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i am just starting android app development. I was downloading SDK via the Android Manager. I had to select the SDK versions. I have a phone of android 2.1 So i selected only SDK 2.1 and its samples as to download all it takes too much time. If i download the latest SDK 3.X will it be compatible with my mobile?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

By default, if you use the 3.x SDK, earlier phone won't be compatible. But if you need special features from a SDK level (for example Open GL ES 2.0 is only available since 2.2), you can force compatibility in your manifest :

<uses-sdk android:minSdkVersion="7" />

You should then detect in your code which version of the OS is used at runtime and change your implementation accordingly :

switch (android.os.Build.VERSION.SDK_INT){
    case android.os.Build.VERSION_CODES.ECLAIR : 
        // do something
    case android.os.Build.VERSION_CODES.FROYO: 
        // do something else
    case android.os.Build.VERSION_CODES.HONEYCOMB: 
        // do something else

Finnaly, i'd suggest you take a look at the Target Devices page to choose which version to target (unless again you need a specific feature from the 3.x SDK).

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