Dynamics of the Play Store

The first time I saw an Android Phone was in 2008 during the OSDC Conference in Sydney where one of the presenter from Google had a development phone with him that he showed to some of us. I remember people saying “sure Google making a mobile phone, dont waste my time…”. Guess I don’t need to tell the rest of the story almost 10 years later.

Soon after the conference in early 2009 the HTC Dream (or called G1 in some countries) was launched to public as first developer phone, I ordered one from Google because I was excited about a platform that you could develop for without buying in into a commercial platform. At that time the coding was possible with Netbeans or some Eclipse plugins and some manual tinkering and configuration, in 2010 I created the first application for the so-called Android Market to play with the physics of the release process.

I still have the HTC Dream, unfortunately not in a working condition anymore,  I bought the next developer phone in 2010, the Google Nexus One which was running Android Eclaire.

2017-11-26 16_50_05-T-Mobile_G1_launch_event_2.jpg (JPEG Image, 1346 × 1082 pixels)

Android HTC Dream 2009

The Android Market was still in its infancy, a mix of hello-world, irrelevant apps and spam all over the place. The whole platform was dominated by individual developers and not by major players. Below a 3 day statistics screenshot I made in 2010, you can see the numbers did not change significantly, in 1 day 40 apps where added, now it around 2000 to 4000 new apps a day. My app did show up in the “new app” section, something impossible to achieve today.

2017-11-26 17_02_27-statistics.ods - Excel

Android Market 2010

Anyway, it was and it continues to be an interesting experience, though I find it a pity it is so hard to get an independent created app get noticed.

Bck to today, I did some experiments with a new app that I just released. Getting my hands dirty with NFC development, I released a simple app, it it supposed to read NFC tags, the early version does nothing but checking if the hardware supports NFC, that’s a Java/Android no-brainer, a one method call. I invented an app name that did not exist in Google Search, I call it “NFCheckR” for the sake of finding out how fast it appears in the market and in Search. The first release is public within 2 hours on the Google Play, a day later it can be searched in both Google Play and Google Search. The search rank no. 1 is a link to the Google Play followed by dozens of links to dodgy third party sites offering the apps for download, obviously mirroring the Google Play site. Some of them offering weird descriptions as well. It claims it got 90 votes and 5 ratings, despite having only a single (1) download so far (which is no wonder, there are at least a 100 NFC tools).

2017-11-26 17_47_15-Clipboard

Google Search

 

The sites claim the app would run on Windows, Mac and other platforms. I recommend NOT to download from any of these sites !

2017-11-26 17_45_43-Download NFCheckR For PC Windows and Mac APK 0.1 - Free Tools Apps for Android

NFCheckR at third party website


History Lane

One of the first emails from Android Market:

2017-11-27 15_56_40-Clipboard

Android Market 2009

 

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Joel Spolsky on stackoverflow.com

I hang out at stackoverflow.com (link) once in a while and it is amazing how this so non-forum style forum brings people together to answer questions on a variety of development and other IT topics. It is run (or better initiated, because it is run by everyone) by Jeff Atwood, Joel Spolsky and some other folks (link). Drop a (reasonable) question and you get useful answers.

I came across the presentation by Joel at Google (link) about stackoverflow.com

Daily Thoughts 5

  • IBM to acquire SUN ?
    Its not really new that SUN is looking for someone with a big pocket to buy the whole shop. Among potential candidates are DELL, HP,.. and IBM, which seems to be more serious about the deal (link). What will it means ? I am not sure if I want to tune into the pessimistic mood, that you find in some forums (link). A lot of innovative and creative power will be grounded (or at least the financial backing of it). IBM has zero genuine interest in Open Source and IBM is NOT hip, they are old fashioned and ultra bureaucratic. Most of the (server) products will disappear (or merged into their websphere product line with usual high pricetags) and stuff like Netbeans will turned down (in favor of eclipse), aka “opened” to the community but disappear in irrelevance after a while. We wont know. I hope that doesnt create another Microsoft in the srver world.
  • 456,520 downloads of Glassfish
    That shows the appreciation and adoption of the product in comparison to a number of other (propietary) products. Would IBM call it GlassSphere, Websphere Glass or whatever.
    Link
  • Google Chrome Beta
    There is another beta available for download (link). Despite the rumors Google would trash the browser is still taking up. Certain features I really like, I guess it could take some shares of the user distribution in future. I dislike the persistent update application running in the background with an option to disable it. I still favor Firefox because of the huge number of plugins. I dislike its getting slower to startup and eats memory.

Daily Thoughts 4

  • 100,000,000th JavaFX
    Last week Jonathan Schwartz celebrated the 100,000,000 download of the JavaFX runtime on his blog (link). I share his excitement about JavaFX technology out now to conquer the field of Silverlight and Flash. If not I would not invert time in picking it up ! But to paint a bit more realistic picture, there is no dedicated JavaFX runtime installer. It is included with the regular, actual JRE installer, or to quote from java.com “JavaFX runtime is integrated with Java download. During the installation of Java 6 update10 (jre6u10), users will also be installing JavaFX runtime.” (link). JavaFX piggyback in a way (a smart way), but thats fine, this way as a solution provider you dont need to struggle with extra plugin installer, your customer or user already has it (at least with an up-to-date JRE).
    The JavaFX SDK has supposingly 100,000 downloads.
  • Netbeans 7 turns 6.7
    Release was initially the next release planned to hit the community, but the development team decided to release a version 6.7 in June (milestone release in next few weeks) and 7 at a later stage. I guess JEE6 support is among the reason to wait for 7. More info at netbeans.org (link).
  • Android versus JavaFX
    The more I read about the background of the 2 technolgies, even they are very close relatives, the more I doubt there will be a JavaFX running on Android anytime soon. My personal guess: Some folks will offspring a project on Kenai or Sourceforge to get it running.
  • Buying Android in Singapore
    One day after I ordered the dev phone from US, Singtel started to sell the HTC dream, which is an Android phone, here. Guess like the T-Mobile G1 it is locked. Good timing though. Lets see what is the retail price without contract (maybe not available).

Google Android

I ordered the Google Android development phone today. I strongly believe in the open concept of hardware devices like the Pandora (link) or Sun Spot (link) other than iPhone or the MS XBOX as proprietary products  forcing you to join commercial membership and developer programs. I evaluate mobile devices in regards of business applications with RIA (aka REA) technology.

You need to join the Android Market Program (25 U$) in order to order the development phone for 399 U$ (shipment and duties to Singapore about 80 U$). The development unit is hardware unlocked, means you can make changes to the underlying OS and SIM-unlocked, to load with any SIM card.  The only other source for the phone is German T-Mobile, which offers the Android (SIM-, and hardware-locked) at a cheaper contract-lock-in price.

Google Android (copyright by android.brightstarcorp.com)

Google Android (copyright by android.brightstarcorp.com)

Some useful links:

  • The official Android Website (link)
  • The Dev Phone 1 specs (link)
  • SDK and Developer-Tools (link)
  • Youtube videos by the development team (link)
  • Netbeans plugin for Android Development (link)
  • Google Groups Beginner (link) and advanced developer (link)

Until the device arrives I will spend some time on getting started and using the SDK with Netbeans plugin.

Remark: Not sure if I also manage to get JavaFX running on the Android, we will see.

Update: Spending some time reading various documents and forums I understand the background. Android is executing Dalvik byte code (wiki-link) and as long JavaFX cannot be compiled as such, it wont run. Guess it is not a impossible task, waiting for someone to do it (rather a Android hardware manufacturers job to trigger it)