Mono for Android consists of the core Mono runtime, bindings for native Android APIs, a Visual Studio 2010 plug-in, and an SDK that contains all the tools needed to build, debug, and deploy apps. Developers trained in Visual Studio can thus continue developing with their preferred IDE, while using their existing skills and .NET code, libraries, and tools, as well as C# programming knowledge. The Visual Studio 2010 plug-in lets engineers develop, debug, and deploy their apps to an Android simulator, an Android device, or the Android Market.
Mono for Android complements MonoTouch, Novell's solution for developing apps for Apple's iOS (iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch). Novell is thus pitching Mono for Android and MonoTouch to .NET developers as an option that will save them time and money because they will be able to share common code between iOS and Android on smartphones and tablets, as well as Windows Phone 7, Windows desktops, and Windows Server.
There are four tiers of Mono for Android: Student ($99), Professional ($399), Enterprise ($999), and Enterprise 5 ($3,999). You can check out the differences between them at mono-android.net/store, but we recommend that you grab the trial either way first.
"Since the introduction of MonoTouch in 2009, developers have experienced how Mono streamlines mobile application development," Miguel de Icaza, Mono project founder and vice president of Developer Platforms at Novell, said in a statement. "As a result, many asked us to build a similar tool for Android. We developed Mono for Android to give both individual developers and businesses a way of sharing their code across multiple mobile platforms, increasing efficiency and reuse of their C# and .NET expertise across the board."