Aaron Gadberry

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Android Application Data Sync / Backup

27th June 2011 - By Aaron Gadberry

The Android platform is great, when used in isolation, but owning multiple devices is not really supported (as of my Epic running 2.2 and my Transformer running 3.1). Of course you can own them independently, but there is no support for device linking or sharing of information. As Android is maturing, so are the apps that run on it. What is application data? Application data isn’t the spreadsheet or document saved to the SD card. It is the data specifically associated with each application, such as user settings or saved states. In Android there is no opportunity to sync, or even backup, application data. Neither is there an app that can accomplish this, because it is prohibited for apps to access other apps’ data (appropriately so). The only group that can effectively deploy this functionality within Android is Google.

Of course the difficulty depends on the complexity of the implementation, however the design is fairly simple. Application data is organized and maintained by Android today. Users have the opportunity to clear it through the Manage Applications interface. Would it be so hard as to sync it or back it up as well? This could be easily implemented for ALL applications.

The versioning could be maintained separately. Mobile app version 1.1-1.8 and honeycomb versions 1.0-1.5 are compatible with application configuration 1.1, etc.

Here is the best feature request for application data sync / backup I could find. Please go star it if you agree.

The high points of design I agree with are

  • All applications should be supported
  • Only application data need be supported, not the actual application
  • Sync to Cloud
  • Backup to Local or Cloud
  • On demand or on schedule or triggered syncs/ backups w/connection and/or size based controls
  • Compression
  • Block hashing
  • Encryption

With multi-device users, this feature is essential, and only able to be provided by Google.

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