The old adage tells you that when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. Things may not be that simple for budding Android developers who don’t have the resources to invest in several Android devices to ensure the compatibility of their apps. Sure, emulators are good, and the one included in the Android SDK recently got a major usability boost thanks to hardware acceleration. But emulators are not always enough.
For that times, you might want to have a look at Sony's new device loaner program. As a way to give back to the Android developer community, and, of course, to ensure that more apps will work perfectly on its devices, Sony has created the Device Loaner Program, which essentially lets smaller studios and independent developers with very limited resources borrow any Xperia smartphones to test their apps. So no, you can’t really keep the phone forever, but you can borrow it for up to 30 days. That’s better than nothing, right?
Unfortunately, the program is only free for developers who reside in the US and Canada. As for those who live outside the two countries, you can still borrow the Xperia phones, but you'll have to cover the international shipping fees, as well as any other applicable taxes.
The list of Xperia phones that you can borrow includes the Sony Xperia S, Arc S, Active, Play, Arc, X10 Mini Pro, X10A, X8 and even the LiveView. Since inventory is limited, each developer can only borrow one phone, so we suggest you make your way there as soon as possible. All you need is a legit credit card as a guarantee in case things go awry.
We like that the new Sony is more actively involved in supporting the independent Android developer community. Not only were the Japanese the first major manufacturer to officially share the beta builds of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for their phones, but they have also released the source and provided information on how to build the kernel.
What do you think about Sony's initiative?