About Google Play formerly known as Android Market

I looked at some statistics last time in 2011, almost a 4 years back. Interesting to observe the changes and the evolution.

You can find the facts at AppBrain (http://www.appbrain.com/stats)

From ~175.000 applications in 2011 the number passed 1,5 million in February 2015. Surprisingly the number of apps with in-app billing is only 108.000. It feels like almost any application comes with this “feature”, pretty much every serious game.

I also logged into the developers console again, just remembered I published  some simple apps in 2011 to learn about the physics of the appstore.

Developer Console

Developer Console

Interesting enough they were downloaded 700+ and 200+ times. Wonder what figures this experiment would render when I start it again.

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Connecting Samsung S3 S5 to Ubuntu for debugging Android Apps

Some things did not change since the early coding days with Linux and Android Phones , you still need to tinker with system files to allow USB access to the phone. Without the below steps you get “no permission” and offline errors in the Android Device Monitor.

Android Phone Settings

  1. Out-of-the-box the phone does not allow debugging. You need to find the developer options under phone settings and specifically allow USB debugging.

    Debug Options

    Debug Options

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Android Development Restarted

It has been quite a while since I touched an Android phone the last time for code projects. I got in contact first time with an Android phone during an open source conference in 2008 in Sydney when I met Chris DiBona (Director of Open Source at Google). Announcing the SDK 1.0. Soon after I got the G1, aka HTC Dream phone which was the first Android phone available. I could not even imagine this platform would be so widespread adopted and pushed in the years to come. I was even thinking about the investment that time, spending a few hundred dollars on a phone that might be just a experiment. In 2010 I also bought the Nexus One.

Anyway I created some apps for personal use, experimented with the apps market but due to other development and work focus lost it out of sight and just remained normal Android user.

Now my interest returned, at least to update my knowledge about this technology. Today things are becoming a bit easier (IDE, documentation) but also more complex, mainly due to the massive range of devices and manufacturers which makes screen design quite challenging, but also to security concerns as more spam and junk apps are around, users are no longer so flexible with the app security settings.

Coding becomes more convenient, now Android got its own IDE, the Android Studio. After an initial download and subsequent additional downloads of required packages you can start with your projects straight away.

With Ubuntu just just download the linux package, make sure you have a JDK installed, and execute the studio.sh shellscript in the bin folder.

Android Studio

Android Studio

OpenSource Hardware

OSS is nothing really new anymore, even Microsoft announced 60% of their software (they use!) is OSS. But OpenSource Hardware is still fairly new, at least on a broader market. Over the years I read about various initiatives to launch this kind of products. I believe only geeks and hackers are attracted by hardware they can build, program and configure to their needs and ideas. Many years back I did some electronics (during my studies), but often started from the scratch with simple stuff to control household devices, as simple as dimming the light with a remote, etc.

I came across the Arduino board which gives you a micro-controller platform that you can connect to your Windows, Mac or Linux desktop to program it and let it run independently. It is all open and documented, you can control something simple like a LED but can go to the extend of reading acceleration, temperature, controlling cameras, an almost infinitive field of appliances. Google for Arduino projects and you find amazing stuff, built on top of a 29$ device.

I recommend at least some basic knowledge of electronics, but even without any clue, you can get started, there are plenty of books and websites with tutorials.

Get started here: www.arduino.cc and buy the device from here, and if you live in Singapore from SGBotics.

Arduino Platform

Thoughts about Android

What is still missing in the market (the official Android Market) ?

  1. Language filter
    Now with a total number of apps beyond 150.000 it becomes harder by the day to find apps. Time to release a feature that allows to search apps in one (or more) languages. It does not help to browse through Chinese or Korean or Spanish apps (depending on your mother tongue).

    Language Filter ?

  2. Dates Added and Last Updated for apps
    There is currently no way to identify when an app was added or when it was updated last time. There are too many apps which are outdated or not maintained any longer (I have one app with 250.000 + downloads without an update since more than one year, despite obvious bugs). Maybe create an automatic flag “this app was not update for more than 12/24 months” so user dont waste their time looking at it, or even filter it out. Of course there are alos stable apps that dont need to be updated.
    PS: You can see the changelog with www.androidzoom.com, I guesss they maintain it independently.
  3. Sandbox for “Hello World” and “Test” apps
    Give the developer community a sandbox area where they (we) can do our tests and fooling around with features. The noise factor for the real apps gets higher and higher. OK, you dont search for “hello world”, but it would help doing the housekeeping.

    Test App

    Hello World

More statistics

Made some more statistics just by looking at the number of apps within one month (using the frontpage of androidzoom.com).
Of the roughly 175.000 apps, only 12% are games. There is a vast number of apps disappearing every month. Look at wallpapers and cards games.
I doubt many developers actively remove their apps from the market, so who else is doing it ? Are so many apps flagged by users or is Google looking at IP infringement at last ? (How many wallpapers can you count of movies and cartoons which are definitely NOT licensed by the respective owner?)
Look at it by yourself..

Homemadde statistics

Android Investigations (3)

You remember my recent ranting about the noise ratio in the market, with same apps showing up hundred’s of times ? I checked further on “Boost The Cat” and obviously our friend with 8 different names/pseudonyms submits the exact same app 30 times in each account. You will 250 versions of Boost the Cat ! Hoping for users to click the Google ads in the app. If only 10 users a day click the approach proofs him right and the noise level in the market will increase more.
The guy is uploading the same app as update every day, you will always find it under “Just in”.

Boost The Cat Spam

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