Despite popular opinion, which is predominantly uneducated on the more intricate details of the matter, not all Android compatible poker sites are created equal. That’s because they use different protocols, and likewise, Android mobile devices are constantly being updated with newer and (generally) more productive operating system features. There are a lot of factors one must inspect in order to determine if an Android poker site is truly 100% compatible with your hardware, although in the interest of saving a lot of time and potential headaches, the good old ‘trial and error’ method is generally recommended.
For those of you who are more technically minded, I’ll go over the rough details of what makes an Android poker site compatible.
Poker App Compatibility with Android – 2010 to 2014
As far as downloadable poker apps are concerned, the most pressing matter would be the version of your Android operating system. Based on these charts that depict general gaming usage of all Android 2.x and 3.x versions, compared to the results of versions that are 4.x and higher, compatibility and popularity both rose significantly. First was the “Froyo”, (2.2) and with a usage rating of just 1.1%, let’s face it—that one stunk like boiled eggs left out in the Texas sun 2 months after Easter.
The 2011 release of Android’s “Gingerbread”, which encompassed versions 2.3.3 to 2.3.7, scored much higher with 17% of all downloaded games accessed via the Play Store. However, when v3.2, “Honeycomb” was released in July of that same year, the usage rating dropped to a stifling 0.1%, the worst in the mobile OS’s history. Suffice it to say, Android’s system developers came out with a very low-grade and compatibility-challenged product. That issue was resolved with the introduction of the first Android 4.0 version, deemed Ice Cream Sandwich (gotta love those tasty pseudonyms!) Usage ratings for that version have shot up to 14.3%, and with that release Android was well on its way to sustaining a position as second most popular operating system among mobile devices and tablets, behind the leading Apple iOS of course.
Android Jellybean has been the company’s most successful upgrade. Incorporating three of versions, 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3, the usage rating came in as high as 34.4% for 4.1.x, while the three combined made up 61.4% of all Play Store app downloads. That translates to the highest level of compatibility and user-friendliness of any other adaptation. The new Android v4.4, “KitKat”, has a much lower usage rating of 5.3%, which was a direct result of omitting Flash Player compatibility (we’ll talk more about that soon). In terms of downloadable mobile apps, though, KitKat has the highest API of any Android OS release, coming in at 19, as opposed to the most recent Jellybean’s 18.
I know, I’ve thrown a lot of numbers at you, and possibly confused the parietal lobes of your brain. For that I apologize. Basically, the higher the usage rating and API (application programming interface), the smoother you can expect a downloadable mobile poker application to run on your Android mobile device or tablet. That translates to a more enjoyable overall experience.
In-Browser Poker Site Compatibility with Android
Many of the major poker sites have developed downloadable apps that are compatible with the latest versions of both Apple iOS and Android devices. However, if a poker site doesn’t offer a compatible poker app for download, there may be an alternative that requires no download. It’s the same alternative traditional online poker players use; launching the software directly in their browser.
In this instance, compatibility has to do with whether your Android is Flash-capable and the screen size/resolution. Up until last year, Android devices were discordant with Adobe Flash, regardless of the browser in use. It was, in fact, one of the major drawbacks for Android’s mobile devices and tablets, since so many online materials use Flash technology these days, especially in-browser poker software.
In September of 2013, Adobe finally introduced Flash Player updates to accommodate Android, encompassing older versions, 2.x and 3.x, as well as v4.0.x to 4.3.x (notice I left out the new 4.4 KitKat; we’ll get to that soon). Thanks to those long overdue updates, players were suddenly able to access no-download poker sites. Whether it’s enjoyable to do so, however, is based more on your screen size and resolution. Playing instantly in a browser is generally recommended for Android tablets with a 7” screen size or larger, as the smaller mobile devices may be too small to successfully view or navigate the poker tables and make use of all the necessary buttons without undue aggravation.
But wait – why isn’t so-and-so’s in-browser poker site compatible with Android 4.4? As I said above, not everyone has been keen on the idea of upgrading to the new “KitKat” platform, and this is a good reason why. When Android came out with v4.4, it did away with its Flash Player congruence. Why would they do such a thing? The short answer—because Android developers (and Google) want to force web developers to leave the past behind them and move forward into the new generation of HTML5.
Video Killed the Radio Star
I always loved that song! But in this case, I’m referring to Android killing Flash. I’m not saying HTML5 is a bad thing, but its introduction and preference by Google sure threw the OS’s desirability into a tailspin when 4.4 did away with Flash compatibility.
HTML5 is the latest mark-up language used for coding materials on the world wide web. It is much more complex in its capabilities and essentially negates all need for traditional Flash technology. But what do you do when your favorite poker site isn’t HTML5 compliant and has no mobile poker app for download? Technically, there are some ways around this. You can downgrade from 4.4 back to Androids 4.3 Jellybean, but make sure you know what you’re doing. Unlocking the bootloader and flashing a 4.3 image onto your device should be undertaken with caution and by someone who knows what they’re doing. You could also sideload a Flash Player (18.104.22.168 works with 4.0.x to 4.3.x) and run it from the settings menu, but again, I don’t recommend doing advanced operations without experience. My personal suggestion would be to either find a new poker site that supports your hardware, or simply wait a little longer as HTML5 impacts more poker sites.
Several major operators are well aware of the new technological wave being forced by Android and mobile browsing in general, and that millions of people are devoutly committed to the operating system for their everyday use. Thus these developers already advancing—or are at least working on—an HTML5 poker site for Android users.