Why the Google-Released Android to iOS Code Converter, j2objc, Matters for Android Users

Why the Google-Released Android to iOS Code Converter, j2objc, Matters for Android Users

Sep 17, 2012

Google has released an interesting new tool on their Code page called j2objc. It’s designed to convert code written in Java, the native programming language of Android devices, to Objective-C, the native programming language of iOS. This means that an app built for Android could be ported to iOS using this converter from the Google team.

So, why does this matter? Why would Google want developers bringing their apps they make to iOS? Well, it’s a taciturn admission that this town is big enough for both operating systems. But right now, the pattern is generally to go from iOS to Android with code. It’s can be difficult for developers, especially those who are perhaps used to working in Java when having to make iOS apps. While there’s still iOS-specific interface elements that will not translate over, what this does is that it allows for apps to be built in Java, then ported to iOS.

So, if developers who were going to make iOS apps anyway can make them for Android in the first place, then this means that more apps can hypothetically come to Android, whether it be by simultaneous release, or by releasing on the OS first. This is potentially massive for developers.

It could also mean more natively-written apps, which means more apps that feel better on Android, rather than shoehorned from iOS. While my personal hope is that developers take the time to make sure their code works smoothly on both platforms, getting higher-quality Android apps, ones built for the system and its growing userbase, is only a good thing.

As well, if this allows small developers more opportunities to bring their apps to more users easily, then everyone wins. There’s more revenue opportunities, and the entire mobile universe benefits from having more quality mobile apps. Androids and iPhones living together with apps in perfect harmony. It’s madness, I tell you what.

Freaky Friday – Morse Torch

It’s been a while since we featured an app that was actually worth what you pay for it on Freaky Friday. Which is telling, considering most of them are free. This week though, we’re going to break that duck, mainly because the first app we came to when trawling through the Market for weird stuff was actually quite good. Go figure.

The app in question is Morse Torch, which, unsurprisingly, turns the flash on your phone’s camera into a Morse code device. It’s the amalgamation of outdated communication and modern technology that someone might have been waiting for for a very long time.

It’s incredibly simple to use. You set the brightness and gap between flashes, then type in your message and push the big red on-screen button. The button turns green and your flash, er, flashes out the message, finishing when the button turns red again. Nothing to it.

Of course, it might not be flashing out the message you put, but some subliminal order to destroy all phone lines, but that’s a chance you’re going to have to take. Or you could just check the code being flashed, I don’t know.

There probably won’t be a time when you actually need Morse Torch, unless you ever find yourself stuck up a mountain or lost at sea, but it’s still a neat little app that you can have a bit of fun with. Send messages to your friends over short, dark distances, confuse boat captains, that sort of thing.

It’s nice to be able to end a Freaky Friday post without some pithy comment about how terrible an app is and how it’ll probably bring about the ruin of Western civilization. Instead, I’ll end by suggesting that Morse Torch is a perfectly decent Morse code app that, if you’re into that sort of thing, you should download now.

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Morse Torch is available now, for free, from the Android Market