Tag Archive for: Android app

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.

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!

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!

What You Need Before Developing An Android App

Developing an android app requires a deep understanding of design and programming. When approaching a new technology or project, it’s advisable to break it down into pieces. If you’re an experienced website developer, many of the techniques (and tools) involved in Android app development will be synonymous with things you already know.

Building mobile apps requires the mastery of more nuanced concepts. Mobile devices have simpler processors, smaller screens, and in the case of android devices, different manufacturers. Developers should keep their codes flexible and account for various user-interface scenarios. So, what does it take to become a qualified or expert android developer?

Here’s what you need before developing your android app.

  1.   Java

Java is the best programming language that underscores Android mobile app development. For those who have gained their programming experiences from languages like Ruby and JavaScript, there can be a learning curve when using the Java programming language for the first time. Like Ruby and JavaScript, Java is object-oriented; but it’s stricter about processing different data types. Developers need to be careful with their codes by defining the different data types, using, and allocating scarce memory resources.

  1.   XML Understanding

XML is a language that defines a set of rules for encoding documents in a format that is human-readable and machine-readable. XML was created as a standard approach to encode data for internet-based mobile applications. The XML is a structured mark-up language that shares many features with HTML including; angled brackets, tag types, and the deep nesting of elements. In short, XML allows information to be conveyed between devices in a manner that can be understood easily.

  1.   Android Software Development Kit SDK

The software development kit SDK may conjure up images of a briefcase packed up with all sorts of spy tools. But in essence, it’s a fancy name for a set of pre-packaged codes. Android SDK is a module of Java code that extends developers access to mobile devices functions and capabilities like accelerometer and camera. One key element of the Android SDK is a library called Gradle. So, let’s say you want to integrate a social media platform like Facebook with your application. To do this, you’d download a code library from Facebook, then tell Gradle you’re using this code so that when your application compiles, your code remains well-organized.

  1.   Android Studio

The integrated development environment for Android developers is the Android Studio. Android Studio is designed on top of the well-respected IntelliJ IDE and comes with great out-of-the-box support for many of the most common software development kits.

Android studio also entails many features and capabilities that developers expect of a fully-fledged IDE environment. For instance, the code completion feature makes auto-complete suggestions as you type. Code debuggers help you review your code to identify sources of error.

  1.   APIs

As an android developer, you will want to interact with many other services. For instance, you may want your users to access a calendar or events sessions from a third-party service provider – or even check the stock market. An android app development company usually offers APIs and will show you exactly how to query them for data in a consistent, secure way. While you’re free to interact with an existing API, Google makes it easy to connect to their APIs using android apps. For instance, you can use Google APIs to monitor the geo-location of your users.

  1.   Database

If your app handles huge amounts of data, most likely the data won’t stay on the device for long. Instead, your app will most likely interact with a database living outside your phone. Cloud services like Parse and Firebase provide simple APIs to host data in the cloud and make it available across different devices. These cloud platforms provide Java libraries to plug in your app, making it easy to cache data on the user’s device.

This synching of data between remote database and local storage is vital if you want your users to use the app while they’re offline. So, before developing an Android app, ensure to have adequate storage. That is achieved by outsourcing cloud services that provide a simple API to secure your app’s data.

How To Become a Better Android Developer?

Becoming an Android developer is easy but being an expert developer who stands from the crowd is difficult. It takes a great deal of passion, dedication, and perseverance to become great at design and programming. So, what do you need to become a better Android developer?

  • Get familiar with android framework internals. It’s advisable to get familiar with Android’s actual framework code. Many developers are afraid of delving right into the Android framework internals. Luckily, it’s amazing how much you can discover how things work.
  • Get over the fear of missing out. Android is quite big. You cannot learn it end-to-end in a month or three months. The more you learn, the more you understand how much you don’t know. As a beginner, it’s perfectly normal to feel that you’re missing out on learning crucial information.
  • Start reading more code. Most developers don’t take the time to read what other developers are writing. Instead, they spend more time writing the codes they already know. The best way to become an Android developer is to read the excellent codes of more experienced developers.
  • Learn more languages. It’s crucial that you learn more programming languages. You need to keep yourself updated with the industry’s happenings rather than confining your thinking to the Android space. Learning more languages and opening your mind to new possibilities will inspire new ideas, open up your perspective, and help you improve your Android development skills significantly.
  • Learn Java design patterns. Learning Java design patterns is crucial in your Android development career. Whenever you’re stuck in solving programming problems, design patterns can be lifesavers. You also need to be on the same page with other designers and programmers so that when they’re talking about using a Decorator, Factory, or Façade pattern, you instantly know what they mean.
  • Contribute to open source. If you have developed a plugin, library, or any other useful piece of code, consider open-sourcing it. There’s much to learn in the process of maintaining your projects or contributing to open source projects. Contributing to open-source is an excellent crash course in open-source development that will exponentially increase your value as a developer.
  • Make your IDE work for you. Start spending more time understanding the integrated design environment you are using: Android studio. The IDE can do much more than you think. There are many cool features hidden in the IDE that most developers don’t even consider. Make it a habit to discover new and better ways of making your tools work for you, thereby improving your productivity and workflow.

 NS804 – Kick-starting Your Android App Development 

Android app development comes with many benefits. Firstly, android app development features higher returns on investments with lower costs; the availability of the Android software development toolkit provides cost savings to individual developers. In addition, Android app development comes with faster deployment cycles, offering a competitive advantage to companies willing to have a quicker go-to-market for new ideas. Other benefits include targeting multiple platforms, versatility, scalability, security, and easy customization.

Contact NS804 for timely android app development solutions.