Android M Permissions

googleio15Of all the changes coming out of Google I/O 15, the new permissions model will have the greatest longer term impact on developers. I say ‘longer term’ because for existing apps on existing phones, users will see no difference. Existing apps on phones running ‘M’ can have their permissions taken away by the user which will, no doubt, cause them to malfunction and possibly cause confusion for the user (and people supporting the app).

The real power and possibilities come when an app is built for ‘M’ (or in the future ‘M or later’). Developers and designers now really have to think hard about their messages to users. There’s an article on Medium about the Cluster app, on iOS, that covers similar issues and the complications.

The good thing is that (‘M’ built) apps will no longer sit around, as now, waiting for the user to upgrade when they need more permissions. The down side is that the user disallowing a permission can seriously bazooka your app and you need to really try your hardest to explain to the user why a permission is needed.

Obviously more transparent permissions is good for everyone – in theory. In practice, I find many clients and some designers already have trouble agreeing how standard screens and message should look and feel. Adding permissions screens/dialogs into the mix is bound to lead to protracted mobile development, more testing of permissions-based scenarios and more support needed when apps don’t work due to revoked permissions.

New 2015 KPCB Internet Trends Report

kpcbKPCB’s Mary Meeker has a new free 197 page 2015 Internet Trends report. It provides some useful numbers on how the use of the Internet is moving to mobile…

kpcbinternetuse

A new insight is the increased use of vertical viewing brought on by the use of smartphones. This has implications for those of us designing and creating content for mobile and perhaps whether we should support both horizontal and vertical screen orientations.

kpcbverticalviewing

Of interest to mobile developers, the report also has lots of charts and information on enterprise, messaging platforms, user generated content, just in time products and services, commerce, freelancers, regulation, China and India.

Finally, it also includes a useful chart on the ‘big’ smartphone markets…

kpcbbigsmartphonemarkets

How Long Does It Take To Develop An App?

It’s strange how similar things come along at the same time and this week it’s multiple people asking me how long it would take to develop an app when the details of what’s in the app haven’t even been defined yet!

At first its might seem surprising that people might want to know or even request this but if you think about it, it’s one of the first questions that might determine whether an app is worth developing or it might help drive how much functionality should be initially defined for an app.

So the question is really “How long does it take to develop a typical non-trivial app?”. I answered this previously in my Mobile Development Primer under the heading “Work out How Much It Will Cost”. The answer is about 6 to 8 weeks.

If your app is doing more than one main thing than you can factor up the time and cost. How do you determine this? Well, if your app could be split into two (or more) apps and still have significant functionality then you should obviously be budgeting for proportionately more time. An example might be including complex instant messaging into an app whose purpose is really to do something else.

Other common factors affecting timescales include the degree of testing, the degree of branding and the use of non-standard UI/idioms. For example, if you want your app to look more like an iOS app on Android which, strangely, some people still seem to want, then it will take longer and cost you more.

Windows Phone 24.3% Compound Annual Growth up to 2019?

IDC has some new research that roughly correlates with GfK in that smartphone shipments are expected to grow 11.3% in 2015.

IDC2019smartphonepredictions

IDC has predictions up to 2019 when it expects both iOS and Android to grow less, with iOS having the lesser year on year growth. They also predict, without substantiation, that Windows Phone will see a 24.3% compound annual growth.

GfK Smartphone Sales and Predictions

gfkGfK has research into Q1 smartphone shipments split by region. Smartphone sales are up 8% year on year driven by the continued growth of larger screen devices.

gfkq12015

A new insight is that 4G is rapidly gaining share and surpassed 50% of the global handset market for the first time. GfK expect smartphone sales growth to be 10% over the next year.

Mobile Payments and Banking Market Map

firstpartnerFirstPartner have a new 2015 version of their free Mobile Payments & Banking Market Map. It shows consumer segments, mobile financial services, types of payment, the payment value chain, payment processors and providers, technology and system vendors, regulators, industry association and standards bodies. There are also some useful statistics, for example, there are forecast to be 195 billion mobile and tablet transactions per year by 2019, a factor of three more than there were for 2014.

mobilepaymentsmarketmap

Counterpoint Smartphone Market Share

counterpointCounterpoint has a new infographic based on their Q1-2015 Market Monitor report that tracks more than 75 top vendor shipments across countries that contribute to more than 95% of the total global smartphone volumes.

globalmobilephoneshare

The infographic is particularly good if you need region specific data.

Design for Design’s Sake

wiredI have been reading an article in this month’s UK Wired magazine on ’41 Lessons from Uber’. One of the lessons is to “Keep it Simple”. Uber has only rolled out one major design change to its app. The lesson is:

“Don’t change your product unless you have to. Make it faster, better and more robust but don’t do design for design’s sake.”

I have seen many projects substantially re-design everything before the app is even released. This is usually relatively costly as it often involves iOS, Android and the server. It also causes the app to be late to market. So what causes a substantial change of design? I find it’s usually one or more of the following…

  • A new project UI designer, project manager or other staff trying to make their mark on the project
  • A sudden (arbitrary) change in company branding
  • A new UI paradigm provided by Apple or Google
  • A late realisation that the app doesn’t look right due to key people only becoming interested late on in the project lifecycle – this can happen even on Agile projects.

Pre-empting these scenarios might allow you to pre-empt unnecessary re-design. If you need to re-design prior to release, consider waiting for feedback from real users as you will most likely have to re-design at that point anyway.