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Apps Fragmentation Issue for New Comers

Discussion in 'Android Development' started by technologist38, May 29, 2016.

  1. technologist38

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    Hello Everyone,

    So I have an extensive experience (14 yrs) in IT networking/Systems administration and I have to admit that I got sick from this industry and the fact that I'm being employed to manage things according to boss's rules, vendor's rules, or even an outsourcing rules, and not my rules.

    Having said that, I am highly considering (after a long read and research of course) app development in android. Heck, I even downloaded the Eclipse IDE and bought some Java books to learn the language. That means that I am serious about it. I just need to stay at home, on the beach, or on the streets coding. Working for myself coding and producing is my pleasure in life that is about to become true.

    However, just one issue I read a lot about and it's really an issue, the "Fragmentation". I've came across several threads, blogs, articles that discuss this issue. But I really didn't see any final solution introduced to this problem in these links. Yes, we really have lots of hardwares, different sizes, and different Andy versions. Some solved the problem by writing apps to only higher versions. Others decided to just focus on certain sizes and I really don't see them as good solutions to the problem. I want my app to run across as many devices as possible if I really care about good revenues. Yes, I will be learning app development for selling my productions also, not just pleasure myself.

    So, what's your catch on this issue?

    All positive discussions and suggestions are very welcome and appreciated. :)
     

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  2. LV426

    LV426 I say we take off and nuke this place from orbit
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    It's a real issue. The Android platform is constantly evolving, and one big problem is changes in the API. So if you want your app to be most widely available, then your code has to allow for this, using conditional logic, based on the API version. Ugh, it can get messy.
    But in fact this problem is not unique to Android. All software development frameworks have the problem of deprecating APIs, even Apple's.

    I suppose the Android situation is made worse by the proliferation of vendors, and different Android versions out there on devices.
    In practice I tend to target my apps at a minimum of Kit-kat, which I think covers at least 74% of devices out there (so Android Studio tells me). As a developer you have to decide how much hassle you want to cause yourself by supporting multiple versions of Android.

    But the bottom line is that support for your app is an ongoing task, as who knows what will change/break in the next release of Android? And making your app as marketable as possible takes work, not least because you have to test on every one of your targeted versions. Then multiply that by the various hardware form factors (phone, tablet etc) and you've got a real job with testing.

    Good luck, and just as a side note, but you mention you're using Eclipse. I recommend Android Studio if you're just starting out - it is the recommended development environment, and IMO better than Eclipse.

    I wish I could make a living out of writing Android apps for myself. It's hard though because the market for apps is really saturated. Any conceivable idea has generally already been done. I hope you have some good ideas.
     
  3. technologist38

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    PHEW !! What a nice and self-explanatory reply. I thank you so much for that. Your reply also added a huge relief to me because at least I am not alone in this. Yes, you're right Andy Studio is the one, I just didn't search well for the right IDE. Well, I don't think it's a good idea to support multiple versions based on your nice description for the situation here. What I understood perfectly from your reply is that there is no a killer solution to this problem yet and developers just create their own workarounds. I mean there is no official solution from Google.

    74% is an acceptable percentage for developing for Kitkat only. I think it's a good start to focus on Kitkat or higher.

    Anyways, thx for your thoughts. :)

    Ah, I just edited my reply to add this.

    I will use my networking ideas to create apps that help solving network issues or even wireless issues. Yes, there are many networking apps out there that are valuable but I got some ideas that never been applied before. Also, it won't hurt to do some games as I love gaming too.

    If I may ask, why couldn't you make a living from creating apps? Is it only the lack of ideas problem or something else? I don't mind listening. Please feel free to share your story if you need to.
     
    #3 technologist38, May 29, 2016
    Last edited: May 29, 2016
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  4. mikedt

    mikedt 你好
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    The official solution from Google is Nexus devices. :thumbsupdroid: They have a say and control in everything about them. But then you got Chinese devices, where Google has absolutely no control at all. So I think, yeh aim for a minimum Android version like 4.4, and a minimum spec as well, if that's possible.
     
    #4 mikedt, May 29, 2016
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  5. technologist38

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    Grrrrrr, I hate China too, lol

    My humble view to the situation is, this is Google's mistake from the very beginning to make the OS as an open source. Everyone can play with it. Unlike Google, Apple iOS developers find no fragmentation problem because fortunately all iOS users upgrade to the latest version once its released. Very few stays on old iOS versions. Also, the hardware is owned by Apple, thus your code will definitely work on them.
     
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  6. mikedt

    mikedt 你好
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    Not all, once your iPhone or iPad is 2 or 3 generations old, it's abandoned by Apple, no more updates. Want to update and have current supported apps? You're buying a new iOS device.

    Also new iPhones and iPads tend to be rather expensive and there's only a couple of each, many Androids, hundreds of different brands and models cost lest than $100. I see a lot of people still using iPhone 4, even 3GS sometimes. Google is primary an ad(AdSense, Admob, DoubleClick) and data company, that's how it makes most of it's money, from people using their services via Android, which they give away. Which might bring the question, how do you intend to monetize your apps?

    There's Windows Phone of course, but most of those come from Nokia, a Microsoft subsidiary.

    Microsoft makes Windows of course, which they certainly don't give away, but it's installed on many different PCs all different specs and capabilities. What do you support, do you still support XP, or do you go for a minimum of 7 or 8.1 or something, and minimum hardware specs as well.
     
    #6 mikedt, May 29, 2016
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  7. technologist38

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    Well, I really don't care about MS Lumia thing and I am not ready yet to learn C# or C++ . Plus, their app sales statistics is the lowest anyway. Yes I agree, Apple's devices are pretty expensive and their app store's developer annual fee is nonsense. I mean, for a starter like myself, I find it hard to pay 100$ a year without selling a single app. Worse, I learned (not sure if it's true or not) that Apple force developers to reach a sales quota limit in order to get paid. Is it true?!!

    Can you tell me how many years to take to dump an old iDevice? Not sure how to interpret "2 or 3 generations old" but I want to know in number of years. :)
     
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  8. mikedt

    mikedt 你好
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    Don't know about that. But I do know you have to have a Mac to develop for iOS, can't use a PC, no Xcode or Swift.

    As a rule for Apple AFAIK, it's a new generation every year. Another thing though, while they say there's the latest iOS for say something like an iPhone 4S or 5, those device won't have all the functions and features of it. So you might specify something like iOS 9, but a minimum of iPhone 6 or iPad 3rd generation.

    Apple is a hardware company, Google isn't, that's how they make their $$$, by selling you shiny new devices. :thumbsupdroid:


    BTW Google basically fell out with China, difference of opinion, that's why they're not here for Android, except for AdMob and DoubleClick....$$$!
     
    #8 mikedt, May 29, 2016
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  9. technologist38

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    Yes, I understand that MAC, XCode, and Swift are needed to develop for iOS but thanks, I don't want to develop for iOS. :) ... Apple is a luxury for me and rich folks always get it, not me. lol However, I embrace the fact that Apple gets a higher sales since these rich folks won't mind to pay for an app if they already paid for the hardware that will host the app. he he
     
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  10. LV426

    LV426 I say we take off and nuke this place from orbit
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    Yes, Apple are ruthless in abandoning their devices, so it's less of a problem for them. Obviously not a great situation for their customers, who pay top dollar for a device which has a limited lifetime in terms of support. It's part of the reason I don't really buy into the Apple ecosystem.

    I would love to 'go it alone' like you, work for myself creating and publishing apps. But unless you have the right idea AND it becomes very popular, I don't think there's a lot of money to be made. Plus I don't really have great skills in terms of graphics, and most polished apps have lovely icons etc. That costs £££ if you can't do it yourself.

    In the past I've flirted with collaboration projects with graphics designers, but it hasn't really come to anything.
     
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  11. technologist38

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    LV , Mike ... Thank you very much for your awesome feedback regarding this matter. To be honest, I think it won't hurt to give it a try to develop apps beginning from Kitkat or higher. And if I failed to achieve high sales, at least I wouldn't mind do it for self satisfaction. I love to create things and work. If an app doesn't work on consumers' devices, at least it is going to work on mine, relatives, and friends. :)

    The bottom line, it is a good idea to begin this journey without giving money and high sales an utmost priority. Sure, money matters, but one shouldn't wait for it once releasing the first app. Frustration is generated from this point when someone wants to earn funds quickly. It just doesn't work that way.....

    :):)
     
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