Android App Development

Android, by Google, is a great platform which is taking over the world. You could call it the de facto standard smartphone operating system as it's used on 84% of smartphones worldwide. It's open-source, massively configurable, and presents a huge breadth of functionality for apps to use. Much of this functionality is simply not possible under other platforms.

Android is used by most of the world's leading phone manufacturers including Samsung, HTC, Sony, Google, Motorola and LG.

We strongly recommend that you include Android as a platform in any strategic app release, if not your primary target.

The latest Android releases

Android releases are named after sweet treats, and the most recent release, Lollipop, is a big leap forward from the previous. The new style of interface called Material Design provides a different way for users to interact with the device, and apps which implement its principles feel more natural to work with as well as look better. The flip side is that any Android app which hasn't been updated in the last few years will now be starting to look dated.

Android is a colourful platform and its apps have a high degree of individuality.

How can you ensure quality of apps across devices?

One of Android's biggest strengths - the sheer number of devices it's available on - is also one of its biggest weaknesses. Each device it's found on has slightly different hardware, slightly different screen size, slightly different customisations (as manufacturers put their own software on their devices). This means that no two users will get the same experience when running your app.

As developers this presents a challenge as we want our users to have a consistently good experience. To ensure quality, we address this by extensive and careful testing on a wide variety of devices. We have an enormous collection of devices to test with; with small, medium and large screens; with fast and slow processors; with and without front camera, GPS and NFC; with different amounts of storage space... And if there's a very specific configuration we need to test under, then we have tools to simulate it too.

Android Widgets

Android supports "widgets" which are like mini-apps running on the device's home screen. This allows you for example to see your day's agenda without having to load the full calendar app, or see your most recent emails at-a-glance. If you can offer something useful to your users, then a widget can be great for brand recognition as it is always present on the device's home screen.

Where do Android apps come from?

Android users can install apps from anywhere. This is an important point of freedom: you can install what you want, and you're not limited by the principles and censorship of a single organisation. That said, almost all commercial / widely released Android apps are downloaded from the Google Play store which, unless you have an extremely specific target audience, is the only app store we recommend posting your app to.

How do you make an Android app available?

The Google Play store is the largest app store of any platform, by far, both in terms of the number of apps and the number of app downloads.

Posting an app to Google Play can be a complex affair, as it requires a very prescribed set of images (screenshots from different sized devices, icons, etc), descriptions of varying lengths, and other hoops to jump through. We take care of this process for you from start to finish. Once posted, your app will be available to users within a few hours. Google can remove apps if they violate its terms, but in practice this usually only occurs if your app is found to be malicious.

Posting an app requires a Google Play developer account, which costs. You can either get your own account or host your app under Apps In The Sky, the latter allowing us to keep you posted on updates and changes that may affect you.

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