How To Go About Testing Your Android App

Be it the enterprise market or the consumer market, the one aspect of Android that makes it a hard beast to handle is the fragmentation – device, platform and OS. If developing an Android app is a big enough deal, the fragmentation makes the testing of it an even bigger deal.

What is the first thing to do before you consider submitting your app to the Google play store – TEST… Test… test. A company that has had a Million downloads for their app has tested it in about 400 different devices. Well, the idea of testing your app in 400 different devices definitely creates a high barrier for entry into the Android app market – both in terms of cost and testing time. But the entire testing can be addressed in an intelligent way which makes it viable for an app developer.

Going by the 80-20 Rule for Devices

It is almost impossible for small companies and solo app developers to carry out elaborate testing of their apps across various devices. It is extremely time consuming to test manually and even worse, it simply is not cost effective.

One of the best ways to address this problem is to go by the 80-20 principle. As a general rule, 80% of the market is controlled by 20% of Android devices. What this means for you is that by testing on that 20% alone you have covered most of your market and that is a great start. Once you have seen traction for your app, you can invest more resources into catering to the long tail Android market.

So, what is the best way to go about finding the percentage distribution?

– Android website stats to find the popular OS versions
– Android website stats to find the most popular DPI-Screen size combination
– Devices that cover both the above

One of the points to keep in mind is that it is important to not spend valuable initial resources on testing your app on outdated phones and OS in an attempt to be thorough. If you have enough resources to start with, then it might be a good idea to test your app on the most popular devices across the price range – high, mid and low end.

Using the Android Emulator

The Android SDK ships with a device emulator that runs on your computer. This is an alternative for prototyping and testing your app instead of using an actual device. There are a lot of disadvantages in this option – you cannot make actual phone calls, the difference in terms of results when used on the actual device can be ridiculously bad. The general advice is to test the app at-least once on an actual device or use the other options described here.

Using a Third Party Testing Service

The success of the Android app marketplace has led to a plethora of services that contribute to the app ecosystem. Some of the most useful are the ones that provide offshore testing for Android apps. They offer a variety of testing services – functional, integration, load and usability testing.

Some of the bigger companies find it efficient to have the testing team in-house – especially those in gaming who push constant updates to their apps. But offshore testing can be a decent option for companies just starting out in the Android app market.

Some of the services available in the market are Testology, utest, Test-droid, App Thwack and Ranorex.

Design Tests While App Development Is On

One of the best ways to bring down the total development time is by carrying out test designing simultaneously with app design and development. This method saves time drastically especially if you are pushing a feature to a live app. Once the specifications for a feature are decided on, the specs for the test can be written when the development of the feature happens. These tests can be run right after the feature development is over and the feedback can be funneled into the system back again for refinements.

Android development and testing are not straightforward just because of the multitude of platforms and devices. The above options should help you def-rag your app development and testing process.

How to Look for the Best Android Apps and Games

After purchasing a new Android device, whether it is a tablet or a smartphone, we then turn to the marketplace in search of the best Android games and apps. There are numerous on-line directories available that have very comprehensive lists, some better than others. Generally these lists are divided into sections, for instance, the most popular, the hottest, the top rated, plus there are also lots of reviews to browse through for the best Android games and the best Android apps.

For those who are after Android applications, there are screenshots and quite often short videos illustrating how these apps or games work. These can be found in the arcade and action section and if you are looking for the best Android apps, these can be used for productivity, communication or entertainment purposes. Many other categories are available, from where you can choose applications or games that fulfill your needs.

Of course there are large numbers of new games and apps coming out into the marketplace every day. Some of these are free and for some, there is a small charge. The best Android games or apps can be either, if a game or app is free it does not imply any lesser quality, in many instances the opposite can be true. Most of the free apps have ads displayed and are they are usually unobtrusive, but sometimes, ads can be really annoying by blocking important content from the game or because they are placed in a position where you can touch accidentally.

Almost every Android application list website lets you subscribe to the RSS feed to get the latest updates so you’ll be the first who knows when a new app is available. Each application has a detailed description, from ratings and comments to required system permissions, screenshots or a direct QR bar code or market link for direct downloading from your phone.

As well as finding internet reviews for the best games and apps, quite often we will find out about a game or an app from a friend or colleague. Personal recommendations or reviews are always highly influential. Different groups and ages of people will be interested in different things, but there are enough of the best games and apps out there, to meet everyone’s needs.

If one particular app or game does not suit or does not perform as expected, it’s a simple process, just like programs on a laptop, to delete the game or app from one’s device. Android OS is designed in such ways that require minimal resources on the device, so it is possible to have numerous games and apps running on the one device.

The Top 5 Android Apps for Kids

The age of cell phone users is getting increasingly younger. I’m sure you’ve noticed your toddler finding his or her way to your phone. The buttons, the colorful screen, and fun graphics all are very inviting to little imaginations. Add toddler focused apps to the equation, and they are glued! Fortunately developers are right there with you with several games that not only teach your child, and are safe, but keep them entertained! These 5 apps will keep children of any age quiet and amused.

1) Children ABC – Numbers and Shapes by James N ($1.00)

While playing this game your child will learn letters, numbers, and shapes by seeing pictures and words. Every time they touch one of the letters, numbers or shapes, music plays to enhance the experience. You can also download other versions of the game which include fruit, food, animals, vehicles or SpongeBob.

2) Toddler Lock – Marco Nelissen (Free)

This toy/phone lock app is the best of its kind. Your toddler will hear music, see shapes and colors and all the while your phone is safe from unintentional app starts or accidental phone calls. There is also an option to put the phone on airplane mode to keep your child safe from radiation.

3) Math Workout Lite – Workout Games (Free)

Math & Workout in the same sentence doesn’t sound fun does it? These math games help both you and your kids learn, and keep your skills at their best. Games include; Addition and Subtraction, Multiplication and Division, I’m Feeling Clever, The Brain Cruncher, Online World Challenge and Math Blaster Challenge.

4) Kids Madagascar Puzzle – Playgamesite.com (Free)

What child doesn’t love the movie Madagascar? With this puzzle game, your kids will be happy for hours placing the pieces of a Madagascar themed puzzle into the right order.

5) Kids Flashcards – Mo’Blast ($1.99)

Your child will be entertained and learn at the same time by reading, hearing and spelling the words and pictures seen on a flashcard-style picture. Audio and automation make this app a must have for every on-the-go parent.