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Major loss of supported devices with new APK

Discussion in 'Android Development' started by John Jacob Schmidt, Oct 2, 2019.

  1. John Jacob Schmidt

    Thread Starter

    I could really use some advice, our current production app shows 9829 supported Android devices. I uploaded a new binary for testing and the number of supported devices dropped down to 3796. We have added new features that have created new requirements and so I expected to lose some device support but this number seems rather broad. We are pushing into newer device requirements for AR and Geo based experiences so our primary target is more recent hardware, but of course we want to support as many devices as can be supported. Should I take this back to the drawing board or do these number sound reasonable? Enclosing a summary of each build. I am also curious, if a device is listed as unsupported does it not show up as an app a user can install in the Play Store based on their device or does it show as available but unsupported?

    Screen Shot 2019-10-02 at 11.17.04 AM.png Screen Shot 2019-10-02 at 11.16.40 AM.png

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  2. GameTheory

    GameTheory Android Expert

    I just checked a few of my apps set to min SDK 19 and targeting the latest 29. For me they all support 11k+ devices with no significant drops in between releases.

    I recently increased my min sdk from 15 to 19 and even then the device support only dropped by about 1,400 devices.

    Dropping from 9k to 3k is quite a large drop.

    Could it be that your new app version is now supporting hardware not available in all android devices? If the answer is yes, then this should explain the drop. I can't give you a precise answer, but you'll need to assess the differences between your new and older release to find your answer.

    I do believe that there are more budget devices out in the world than higher end ones. So targeting higher end hardware should cause a big drop in device support.
    23tony and ocnbrze like this.
  3. John Jacob Schmidt

    Thread Starter

    Thanks for the response and great suggestion. Turns out it was new hardware requirements as you suggested. The compass was the big limiting requirement. Some of the new features require the compass sensor, but I'll update the app to only support those features on devices that are so equipped and make it as not required, e.g.,

    <uses-feature android:name="android.hardware.sensor.compass" android:required="false" /> in Android manifest.

    Interestingly when requiring the android.hardware.sensor.compass only 3796 devices were listed as supported and after making the requirement false 10801 devices were supported, which means that 7005 devices were listed as not supporting the compass sensor, 65% at the time of this writing. Found that a little shocking.

    Side note, it was a little time consuming to create new APKs to upload just to see the changes, I tried looking for resource tool where I could paste in a hardware specific requirement to see how many devices support it but didn't find anything. Similar to Can I use... for web developers looking for compatibility of JS and CSS across browsers for example the navigator APIs https://caniuse.com/#search=navigator Is something like this available in the developer console for android developers and I overlooked it? If not, this would make an awesome feature.
    #3 John Jacob Schmidt, Oct 6, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
    ocnbrze likes this.

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