Tag Archive for: Android app

3 Signs Your Mobile Android App Development Strategy Needs Improvement

We cannot stress enough that mobile Android app development isn’t easy. It still stands as one of the more challenging platforms to develop apps for, even though Google has gone to great lengths to simplify the development process. And if you’re a seasoned developer or appreneur, you probably know this already. 

But that doesn’t change the fact that Android remains one of the biggest and most crucial platforms. So, deciding to forego mobile Android app development to make life easier isn’t an option for most. However, this doesn’t mean it can’t be made easier with the right strategy. Here’s what you need to do to look out for and fix if your Android projects are becoming unmanageable! 

1. Your Android App Suffers From Poor Performance

When running and testing your app, you may encounter serious performance issues. Never ignore these, and instead, proceed to fix them immediately. Your first step is to check that you’re running your app in release and not debug mode. While debug mode helps to detect problems, it introduces a significant performance overhead. 

If necessary, switch to release mode that uses the R8 compiler by default. The compiler will remove all unneeded code from your app, giving it a performance boost.

And if you use Jetpack Compose, you need to know that this library tends to slow down an app on startup when run for the first time. To mitigate this issue, you need to define baseline profiles. These profiles will include the necessary classes and methods within your APK. Once installed, only the most mission-critical code will undergo ahead-of-time compilation, speeding up your app’s launch times. 

But it’s not always possible to define a baseline profile that works as intended. Thus, we recommend that you get in the habit of writing Macrobenchmark tests regularly. The results of these tests should give you a clear picture of whether or not your baseline profiles are delivering the desired results. If not, you’ll need to revise these accordingly.

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2. Poor Choice Of Mobile Android App Development Environment

There are many third-party cross-platform development tools on the market today. And if you’re developing for Android, iOS, and several other platforms, you may want to use these cross-platform tools. However, many of these tools are a poor substitute for Android Studio, Jetpack Compose, and the Kotlin programming language. 

If you want native performance, a coherent user interface (UI), and all the latest operating system and mobile device features, Google’s official suite of development tools is the way to go!

3. Failure To Follow Google’s Guidelines And Best Practices 

Google’s mobile Android app development portal offers plenty of information to create robust and performant apps. We advise that you follow Google’s guidelines and best practices closely, especially if your project is languishing in development hell.

Learn how to implement the Jetpack Compose library in existing apps and use it in conjunction with other libraries. Furthermore, learn how to design systems and layouts for your Android app. And when and where to use animations, images, text, gestures, and other interactions. While there are many sources for this type of information online, much of it is outdated and may not follow best practices.

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The Bottom Line

While mobile Android app development may challenge even the most competent developers, a sound strategy will always yield favorable results. It’s essential to set up the right development environment, run your app in release mode, write Macrobenchmark tests, and follow Google’s best practices and guidelines closely. 

But if you have any questions and need the assistance of a professional studio, contact NS804 to learn how we’ll help you develop phenomenal Android apps today! 

5 Android App Development Myths, Debunked

Whether we like it or not, development myths surround the Android platform. In a way, the Android platform is a victim of its own success, given its vast popularity. As the world’s leading mobile operating system (OS), it has evolved rapidly over the past 14 years. And with so many changes and new features introduced regularly, Android app developers have their work cut out for them.

It’s also necessary for developers to create apps that work well across a wide range of devices from various manufacturers. And there’s a need to test on more devices and spend additional time fixing bugs and patching apps.

These hoops that Android App developers have to jump through have led to several myths. One of which is that it’s far harder to develop for Android than iOS. And while there’s some truth to this, few realize that Android app development has become easier with the introduction of Kotlin and the Jetpack libraries.

But there are many more Android app development myths that we need to discuss. Read on to learn more about these myths and why we’re about to debunk them!

Myth 1: Android App Development Is Highly Profitable

During Android’s early years, many developers came on board to capitalize on this exciting new platform. And many of these developers found success, and much hype ensued about the Android platform. So much hype, in fact, that software developers specializing in other fields decided to pursue mobile app development. 

But as the platform matured and Google Play became inundated with an abundance of apps, Android app development became less profitable and far riskier. As of September 2022, the Google Play Store had over 2,6 million apps. But that’s significantly lower when the store peaked at 3,6 million apps in March 2018. 

So what does that bit of information tell us? It reveals that the golden age of Android app development has long passed. Developers and publishers have learned that it no longer makes sense to push apps onto the store on a whim. And that’s because the most successful and sustainable apps solve a problem and are high quality.

Ultimately, the Google Play Store still remains viable for those developers willing to go the extra mile. But newcomer Android developers will unlikely strike it rich with their first few apps. While there’s been a decline in apps available in the store, it’s still heavily saturated. Thus, it’s best to avoid being blindsided by claims on the internet about Android’s vast earning potential.

 

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Myth 2: The Android App Development Environment Is Inferior To iOS

That’s completely false and may even be the other way around. Google has gone to great lengths to improve the Android app development experience, and they’ve largely succeeded. Android Studio and the accompanying App Tools truly empower developers to make some amazing apps.

And if we’re to make a quick comparison between Android Studio and Apple’s XCode, we often find Android Studio’s code editor and layout designer more useful for handling larger projects. Some developers even seem to prefer Android Studio overall, but that’s also a matter of preference.

The only major downside of Android Studio is that it consumes far more memory than it should. Furthermore, it’s often a chore to configure and deal with the Android Emulator Hypervisor Driver. And this can get rather complicated if you’re using a system with an AMD processor. But once the Android Emulator is up and running, it truly gives you a feel of how your app will run on a wide range of devices.

Myth 3: You Need To Own A Wide Variety Of Test Devices

Preferably, yes, but it’s not necessary to own many test devices. The hard truth is that you probably don’t have the resources to own a large number of devices. Moreover, it doesn’t make sense to keep a bunch of older devices with deteriorating lithium-ion batteries in your studio, as that’s a potential fire hazard.

Instead, you’ll rely on the Android Emulator to give you a broad picture of how your app will run on devices made by various manufacturers. But you’ll still need to test on actual hardware, so you’ll use all the Android smartphones and tablets your team owns. And you can take things a step further by running an invite-only beta program where users with different devices can test your app.

You’ll implement analytics in your app to collect device and performance data. And you may also run a survey where you’ll ask your users questions related to the performance and smooth running of your app. Thus, you’ll gain a clearer picture of your app’s performance on a wide variety of devices. You’re also able to pinpoint the Android versions, manufacturers, models, and configurations that impact the performance of your app long before its official launch.

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Myth 4: You Need An Engine Such As Unity To Make Android Mobile Games

While Unity is a great choice for cross-platform mobile app development, you do have other options. There’s Unreal Engine if you need to create high-fidelity 3D games and AR/VR experiences. Then, there’s GameMaker and Godot if you want to make addictive pick-up-and-play 2D games.

However, if your team has the necessary skills, you may forgo a game engine. And instead, use tools and libraries such as Google’s Android Game Development Kit (AGDK). The AGDK libraries consist of the Android Frame Pacing library, Android Performance Tuner, and C/C++ game libraries. 

The latter libraries allow developers more comfortable with C or C++ instead of Kotlin or Java to create Android mobile games. And since many legacy games have been programmed in C and modern games have been programmed in C++, porting these to Android becomes a lot easier.

Myth 5: You Can Easily Release Your Android Apps On Windows 11 

Microsoft surprised everyone when they announced that Android apps would make their way to Windows 11. But it’s also one of the biggest app development myths to think this is as straightforward as it sounds. And that’s because Windows 11 users need to access the Microsoft Store and then download and install the Amazon Appstore. They’ll also need to sign in to their Microsoft Account (if necessary) and Amazon account.

That’s a very inconvenient process to gain access to Android apps only available on the Amazon Appstore. From a developer’s standpoint, it’s additional work to put an Android app onto the Amazon Appstore if it’s already on Google Play. It’s necessary to comply with Amazon’s guidelines and implement the Appstore SDK. Also, Amazon only accepts Android apps and not iOS apps, which may disappoint developers that support both platforms.

And while it’s possible to sideload Android apps on Windows 11 with Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA), it’s a complicated process. Most non-technical users will likely struggle with this; thus, the Amazon Appstore will remain the more convenient option. However, it’s a straightforward process to run Android apps from the Google Play Store on Chromebooks.

Android App Development Myths And Misconceptions

The Android platform remains exciting while offering developers the opportunity to reach over 2.8 billion users. But the popularity and overall success of the platform has led to various app development myths and misconceptions. We’ve debunked several of these, but we expect many more to make the rounds. Contact NS804 today to learn how we’ll help you create phenomenal Android apps that will reach mythical heights! 

Questions About Android App Development? 9 Answers You Need To See

Every appreneur or forward-looking business leader wants to know about Android app development. And that’s because Android dominates the mobile OS market, at a whopping 71% as of November 2022. With such a massive market share, it makes good business sense to push your apps onto this vibrant platform. 

And while Android plays a significant role in the mobile market, it’s also a platform that many don’t properly understand. That’s because it’s a platform that will run with Google Play Services or without if a user wants to DeGoogle their phone. In some markets, such as Russia and China, Google services are no longer an option without a VPN. 

Furthermore, Android doesn’t only run on mobile devices but also computers, game consoles, IoT devices, TVs, vehicle entertainment systems, and wearables. And since it supports such a wide range of devices, Android comes in various flavors, not dissimilar to the Linux ecosystem. While this is great and a testament to the versatility of Android, it also complicates things. 

The hard truth is that Android isn’t locked down like Apple’s iOS platform. So, there’s no simple one-size-fits-all approach here. Not that’s necessarily always the case with iOS, but it’s far less open-ended than Android. 

And given Android’s open-ended nature, this presents many challenges and opportunities. Ultimately, this will cause some to ask many crucial questions about Android app development, which we’ll answer in more detail below.

1. When Did Android Debut?

Android 1.0 launched on September 23, 2008, and was made available on the T-mobile G1/HTC Dream phone. Surprisingly, it was feature-rich at such an early stage. It featured Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a browser, a camera, Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, and several other applications and features.

2. Is It Similar To Linux?

Android isn’t only similar to Linux but sports a repurposed version of the Linux kernel combined with other open-source components. Google releases Long Term Support (LTS) versions of these kernels under the Android Common Kernels (ACKs) name. 

But that doesn’t mean Android apps will run on Linux and vice versa. Users will need a tool such as Anbox, which will set up a container on Linux to run Android apps. And while it’s possible to run certain Linux apps made with Java on Android, it’s a messy process that often requires cross-compilation. Understandably, this isn’t a practical solution for most Android users. 

Furthermore, not all Linux app developers will use Java but another programming language instead. So their apps will only run on an Android device via a Linux emulator, but there are no guarantees that they’ll run smoothly, fast enough, or at all. The optimal solution is for these developers to port their apps to Android and take advantage of its touchscreen functionality.

3. Is It Better Than iOS?

No. Only fanboys, platform holders, and some tech publications and journalists play favorites. As an appreneur or business leader, you only need to care about the potential of each platform. In this regard, Android offers a massive user base and a mature ecosystem that has already outpaced iOS. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore iOS, either.

4. What Tools Will I Need For Android App Development?

You will require a recent Windows, macOS, Linux, or Chrome OS computer capable of running the latest version of Android Studio. You will also need at least one test device — preferably running the latest version of the Android OS. While it’s possible to test your app using the Android Emulator (part of the Android SDK), you’ll still want to run it on an actual device.

Furthermore, you should download and install the Android SDK, Android NDK, and Java SE Development Kit (JDK). You can download Android SDK & NDK directly from Google’s Android developer portal and the JDK from Oracle. Read through the documentation thoroughly to configure all of these SDKs properly. 

While it’s possible to use other IDEs, Google recommends and officially supports Android Studio. And if you’re planning on developing native Android apps, then it’s best to stick to Android Studio in the long term. Consider using other IDEs, such as Visual Studio, if you’re developing cross-platform apps or mobile games.

5. Which Programming Languages Should I Use?

For native Android app development, choose either Kotlin or Java. But it’s preferable to go with Kotlin since Google officially supports and recommends it for modern app development. However, if you’re a cross-platform developer, you may want to go with C/C++, C#, Dart, JavaScript, or Python.

6. Which Engine Should I Use For Mobile Game Development? 

We recommend Unity since it’s the most popular, versatile, and well-supported engine for mobile game development. Also, it’s a good option for 2D & 3D game development, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) experiences. But if you require a more heavy-duty engine for creating games with high-fidelity visuals, then you’ll need to go with Unreal Engine.

Either way, you’ll likely use Visual Studio as your IDE or each engine’s visual scripting component. If you want to use Android Studio for game development, you’ll need a game framework instead. One of the best frameworks for native Android game development is libGDX.

7. Will I Need Any Additional Tools For Game Development?

If you’re developing an intensive 3D game, you’ll probably put plenty of stress on the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). Thus, you’ll need a way to analyze draw calls and monitor your game’s performance frame-by-frame. Luckily, most mobile GPU manufacturers and even ARM offer graphics analyzers and profilers for these purposes.

While it’s possible to ship a mobile game without using these profilers, you risk shipping it with undetected graphical issues. And given that your game needs to run equally well on devices that support different graphics libraries, such as OpenGL ES, OpenCL, EGL, and Vulkan, it’s wise to profile your app before release.

8. Should I Only Focus On Google Play Store?

The beauty of the Android platform is that you have plenty of options besides the Google Play Store. If you’re willing to acquaint yourself with the requirements and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) of other stores, you’ll find many more avenues to reach new audiences. 

After the Google Play Store, you should consider the Amazon Appstore, which runs on Fire OS devices and even on Windows 11. And don’t forget that large smartphone manufacturers such as Samsung and Huawei have their own app stores, and both have sizable audiences.

9. How Do I Get The Most Out Of My Android App?

One of the best things about Android app development is the free tooling that’s available. And one of the best free tools is none other than Google Analytics for Firebase. The Firebase SDK will give you access to a reporting suite that allows you to monitor up to 500 pre-defined events. Moreover, its analytics reports will give you a clear picture of your app’s performance, your marketing endeavors, and user behavior.

In Conclusion

Android app development is worthwhile even though it’s complex and sometimes plagued with difficulties. But it has become easier thanks to the introduction of Kotlin and an ever-improving Android Studio and tooling. Contact NS804 if you have any more questions about Android app development and how we can help you create outstanding apps. 

Which Comes First When Developing A Mobile App — iOS Or Android?

Should you choose iOS or Android for your next app project? Well, that largely depends on your goals. And that’s because these goals will help you determine which platform you should develop for first.

But you may have heard that it’s cheaper and faster to develop for iOS. And that’s true, but this is seldom a good enough reason to opt for iOS over Android. It’s better to consider the target audience and what platform they predominantly use. 

Ultimately, always consider where your app will likely succeed first. Below, we reveal a few handy tips to help you choose iOS or Android — but to do so wisely! 

1. When Developing A Premium App

It’s no secret that iOS users spend more on apps than their Android counterparts. Moreover, they prefer premium apps and are willing to purchase apps instead of watching ads like Android users. And that difference is significant, as users spent $85.1 Billion in the App Store versus $47.9 Billion in the Google Play Store in 2021.

So, if you’re planning on going premium with your next app, then iOS is the clear winner. The same applies if you’ll be monetizing via in-app purchases and subscriptions, iOS still leads the way here. But be careful with utility applications, as these tend to do better on Android and don’t engage iOS users as much.

2. Consider Your Target Audience

One of the most crucial factors that will determine whether you’ll choose iOS or Android for your upcoming project is your target audience. And then, you’ll need to determine their demographics, locations, and preferred platform.

Outside North America and most Western territories, Android reigns supreme, especially in the developing world. Android has a 72% market share, and iOS has 26% of the mobile audience. So, if you’re aiming for maximum downloads, especially with a freemium app, Android’s your best bet!

Since most Android users reside in low and middle-income countries, you’ll be reaching a diverse audience. And that means you’ll need to spend some time and money on localization.

3. Starting With iOS Or Android For Mobile Game Development

Between Apple and Google, the latter has historically been the more game-friendly company. But that’s slowly changing, especially after the introduction of the Apple Arcade subscription service. However, Google remains competitive with Google Play Pass and Instant Play games.

And then, there’s the wide variety of platforms and storefronts that Android reaches. Android apps and games run on Chromebooks, and Google Play Games (still in beta in some regions) now run on PC. Furthermore, the Amazon App Store, Huawei AppGallery, Samsung Galaxy Store, and several other stores host Android games. 

Thus, Android offers developers many more opportunities to reach gamers than Apple. And specific genres, such as arcade, puzzle, and racing games, tend to earn more as freemium titles, which suits Android perfectly.

However, if you want to be featured in the App Store, you may want to hold off on the Android version momentarily. The cool thing about the App Store is that it’s curated by humans who take an interest in titles that stand out. And if you provide them with a unique game that’s timed-exclusive, it’s possible to be featured, leading to many downloads and sales.

The Bottom Line

Both iOS and Android are fantastic platforms that offer developers plenty of solid opportunities. But you need to develop apps first for the platform that lines up with your goals closely. Avoid fanboyism and the hype surrounding a particular platform, and focus on the platform that will deliver the results you want instead. Contact NS804 to learn how we’ll help you deliver phenomenal iOS or Android apps to your users! 

The Best YouTube Video Downloader Apps For Mobile Phones

There are many good reasons why you’d want to track down a YouTube video downloader

Firstly, there’s content on YouTube that you’d like to store to watch later on. Secondly, if you’re a content creator, you may need to download trailers and promotional videos to edit and reupload later. And thirdly, you may need to show video snippets at a company meeting presentation. Instead of awkwardly searching YouTube to find those videos during the presentation, it’s better to have downloaded them beforehand.

But is it legal to download YouTube videos? The short answer is no unless you have permission from YouTube or the initial copyright holder of the videos. And the law is very stringent about this matter in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union. However, you may legally download those with a creative commons license, public domain works, or copyleft videos. 

When companies release promotional videos and trailers, it’s best to visit their official websites. Here, they’ll usually make available a press kit for the media and content creators and often provide links to videos for use.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, it’s actually possible to download YouTube videos without a dedicated downloader but with a few caveats. YouTube allows mobile users to download videos in certain countries and regions for up to 48 hours. If users want to retain these videos on their phones, they need to reconnect to a WiFi or mobile network within that 48-hour period. 

It’s hardly an ideal solution, so you’re better off finding a versatile YouTube video downloader. Therefore, we’ve listed several of the best apps in this category below.

1. Dentex YouTube Video Downloader For Android

Developed by Samuele Rini, Dentex is available as an APK file from the developer’s GitHub site, so you’ll need to sideload it onto your device. You can also find it at APK Combo, APKPure, BestForAndroid, and Uptodown. But we recommend you download it directly from GitHub, as it’s easy to donate there if you’re happy with the downloader. 

And it’s definitely one of the better downloaders available due to its ease of use. The user interface (UI) makes it easy to search for videos, set the format and quality of the download, and view previously downloaded videos. Furthermore, it’s possible to extract audio snippets from the videos and subsequently convert these to MP3. 

However, it only supports Android 5.0 (API 21) or higher, which means those with older devices are out of luck. It’s also a little buggy, and videos won’t always download correctly or stop without warning. But its biggest letdown is that it’s unavailable for iOS — a missed opportunity!

2. iTubeGo

One thing immediately noticeable when running iTubeGo is how incredibly slick and polished it’s when compared to its counterparts. Undoubtedly, the development team behind this app has gone the extra mile to deliver a quality product. It’s free for Windows, Mac, and Android, but users can upgrade to the PRO version to unlock additional features.

Once again, there’s no iOS version, which is an oversight that the developers need to address. But what makes iTubeGo so compelling to make it in our list of best YouTube video downloader apps? 

Apart from being incredibly polished, iTubeGo also offers tons of download options. Not only can users download from YouTube but also from AudioBoom, Bandcamp, Bilibili, Coub, Dailymotion, Facebook, Instagram, Mixcloud, Niconico, TikTok, Twitter, SoundCloud, Vevo, Vimeo, VK, and more. 

Moreover, it features lossless technology that replicates the original video quality, regardless of its resolution. And it also has a 320kbps MP3 downloader, multiple format support, external SD card storage capability, batch downloading, and a smart link detection tool.

3. NewPipe

NewPipe is yet another Android-only APK download and is supported by donations. With over 6 million downloads at Uptodown, it’s a testament to its popularity and versatility. But what makes it so good when compared to other YouTube video downloaders available today?

For one, it’s incredibly lightweight at only 2 MB, making it resource-efficient. And secondly, it isn’t dependent on the Google framework or YouTube API, so it can function perfectly without Google Services. In a nutshell, it’s designed to run on any Android device (even a De-Googled phone running another operating system such as Calyx or Graphene) with privacy in mind. 

And if users need that extra layer of privacy, downloads and traffic can go through Tor (a browser renowned for its anonymous communication capabilities). Furthermore, it will run on Android TV and can seamlessly download videos or audio while having them play in the background. 

It doesn’t have any ads whatsoever, which should please most users. But since this is a one-man project, support isn’t the greatest. And the app does lack some of that polish found in commercial alternatives, so it’s not an entirely smooth experience. It’s known to suffer from occasional errors and unsuccessful downloads.

4. Snaptube YouTube Video Downloader & MP3 Converter

A common theme throughout this list is the lack of iOS YouTube video downloaders. It seems as if Android has the lion’s share of these apps, and iOS gets the crumbs. Well, that’s largely the case, and that’s due to Android being a more open system. And this allows developers the freedom to create apps that may not always be welcome in the App Store.

But iOS users shouldn’t feel disheartened as downloaders such as Snaptube more than compensate for the lack of options. While Snaptube isn’t exclusive to iOS, as it’s also available on Android, it does provide the functionality users want in a YouTube video downloader.

It’s similar to Dentax in its user-friendliness, making it a relatively simple process to search for and download videos. Also, it’s a simple process to set video quality or to choose to download the audio only. And apart from YouTube, it can also download directly from Facebook, Instagram, LiveLeak, SoundCloud, Vimeo, Vine, and many others. 

Other notable features include its dark mode, floating video player, and ability to run smoothly alongside other apps. Users can check their email or chat while Snaptube completes downloads in the background, which is incredibly handy. 

5. YMusic For Android

Music lovers who want to listen to their favorite artists found on YouTube no longer need to watch or download bandwidth-heavy videos. What YMusic does so well is play only the audio of any artist’s YouTube content. Thus, saving up to 90% of user data.

YMusic utilizes the last.fm service to quickly detect artist and album details on the fly. Then, it downloads the content as an MP3 or another format. Users can also easily customize the app’s UI and utilize its 81 color combinations. And since this app functions as a media player, it also boasts custom equalizers, gapless playback, and screen widgets.

And users that already use the YouTube app can quickly navigate to YMusic via the Share button. Overall, this is a straightforward app that makes accessing, downloading, and listening to music a breeze. 

In Conclusion

Due to the legalities surrounding copyrighted content on YouTube, it’s not surprising that many downloaders aren’t available in the App Store or Google Play. But given Android’s open nature, many developers have made available their YouTube video downloader apps directly from their websites and various APK download sites. But we recommend you proceed with caution and only download and install APKs from trusted sources.

However, if you want to create a YouTube video downloader or a similar app that’s developed and distributed professionally, you need to partner with a reputable studio. Work with NS804, a mobile app development company with locations in Richmond, Denver, and Charlotte. Contact us today to learn how we’ll help you create phenomenal apps using leading-edge technologies!

Do You Have A Great App Idea? 5 Tips To Get It Validated

Coming up with a great app idea can seem easy at times. But what may not seem easy is ascertaining if that app idea is truly feasible. If most developers were honest, they’d admit they lucked out on some of their best and most profitable ideas. Instead, they’d like everyone to believe they’re geniuses for coming up with winning ideas.

Of course, some top-tier app developers have a methodology for brainstorming ideas and validating them. And that’s what we want to focus on right now!

We’re not interested in revealing tips aimed at opportunistic appreneurs and developers that want to make a quick buck from current trends. And that’s because this is not a sustainable way to push out compelling apps at a regular cadence.

Instead, we want developers to work systematically to achieve consistent results regularly. We also want developers to think of themselves as problem solvers and not simply studios that push out code.

While working with new technologies is always fun, we should never lose track of the fact that we’re here to provide solutions. Our goals should always align with those of our clients and users. And that’s to make life easier for them by solving problems that hold them back or impact productivity.

However, you may be at this point now where you have a great app idea that will solve a problem users experience. But how do you validate it to know for certain that it will serve your target market well? Read on, as we’re about to reveal several handy tips to help you through the validation process.

1. Market Research Is A Must! 

Never commence planning and developing an app without conducting market research first. And that’s because you need to know if your app is unique or improves on existing ideas. And if the market already has competitors, can you compete by offering something different or better?

Moreover, you should clearly define your app’s unique selling point (USP). Ask yourself what sets it apart from competing apps and how your users will benefit.

And possibly, create a prototype to show your team, company stakeholders, or even a small focus group. Then, ask them for feedback on what they think of the app and if they can pinpoint its USP and potential target audience.

2. The Early Stages Of The Validation Process

As a startup with limited time and money, going through the validation process may seem challenging. But we recommend that you don’t skimp on this step, as it will help determine if you have a great app idea or not.

We mentioned earlier about building a prototype and showing it to relevant parties. However, you can take things further by setting specific validation goals. 

For example, you may decide not to build a prototype but focus on pitching your idea to investors. If you manage to convince five or more investors about the virtues of your app idea, then that’s a good sign. Or you can work with another metric: if 100 or more potential users view your concept design on social media and react positively — you may want to greenlight the project. 

As you may understand by now, there are several ways you can go with this. And by setting several validation goals that you can measure, you can gain real-world feedback without breaking the bank. But only doing the above won’t be substantial for most projects, even though it’s a good starting point.

3. Effective Ways To Validate A Great App Idea

Real-world feedback is an ongoing theme with app validation. And that’s because there’s no better way to determine if there’s interest in your app concept or idea.

So, focus on ways to receive user feedback from potential users. But also ensure that you research the size and value of the market you’re targeting. And no matter how much you like your idea, don’t invest in developing it into a full-fledged app without thorough market validation. 

But how do you thoroughly validate the market? Well, one of the best ways to do this is with a minimum viable product (MVP). An MVP is a stripped-down version of your app with the bare minimum of functionality. And the main advantage of this is that you can deliver an MVP to your users cheaply and quickly. 

Should it prove popular with users, you can scale it into a fully-fledged app and implement the features that users have suggested. However, if it fails to gain traction, you can scrap the project or implement changes that may make it more appealing to users. The latter may be the way to go if there’s still middling interest and users have made suggestions.

4. Conduct User Surveys

Another good way to ascertain if you’re on to a great app idea is via user surveys. Start by creating a customer profile that represents your ideal users. Your customer profile may have the age, demographic, education, hobby, location, and spending attributes.

If your customer profile slants to the younger ages, you may want to find users on a platform such as TikTok. And if they’re older professionals, you may want to track them down on LinkedIn. Either way, you should have a clear picture of your target group so you can survey them properly. 

Ensure that you tailor your survey for your target group and use language and tone that appeals to them. Moreover, respect their time by not asking more questions than you have to or asking complicated questions that are too difficult to answer. Ideally, you want these users to complete your entire survey and not give up halfway through.

5. Pre-Selling And Pre-Registration 

Another effective way to test your app idea is by setting up a pre-selling landing page. This landing page will feature a description of your app, screenshots, and a promo video to create buzz. Furthermore, visitors can easily register and submit their email addresses to stay updated. 

What’s so compelling about this approach is that it’s a way to attract early adopters. And the higher number of these early adopters, the more validation you receive for your app. Moreover, it can act as a revenue stream if you need to generate income before launching your app officially. 

But if setting up a landing page and maintaining an email list isn’t your thing, there’s no need to despair. Google Play offers pre-registration for your app so that you can build hype and user relationships before launch. This is done directly on the Play Console and is implemented 3-6 weeks before the launch date. 

It’s an effective way to drive traffic to your app’s store page. And it’s possible for Google Play to automatically deliver your app to users and auto-install it on their devices on launch day. Thus, it’s almost certain that you’ll have users on day one with a limited amount of work on your end. You can also use Google’s pre-marketing tools to boost interest further.

The Bottom Line

When you have a great app idea, you’ll want to validate it as soon as possible. The good news is that there are several ways to go about this, as we’ve already covered above. However, there’s a bit of additional work involved, which may increase your costs and time to market (TTM).

But if you work with experts, such as NS804, you’ve got a partner to help you navigate this process. Contact us today to learn how we’ll help you validate your best ideas and turn them into phenomenal apps!

4 Things You Can Learn About Your Clients From Their App Use

Every savvy appreneur should monitor app use to gauge whether an application meets your desired goals and expectations. And that’s easy to do due to the many excellent analytics and monitoring tools available today. Of course, users and various governing bodies, such as the EU, have expressed concern about how companies handle user data and privacy.

As someone that releases or plans to release apps, it’s your job to ensure that you comply with all regulations applicable to the target territory. But the good news is that you don’t need to harvest an extraordinary amount of data to gain a clear picture of app use. After all, you primarily care about your app’s performance and whether users easily complete tasks available to them. 

You don’t want to know users’ home addresses or pet names unless that’s necessary for the functionality of your app. But even for such cases, you’ll need to gain user consent via a mobile opt-in option. Ultimately, you want to operate under an ethical and legal framework that fosters trust with all your users.

We also understand that it’s not always clear what you must look for when monitoring app use. So, we’ve compiled this handy list to help you laser focus on the key indicators that will reveal more about your clients and users.

1. Does Your App Use Data Reveal A Distracted User Base?

Unfortunately, in our information-rich world, attention spans have declined significantly. Digital and social media have played a significant role in reducing attention spans, and so has a constantly online way of life.

But what does this mean for your upcoming app project? Your app should have an easy-to-understand and easy-to-navigate user interface (UI). And keep it simple by making it easy for users to complete tasks quickly. Once you launch your app and monitor app usage, you should achieve favorable results by keeping users engaged.

If that’s not happening, you may have added features and UI elements that cause confusion or distraction. Users will often leave an app and even delete it altogether if they don’t understand how to use it or are not presented with the most crucial information as early as possible.

You’ll also want to know whether your app’s response times lag longer than usual. Therefore, you should monitor all response and system feedback times. If these exceed 50ms for response times and 400ms for web-based system feedback, you need to patch up your app immediately, as most users won’t put up with any application that seems slow and clunky or hinders productivity.

2. Where Are Your Clients Spending Most Of Their Time? 

It’s essential to track the time users spend on your app. And not only that, but you should also track how much time they spend on each page of your app.

For example, you may have created a food delivery app that promises users a one-click checkout experience. Now, users are excited about the prospect of quickly and conveniently ordering their food, so they flock to your app. But then, you notice that few users are completing orders timeously, and many abandon products in their virtual carts.

So you decide to check your analytics to determine what’s causing the bottleneck. You start by analyzing how much time users spend on the homepage of your app and right through to the checkout page. And the data reveals that users quickly find the products they want. Also, they don’t experience any noticeable problems when adding products to their carts. 

Everything seems good so far, but then you get to the data regarding your checkout page. Surprisingly, users spend three times longer on the checkout page than on the rest of your app. And this is not good because it negates the whole purpose of your app, which is to provide a hassle-free checkout.

However, you still don’t have enough information, so you decide to drill down to a more granular view of your data. And doing so reveals information that you didn’t expect, which shows that users spend an excessive amount of time filling in their payment information. Thus, you decide to improve the payment form and enhance its format by refreshing its credit card and other payment method icons.

3. Are Your Users Cheating And Ruining The Experience For Everyone?

If you’re a mobile game developer or creating a competitive and interactive app, you should care whether users cheat. Yes, you heard correctly; users will act in bad faith and cheat in mobile games. And that’s especially true for games that offer money prizes, gems, and in-app purchases. Furthermore, Android games are particularly vulnerable to cheating and game modification apps, such as Creehack, Game Killer, and SB Game Hacker APK, to name a few.

And while it’s common practice to hack and modify PC games, we should bear in mind that the PC is a fairly open platform. On top of that, some PC game developers encourage mods and even provide their own modification tools. And the reason they do this is that it helps extend the longevity of their games, as users will create and share additional content that’s mostly free. 

But even on the PC, hacking a game for the purpose of cheating is unacceptable, causing developers and publishers to ban users that attempt such an action. Therefore, mobile game developers should never take cheaters lightly, as they can cause monetary loss and reputational damage.

You should implement a pattern detection system that analyzes users’ device memory and storage for any cheat apps. Also, some popular cheat apps attach their debugger to a process, so make sure that you’re scanning for these. And if you’re creating a multiplayer game using the Unity engine, then use Guardsquare’s DexGuard and iXGuard to harden the security of your Android and iOS games.

4. Do Your Users Face Too Many Choices? 

The best apps often have a simple UI and are designed to serve a singular purpose. Therefore, you never want to create an app that tries to do too many things. Or it does one thing well but presents users with a plethora of features and options.

Ideally, your app should focus on a singular purpose and its features pared down to the bare minimum. And that’s because users struggle to navigate apps that offer them too many options. They may feel anxious when facing too many options, many of which may be unnecessary or be too complex. 

Furthermore, when users face too many choices, they’re forced to spend more time thinking before coming to a decision. But if they have less choice, users feel less burdened to engage in a complex decision-making process. And navigating the app feels like a more fluid and natural experience, especially if they can complete the most crucial tasks in a short amount of time.

And if users use your app to complete a complex task, then break it down into several smaller and manageable tasks. Always offer an enjoyable and straightforward user experience, as many users may not have the required technical skills.

The Bottom Line 

As we’ve seen, app use can reveal much about your clients, provided you’re using the correct monitoring and detection systems. And this information provides you with greater insight into what you’re doing right or wrong with your apps. Contact NS804 today to learn how we’ll help you create phenomenal apps that will amaze even the most demanding users!

Android App Development: How To Store Data Locally

There comes a time when every Android app developer will have to figure out how to store data locally. Fortunately, the Android development environment does provide all the tools for achieving this goal. 

But why would a developer want to store data locally? Aren’t more apps taking advantage of cloud storage lately? Yes, cloud storage has become commonplace and works incredibly well. However, it’s always a good idea to store your app’s settings, media files, and sensitive data locally in most cases. 

Since the Android developer documentation already provides guides and code samples for data storage, we won’t include any code snippets. On top of that, we’d need to show both Kotlin and Java examples, which would make this article unbearably long and complex for most readers. 

But what we’ll do is reveal how a developer can store data locally and cover this topic from several angles. It’s also preferable to have some background knowledge of the Android app development environment to follow along.

Various Ways To Store Data On Android

The beauty of Android’s file system is that it borrows much from existing disk-based file systems. Thus, it’s both easy-to-understand and versatile for several use cases. 

But don’t go rushing in without understanding the various data storage methods and when to use them. Here’s a brief rundown of how Android can save your app’s data: 

  • App-specific storage: Store data only meant for your app. It’s possible to store this data in an internal storage volume using dedicated directories or within external storage using different dedicated directories. 
  • Databases: With the Room persistence library, it’s possible to store data in a private database. 
  • Preferences: For storing private and primitive data within key-value pairs. 
  • Shared storage: Storing files that your app will share, such as documents and media files.

Data Storage Considerations

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, it’s time to shift focus. After all, not every data storage solution mentioned earlier is right for your project. And as an Android developer, you should be asking yourself several crucial questions, such as the following:

Can my app reliably access the data? 

That depends entirely on how your app functions. For example, you could be developing a visual novel that autosaves the user’s progression. Every time the user launches the app, they’ll want to continue playing from their latest save.

Therefore, the best place to place the autosave file is in internal storage, where the app can access it immediately and reliably. Storing this file in external storage, such as an SD card, isn’t reliable because the user may remove it at any time. So, when the user launches the app, it will either crash or notify that it can’t find the autosave file, ultimately ruining the play experience. 

How much space does my app need to store data

Always keep in mind the limits of internal storage. Even though newer Android smartphones come with a respectable amount of storage, many users still carry older devices with a severely limited amount of internal storage

Therefore, if your app’s data storage requirements exceed the limits of most commonly-used phones, then consider using external storage.

What type of data will I need to store for my app?  

If you need to store data that only your app will access, you should use app-specific storage. However, if you’re storing documents and media files, you’ll want to use shared storage so that other apps can access these also.

And if you need to store key-value data, you should use preferences, and for data containing more than two columns, use a database instead.

Understanding Storage Locations And Permissions

As mentioned earlier, Android devices come with internal storage and external storage. Although, the size of the latter varies depending on the capacity of the SD card or other storage device that the user decides to insert or plug into their Android device.

And the majority of apps get installed in internal storage, provided they are small enough in size. While Google Play has a 150MB size limit for apps, developers can exceed that limit when utilizing Android App Bundles, an advanced app distribution system. 

For apps that stick within the 150MB size limit, it’s best to store these in internal storage. And if you use the Files app on your Android device, you’ll see that ‘Installed apps’ and ‘System apps’ use the internal storage. But users can move apps from internal storage to external storage with a few simple clicks. And why users often do this is to clear up space on their devices for other tasks.

To store and manage data on Android devices, developers must use the following permissions: MANAGE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE, READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE, and WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE. 

And as of Android 11 (API level 30), the MANAGE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission allows write access to files outside MediaStore and the app-specific directory. In most use cases, apps no longer need to declare permissions. But developers should regularly read through the Android guides on how to manage the various file types, as methodologies often change with newer versions of the Android platform.

Know The Differences Between SQLite And Room

If your app needs to handle a large amount of structured data, you’ll want to use a database that utilizes internal storage. And you’ll also want to cache the data that’s most relevant to your app so that users can access it when they’re offline. However, it’s advisable to keep any cache files within the recommended size limit, preferably not exceeding 1MB. 

The good news is that the Android platform provides developers with two powerful tools for these purposes. Firstly, there’s SQLite, a database engine consisting of libraries that developers can embed in just about any app. And secondly, there’s Room, an abstraction layer that sits over SQLite and is a part of Android Jetpack’s libraries.

So, what does SQLite bring to the table that will benefit Android developers? It facilitates the creation of custom databases for developers knowledgeable in the Structured Query Language (SQL). And since Android provides complete support for SQLite from the get-go, most developers take advantage of this.

Renowned for its power and speed, SQLite is also a great choice if you require a comprehensive relational database. Also worth implementing if you anticipate that users will store data and run queries at regular intervals.

But what about Room, and why should developers use it when SQLite seems so effective? Google has made great strides in offering developers many handy tools as part of Android Jetpack. And for modern Android app development, every developer should consider using Kotlin and the Android Jetpack suite of libraries — and Room is one of those libraries.

Room offers the following advantages; annotations that reduce boilerplate code, simplified database migrations paths, and verification of SQL queries on compile-time. And due to these advantages, it’s recommended to use Room instead of directly utilizing the SQLite APIs.

The Bottom Line

Today, the Android app development environment is mature and offers developers many powerful tools. And these tools make it a relatively simple process to store data locally if it’s a requirement for your app to function as intended. 

Whether you need to store media files, sensitive information, or structured data, you have access to the tools and methodologies to do this properly. Contact NS804 today to learn how we’ll help you develop phenomenal Android apps with the best-in-class tools!

Best Android Apps To Install On Your Phone

It’s never easy compiling a list of the best Android apps. After all, there are a plethora of excellent apps available for download on Google Play. But there are also many low-quality and gimmicky apps that are a complete waste of time. And then, some apps pose a serious cybersecurity risk, which you should avoid downloading in the first place.

Thus, the criteria for choosing apps to add to our list is straightforward. We focused on best-in-class apps that ooze quality, are snappy, and solve users’ problems effectively.

And we disqualified apps that have redundant features, lack regular updates, and suffer from ongoing issues. We also didn’t add any Google apps, as many come pre-installed with Android devices.

1. Brave Private Web Browser

Surfing the web has become increasingly risky recently. That’s because hackers use vulnerabilities found in browser extensions and websites to harm users. And given that the Android platform is often a target for these bad actors, most browsers don’t offer sufficient protection.

But that’s where Brave Private Web Browser comes in. It’s fast, lightweight, and secure and doesn’t overwhelm users with unnecessary features. And its built-in blockers are very effective at dealing with those pesky ads, cookies, and scripts.

2. GitHub

Every appreneur and software engineer should have the GitHub app installed on their Android phone. With many development teams working remotely, it’s essential to have a tool that allows them to collaborate while using the world’s most popular code repository.

GitHub makes it easy to merge and review pull requests, respond to comments, and provide feedback. It’s also lightweight and boasts a clutterless and intuitive user interface (UI).

3. Microsoft Office: Edit & Share

We couldn’t make a list of the best Android apps without including Microsoft’s flagship productivity app. Microsoft Office: Edit & Share is the swiss army knife of productivity tools, as it allows users to create documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. It’s also great for taking notes and viewing PDFs.

And as a testament to its power and versatility, this very article was written entirely in Microsoft Office on a mid-range Samsung Galaxy. It’s such an essential app that every executive, office worker, or student should have it installed.

4. Todoist: To-Do List & Tasks

Todoist: To-Do List & Tasks boasts over 20 million users and has received Google’s Editor’s Choice in 2020. And while there are many good to-do list apps in Google Play, few have an equivalent and comprehensive set of features.

Its clean and simple UI makes it easy for users to organize tasks, set reminders, and keep track of progress. Moreover, it integrates flawlessly with Amazon Alexa, Gmail, Google Calendar, and Slack. And it’s designed to run on a wide variety of devices, including the Wear OS Smartwatch. With so much going for it, it’s little wonder that it made our best Android apps list. 

5. Viber – Safe Chats And Calls

There are many good voice chat and messenger apps on Google Play, so this was a difficult choice. But we opted for Viber for several reasons. For one, it’s renowned for its rock-solid end-to-end encryption, giving users high levels of privacy and security.

Secondly, Viber users can make low-cost international costs and even communicate with those using landlines. It’s a feature that makes it stand out from most of its competitors and a good reason for businesses to use it. And thirdly, it boasts a large and vibrant community of users and includes excellent group chat capabilities. And it even syncs and transmits messages to the Wear OS Smartwatch.

The Bottom Line

Our list of the best Android apps is short but squarely focussed on the applications that can unlock the true potential of your smartphone. You’re carrying a powerful device in your pocket that’s an indispensable business machine, provided you install the right apps.

Contact NS804 to learn how we’ll help you create phenomenal Android apps to empower and engage your users.

7 Tips For Better Android App Development

Android app development remains a promising path for appreneurs and developers seeking new opportunities. And with recent announcements regarding Android 12, Material You, and the latest foldable phones, these are exciting times. 

If you are an experienced Android developer or simply sitting by the sidelines, there’s never been a better time to hop on board. Even if you’re an ardent iOS developer that has steered clear of Android, it’s time to give the platform another look. Below, we reveal several handy tips to enhance your Android app development experience in 2022 and beyond!

1. Read The Developer Guides Thoroughly

Set up your Google developer profile, then go through the developer guides. These are well-written and informative, so you should find everything you need to get started. Furthermore, there are training courses for beginner and intermediate developers. And if you plan on studying further, you may want to sign up for the certification and degree programs.

2. Download And Install Android Studio

Android Studio is the official integrated development environment (IDE) for Android development, so you should use it. It’s a powerful suite that’s indispensable for native Android app development. Moreover, it’s a better option than the Eclipse IDE since it’s a more focused tool for Android development. But if you’re developing for multiple platforms, you may want to go with Visual Studio 2019 or 2022.

3. Choose Kotlin Instead Of Java

If you’re starting your Android development journey today, choose Kotlin instead of Java as your programming language. Kotlin is a more modern yet less-verbose language than Java, resulting in a faster and smoother coding experience. The only reason to choose Java is to maintain existing apps written in that language.

4. Learn Material Design

Google has created Material, a design system for creating eye-catching user interfaces (UI) and themes. It consists of component libraries and a states system, allowing designers to build interactive UIs efficiently. Learning the Material design system is worthwhile because it supports Android, Flutter, iOS, and the web.

5. Use A Game Engine For Immersive Experiences

While Android Studio is great, it does have a few shortcomings. For example, it’s not the most effective tool for creating the immersive experiences found in augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) apps. Instead, it’s better to use Godot, Unity, or Unreal Engine for any visually-rich projects, including mobile games.

6. Profile Your Apps Regularly 

Android Studio and most game engines come with a built-in profiler. Use the profiler regularly, as it reveals performance bottlenecks in your apps. It will track CPU and GPU usage, examine threads, detect memory leaks, and even show network traffic. Without profiling, you risk submitting an app that Google Play will likely reject or earn you negative user reviews.

7. Focus On Security

Hackers and malware creators target the Android platform due to its massive user base. That’s why you should seek ways to harden the security of your apps and follow best practices. 

Ensure that you’re doing the utmost when storing user data and dealing with sensitive information. Furthermore, keep the number of app permissions to a minimum and cede these when no longer necessary. And use the Nogotofail tool to check for vulnerabilities in your encrypted communications.

The Bottom Line

While Android app development can be fun and rewarding, it can also be frustrating. But the good news is that the development experience on Android has improved tremendously over the years. And if you follow our handy tips, you’re bound to reap the benefits of the platform. Contact NS804 to learn more about building phenomenal Android apps today!