Mobile Developer News Roundup for Monday, June 4, 2012

by Joey deVilla on June 4, 2012

How do top Android developers QA test their apps? There are so many different Android phones out there, many with different specs, screen resolutions and OS versions (see the pie chart above, showing the distribution of Android phones for users of Red Robot Labs’ apps) that’s it’s practically impossible to test your app on every device.

In this TechCrunch article, Kim-Mai Cutler talks to some Android developers — Red Robot Labs, Pocket Gems, Storm8 and Animoca — about how they deal. The first three use some variation on the 80/20 rule, testing on about 30 or 40 devices that are representative of the Android devices used by their target markets, while Animoca test on hundreds because much of their user base is in Asia, where there’s a plethora of cheap Android-based but not necessarily Android-certified mobile devices.

The article includes a slideshow and video from Pocket Gems’ Jeff DeCew and Arjun Dayal about how they deal with developing for such a wide array of Android devices, and I’ve included them below.

The seven deadly sins, as explained in the blog Indexed. Click the image to see the original.

The seven deadly sins of mobile app design. The article goes into more detail, but quickly listed, they are:

  1. Kitchen sink: trying to cram too much into your design.
  2. Inconsistency: inconsistency of design, that is, which includes deviating unnecessarily from the OS’ UI guidelines.
  3. Overdesigning: “extra visual flourishes, meaningless elements, and the shouldn’t-we-have-something-there images”.
  4. Lack of speed: remember, this is a device that favours saving power over raw processing capability.
  5. Verbiage: brevity is the soul of apps.
  6. Non-standard interaction: unless there’s a really good reason for it, this is not a good idea.
  7. Help and FAQ-itis: “Adding a Help is a white flag in the usability war: you’ve surrendered, you can’t win, and you give up”.

The Walmart Garden Smartphone. Jean-Louis Gassée sets up an interesting fiction that Walmart’s Silicon Valley-based Walmart Labs is creating an Android-based smartphone for Walmart in order to make Walmart “the Walmart of smartphones”. He says that the idea is ridiculous for a number of reasons, and for the same reasons, so are the rumours about Facebook making their own phone.

It’s an interesting thought experiment and a good argument, but I still think that it doesn’t completely invalidate the Facebook phone rumours. Walmart isn’t a an online platform while Facebook is, and that makes a pairing with a device specifically designed to access online platforms a more sensible idea.

New mobile devices! Among them:

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