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Sluggish Development for Androids Apps In General

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by rgbrgb2001, Jan 2, 2015.

  1. rgbrgb2001

    rgbrgb2001 Newbie
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    I can hold my hand up and admit to disliking Apple, a lot.
    Nevertheless, I have an ipad because of work. I was an early Android adopter having imported an Asus TF101 which for its time was brilliant as were the apps such as EzPDF etc and on the whole it outclassed/matched the Ipad 2 in every area. Having upgraded my Android tablet to a Note 10.1 and having had an ipad now for last 2 years I have noticed a disturbing trend. While most of the popular Apples apps, such as PDF expert/Goodreader etc are being constantly updated the same cannot be said of the corresponding android apps. While ezpdf on Android was miles ahead of PDF expert/Goodreader on Ipad 3 years ago it is not sluggish and clumsy in comparison these days. Other android PDF apps and core apps in general are lagging behind. This is a weird set of circumstances. Android has tablets with better screens, input devices and a more open OS yet the development cycle is stagnating. Why cant Google or Samsung inject some funds into improving the core apps. Seriously, someone purchase Readdle and get some quality innovation back into the core apps. This has implications, I was going to get a Samsung 12.2 pro this month to replace my Ipad 4. Having trialled it I must say the hardware is breathtaking but the core apps are holding it back, which makes me sad. What is everyone elses view?

    Dave concerned android fanboy
     

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  2. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
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    Apps rise and fall - it's a competitive market that takes creativity, not megalithic corporations throwing money about.

    Try PDF Max 4.
     
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  3. fdbryant3

    fdbryant3 Android Expert
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    I wonder if it has something to with Android on a tablet in general. I can't pinpoint what it is as I am quite happy with Android on my phone but when I had an Asus TF300T I was kinda meh about it. It was nice, worked well enough but I really didn't pick it up that much.

    I now have an Asus TF100TA which is a Windows 8.1 hybrid tablet. I use it all the time. I am just as likely to reach for it as I am my laptop. I suspect because it can function as sort of an extension of my laptop which isn't as mobile. Cause of it I wish I could afford a Surface. I'm not sure why I find it more useful than the Android tablet though. Like I said I love Android on my phone but as a tablet - I just couldn't find an exciting use case for it.
     
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  4. rgbrgb2001

    rgbrgb2001 Newbie
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    I own it. One notable exception is that it cant insert images and highlighting is very clumsy. Ironically the ipad version has more features than the android version and is loads more stable. Any other suggestions welcome.

    I think the point I am trying to make is that fundamentally the android market is not financially cutting it with developers who make more money on the Ipad despite Apple taking a big cut. The big guys invested in Android such as goole and samsung need to do some cash reditribution to keep the grass roots going and allow the little creative guys to florish.
     
  5. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
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    To insert an image in PDF Max 4, scroll toolbar down until stamp appears - choose custom stamp, then Gallery, camera, download or whatever else you get pictures from.

    No idea about stability, it's never once crashed for me.

    No idea how you're missing features.
     
  6. rgbrgb2001

    rgbrgb2001 Newbie
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    Inserting an image as a stamp means it is flattened and uneditable thereafter.
    I work with large pdfs and it is a wee bit flaky.
    I hate to admit it but it is profoundly slow versus the comparable Ipad apps.
     
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  7. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
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    I'm used to the flattening rather than active layers from the (edit - PDF) desktop apps I've used.

    Now I want to see this in iOS and I'm going to have to wait a week. :p

    Have you emailed the dev and asked about an update?
     
    #7 EarlyMon, Jan 2, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015
  8. rgbrgb2001

    rgbrgb2001 Newbie
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    I will ask the dev but I know from pdf coding that this is not a simple function to include. EZpdf does active pdf layers on android but it has got very clumsy in its old age.Highlighting or selecting text etc is very cumbersome. PDF expert has done layers on the ipad for ages and it is very slick. If it could be emulated on android with a s-pen it would be a dream. No reason why not.
     
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  9. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
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    Especially if the code base is already in place.

    And this could come down to architecture - despite Android having a superior general purpose multitasking, the multitasking approach in iOS lets developers do something that Android apps typically can't - and that's to use GPU cores as CPU cores (and CPU hog).

    Correct me if I'm wrong but from my desktop image processing experience (not coding, just using), I'm under the impression that layering is very processor intensive from what I've seen.

    So - like some of the video editing and other specialized apps, you may be in an area where iOS will always have the edge. At least for the foreseeable future.

    I also wondered at first if it had to do with reach, perception and the lowest common denominator.

    Take my example, PDF Max 4 - they don't need a subsidy, from what you've said, they have more features in iOS so the code base is there to bring to Android - but they didn't.

    I'm sure I'm not alone in seeing apps specialized for capable devices only getting 1-starred out of existence in the Play Store by complaints from people with lesser devices complaining that it doesn't work on their unsupported device. (Honestly I think that whole voting system needs an overhaul. It was great 4 years ago but it's pretty sad in a lot of cases nowadays.) So I can see devs dumbing down apps to work with more devices. (In Utopia, I hear that devs make economy and premium apps and everyone is grateful but here on Earth, not so much.)

    Let us know what the dev has to say - if it's truly the former case and the technical solution is unique to being able to usurp the GPU, then no expense in software will be able to fix that.

    Fun trivia - I was chatting a week ago with a dev over their iPad app and I questioned if I had the right goods because the Apple store said that it was optimized for the iPhone. The dev surprised me - it wasn't true, Apple made that up and refused to change it in the listing. Crazy. Always talk to the dev when in doubt, same as it ever was - that was my takeaway.
     
    #9 EarlyMon, Jan 2, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015
  10. rgbrgb2001

    rgbrgb2001 Newbie
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    Thanks for the reply. Overall, I am just disappointed and a wee bit worried that developers, as you say, are lowering the bar for android. Android is presently winning the unit war but if the apps aint there it is only a matter of time before it goes South. I will keep you updated as to PDF Max 4.
     
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  11. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
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    In the OS war, Android has always been based on one simple premise -

    Even though it asks a lot from hardware, rather than optimizing to that available, keep pushing on and wait for the processing resources to catch up.

    Year by year, that's been working.

    So maybe it will go South - or maybe the silicon will catch up and then surpass the requirements.

    And fwiw, that's been working so far.

    We live in interesting times and the future is interesting and uncertain.
     
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  12. Crashdamage

    Crashdamage Android Expert
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    Android isn't gonna go south anytime soon. True, in the US where advertising has created a cult of Apple, market share is split roughly 50/50. But the rest of the world is overwhelmingly Android, for a worldwide (including the US) market share of about 82% and growing.

    Apple is in far more danger of going south. With the success of iOS totally dependent on a handful of devices, a single company and the cool cult factor, Apple is always just some bad ads and a couple of generations of underwhelming devices away from serious trouble.
     
  13. rgbrgb2001

    rgbrgb2001 Newbie
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    I would have agreed with you in the past but what I am seeing is that despite Android having the hardware and more to replicate any Ipad app it is not being implemented.While I am sure it will always remain popular it is becoming the poor relative and the budget option.
     
  14. Crashdamage

    Crashdamage Android Expert
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    I don't have regular exposure to iOS and its apps. Almost everyone I know uses Android. But in my limited experience I'm just not seeing the problem you are. Some Android apps are better or may not be available on iOS. Some iOS apps are better or may not be available on Android. It will likely be so for a long time to come.

    But IMHO going forward the new Material Design standards will help Android apps to be more consistent, attractive and generally more of the quality iOS users have come to expect.
     
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  15. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
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    Please take this as the friendly advice that it's intended as - in my opinion, you're suffering from cognitive dissonance.

    Most of the tablet market is low budget.

    Most people are happy to use them to consume media - videos, ebooks, emags, web surfing - on a larger screen than a phone. Top line hardware enters for demanding gamers or people with special needs - like advanced video editing or layered PDF editing etc etc - with the budget to go for a more expensive Android or iPad.

    You fall into the second group and you began the thread with how much you hate Apple. Cognitive dissonance.

    I mentioned two things earlier, you locked in to only one of them. Let's go back to the first one I said.

    Welcome to my magical laboratory. Here you see two identical, very high end tablets, one legally running iOS perfectly (in this universe I have a magical agreement with Apple) and the best possible Android.

    And here I have a very processor-intensive app. I've employed the top software engineers and they've worked under peer review by Apple, Samsung, Google, IBM, MIT, the Software Engineering Institute and a select staff of out-of-nowhere app devs chosen by a special steering committee.

    I've done this on a $10 billion grant from Bill Gates.

    Will they run the same? Probably not, probably the iOS version will have the edge and depending on the amount of processing, it may have much more than an edge.

    Part of the reason is called GPGPU - general purpose processing using GPU cores.

    iOS has had it standardized since version 4 and it's highly optimized for their limited device selection. Android added it to Renderscript (an API introduced in Honeycomb) only in 4.2 Jellybean. And Renderscript evaluates the hardware at runtime and decides what to do accordingly, in order to transparently operate well on the very wide variety of Android devices that will be encountered.

    http://ciechanowski.me/blog/2014/01/05/exploring_gpgpu_on_ios/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renderscript

    The other difference comes from the way that the two systems differ in multitasking management and how that translates into thread management by the operating system.

    There ain't no such thing as a free lunch (TANSTAAFL) and in this aspect, the more advanced preemptive multitasking in Android bows to iOS and its implementation of Apple's Grand Central Dispatch.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Central_Dispatch

    And with the one-button, device-specific iOS app you get an extra whammy - the ability for the app to CPU hog.

    Now, let's leave my magical lab and return to the real world.

    Now you can see why Apple is not going to develop a broad range of devices - not unless they want to change their marketing hype and that's been working well enough.

    And it's no secret that Apple has always put much more into their GPU hardware - and Android has only recently shown devices with more advanced GPU architectures.

    And now you know why they did GPU overkill - despite marketing saying that it was for gaming and a smoother UI (and I'm not going to bother with that chestnut), the real reason is much greater - GPGPU along with Grand Central Dispatch.

    So in the end, it's never going to be as simple as Android relegated to the budget bin or iOS relegated to the niche markets.

    Yes, Android can serve budget markets well, yes, iOS can really perform in specialized regimes but reality is that the hardware landscape is very fluid and ever-improving.

    I have no idea what the future holds - but I still maintain my original opinion in opposition to your own - the performance difference on some specialized apps is not going to disappear by big business giving devs a greater profit incentive.

    Android owns the world market share with over 83%, but it's split about evenly in the US (Android at 52%, I'd call that an even split.)

    In the tablet and phone markets, Apple tries to only make high-end devices and they've cultivated their markets well.

    Despite this, they continue to lose market share because of cost and perceived value - you don't benefit a whole lot from GPGPU technology when all you want to do is consume media and answer emails, maybe play Fruit Ninja.

    Maybe the PDF Max 4 dev will come back and cite economic reasons. Maybe not. We'll know on that one data point when you post their answer.

    But so far, Android is winning for a reason.

    And a big part is competition - Apple has set a very high bar in the areas I've outlined. Imo, that competition is important to us.

    None of these companies are our friends - I think that as soon as any company corners the market, we're toast - we'll have to take what they give us.
     
    #15 EarlyMon, Jan 3, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2015
  16. rgbrgb2001

    rgbrgb2001 Newbie
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    Thanks for the reply. I will counter with some similarly friendly comments. I have been using GPUs to do some very large sums for quite a few years. I understand the architectural differences. The thing is this is not about the hardware, it is about App quality. Most android tablets have more than enough juice even within the limits of the OS to replicate virtually every ios App. Such as put single layer images into a PDF (EZPDF on Android has done it for 3 years). As an early android adopter and for the last few years an ipad owner as well I have followed the comparable apps. The respective core apps were neck and neck 3 years ago in terms of functionality and choice. Over the last 3 years, despite android sales exponentially rising, my apps on IOS have had more updates and features added to them than on Android. My 4 yr old IPAD 2 can do more of the stuff I need to do than my new Note 10.1.

    My point is about developers having an incentive to develop. There is something up when the Apple App Store is producing double the revenue than the Play App Store despite, as you said, having a much smaller device share. Developers are obviously not getting sufficient financial re-numeration in the Play environment to continue developing. You may argue that I am a niche user but this is not true, most people want to edit photos, videos, look at PDFs, write reports and presentations. These are core functions.

    Cognitive dissonance on my part. Maybe? But the bottom line is that Samsung rep who left my office embarrassed that their "business orientated", "laptop replacement" Samsung 12.2 pro with its awesome hardware (and it was breathtaking) couldn't perform basic tasks well that I demonstrated on an Ipad 2 didnt get a sale. Even with a guy who is as pro-android as me.
     
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  17. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
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    Double the revenue?

    http://techcrunch.com/2014/04/15/go...-downloads-and-now-narrowing-revenue-gap-too/

    http://www.techrepublic.com/article...p-store-the-battle-for-the-mobile-app-market/

    And let's balance the books.

    75% of the Apple App Store revenue is from games.

    And none of the analyses seems to take in ad revenue and in-app purchases.

    No matter - the total of App Store revenue for non-gaming apps is 50% of the Play Store total.

    And most of the Play Store revenue is from games.

    As for your assertion about what constitutes core apps - clearly your mind is made up.

    But I'll mention this - maybe you're crossing over game revenue to general revenue and you're crossing over business use as all core use when the general market says otherwise.

    http://www.cnet.com/news/ipad-sheds-more-market-share-but-still-dominates/

    Just looking at App Store revenue, it appears that the dwindling market is more about games as core apps than PDF editors.

    Don't get me wrong - I don't play games.

    But I think that you're pretty much stuck on your revenue idea despite the technical explanation offered that a great deal of that isn't going to be solved by money.

    Doesn't PDF Max cost about the same for either platform? Five bucks?

    How is subsidizing that to offset what game developers in the App Store are making going to change anything?

    What would you have that subsidized money do? Add programmers? Just because a woman can have a baby in one month doesn't mean that nine women can do it in a month. :D

    Or provide an incentive to work harder? There's already a market share incentive of 4 to 1 overall, and around 1.3 to 1 in the high end where it counts.

    Have resources to develop better functionality? PDF Max has already developed the functionality, they've removed it from the Android version.

    According to Forbes, the core uses of either type of device is games and media consumption.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckjo...-revenue-on-apples-app-store-and-google-play/

    Not PDF editors.

    If the iPad is better for your needs, enjoy it in good health.

    I leave you with the law of unintended consequences - subsidize me to write a better app for Android than iOS and I guarantee that if the money is right, that's exactly what you'll get. But I won't do it by writing a better Android app. :D
     
    #17 EarlyMon, Jan 3, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2015
  18. rgbrgb2001

    rgbrgb2001 Newbie
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  19. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
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    I don't know how else to describe what you said - cash redistribution by the big guys to the devs - as anything other than a subsidy. I'm sure I don't have to tell you that that's the very root concept involved in cash redistribution in order to affect a market.

    Secondly - the year old Motley Fool analysis has a hole big enough to throw a cat through.

    In fact, several.

    But as you believe that analysis, I'll just try with the one - do you seriously buy that the way to determine average dev revenue is to do a linear distribution of cash vs devs and downloads, as if both stores were that similar and vending similar products?

    If yes, we're going to have to agree to disagree because I find that hilariously bad analysis. :D


    This is from 2010 but it's exactly the sort of thing that armchair analysts consistently miss -

    http://www.intomobile.com/2010/12/03/angry-birds-android-1-million-ad-revenue/

    The last four years for them are all on record - and the results are clear with a pocket calculator.

    Wealth doesn't distribute linearly for devs, averages mean nothing in the face of ad revenue and where the rest of the real money goes, and most devs make peanuts.

    But most devs don't make office apps or viral games.

    The nature of the rest of the app type differences between the two ecosystems is too trivially obvious to repeat.
     
    #19 EarlyMon, Jan 3, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2015
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