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Course Summary

As the first course in the Android Developer Nanodegree, Developing Android Apps is the foundation of our advanced Android curriculum. This course blends theory and practice to help you build great apps the right way. In this course, you'll work with instructors step-by-step to build a cloud-connected Android app, and learn best practices of mobile development, and Android development in particular.

Download Udacity's Android app to keep learning wherever you go!

Why Take This Course?

With over 1 billion Android devices already activated, Android represents an incredible opportunity for developers.

As Android continues to grow beyond smartphones, it will become the brains behind invisible, ubiquitous cloud-connected computing. The skills you learn in this course will help you build awesome apps for smartphones and tablets today, and propel you towards exciting opportunities in Android's future.

By the end of this course, you’ll build a cloud-connected Android app, and understand the tools, principles, and patterns that underlie all Android development. You’ll understand the challenges associated with developing for the mobile environment (and how to overcome them), learn how to build a great user experience for Android devices, and apply this knowledge to your own projects.

Prerequisites and Requirements

This course is intended for students with at least 1 year of programming experience in Java or another object-oriented programming language (for example: C++, Objective C or Python).

If you are new to programming, we recommend taking Android for Beginners, which we created with Google for students just like you!

Also, Udacity's Intro to Java is a helpful background if you're looking to refresh your Java skills.

You will be expected to download Android Studio in order to follow along with the instructors throughout the course. For guidance on the install process, take our How to Install Android Studio mini-course.

In addition, you should be comfortable working with code on GitHub.

Access to an Android device is helpful -- but not required -- to complete the final project.

See the Technology Requirements for using Udacity.

What Will I Learn?


In this project, you’ll build an app to allow users to discover the most popular movies playing.


Lesson 1: Create Project Sunshine with a Simple UI (5-8 hrs)

Starting by installing Android Studio, you’ll create your first project with a simple list-based user interface and built and deploy it to virtual and actual devices. You’ll also discover what makes mobile - and Android in particular - a unique environment for app development.

  • Android Studio, Gradle, and debugging tools
  • User Interface and Layout managers
  • ListViews and Adapters

Lesson 2: Connect Sunshine to the Cloud (8-10 hrs)

Replace the mock data with real weather data by connecting Sunshine up to an Internet back-end courtesy of the Open Weather Map API. You’ll learn how to add permissions to your app, initiate network I/O, and how to move time consuming tasks like network data transfers off the main UI thread.

  • Threading and ASyncTask
  • HTTP requests on web APIs
  • Android Permission System

Lesson 3: Create New Activities and Navigate Apps with Intents (8-10 hrs)

Give your app structure and create more complex Activities. You’ll learn about Android’s Intent framework, and how to use Intents to navigate between Activities, both within your app and as a way to add 3rd party functionality.

  • App navigation with Explicit Intents
  • Implicit Intents to incorporate 3rd-party apps
  • Share Intent and the Android sharing framework
  • Broadcast Intents and Broadcast Receivers

Optional Project: Popular Movies, Stage 1 (5-10 hours)

Build an app to help users discover popular and recent movies. You will build a clean UI, sync to a server, and present information to the user.

Lessons 4: Use Content Providers and Loaders to Persist and Recover Data (15-20 hrs)

Learn how the Android framework manages the activity lifecycle, and how it differs from what you might expect, and dive head-first into the world of persistent storage. Learn how to create databases, use Android’s Content Providers to provide an abstraction layer between your data and your UI implementation, and use Loaders to efficiently load stored data.

  • Activity lifecycle and background activity termination
  • SQLite databases and JUnit tests
  • Creating and using a Content Provider as an abstraction layer
  • Using Loaders to asynchronously load data
  • Creating Adapters to bind UI components to Content Providers

Lesson 5: Implement Rich and Responsive Layouts (8-10 hrs)

Create rich, responsive user interfaces that work across a variety of different hardware types and screen sizes. You’ll learn more details on using the Android Layout managers, Fragments, UI widgets, and Android design principles to add visual polish to your user interfaces, and how to create your own controls from scratch.

  • Fundamental Android design principles
  • Supporting localization and variable screen sizes
  • Optimizing tablet UIs using Fragments
  • Accessibility Features
  • Custom views

Lesson 6: Use Services and Notifications to Run in the Background (5-8 hrs)

Deliver a great user experience, even when your app isn’t visible. Learn how the Android framework manages background apps; and discover how to use Services and Notifications to make your app to be active when it’s not in the foreground. You’ll learn techniques for efficient data transfers using SyncAdapters and Google Cloud Messaging, so your app can stay up-to-date without draining the battery.

  • Background services and alarms to schedule background tasks
  • Efficient background data transfers with SyncAdapters
  • Rich notifications to interact with users

Optional Project: Popular Movies, Stage 2 (4-6 hours)

Add to the app you built in Stage 1 by building on the detail view for each movie, allowing users to 'favorite' movies, and adding a tablet layout.

Final Project (10-20 hours)

Build your own Android app incorporating the skills you've learned in this course.

Instructors & Partners

Reto Meier has been part of the Android Developer Relations at Google since 2009, and leads Google’s Scalable Developer Advocacy team. He’s passionate about helping developers build the best possible apps on Android, and is the author of the Professional Android Application Development series of Android books from Wrox.

Katherine Kuan is a Developer Advocate at Google. Before that, she was a software engineer on the Android Apps team for Google Keep, Google Play, and the People app (formerly Contacts). She is enthusiastic about helping others build apps to improve their communities.

Dan Galpin is a Developer Advocate for Android, where his focus has been on Android performance tuning, developer training, and games. He has spent over 10 years working in the mobile space, developing at almost every layer of the phone stack. There are videos that demonstrate that he has performed in musical theater productions, but he would deny it.

Alexander Lucas has been part of Android Developer Relations at Google since 2010. Previously, he did mobile game development with J2ME, and had a brief stint as a web developer with ColdFusion. Alex obsesses over how to write sample code so good, it teaches the developer reading it. His life goal is to save everyone in the world 5 minutes.

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Sarah Spikes

Course Developer

Sarah Spikes earned her BS and MS in Computer Science at Stanford, where she spent a lot of time as a Teaching Assistant. She spent two years at Google as a Software Engineer before following her passion for teaching by joining Udacity. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys performing musical theatre, making sorbet and rock climbing.

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James Williams

Course Developer

James Williams first fell in love with teaching while working as an instructor at a computer camp. He runs obstacle course/adventure races in his spare time and is the author of HTML5 Game Programming, which has been translated into Chinese and Korean. He holds degrees in Computer Science (BA, MS) and French (BA).

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Lyla Fujiwara

Course Developer

Lyla Fujiwara is a Course Developer at Udacity who has taught math and computer science on three continents. Prior to joining Udacity, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Rwanda, where she worked and hacked alongside the incredibly talented young women at Gashora Girls Academy. When she's not teaching or tinkering, she enjoys social dancing, puzzling, drawing, tabletop RPGs and biking around the peninsula.

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