Top programming languages for android app development

Android (OS) is a mobile operating system first launched in 2008 by Google. With over three billion active users, Android (OS) is the largest base of any operating system. 

Since its inception in 2008 android has become the cornerstone in the mobile app development industry. 

Android is supported on both smartphones and tablets and it is currently leveraged by a wide range of device manufacturers. The list includes Google, Samsung, Sony, Nokia, and many others. 

Android has captured 69.74% of the mobile OS marketplace worldwide and is triple that of the number of active Apple iPhones. As new technology emerges, and the industry continues to change, Android apps today primarily involve knowing two main languages i.e. Java and Kotlin. But, there are more programming languages for android app development other than just Java and Kotlin.

Native Android Apps vs Cross-Platform Apps –

There are several programming languages that can be used to develop native Android apps as well as cross-platform apps. But, what is the difference between native android apps vs. cross-platform App development?

The native app development method creates apps tailored to the specific features of a particular platform or device to give a seamless user experience. On the other hand, apps generated by the cross-platform development approach address multiple devices for one app. Thus, cross-platform development appeals to a wide reach of brand followers.

Even though the cost of development of native methodology is lower, it may lag in performance. However, cross-platform apps might not access all device APIs. These might even fail to meet the UI expectations of each device. 


Here are the top programming languages for android app development –

Java –

Java was the official language for Android App Development (now replaced by Kotlin) and one of the oldest programming languages in existence. It is still in use today because of its extensive libraries and cross-compilation. It is apparently the most used language as well. Several Play-Store apps are built with Java, and it is also the most supported language by Google. With Java android app development 

As it contains complex topics like null pointer exceptions, concurrency, checked exceptions, etc, however, Java is a complicated language for beginners. Moreover, the Android Software Development Kit (SDK) increases the amount of complexity involved. 

Being one of the oldest and the most popular android app development language Java has as minimal implementation dependencies as possible. Java is compatible with multiple platforms thus making it operable across any operating system.

Pros of Java –

  1. With Java android app development 

  2. It is a great pick for those who want to work with Android app development.

  3. Another benefit of Java is it is cross-compiled and is the best-compatible language used to develop android apps.

  4. Java has extensive code libraries. Thus, it provides developers with plenty of resources when they get stuck or wants to make improvements.

Cons –

  1. It takes quite a time to master Java. 

  2. As Java offers an extensive amount of libraries it can become a little difficult how to program for Android app development.

Kotlin –

Kotlin is now the best language for android app development. Kotlin is a statically typed programming language that runs on Java Virtual Machine (JVM). After mirroring Apple’s preference for Swift Google introduced it as a secondary “official” Java language in 2017.

In 2019 Google declared Kotlin as the official language for Android App Development. 

Kotlin is a cross-platform android app development tool. It can also be used as an alternative to Java for Android App Development. The only difference between Kotlin and Java is that Kotlin removes the superfluous features of Java – such as null pointer exceptions. It further removes the necessity of ending every line with a semicolon and as compared to Java, Kotlin is much simpler for beginners. 

Kotlin combines both acquisitive and functional programming features with the aim of allowing faster compilation. It is an open-source, multipurpose, and pragmatic computer programming language

Several brands such as Basecamp, Pinterest, and Uber have switched to Kotlin for their android apps due to its effective solutions, speed, accuracy, flexibility, security, and stability.

Pros of Kotlin –

  1. Kotlin is one of the modern and best programming languages for android app development.

  2. It has fewer quirks and fewer confusing features.

  3. It is a compiled language.

  4. It is easier to scale an app on multiple platforms or devices, even those written in Java.

  5. Kotlin consists of features like null safety and lambdas. When encountering null pointer exceptions, null safety prevents your app from crashing or throwing errors.

  6. Lambdas make coding more efficient. It allows you to write methods with only one line of code and makes it executable at any part of your app without changing the logic flow.

Cons of Kotlin –

  1. Kotlin can be difficult to debug.

  2. The older version of Android has had compatibility issues.

  3. Some features lack documentation.

  4. Kotlin is still an evolving language and hence it may only support new devices for a limited time period.


C++ is a programming language for android app development. It can be used for Android App Development using the Android Native Development Kit (NDK). However, C/C++ cannot be used to create an app completely and the NDK is used to implement parts of the app in C++ native code. It allows using C++ code libraries for the app but at times it could be more difficult to set up and is much less flexible. This may also lead to more bugs because of the increased complexity.

C++ has been around since 1979 and is still one of the most popular programming languages. It can be used for both Android and iOS app development. C++ is also used in industries like game development, machine learning, and desktop applications. 


Pros of C++ -

  1. It’s also one of the fastest languages for Android app development.

  2. C++ uses less RAM and it can be compiled for a number of different platforms.

  3. It is one of the most widely used languages for android mobile app development.

Cons of C++ -

  1. It is one of the oldest and most difficult programming languages to learn.

  2. It has many versions, each with different syntaxes.


C# is a .NET programming language developed by Microsoft and is quite similar to Java. C# like Java implements garbage collection thus ensuring fewer chances of memory leaks.

C# has comparatively easier coding as it has a cleaner and simpler syntax than Java. It uses a Xamarin framework and the android tools can be used to write native Android apps. It can also be used to share the code across multiple platforms. C# is based upon object-oriented programming and making it possible to build an app incrementally and to support easier management

C# is designed to be a powerful, modern programming language for developing desktop, mobile, and web apps. Due to its simplicity C# is one of the most popular choices for Android app developers.

It has really simplified syntaxes and hence a person without significant knowledge about different codes can start writing codes.

C# being developed by Microsoft includes IDEs like Visual Studio Community Edition and provides all the features you need to develop your app from start to finish without having to make any additional purchases or downloads.

Pros of C# -

  1. C# is an object-oriented programming language developed by Microsoft.

  2. C# is versatile and one of the most popular choices for Android app developers.

  3. C# is cross-compiled to run on any platform.

Cons of C# -

  1. C# is a statically typed programming language viz. the variables, methods, and other components are fixed when they’re created.

  2. C# is time-consuming as a programmer might have to write more lines of code to get the same result.

Dark –

Originally developed at Facebook Dark is a trending programming language for the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). It was developed as an experimental tool for doing research on software performance. Dark was designed to be used together with the open-source Datalog.

Pros of Dark –

  1. Based on Kotlin is one of the newly introduced android app development tools.

  2. It is the best game development software tool and is ideal for quick prototyping and the creation of games.

  3. Dark is easy to use and is designed for rapid development. It also enables developers to work with multiple technologies such as C++, HTML5, and JavaScript.

Cons –

  1. It is available on Android Studio 3.0 and higher. 

  2. It is a comparatively new language.

  3. It doesn’t have any libraries yet.

Some other programming languages used to develop android app development are – HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Corona, Dart, and Python.

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