Sunday, December 21, 2014

2015: The Year of Android

Russell Ivanovic:

Firstly screen sizes on Android are actually less fragmented on Android than iOS. If you don’t understand why, or don’t believe me then you need to read this, followed by this. Secondly platform fragmentation is largely not a concern anymore. If you launch an app today you can target Android 4.1 and above, and have access to far more users than the entirety of the iOS platform. If you really want to go Android 5.0 only, you can do that too. All of the Nexus devices, as well as high profile ones from LG, Motorola and many others are currently seeing Android 5.0 being rolled out to them.

So if I can convince you that there’s money to be made, that fragmentation is not as bad as people think it is, what’s left? To me the next most important thing is how the App Store on the platform works.


And that’s just the high profile developers. I shudder to think of how many small developers, with no contacts in the media are just being crushed on a daily basis. Do I see those things on Android? Nope. The only place I’ve seen Google crack down is on apps that download from YouTube and apps that do nefarious things. The first is against YouTube’s TOS, clearly so, and the second is obvious. I can’t tell you just how refreshing it is to push ‘publish’ on a brand new app or update, and see it in the store an hour later.

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Re screen fragmentation: This guy is completely missing the point. Game developers (i.e., most app developers) have this much worse than normal productivity app developers. It's a heck of a lot simpler dealing with iOS if you're starting with bitmap assets, which is the case for most nontrivial games, or you're vector, but care about how the user spatially interacts with your game controls.

See any number of Gamasutra articles. This isn't a myth, and it isn't going away, although middleware can simplify the problems for some games.

I think he has a point about the App Store policies. If you're going to do something novel that has some chances of crossing the ever-moving line of what is acceptable for Apple, perhaps it'd be best to do it on Android first.

[…] Ivanovic wrote an intriguing post titled “2015: The Year of Android” (via Michael Tsai). With a title like that, I had to check it […]

Ivanovic's analysis fails to take in account actual physical screen size, not just pixels. Physical size affects things like touch target size, visibility, and accessibility, among others. Android fragmentation sucks because of the variety of physical sizes, not just the number of "points" on the screen.

Android is actually resolution independent, unlike iOS. So when you design something that is 1/2 inch, its that size across all devices. When the iPad mini was announced I was pretty surprised that Apple took the cheap way out and just shrunk the screen with no regard to this.

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