedized mobility are particularly fond of Android as it is often seen as the successor for the Windows CE platform.
SAP Cloud Platform SDK for Android is here!
SAP recognized the need to deliver better tools to support Android in SAP Cloud Platform Mobile Services. The first step in this journey occurred in April with the release of our micro app development feature, SAP Mobile Cards for Android. Now we’re excited to take it to another level. Today, at Sapphire 2018 we announced a new feature of SAP Cloud Platform Mobile Services – the SAP Cloud Platform SDK for Android. This completely new SDK, built collaboratively with our Android colleagues at Google, will be available in limited release starting on June 15th. By working closely with Google we are combining the strength of SAP Cloud Platform with the global reach of the Android operating system.
The partnership is important to both SAP and Google. David Still, Managing Director, Android Enterprise at Google said “The collaboration brings together the security, manageability, and flexibility of Android with SAP’s global reach and deep industry expertise. SAP and Google are helping global enterprises run their businesses on the world’s most popular mobile platform, built for business.” For a more detailed perspective of the importance of the relationship between the two companies, take a look at Sean Ginevan’s blog on The Keyword.
You might be asking yourself, didn’t SAP already support Android? Indeed we did! Android has been an important aspect of our mobile portfolio from the beginning both in the Cloud and in the on premises SAP Mobile Platform SDK. The original SDK, supported multiple operating systems and was designed to abstract developers away from the details of the OS. Theoretically one could then move from Android to another OS with less impact. For the new SDK, instead of hiding the details of the OS from the developer, we are embracing it. Android developers should find the new SDK very familiar. This SDK was built by Android developers, for Android developers. Using the SAP Cloud Platform SDK for Android, mobile enterprises can quickly create powerful yet elegant digital native apps to support their Android user population.
There are two other areas of the SAP Cloud Platform SDK for Android that are new and deserve additional discussion. The first major new feature of the SDK is the implementation of SAP Fiori for Android. Creating great digital experiences involves delivering business content across multiple channels. Users may be sitting at a desk one moment, on their mobile device the next. SAP customers expect that cross-channel experience to be consistent, they expect it to be familiar, they expect it to be Fiori. The Fiori Design Language for Android feels distinctly Fiori, uniquely Android.
Below is an image that depicts Android activities built using SAP Fiori for Android. Click on the image to see a larger view:
The second major feature of the SDK is the SDK wizard – a productivity enhancement tool and a plugin for Android Studio that can help you jumpstart your Android project. Like a benevolent being, the wizard guides you through the steps necessary to wire your application to Mobile Services and to the backend system of record. After answering just a few questions, out comes a fully functional Mobile Services based app, complete with a reference UI based on SAP Fiori for Android. Here’s a quick peek of what comes out of the wizard process from a UI perspective:
Update Sep 19, 2018 with new screenshots!
There’s much more to this feature as it’s pretty foundational to the SDK as a whole – in fact there’s so much, I dedicated an entire blog to the topic, check out the Feature Spotlight on the SDK wizard for much more information. You can also see how the entire process works end-to-end by watching this brief Overview Video.
I’d like to complete the discussion of the new SDK by addressing enterprise readiness. When I look at a mobile app, it’s like looking at an iceberg. The stuff above the water may be pretty to look at, but it’s what’s underneath the surface that’ll sink your ship if you’re not careful. SAP has deep DNA in this area and the new SDK does not disappoint. The SAP Cloud Platform SDK for Android is built from the ground up to be ready for enterprise usage. Built using a layered approach, the SDK provides not only basic (but not easy to achieve) features like push and offline, but also more advanced elements such as supportability, diagnostics and multi-layered security. Look for future spotlight sessions on these features as well.
The great news is that this new SDK is included in SAP Cloud Platform Mobile Services. That means that you get the SDK for Android, the SDK for iOS, and the cross platform Mobile Card Kit for developing micro apps – and all in one product. And if you’re already a Mobile Services customer, you’ll have access to them automatically.
Finally, if you’re at Sapphire join us for a session or come by the booth (LE504, Design Experience, User Experience Delivery) for a demo! You’ll find us in the SAP Leonardo Campus in the Design Experience area. We’ll cover the Android SDK in the following sessions:
- Unlock Corporate Data at the Speed of the Cloud with Mobile Innovations, Wednesday 4:30, LE500
- Create Next-Generation Mobile Experiences with SAP Cloud Platform Experience Maker Services, S310F (South Concourse, 3rd Floor), Thursday 2:00
- Mobilize Your Workforce with Compelling Android Apps (Presented with Google), Thursday at 3:00, LE500
- Go Mobile with SAP Cloud Platform, Thursday 4:30, PL401
The availability of the SDK is an extremely important step forward in supporting the Android ecosystem. Equally important is the impact of the SDK’s availability on the SAP application portfolio and on the mobile development kit feature of Mobile Services. Applications like SAP Asset Manager are built using the mobile development kit. The mobile development kit is built on the SDK. Now that the SDK is available, keep an eye out for an updated Mobile Services roadmap for an update to the plans to the mobile development kit!
Get involved today!
We hope you are as excited as we are about the SAP Cloud Platform SDK for Android, our latest in a series of innovations released for SAP Cloud Platform Mobile Services. Are you ready to get started? Do you already have a project in mind? If so, we want to hear from you! The SAP Cloud Platform SDK for Android will be available for early adopters starting in late June. Visit the SAP influencer site to apply for access, or simply click on the button below:If you’re not quite ready to kickstart a project, there’s still much more information to be had and even more coming.
Start your digital transformation today!