On Developer World, we recently made available the Sony Add-on SDK, which lets you support our Small App feature on the new Xperia Tablet S. If you want to enable your existing app to also function as a Small App, you simply have to add some simple code to your app. From a developer’s perspective, adding Small App support is very similar to how you add widget support. And by extending your app with a Small App, you can gain visibility for your app along with the added functionality. Read on for instructions!
By developing a Small App, you can give your app almost the same functionality as a normal Android™ activity, but with the possibility to run on top of any other application. A Small App will also make your app more visible, as it will appear in a predefined search on Google Play which is easy to access for all Xperia™ Tablet S users.
If you add Small App support to your app, you can give Xperia™ Tablet S users the possibility to multi-task without having to create an extra separate APK – you can provide your normal app or widget for all other users. And if your app has widget support, you can probably re-use resources like graphics and UI elements.
On the Xperia™ Tablet S, a Small App will be installed along with a normal app and widget (if you’ve included support in the same APK). For devices without Small App support, only the normal app and widget will be installed. If you keep your Small App and normal app in the same APK like this, you can minimise your administration efforts compared to if you create separate APKs.
How to add Small App support to your app
To be able to add small app support to your app, you need to install the Sony Add-on SDK. It contains all you need to develop a Small App, including Eclipse add-ons, an emulator and basic code examples. On a structural level, a Small App is added to your app in the same way as a widget. Just like when you add widget support, your Small App needs to be declared in the AndroidManifest and implemented through the SmallApplication class. How to do this is described in the code example, which you find from the Small Apps API overview page.
If you want to support the Small Apps API in your current application or widget, there is a difference in how you declare your Small App in the Android Manifest compared to when making a stand-alone Small App. This makes your app visible on devices without Small App support.
<uses-library android:name="com.sony.smallapp.framework” android:required="false" />
By setting the android:required flag to false, this code ensures that the uses-library is not used to filter out your application for devices which do not support small apps.
There is also the option to make a stand-alone Small App, so you don’t need to have a usual app to start with. However, please note that if your app is a stand-alone Small App, we recommend that you set the android:required flag to true, since there will be nothing to run on devices without Small App support.
So now that we’ve shown you how to add Small App support to your Android app, all you have to do is come up with a good idea for Small App use case and start developing. And don’t forget that until November 30, you have the chance to get a free Xperia Tablet S if you tell us about your Small App support. If you have any questions, drop us a line below or head over to Stackoverflow where we are monitoring any questions about Small Apps.