FierceDeveloper has a contentious article, based on an Evans Data report (paid), on how "41% of Android developers finish their app in one month or less" while only Only 36 percent of iOS and 34 percent of Windows Phone devs said they could achieve as quickly a turnaround. This goes against the common perception that Android development takes longer (than iOS) because of the requirement to test on so many devices.
I think the clues to this contradiction lie in the phrase "one month or less". No non-trivial app can be created in "one month or less". While I have developed some apps in days and others in a few weeks, I would say the average development time of all apps I have developed would be of the order of two months. I think the "one month or less" says more about the typical complexity (and maybe quality) of apps being developed for Android than it does for the ability to develop quickly on Android.
I also believe too many people place too much emphasis on the initial development time. Today, the insightful Benedict Evans, who I recommend you also follow, tweeted…
This is so true in mobile. I have previously written about the use of app analytics and responding to customer frustrations. If you want your app to be a success then you will need to iterate. If you are only allocating funding to initial development but not iteration then you should perhaps consider whether you should starting at all.
I continue to think that this year is going to be an eventful year for Android malware and the knock on effects. Only today, I heard that Windows malware is starting to attempt to infect connected Android devices.
Google isn’t standing still. In unrelated news, Google have introduced a change to future versions of Android that will prevent some files from being executed from /data. However, it’s thought that this change might also mean the end of apps that depend on rooted devices.
As Google tighten security, it’s likely people, including developers, will become inconvenienced. It’s already a pain (during automated testing) that the latest devices don’t automatically allow access via ADB. This is particularly troublesome when a device has to be wiped during automated testing and forgets what ADB clients have been authorised. Also recently, I am getting warnings when the OS (or is it Play Services) insists on continually asking if I need to malware check every new app I write that it doesn’t know about. Indeed, one or two of the apps are very confidential and never intended for public distribution so it makes me wonder what will happen to the app if I ever accidentally say ‘Yes’ to an invitation to check it for malware. Will the app ever make its way off the device? Is there any scenario where it might be examined by a human?
As the security gets tighter, the side effects of such security will get harder to predict.
Gartner has a thought provoking press release on what apps might be doing by 2017. In summary, apps on smartphones might become data conduits for wearable devices. The data will be used for what’s called "Cognizant computing" that will allow intelligent actions to be taken on behalf of users. For example, needs can predicted and/or tasks completed automatically. As home and entertainment systems become more connected, more things can be controlled in this way.
Large companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple are likely to be the pioneers in this area as they have existing connections to users and have the capability to store and process big data. However, I believe there still opportunities in this area. As Gartner says "Smart home solutions will likely span across various brands and platforms in order to become "intelligent" and deliver good user experience". Companies such as Google and Apple can’t cover all the bases. I can see smaller players being valuable as evidenced by Google’s purchase of Nest.
Android security seems to be in the news at the moment. As I previously mentioned, the security of Android devices is a worrying area. Today, The Register reports on Cisco’s Annual Security Report that says 99% of all mobile malware targeted Android in 2013. However, malware targeting specific handsets accounted for only 1.2% of the total.
Meanwhile, FireEye have just discovered a new JS sidedoor vulnerability.
Countering this, at the Virus Bulletin security conference in Berlin, Google security researchers Adrian Ludwig, Eric Davis, and Jon Larimer presented a paper called “Android – practical security from the ground up” that is covered by Android Authority. It was said that less that 0.001% of all app installations lead to harmful effects to the user.
Following my post on multi-device habits, FirstPartner contacted me to make me aware of their free (registration required) Smart Viewing market map. It gives an overview of the smart viewing ecosystem including some statistics, social TV apps, social media, data/analytics, enabling technologies, advertising and media/services companies.
- Graphs to stop smartphone fans fretting about market share (from the Guardian)
- Mobile wallet usage to increase to over 40% of smartphone users by 2017 (from Parks Associates)
- US smartphone subscriber market share (from Comscore)
- Study into push notifications (from Urban Airship)
- Worldwide shipments of PCs, tablets and phones (from Gartner)
An article at Campaign highlights OMD UK’s Future of Britain research that shows that people swap devices 21 times an hour while watching TV in the evening. People are flipping to other devices at times when they are bored with the TV. I can certainly believe this, especially when multiple people are watching the same programme. Often there’s at least one person is less interested in what’s being watched by the group.
The article concentrates on what this means for TV ads. However, I find it more interesting that while TV manufacturers are integrating the Internet and apps into smart TVs, people are instead accessing via their personal devices. Apart from viewing Netflix or YouTube, most people want to do more personal things such as access social media, view sites or shop rather than share all this with other viewers in the room.