Android has the most number of smartphones and tablets in the market now, and every day 700k Android-based devices are activated. These facts should light up the face of every Android app developer out there, but developing apps for this operating system is not a simple job.
Thousands of developers around the world are striving to create powerful, innovative and feature-rich apps for Android. Many issues with the operating are blocking them from realizing their full potential. In order to develop Android software. Let’s take a look at the most common problems with this OS and see how we can get around them.
Hardware and Software Fragmentation
There are lots of different versions of Android OS in the market, which would be fine if too many users weren’t using different versions of the OS. There are over 400 smartphones and tablets that use Android. Even in early 2012, many Android mobiles came with Gingerbread. So, at times, it becomes difficult to know what version one should be developing for.
Solution: If your app works perfectly on the most popular versions of the operating system and devices, you can stop worrying about the fragmentation issue. Currently over 90% of users are using Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean. As long as your app works on these three, you are good.
If you do not want to miss out on any of the users, you can create an app that works with Android 1.6 naturally the app will not have many innovative features, but then it will work well with all Android versions.
Changes by Carriers
While Apple’s devices have only two carriers, all carriers in the US carry Android devices. Android is an open-ended system and the cell companies have the right to tweak the OS to further their aims. So, we have a number of carriers making all kinds of changes to the Android OS. This adds petrol to the raging fire of fragmentation.
Solution: You will have to research the changes made by the carriers in the particular market you are targeting. If most of your potential users are subscribers of a couple of leading cell companies, it is best to work with their specifications.
Google’s Hands-Off Attitude
With the iOS, you know where you stand, and you know that Apple will work hard to create and maintain a flawless OS. Up till now, Google has not taken any concrete steps to streamline the Google ecosystem. In the absence of any universal guidelines or proper governance of the Android market, it is difficult to build quality apps that work perfectly.
Solution: There isn’t much you can do about it, but there is good news: the latest Google updates are a step ion the direction to creating a more standardized platform. As for security, you will need to monitor your apps on the Android Market and ensure that the security risks are minimized.
High Cost of Market Research
Again, the problem stems from fragmentation: it is difficult to determine the market for which your Android app is being built. This is the major reason why companies building an app for iPhone think of an Android version later. Hardly does anyone create an Android app first and them thinks about creating one for the iPhone.
Solution: Google offers a bunch of stats that can get your started with your research about Android users, but it doesn’t provide enough information. But there is an alternative the will take a lot of effort, but not cost much: there are hundreds of market research and industry stats freely available on the Internet that you can use to reach a decision.
But its not all Bad!
While several knotty issues make Android app development troublesome at times, there is also a lot of fun in developing apps for Android. You have a lot of freedom, you have more chance of using your creativity, submission process is simpler, and you can develop unconventional apps and sell them on the Android Market or elsewhere. As Android moves toward market dominance, your chances making a lot of money through Android apps also increases.