Android

The world's most popular platform can’t be avoided

As of now, Android has a 72.83% share of the global mobile OS market. The closest alternative is iOS with 26.35%. That means nearly 73% of the world’s mobile users interact with your company via Google’s mobile operating system.

Those are statistics you can’t deny. So, if your business is serious about expanding into the mobile market, you can’t ignore Android, as to do so would be denying the vast majority of users across the globe easy access to what you have to offer.

That’s not to say Android is the most popular mobile operating system in every country. In fact, if you only examine the United States, you see a very different picture. In the US, iOS tops the market with a 57.62% market share, with Android close behind at 42.06%. Or if you look at Japan, you’ll see iOS with 68.61% and Android at 31.23%. It’s when you look at Asia, that you see where Android makes tremendous gains (82.72% vs iOS at 16.34%).

One of the biggest reasons for this disparity is that Android devices are far cheaper than Apple hardware, and in impoverished countries that makes a huge difference. And with Asia having over 4.5 billion people, the difference becomes clear.

What does that mean for your business? It means if you plan on marketing to the vast Asian continent, you must include Android in your development plans.

Android Developers Hiring Guide

  • How to choose the best
  • Interview questions
  • Job Description

What is Android?

Android is a mobile operating system based on a modified version of the Linux kernel and various open-source software. This OS is used on smartphones and tablets and is developed by a consortium known as the Open Handset Alliance, which is commercially supported by Google. 

The first release of Android was on September 23, 2008. Android is regularly upgraded yearly (usually between September and October) and enjoys monthly security and software updates via OTA (Over The Air). 

Besides being found on numerous inexpensive devices, one of the biggest draws to Android is its seamless integration with the Google cloud services, such as Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Calendar, and Gmail.

Android is mostly written in Java (UI), C (core), and C++. And although Android is released as open-source, most devices do include proprietary software (such as the Google Play Service background service).

The Android platform makes use of the Google Play Store, which allows users to easily install any of the nearly 2 million apps available on it. At the moment, Android uses the APK package format, but will soon be migrated to the Android App Bundle format, which is an important change for all businesses and developers to get on board with (as new APKs won’t be accepted in the Play Store).

Android Features

For those looking to jump on board the Android development train, here are the features to keep in mind as you get started:

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    Interface – is based on touch input as well as voice commands.
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    Home Screen – is the primary information and navigation “hub” for the OS. This is analogous to the desktop on PCs and laptops.
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    Status bar – is the thin bar at the top of the display that shows information about the device (such as notifications and system statuses like connectivity and battery).
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    Notifications – timely pieces of information derived from installed applications.
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    App lists (also called App Drawer) – lists all of the installed applications and allows for their launching.
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    Gestures – allow for easy navigation, interacting with applications, and content viewing.
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    Background services – services that run in the background and that don’t require an open app to run.
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    Connectivity – carrier services, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFS, VPN, hotspot, DNS.
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    Memory management – crucial for both performance and battery life.
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    File Management – the ability for users to manage files on their devices.
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    Hardware – because Android is available to multiple OEMs, the Android Open Source Project was created to make the open-source Android code available to developers.

It’s important that your developers have a complete grasp of all of the elements that come together to create the Android operating system.

How to get started developing for Android

By now you’ve realized that Android apps are a must for your company. With that in mind, how do you get started? 

The first thing you need to do is take a visit to the Android Developer website, where you’ll find everything you need to begin your journey developing in the ecosystem. From that site, you can download the Android Studio (the fastest tools for building all types of Android apps), launch the Play Console (where you can manage the apps you publish to Google Play), and even sign up for courses on Android developing. 

As far as the languages you (or your developers) will need for the journey, you should consider:

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    Kotlin
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    C#
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    HTML
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    CSS

And to really take your Android development to the next level (which, in turn, offers serious benefits for your company), you (or your developers) should have a solid understanding of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. For that, you’ll want to seriously consider adding TensorFlow into the mix.

Conclusion

It’s not a matter of if but when your company will have to dive into the world of Android. When that time comes, the best way for your developers to enjoy success is to be fully prepared for what’s to come. With just a bit of work upfront, that journey can begin on the right foot and lead your business to markets you might not have been tapped.

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