Don't ask me. I have no friggin' clue. I published my first Android app today in the Android Market, which I tested on 2.0 (Droid) and 2.1 (Nexus One), and immediately irritated some folks who are running older Android devices. I want to get my app in their hands too, so I was able to recompile with the 1.6 SDK (G1), but not the 1.5 (HTC Hero) SDK. I'd like to support 1.5 too, but it looks like I'll have to learn about how that works in the Android world. I have no answers in this blog, bug I've gathed some resources to study.
A couple articles:
Android's Rapid Growth has some Developers Worried
"Ultimately, developers will have to start making tough decisions on who they want to target and versions of the operating system they want to support"
Android moving forward, Market left behind
"Developers should have the facility to upload a new version of an app into the same space but requires a certain version of Android. The Market would then determine the appropriate version to distribute to the user."
A couple issues in the Android issue tracker:
Android Market should allow publishing multiple apks of a single app targeting different versions
Market should tag the comments with the version of the application that they refer to
Some developer discussions:
Preferred way to support multiple Android OS Versions?
"There is no way to easily upload multiple apks for the same application. Having to rename the package is also not making this better."
Upload multiple versions for single android application for different SDK levels 1.5, 1.6, 2.0
"They all have to have a different package name, which means you would have to make (and maintain) 3 copies of your source code. You probably don't want to do this."
These posts are also about different version, a free and paid version of the same app. It's not the same as dealing with multiple SDK levels, but it's related. I do think I'll be developing a free/paid pair in the future.
Building multiple app versions for the Market
"If you can share a more complete how-to on the appcore/appfull/applite scheme you are using (or post the code somewhere), that would be veryhelpful"
"Will it show them as two different apps, will it show them as two different versions of the same app with the ability to upgrade from one version to another.."
And finally, a closing rant:
"Imagine when 3.0 gets here, and we have hundreds of handsets with 1.5, 1.6, 2.1, 2.5, 2.7, 3.0 some with Sense UI, MotoBLUR, etc. It's going to be hell for developers and even more confusing for consumers.."