Android One in Mind, Google Encourage Developers to Optimise Apps for the Next 5 Billion

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Android One in Mind, Google Encourage Developers to Optimise Apps for the Next 5 Billion
Earlier this week, Google partnered with India's Micromax, Karbonn, and Spice to unveil its first set of low-cost Android One smartphones. With the promise of quality hardware (relative to the cost) and regular software updates, the Android One initiative is meant to provide an optimum Android experience to those on a budget. With the hardware and core OS in order, Google is now focusing its attention on third-party developers.

(Also see: Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon in Battle for Indian Android One Market)

"These days, we often talk about smooth, 60fps transitions and keeping apps jank-free, and rightly so - performance is a critical metric for app quality," Developer Advocate Rich Hyndman writes on the Android Developers Blog. "But in the user experience hierarchy of needs, an app should first and foremost do its job reliably and consistently."

Hyndman then takes an example of how an app with search functionality could adapt to poor connectivity conditions, a scenario that's especially pertinent to emerging markets where the Android One phones are expected to make a mark.

(Also see: Android One Smartphones Sales Could Touch 2 Million in 2014: MediaTek)

"If you're trying to build a robust app to reach the next five billion, it might be less about returning a result immediately, and more about returning a result at all," Hyndman writes. "To address this challenge, why not include an option to users to 'notify me with the results' when a search query is running on a slow network? Your app can then take as long as it needs to successfully retrieve the data in the background and show a notification when complete."

Hyndman points developers to tools like the Android Emulator that they can use to simulate various network speed and network delay conditions and test their apps under varying conditions.

Apart from poor connectivity, another common factor on the low-cost Android One smartphones is likely to be limited RAM availability. Hyndman points developers to tools in the Android SDK they can use to check and optimise their apps' memory usage.

Finally, with battery usage becoming a key focus with Android L and Project Volta, the post encourages users to pay attention to the power requirements of their apps.

"By ensuring your app works well on slower networks, uses minimal memory, minimises battery usage and doesn't have a larger-than-necessary APK, you will help the next five billion discover, use and love your app," Hyndman concludes.

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Further reading: Android L, Mobiles, Google, Android One, Android
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