Five of the best Android development books

It seems odd that people would turn to musty old BOOKS to educate themselves about the hows and whys of Android app development, but it seems that, sometimes, learning is best done slowly, at your own pace, in bed, when not distracted by the internet.

Hence Android development books, of which there are plenty for sale.

Now, we should say we are NOT developers. We cannot offer an opinion as to the technical accuracy of the material contained within these books, but we can, as lazy journalists, COPY AND PASTE the Amazon reviews of people who do seem to understand what’s up.

And this five score the best.

beginning android book

1. Beginning Android, Ed Burnette, £15.76

Author’s claim: “Learn how to develop applications for Android mobile devices using simple examples, ready to run with your copy of the SDK. Author and Android columnist, writer, developer, and community advocate Mark L Murphy shows you what you need to know to get started on programming Android applications – everything from crafting GUIs to using GPS, accessing web services, and more!”

Amazon review: “The book seems to cover the core functionality of the system reasonably well but as the author comments, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the android development websites and user groups. Mr Murphy has more or less promised a second edition – a position bolstered by the fact that android 1.5 was released just weeks before the book’s release; enough time to list the major features but not enough to actually talk about them properly”

hello android book

2. Hello, Android: Introducing Google’s Mobile Development Platform, Ed Burnette, £15.76

Author’s claim: “Getting started developing with Android is easy. You don’t even need access to an Android phone, just a computer where you can install the Android SDK and the phone emulator that comes with it. Within minutes, “Hello, Android” will get you creating your first working application: Android’s version of “Hello, World.” From there, you’ll build up a more substantial example: an Android Sudoku game. By gradually adding features to the game throughout the course of the book, you’ll learn about many aspects of Android programming including user interfaces, multimedia, and the Android life cycle”

Amazon review: “I started to read about Android and wanted to really structured introduction to developing for the environment. ‘Hello, Android’ provided a strong flow of learning and at a pace that lets the user see results. The first part of the book that develops a Sudoku is productive and lets you try out different ideas. An individual new to Android environment will be able to make good use of the book”

unlocking android developer guide

3. Unlocking Android: A Developer’s Guide, Frank Ableson, Charlie Collins, Robi Sen, £16.63

Author’s claim: “The book first covers the big picture so the reader can get comfortable with the Android approach to the mobile applications. Then the reader learns to apply Android by following the many practical examples. The book concludes with two deep and hands-on examples. Unlocking Android addresses the Android application framework, its graphical capabilities and media support, data storage, communications capabilities, phone interactions, and notifications”

Amazon review: “I like the way it written, it explains Android components, architecture in clean and easy writings. But it may not be a book for beginner”

professional android app development book

4. Professional Android Application Development, Reto Meier, £17.49

Author’s claim: “A hands–on guide to building mobile applications, Professional Android Application Development features concise and compelling examples that show you how to quickly construct real–world mobile applications for Android phones. Fully up–to–date for version 1.0 of the Android software development kit, it covers all the essential features, and explores the advanced capabilities of Android (including GPS, accelerometers, and background Services) to help you construct increasingly complex, useful, and innovative mobile applications for Android phones”

Amazon review: “This is the best Android book released so far. That’s not to say it’s a great book but all the others are rubbish in comparison. Yes it is a bit out of date but when you’re writing books about a rapidly moving target it gets out of date very quickly. At least it is based on 1.0, most of the others don’t even cover 1.0″

android programming tutorials

5. Android Programming Tutorials, Mark Lawrence Murphy, £14.34

Author’s claim: “Android Programming Tutorials show you what you can do with Android, through a series of 42 individual exercises. Android Programming Tutorials gives you hands-on instruction in how to build sophisticated Android applications, using many of the technologies outlined in CommonsWare’s other Android books. These exercises lead you through the basics of creating Android applications, all the way through many fun Android features like Internet access, location tracking, maps, integrated WebKit browsers, cameras, accelerometers, and much more. Full source code to all the exercise answers is available right on this page, to help you if you get stuck. Android Programming Tutorials makes an excellent companion volume to more traditional Android books that merely tell you what is possible”

Amazon review: “I bought this book because of my previous buy from the same author, but I am rather disappointed this time! This is a book aiming for command line programmers who refuse to utilize any available IDEs. The author leaves the recommended Eclipse IDE totally out of the picture and emphases purely on ANT and the old fashion DOS Command Prompt! So, if you are not a keen command line programmer, avoid this book”

If you’re a bit concerned by the age of some of the above, you might be interested in Beginning Android 2 – an updated version of Beginning Android, due for release on March 16, and promising to update your book-based Android development tips to Android 2.0 status.

And if you have any Android book recommendations, or reviews, please post up a comment.

9 ResponsesLeave one →

  1. Tallbruva

     /  February 2, 2010

    I bought “Hello, Android” and “Professional Android Development” and my personal opinion is that the best of these is “Hello, Android” and the online docs at The one book I do HIGHLY recommend that’s not listed is “Teach Yourself Java 6 in 21 Days”. If you come from a background like Visual Basic or even a flavor of C, it will come in very handy. If you don’t understand how to do things the Java way, you will get bogged down and frustrated.

    “Professional Android Development” does things that even Google recommends against even though you “can” do them. For example, you “can” create strings and such in code, but Google “recommends” you use strings.xml. They also give code snippets which makes it hard to follow what they’re talking about. For example, if you do the Notepad tutorial on and go thru this book’s example, you’ll see creating a database is a lot easier than this book lets on.

    This book does have redeeming qualities in that it exposes you to things Android can do that you won’t know about without some digging (even if the examples are hard to follow or there are no examples at all).

  2. Hey, thanks for the shout-out!

    I would like to point out that _Beginning Android_ (and _Beginning Android 2_) are written by me, not Mr. Burnette (whose _Hello, Android_ is a fine upstanding book).

  3. Imho, the best book for Android learning is Pro Android.

  4. Tardigrade

     /  September 12, 2010

    “Now, we should say we are NOT developers. We cannot offer an opinion as to the technical accuracy of the material contained within these books”

    So why did you make the list? It’s like saying “We recommend these cook books, but we’ve never cooked and have no knowledge whatsoever of cooking”. That would be stupid right?

  5. I did a review of Beginning Android 2 a while back, as you’d expect it’s about 400 pages and mostly about how to use the APIs and like many Apress books, it has a lot of code samples and screen-shots so it’s easy to follow along. Overall it’s a pretty solid book for Java developers.


  6. Nagendra

     /  April 8, 2011

    Are there any books for learning Android framework and porting of Android to newer platforms? I am not talking about the Android applications, but about customizing Android by tweaking the framework. Please let me know if there are any books for this.

  7. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon. If you want another free android ebooks site visit The Droid Library


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