Android is one of the biggest operating systems (OS) in the world as it dominates iOS by a large margin with a 73% market share in November of 2018 or 2.2 billion active smartphone users. Being an open-source OS for portable devices, Android platform enables developers to customize and exchange source code in a cheaper and easier way than iOS does. Also, Google Play Store, where 2.6 million apps were placed in December 2018, puts your app more directly and more easily into your targeted users. According to annual statistics, the profitability of Android apps has been increasing steadily. Thus, quite obviously as you see this freedom it gives and the huge profits it brings have been creating plenty of opportunities for Android app developers. However, your team must face great difficulties when developing an Android app. What are those? Let’s check it out.
Software fragmentation is the inherent limitation of Android that almost every Android app developer has to overcome. In terms of Android fragmentation, there are a number of definitions but simply, it refers to the number of different versions of Android OS in the market at the same time. Completely different from iOS, whose updates are controlled by Apple, wireless carriers and device manufacturers are the ones in charge of Android updates. While iOS is exclusively designed for Apple’s hardware, Andoird is developed for a number of different device manufacturers. Therefore, they have to modify each version of Android to ensure the compatibility. For instance, the version of Android that runs on a Samsung device may be slightly different from the one running on an Asus device, even if the name of the two versions are the same.
Google annually releases a new version named after desserts with new features and improvements such as Marshamllow (2015), Nougat (2016), Oreo (2017), Pie (2018). The considerable diversity not only in the Android OS versions but also in device manufacturers makes Android developers find it difficult to catch up with the changes when developing an Android app. It would be a horrible nightmare for a newbie to focus on multiple versions of Android while building Android apps.
As mentioned above, Android is designed for a considerable variety of device manufacturers. This leads to not only the software fragmentation but also another kind of fragmentation, the hardware fragmentation. If you are developing a mobile app for iOS devices, it’s much easier for you to make it run smoothly on devices that have the same hardware. But on Andriod, it’s totally a different story. Nowadays, there are more than 170 devices running Android OS. That means Android app developers have to build Android apps that can be compatible with devices that have different screen resolutions, different camera button, different CPU speeds, different storage capacity and more. Is that another nightmare?
Hardware fragmentation is considered a side-effect of Android’s openness. If your team don’t carry out the QA inspection and audit well, this may cause users some annoying troubles such as:
- Some apps may malfunction on some CPUs.
- Games may keep freezing and crashing on some devices.
- Apps appear the wrong size on some displays.
- RAM and storage space may create conflicts with other running apps.
- Issues on fingerprint sensors.
Android app development always requires a greater number of efforts to build Android apps with the highest performance and compatibility, especially during the testing process.
The software and hardware fragmentation cause worse trouble, the security. The biggest pros bringing the competitive advantages to Android turns out the biggest cons of this OS. Owing to the diversity, there is no standardisation, which leads to several security flaws.
Apple issues a set of strict guidelines for app development and has an extremely strict app-approval process. Android, meanwhile, doesn’t have any governance because of its non-standardisation. Each year, millions of Android devices are the target of security attacks. Some popular security flaws and bugs that can be mentioned are QuadRooter Vulnerabilities, Android FakeID, mRST, Certified-gate, Android Installer Hijacking and more. Although a great number of flaws, not many manufacturers usually issue security patches.
However, we can not deny Google’s efforts when they have always been working hard to fix and improve Android’s fragmented security problems. As an Android developer, you need to keep in mind that protecting your app and the user data is your mission when developing an Android app.
Non-standard User Interface (UI)
One of the most advantages for developers when building apps is that they can customize the apps in their preferred way as Google does not have any rules of UI design. As a result, a number of apps tend to malfunction or wrongly display across different portable devices. When the UI is incompatible with users’ devices, they may suffer from a horrible experience that the app directly brings.
The Android app developers always try their best to build Android apps whose UIs can bring the users more personalized experience; however, the varying UIs leads them into troubles with the compatibility. Their major challenge is finding the best way to make the app layout responsive on every single device.
Android has millions of apps in its marketplace and we’re observing a steady increase in Android users and developers. Thus, making your apps visible on the search engine is a great challenge. For example, there are hundreds of photo editing apps available on Google Store. If you have finished developing your own photo editing app and are going to publish it, it’s quite hard for your app to beat some famous apps like VSCO, Snapseed, B612, Pitu etc. to appear on the first page of search results.
To gain the popularity of your app, you need to accomplish more and more downloads and good reviews unless you pay money for the promotion. Android app developers can attract their targeted users by choosing a catchy name or a unique icon, paying attention to put the high-quality photos and right keywords in the description.
The more competitive it may be, the more efforts you need to put to prevent the traction losing.
How did Savvycom fight off the challenges in Android app development?
At Savvycom, each person in our Android developer team has a wealth of qualifications and possess years of extensive expertise in developing Android apps. Following the agile methodology, we always do our best to ensure the best performance and compatibility of the apps we develop.
iHeartLocal is a mobile app that is written in native code. It enables users to share amazing places with their friends and acquaintances. This solution allows people to get access to the best deals that are recommended based on real experiences while plays a role of a marketing channel for merchants to approach potential clients.
Deeply understanding the common Android problems like software and hardware fragmentation and security issues, our team paid great attention to the testing process. It took months to carry out tests on several devices before we delivered the product to our client.
“Savvycom is a strong and committed partner that has stayed with us since the day one”, said David Cheng, CEO of iHeartLocal. The app not only satisfied our client but also ranked #1 APP in the CES Mobile App Showdown and was rated as one of the top trustworthy referral networks in the US and European countries.
Our Android app development team has always been striving to provide our clients with high-quality products to satisfy their requirements. If you have any ideas of developing an Android app, please do not hesitate to contact Savvycom at:
Phone: +84 24 3202 9222
Head Office: 12th floor, Viet A Tower, Duy Tan Street, Hanoi, Vietnam