Android App Development and the Various Tailored Services for Enterprises

The use of Android-based smartphones has grown considerably in the recent years. It boasts of an incredible number of apps in its market which is growing at an incredible rate of 32 per cent every month. There are brilliant smartphones available now for every price range thus giving them a huge number of options. The rise in interest has been credited with the new models like Samsung S III. There are certain HTC models which have been very popular along with Sony Ericsson which has launched mid-range budget phones in recent months. Android being open source has been extremely successful in attracting various developers for creating innovative apps.

There is a huge and open market place for developers for publishing their apps. There are less restrictions for Android app development compared to the iPhone market and apps can be created for and on any platform: Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X.

Companies offering Android app development are extremely in demand as there is a huge need of applications of different types in the mobile world. Android is preferred by many of the developers and inspite of its less number of apps in the store, people prefer Android phones because of range and budget. The newer phones boast of high end graphics too. Core library support is essential too for the creation of innovative apps

The apps which are shipped with the default software development kit are Email Client, SMS, and Google products including Google Chrome and the contacts section. One can easily reuse the existing framework APIs for better and solid third party Android applications. Programmers are also provided with basic or complex apps as they desire.

Coming to the enterprise world, mobile field personnel are lost when they are out in the field for getting a real-time notification about the inventory or even get an idea about a sales visit address. Sales orders are usually done manually and then entered in the system and updated after they are back in their office. The manual input of data is done in the company ERP database. This is absolute wastage of resource time and even the sales order updates are not of real-time nature. Sometimes sales personnel realize that they are short on inventory but are unable to deliver. This creates problems for the sales personnel since they do not have immediate updates. They might even lose the customer’s location and address.

Mobile field service apps are created as Android apps and are usually integrated with ERP solutions so that there is information sync between sales personnel and the database with real-time updates on both sides.

Many offshore companies are well-versed for creating and developing Java-based third party mobile applications, for mobile devices including tablets and smartphones.

Here is a list of the most popular Android application development services:

  • Application development for mobile devices
  • Custom application development
  • Java-based game development
  • Android games and utilities development
  • Mobile business software development
  • Third-party libraries implementation
  • Security-based mobile solutions
  • Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS support-based apps
  • Communication apps
  • Design apps for companies
  • QA and testing services

How To Develop Android Apps: Getting Started

In this article, I will give an introduction on how to develop Android apps. I will not get into many technical details but rather give an overview of the approaches you should consider before you get started.

Smartphones are taking the World by storm. In may 2012 a news item appeared which stated that in Europe, more than 50% of all new mobile phones sold were smartphones. In 2011 the worldwide sales figures of Android phones exceeded those of the iPhone, the phone that started the “smartphone revolution”.

With the growing number of Android phones, the number of available apps (small programs designed to work on these devices) has also grown explosively. In addition to mobile phones, other devices such as tablet computers that run on the Android operating system are also gaining popularity. The consequence of all this is that there is a growing need for Android apps.

The Google Play Store (formerly Android Market) is growing at an enormous rate: there are now over 500,000 apps available. These are very diverse: utility apps such as text messengers, task managers and email clients but also a host of games. The most popular apps are being downloaded millions of times. Other interesting categories are apps that enhance businesses. Examples of these are apps that enable customers to purchase products right from their mobile phone or apps that provide the location of a company branch in the vicinity of the user.

The increasing popularity of mobile apps gives rise to many interesting business opportunities. This trend is unlikely to change any time soon and established business around the world are acknowledging this fact. Not only have many businesses produced mobile apps to grow their revenue or enhance their image. The rise of mobile apps appears to be changing the way businesses and consumers think about software. A telling example comes from Microsoft: the new Windows 8 operating system has a “mobile look and feel” and the software programs in the system are now referred to as “apps”.

So, if you want to learn how to develop Android apps where should you start? It depends on your previous experience (if any) and the amount of time and money you are willing to spend.

The most obvious route is doing all the programming yourself. To do this you need knowledge of the Java programming language and the Android Software Development Kit. If you have never programmed before, you will have to learn a lot about subjects such as object oriented programming and working with the necessary developer tools. This is the long, hard road to becoming an app developer… however, if you succeed at making your first few apps, it can be extremely satisfying and you will have gained a lot of useful knowledge!

If you do not know how to program and don’t want to learn how to write Android apps then, fortunately, there are other options. Several software products exist which make the app for you. Most of these are online applications that use “wizards” and templates. A limitation of this approach is that you will not have as much control over the result as you would when doing all the programming yourself. Some of these app makers are free, others offer a subscription service or a one time payment.

If app creation software doesn’t suit your needs, a third way is to hire a freelancer or a company to do the developing. If you are an individual hobbyist or running a small business, this may seem intimidating and expensive. However, using a resource such as oDesk we now have access to many cheap freelancers living outside of North America and Europe. Many are very capable at their job, so developing your app this way does not have to cost much at all.

Personally, I started out trying to do all the programming myself. I couldn’t find an online app maker that suited my needs and I did not want to spend a lot of money. However, although I had a little coding experience, I am not a software developer by profession. So when a relatively simple programming problem reared its head, I got stuck.

After some hesitation, I decided to let a freelancer solve the problem and this sped up the development of my app enormously! It did not cost me a lot of money (around $100) and I was able to get the app to the market much faster than if I had done everything myself. This allowed me to start testing the responses of customers sooner to see if it was a viable business idea.

This “hybrid” approach worked for me but you will have to find out for yourself what works best for you. Which method you choose doesn’t matter as long as you reach your goal: making the idea you have right now for your app a reality. Something that people can use and enjoy, and perhaps will make you some money or help your existing business!

In conclusion, there are several ways to get started developing Android apps. With so much information and services at your disposal, you have the opportunity to make your “dream app” a reality!

Most Popular Android Apps For April 2010

In Wiki4Android we did a research on the top 5 latest, fastest growing apps of the past month March – April 2010. Unsurprisingly, all of these applications are free.

Out of the 5 applications, 3 are games, with Paper Toss gaining the most downloads in the shortest period of time (about 23k downloads per day).

2 of the top 5 games are MMO (massively multiplayer online game). (Hint hint, game developers) World War is currently the second fastest growing application in terms of rate of downloads.

Below are the top 6 fastest growing application in the Android Market, ranked by users rate of download.

Paper Toss (Action Game, 23k downloads/day)

The most popular game of March – April is the simple yet addictive Paper Toss by Backflip studios. This game is great because it’s so simple that even kids know how to play. Easy touch controls, great sound effects, and nice graphics are the features of this game. Originally a game developed for iPhone.

World War (MMO RPG, 20k downloads/day)

World War (by Storm8) was on iPhone for quite some time, and now that it comes to Android, it became an instant hit due to the already huge number of players / fans. This game has pretty sophisticated game play. It has multiple upgrades and unlocks based on your level. Apart from that, there is a social element that lets you form alliances with players from all over the world.

Opera Mini 5 (Utility – browser, 17k downloads/day)

This is a really fast browser. The main features that are advertised by Opera are tabbed browsing, the speed dial feature, password management system etc. Pages also display faster with Opera because of its powerful server side compression.

Engadget (Utility – news, 10k downloads/day)

Many of us Android users are also tech-savvy people. Engadget app by AOL Inc. keeps you up to date with the latest development in electronics, gadgets, and Android news. If you don’t like reading (like me), you might still be interested in watching “the Engadget Show” available for streaming online if you download this application.

Pocket Empires (MMO strategy, 3k downloads/day)

This game reminds us of Travian. You build your city, perform researches, harvest resources and train army. There are tons of upgrades, items, and different kinds of enemies that makes this game worth playing for a long time without ever getting bored. Other than that, this game has nice graphics and features a global top 100 player board.