Xamarin developer tools reach Android 4.0, tablets

Support for Ice Cream Sandwich and Android tablets arrives in the latest version of the start-up's developer tools.

Mono for Android lets programmers write native Android software using Microsoft's C# programming language.
Mono for Android lets programmers write native Android software using Microsoft's C# programming language. Xamarin

Xamarin, a company seeking to extend Microsoft's .Net programming technology beyond Microsoft's operating systems, has released a version of its developer tools that can work with the latest iteration of Google's Android operating system.

The company builds Mono, an open-source version of Microsoft's .Net technology for programming in Microsoft's C# language. With the newest version of Mono for Android, C# programmers can produce software that will run natively on both Android 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich, and on Android tablets including Amazon's Kindle Fire and Samsung's Galaxy Tab, Xamarin said yesterday.

The Android developer tools dovetail with the company's MonoTouch to lower the difficulties of writing software for multiple operating systems. "In many cases, you can reuse most of your existing code when porting from Android to iOS," Xamarin promises. The software also can reuse existing libraries of prewritten .Net code.

Mono for Android costs $399 for the professional version for a single person, $999 for the enterprise version for a single seat at a customer organization, and $2,499 for the enterprise priority version that includes faster support response. A free version lets programmers build software, but only run it in emulation mode on a developer's computer rather than on actual devices.

Xamarin has its roots in Ximian. Novell acquired Ximian in 2003 but dropped the Mono technology after Attachmate acquired Novell in 2010. Ximian's two leaders, Chief Technology Officer Miguel de Icaza and Chief Executive Officer Nat Friedman, reunited as Xamarin co-founders in 2011 along with Chief Operating Officer Joseph Hill, who's worked on Mono since 2003.

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