The Best Designed Android Apps of Summer 2014

Posted on September 5th, 2014 by

Every now and then, Google makes a list of the apps on Google Play that reflect the type of design that Google recommends to developers. After the announcement of Android L and Material Design, Google’s list for Summer 2014 includes beautifully designed apps that include elements of Material Design.


Here is what Google said regarding their ‘Beautiful Design Summer 2014’ list:


“Attention to detail makes an app truly beautiful: transitions are fast and clear, and layout and typography are crisp and meaningful. In this collection, we highlight a few beautiful apps with masterfully crafted design details.”


Below is a look at all 12 apps that made Google’s list:


Gogobot Travel (Travel & Local, Free)



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Google Advertising ID: FAQs

Posted on August 15th, 2014 by
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On August 1, Google began enforcing a new policy for Google Play Services concerning the Advertising ID. Meant to replace the Android ID, Google now requires any new apps to be compliant with the Advertiser ID, and they recommend that all current apps update to the latest version of Google Play Services to become compliant. Any non-compliant apps will still function and be available for download, but non-compliant developers run the risk of being contacted by Google for policy violations, which could lead to a ban on developer accounts.


What is the Ad ID?


The Advertising ID is a resettable, unique, user-specific identification number used specifically for advertising purposes. This anonymous identifier gives users greater control over advertising and ad targeting, and standardizes the monetization process for developers. iOS developers should recognize similarities between the Google Ad ID and the Apple ID, implemented earlier this year.


If a user doesn’t wish to receive targeted ads, they can simply opt-out of them through Google settings. Users are also able to reset their Ad ID at any time. These preferences are then communicated to ad-supported apps through the Advertiser ID through the Google Play Services API.


Ad IDs typically will resemble the following:



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Everything Developers Need To Know About Android ‘L’

Posted on June 27th, 2014 by

This week at Google IO, Google announced the latest version of their Android operating system. Dubbed Android ‘L’ (for now), it is one of the biggest overhauls to the Android ecosystem since Gingerbread. This year, Google also deviated from their usual release pattern. Android ‘L’ is actually available for developers to download right now! The goal is for developers to have time to get used to the new changes and optimize their apps before the consumer release this fall.


So, here is everything that Android developers need to know about this latest version of the Android OS:




A lot of the changes that Google made are focused on improving app performance. For this reason, Google decided to replace the Dalvik virtual machine with the Android Runtime (ART) compiler. ART was mentioned around the time of the KitKat release, but it was only regarded as an experimental release. Now, Android is abandoning Dalvik altogether and is relying on the cross-platform capabilities of ART.


The largest difference between the two runtimes is that ART relies on a AOT (ahead-of-time) compiler, as opposed to Dalvik’s JIT (just-in-time) compiler. This change allows ART to process code in advance, resulting in a much smoother and fluid performance as well as a significant positive impact on battery life.

ART will be immediately compatible with the existing Android ecosystem, and developers do not have to make ANY changes to their apps in order to take advantage of the great benefits of ART.

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User Retention on iOS vs. Android

Posted on June 13th, 2014 by

App analytics company Localytics released new data this week showing that only 4 in 5 mobile apps are opened only once. Most developers would see this number and start to worry. If only 1 in 5 apps are opened twice or more, how does an independent app developer stand a chance??


The truth isn’t as serious as it may seem.


In fact, the number of apps being opened more than once is steadily increasing each year. Last year, the number of apps opened just once was 22%. Four years ago, this number was 26%. Today, that number is down to 20%. If we break it down in terms of app categories, sports apps and gaming apps have the highest chance of being abandoned after one use. Social networking and weather apps have the highest chance of retaining users past the initial use.

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New Game Subcategories Help Indie Devs

Posted on May 23rd, 2014 by

In April 2014, Google rolled out and update to the Google Play Store. In this update, Google made a lot of changes to the “Games” app category. Instead of the original 6 main game sub-categories, Google expanded the number of subcategories to 18.


These new categories are much more specific and specialized than the original categories, making it easier for users to find the games they want. And, these new changes had a positive impact on the Google Play Store’s revenue as well. According to a new report from Distimo, from February 2014 to April 2014 revenue from gaming apps increased by over 15%!


Take a look at the changes from February 2014 to April 2014:

Clearly, the volume of installs is much more spread out than it was before. Casual games and arcade games still dominate, but each of the remaining categories shows an impressive opportunity for growth.

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Google Rolls Out Updates for Google Play Services

Posted on May 9th, 2014 by

Google just announced the new features for Google Play Services version 4.4, and they promise that these updates will help you enhance your app better than ever before. As the update begins to roll out worldwide, here is what you can be looking forward to:


Google Maps Android API


The latest update to the Google Maps API gives you the ability to embed Street View into your apps, giving your users the ability to use 360-degree panoramic views. The new API also gives users the ability to control the Street view camera in terms of zoom and screen orientation.


Google also added additional features to their Indoor Maps API. Find more info about it on the Android Developer’sblog.


Activity Recognition


Using Google’s Location API? You’re in luck! Google added two additional tracking options, allowing you to detect whether the user is running or walking. This new API update gives you the power to be even more responsive to your users as they are on the go, elevating any location-based capabilities that you already have integrated into your app

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App Updates and Proper Versioning

Posted on April 18th, 2014 by

One of the keys to long term success on the app stores is releasing occasional app updates. Updates help address user concerns and will keep your app “fresh” in the minds of your users. If you wish to keep your app live for a long time, you will most likely release a sizable amount of app updates. If this is the case, how will you keep track of how many updates you have completed, and how will potential users know that you are actively updating your app?


Below are some of the most common types of app updates and how to use proper software versioning to help you, your users, and the app stores keep track:


Types of Updates:


Bug Fix (Revision):


The most common updates are usually big fixes. Bug fixes usually won’t change the structure or UI/UX of the app, but they do patch up any bugs or issues caught by users as they are trying out your app.  Developers should try to roll out bug fixes as soon as possible after a bug is reported.


It could be that you are receiving a lot of bug reports from users all at once. How do you decide which to fix? Focus first on the bugs that affect the highest number of users, and then categorize others based on the severity of the bug.


You can keep track of bug fixes through proper software versioning. Software versioning usually follows this pattern: major version.minor version.revision


According to the common number scheme for software versioning, any bug fixes are considered minor revision updates. So, once you update version 1.0 of your app with your first bug fix, your versioning number should read: 1.0.1 (major version 1, minor version 0, revision 1)

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The State of the App Stores: Q1 2014

Posted on April 15th, 2014 by

App Annie has just released their quarterly app intelligence report which tracks trends across the mobile app industry. Although there haven’t been any dramatic changes in the app industry from last quarter, there are still some important things that app developers should know, especially in regards to which countries are important to target:


Google Play Leads Downloads:


In terms of downloads, Google Play outpaces the iOS App Store by 45% (up 35% from last quarter). Google Play has consistently had more downloads than the App Store for a few months now, but it is worth nothing where these downloads are coming from.


The largest download growth was seen in Russia, Brazil, and Mexico, with Mexico seeing the most dramatic growth. The Mexican mobile market grew by 75% in 2013, and it is expected to grow 40% in 2014. So far, 65% of all mobile growth in Mexico has been on Android-powered devices.

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User Retention: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

Posted on April 1st, 2014 by

Getting users to download your app is much different than getting users to use your app. A recent report found that 80-90% of users removed an app from their device after only one use! This means that it is more important than ever for app developers to make a powerful first impression on a user. Below are 5 things a developer should avoid in order to master the art of the first impression:




It can be tempting to ask a user to register with your app before they use it. This way, you’ll be able to gather information about them which will be used to personalize their experience or to bolster your marketing efforts. However, reports show that over 50% users will abandon an app if they have to register before exploring its features. If you want to keep some of those users, consider delaying the registration process until a) they want to access a specific part of your app reserved for registered customers only or b) they open your app for the second time.


Also, if you integrate social media into your login process, allow users the option of registering without integrating their social media profiles. Not everyone wants to share their activities constantly with their social networks.

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Submitting an App to the Google Play Store: A Checklist

Posted on March 21st, 2014 by

Though submitting an app to the Google Play Store is less of a hassle than submitting to the Apple App Store, Google still requires a number of things from their developers. Take a look at what materials you will need before publishing your app on Google Play:




Before you even begin the process of setting up an account, you should make sure that you have tested your app thoroughly. Android devices come in an increasingly wider variety of sizes, pixel densities, processing power, and OS versions. Figure out which device types you want to target, and then test your app as much as possible to make sure it works on those devices.


Start thinking about your monetization strategy. If you wish to release your app as a paid app, keep in mind that you cannot change your pricing model to free down the road. Developers with free apps can change their apps to paid, but then you cannot change it back. Developing a monetization strategy beforehand can save you a lot of headaches down the road.


Set up a website for your app and a support channel where users can contact you with questions, concerns, and technical problems. You should also begin to set up your social media channels to further connect with users.

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