Along with Apple iOS and Google Android, mobile technology went further than it ever could in the last two decades. These two operating systems have revolutionized the mobile platform, with apps and app stores. Now, each platform has over a million apps and billions of downloads for popular ones. How does the development community fit in all this? How are they making these apps and marketing them? Here are a few challenges and tips for mobile app developers.
A key aspect of today’s mobile app development is the app store system, wherein the OS company itself monitors each app and takes care of the marketing part. It is hence a very secure way to get useful apps to your handset. For instance, Android developers need to follow a few guidelines as outlined by Google Play: the app should be marketable in the K-12 market (should be safe for children), should follow Android design methods, and Android testing guidelines. In the case of iOS, the guidelines are even stricter. Even slightly adult-rated content within an app calls for rejection in the App Store. Some of the notable rejections in the past include apps like Newspapers, Eucalyptus, etc. One of the most notable app rejections by Apple was Google Maps last year.
An app development team, along with the testing team, has to take care of some requirements when building an app, despite the platform for which it is built. If the platform is Android, the things that the development team has to take care of become manifold.
1. Device Diversity
In the case of Android, how many different devices can you identify? The device diversity is huge in Google’s market. You have the Nexus range, Galaxy range, Optimus range, and a vast number of designs and configurations by other OEMs, not to mention the operating system versions. Hence, your app has to work on all of these platforms properly to be a success. Display resolution is one thing that used to be important, but now most of the high-end smartphones have full HD resolution. The scenario will soon change, however, when 4K displays become more common on mobile devices.
In the case of 4K resolution, roughly 4000 horizontal pixels are available on display.
The issue here is the industry hasn’t yet come to a proper understanding of a resolution standard. As a result, when talking about 4K, you are talking about six different resolutions: 3840×2160, 4096×2160, 5120×2160, 5120×3200, 4096×1716, and 3996×2160. Depending on the mobile device, an OEM can opt for any of these six resolutions. Tablets may also come with varying resolutions. Although most of the Android tablets come in full HD or 720p HD resolutions, iPad gives higher than HD resolution. This device diversity is one big challenge for app developers.
2. Design and Functionality
There has always been a spat among developers concerning the design and functionality tradeoff. Skeuomorphic design is a terminology that designers use to describe an app that is designed to replicate the real-world object that it represents. Look at the Maps app, where you can put thumbtacks on: it sort of resembles a real-world map on your table. One issue with the skeuomorphic design is it may look great, but the design may indirectly affect the functionality. People prefer apps that look nice, but they do not prefer the ones that come with limited or limited functionality. Hence, you need an app that looks good and comes with great functionality as well.
Since iOS 7 last year, and Microsoft Windows 8 long back, flat design and UI concepts are ruling in the mobile market. That may be one way to go for today’s mobile market.
3. Uniqueness of Your App
Today, if you go into the iTunes store or Google Play store, you get to see a million apps in all kinds of categories. For word processing, presentations, banking, insurance, connectivity, entertainment, wine-tasting, and for any remote functionality you need, chances are great that you can find an app. How unique your app is going to be is in your hands. You may come across your app’s exact functionalities in another app that is readily available. Even though this may seem tough, there are a million different ways in which you can come up with a unique app or add unique functionalities to an existing app. It is up to you to identify these opportunities.
Remember, you are building an app for Android. That means connectivity! Your app should have all the necessary connectivity capabilities. In the future, not just the connectivity within your smartphone but seamless connectivity through such technologies as NFC is going to be important. Your app should be future-proof, in essence.
Automotive industry is one in which a lot of development is happening today. Embedded systems have gone way beyond recognition. Look at BMW M Power app for instance. This app helps you connect your smartphone to a BMW car and then find lap times, breaking and throttle positions, and use navigation. Come up with unique ways your app can connect with any external gadget.
5. Testing and Quality Assurance
When it comes to an app for any app store, an important aspect is a quality assurance. It matters for Google Play, and it matters even more for the App Store. How do you ensure a quality of a mobile app? Only by testing. Some development teams use an automation tool for testing too. Bugs can come in any app. In agile development, which is especially the case with mobile apps, testing assumes great importance. Agile testing teams should work closely with mobile development teams and make sure that the bugs are tracked, reported, and resolved immediately. An automation tool, such as Mobitaz, for testing, can come very much handy in such scenarios.
These are some of the most important aspects of building a mobile app. There are, however, other significant aspects that we haven’t covered in this article. In any case, full dedication to your app and its development is very important for its success.