iPhone to Android: Considerations for Developing Mobile Apps
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iPhone to Android: Considerations for Developing Mobile Apps

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This whitepaper delves into the common problem of shifting from one mobile platform to another, in particular, Apple’s iOS to Google’s Android or vice versa. Each platform’s background and ...

This whitepaper delves into the common problem of shifting from one mobile platform to another, in particular, Apple’s iOS to Google’s Android or vice versa. Each platform’s background and features are discussed, along with development considerations. Other aspects included are the differences in hardware and programming languages, multi-platform options, and testing applications.

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iPhone to Android: Considerations for Developing Mobile Apps Document Transcript

  • 1. iPhone to Android Considerations for Developing Mobile Apps Google’s Android OS support, and more. Google’s Android OS is one of mobile’s rising Apple’s iOS stars. While few foresaw Apple originally developed its Android’s meteoric take- mobile operating system, iOS, for off, International Data the iPhone and released it in June Corporation predicts that 2007. Since then both the iPod Android will hold almost Touch and the iPad have included a quarter of worldwide iOS. Apple does not permit Get In the Know market share by 2014. third-party hardware to run on itsAs mobile applications continue operating system, which means itto solidify their importance in The Android OS is the first free, is proprietary software (except forthe digital world, companies open source and fully customiz- open-source components).interested in going mobile have able mobile platform, based onto consider many factors before the modified version of the free iOS derives from MacOSX andtaking the plunge. One of the and open source Linux kernel. shares the Darwin foundation,most important considerations is Android offers a full software which Apple released in 2000.choosing the device(s) for which stack, which includes an operat- Darwin is an open-source com-to develop. ing system, middleware, and key puter operating system com- mobile applications. The Android posed of various code, formingGoogle’s Android and Apple’s software development kit also the core set of iOS components.iPhone are the most popular plat- provides application program- Native applications on Appleforms for apps to date. Because ming interfaces and other tools mobile devices are written inof their popularity, increasingly necessary to develop applica- the Objective-C programmingmore companies want to develop tions. language.cross-platform apps or translateone platform’s version to the Android Features iOS Featuresother. This whitepaper will explain Devices running Android OS offer The Home screen containsthe offerings of each platform and support for an array of features, preloaded default apps such aswhat the considerations may be in including push messaging, various the iPod (splits into two apps, Mu-supporting additional platforms. media formats, Bluetooth, vide- sic and Video on the iPod Touch), ocalling, multitouch, tethering, Safari web browser, iTunes, Voice various connectivity technologies, Memos, Contacts, and GoogleThe Operating Systems’ Back- multitasking, streaming media Maps. Multi-tasking is another grounds and Features Contact PointAbout at 202.391.0347, info@pointabout.com or visit www.pointabout.com for more information.
  • 2. huge perk that iOS offers on the same applications in other mar- Considerations foriPhone 4. kets without restrictions. Development Costs The App Store The App Store vs the Over 300,000 applications are iPhone applications can take any- Marketplace available in the App Store, which where from one to six months of includes thousands of games and full-time development, with costsAndroid Marketplace entertainment titles. Collectively, typically landing between $20,000Android’s community of develop- the App Store boasts over 10 bil- and $150,000. Time and cost areers is expanding at a rapid pace. lion downloads. important considerations, butThe number of applications avail- there are many other factors toable for download in the Android Apple’s iTunes App Store is the consider when going from oneMarket reached 100,000 in Octo- only source for publicly released platform to the next. These fac-ber 2010, roughly two years after applications. It is not only the one tors include language differences,the first phones running Android source for applications (whether user interface and functionalityOS hit stores. free or paid), but it also comes on requirements, the app submission every single iOS device by default process, developer talent, differ-Presently, Android has a variety and is incapable of being deleted ences in devices and hardware,of sources for users to download or removed. and the architecture of the firstpublicly released applications. application.The largest store is Google’s Those interested in iPhone de-official Android Market, but al- velopment must sign up for the Productivityternative stores such as SlideME, iPhone Developer Program One of the most difficult thingsAndroLib, and AppBrain are also Standard track, which enables to do is measure the productivitypopular. Additional app stores them to receive 70% of sales differences between platforms.created by Verizon, Amazon, and revenue without paying any dis- Variations in developer abil-other larger vendors may pop tribution costs. Apple charges a ity levels, preferences, and back-up. A variety of marketplaces is $99 annual fee for the use of the grounds can—and often—leadbeneficial for users and shows iPhone SDK; in turn, developers to different developers favoringevidence of strong growth in the will receive the required digital and being more proficient in oneplatform. Without a single catch- certificate signature needed to platform compared to another.all repository, though, users have sell applications in the App Store. Even within a platform, individuala harder time searching for every developers will display strengthspublished application. and weaknesses that can cause Google’s Android productivity differences. As aMost importantly, the Android and Apple’s iPhone simple example, let’s say youMarketplace places no restric- want to add location features totions on the language that ap- are the most popu- your existing app. Regardless of platform (Android or iPhone), theplications use, the functions they lar platforms for developer experienced in imple-perform, or any other propertyof the application. Registering apps to date. menting such features will fair thedevelopers pay a one-time $25 best in completing the task.fee and earn 70% of the revenues.Developers may also publish the Furthermore, if a customer is go- Contact PointAbout at 202.391.0347, info@pointabout.com or visit www.pointabout.com for more information.
  • 3. ing from an iOS app to an Android development costs. Develop- to Objective-C, Java has more ro-app, the developers involved with ers must consider the particular bust and mature libraries, allowingthe creation of the iOS app should platform version and how that for more “plug-and-play” and lessremain a part of the conversion, version interacts with the device custom development. Accordingif only to serve as a resource on hardware. to a 2009 survey conducted bythe new project. Familiarization Evans Data Corporation, thereis essential because it can help iOS Hardware Standards are over 9 million Java developersdetermine the costs of time and Apple is far stricter in device worldwide, making Java skills themoney. This is a “been around and iOS platform variation. The most common among program-the block before” type of project. first iPhone release established mers thus far. At the same time,Since data services are stable and hardware precedents—screen an overabundance of developersalready in place, the customers size and button placement per- are gravitating toward Android,protect their savings and increase sisted through all the following which consequently drives devel-their productivity. models. Besides the trend-setting opment costs down. touchscreen (iPhone 4’s screen size is slightly different than the Objective-C and iOS Hardware Differences three previous generations), each First released in June 2007, iPhone features four hardware Objective-C is the primary buttons: Home (situated directly programming language used toAndroid’s Hardware Standards under the display), Sleep/Wake, develop native applications forAndroid-powered smartphone Volume, and Silence. All four Apple’s mobile platform, iOS.devices, unlike iOS devices, do iPhones also include (with slight Due to the popularity of Applenot have a plethora of standard variations) speakers, micro- devices, Objective-C developershardware specifications. Due to phones, dock connectors, and are in high demand but in shortdevice variations, platform ver- cameras. supply. iPhone developers tendsions, and the openness of the to charge anywhere from $100 toplatform, there is only one stand- Apple demonstrated consistency $250 per hour.ard hardware specification: four across its devices, adding a setdedicated navigation buttons of focused standards for ap- Differences in User Interface(Home, Search, Back, and Menu). plication development. This will DesignOther variable device features not dramatically decrease the Each platform offers features thatinclude high-megapixel cameras, cost of development, but it does interact with device hardware,keyboards, touchscreens, acceler- decrease time spent on decid- allowing for unique user experi-ometers, GPS, and HDMI ports. ing which device to develop for, ences. When developers and programming, and device testing. designers work with differentRemember: Android OS is not platforms, they must understandspecific to one mobile device. Difference in Programming the specific UI requirements.When an application performs Languagewell across multiple devices, it While the iOS and Androidresults in more downloads and a Java and Android platforms overlap in some UIlarger sales revenue. On the other Java, one of the most popular web requirements, there are quitehand, the need to test across dif- programming languages, is the a few exceptions. One of theferent devices and optimize for programming language for the major differences is navigation,each platform also increases app Android platform. In comparison as shown in the image below. Contact PointAbout at 202.391.0347, info@pointabout.com or visit www.pointabout.com for more information.
  • 4. To move within an application functionalities supporting the iP-and complete various tasks, us- Multi-platform Options hone/iPod Touch, iPad, Blackberryers will interact with iPhone and SDKs, Google Android, Symbian,Android devices differently. For and Palm.example, iPhone users do not More times than not, a budget ishave a hardware Back button the determining factor in decid- PhoneGap generates nativelike Android-powered devices, ing to create a custom applica- wrappers for various platformsso designers must create certain tion. Those on a lean budget can for hybrid web applications.visual cues, letting the user know capitalize on multi-platform op- Developers using PhoneGap cana button means “to go back.” The tions that allow the development tap into their existing skills, createFacebook app images below il- of certain types or styles of ap- code, and insert functionality us-lustrate the Back button/function plications using one tool and that ing native features on the deviceon each device. then generate the application for (GPS, accelerometer, camera, the deployment to more than one maps, and multimedia). WhenAndroid’s UI platform. Some of the leading op- launched, apps run inside of aDesigning for Android is totally tions are PhoneGap, Appcelerator, hosted browser control. Moreo-different than designing for iP- and AppMakr. The cons to using ver, PhoneGap provides a bridgehone. Unlike iOS, which has multi-platform options are con- between JavaScript and nativewell-established, documented cerns about design efforts. These device APIs.guidelines, the Android UI team options can develop pre-existingis just beginning to document apps using HTML and other web Appcelerator Titaniumstandards for visual and interac- technologies, specifically wrap Appcelerator Titanium is an-tion design across the many them for individual platforms, andother open source frameworkdevices on the market today. disburse them into various app similar to PhoneGap. It enables stores. Design factors, however, developers to use web technolo-To date, the Android developer can preclude this approach. For gies (JavaScript, HTML, CSS, andguide offers much information instance, Apple iPhone devices PHP) to create native mobileabout the design of icons, widg- have standard screen sizes and apps across multiple devices andets, menus, styles and themes, one home button, located at the operating systems with a singleactivities and tasks, graphics, bottom of the device. Android codebase, a collection of sourceaudio and video, data storage, devices, on the other hand, have code used to build an application.and more. countless variations of screen Currently, AT supports the iPhone, sizes and buttons (in other words,iPod Touch, iPad, and AndroidiOS UI no device standards). devices, with Blackberry comingWith fewer targeted devices, iOS soon. Unlike PhoneGap, AT doesdesigners have more room to PhoneGap not allow outside code. Devel-focus on design and interaction PhoneGap is free, open source opers will use the Appceleratorprinciples. The iOS Reference development framework, which framework to build applicationsLibrary contains information allows for the creation of plat- from scratch for multiple plat-geared to guide developers form-neutral mobile applications. forms. In addition to the Titaniumthrough the whole application Using common web technologies SDK, developers must downloadcreation process. such as HTML, JavaScript, and the SDK of the platform(s) in CSS, PhoneGap permits users to question. take advantage of native device Contact PointAbout at 202.391.0347, info@pointabout.com or visit www.pointabout.com for more information.
  • 5. Mostly importantly, AT offers the site owners, business owners, physical keyboards, others havecomposition of a native app as bloggers, and writers can all tap virtual keyboards only, and othersthe end result. To achieve this, AT into its features and capabilities. support both. Again, testing willuses a 3-step building block Along with constantly upgraded require devices of each type toprocess: features, available functionalities ensure a functional app, and that• Block #1: Pre-Compiler- opti- include: push-notifications for di- makes for a longer testing cycle. mizes the application’s Javas- rect alert messaging to app users, cript. native photo galleries, location- Because of the limited variations aware Geo-RSS, app quality index in Apple’s core hardware designs,• Block #2: Front-End Compiler- for iTunes App Store approval the testing lifecycle is a bit easier. generates platform-specific recommendations, custom JavaS- Screen resolutions are currently native code as well as any code cript and CSS capabilities, social limited to three different sizes that will assist in compiling AT networks sharing, and mobile ad (iPhone, iPad, iPhone 4/Retina for a particular platform. network integration for monetiz- display), and they are all touch- ing the app’s content. screen only. iOS 4.2 is the latest• Block #3: Platform Compiler OS released by Apple. This re- and Packager- compiles the lease combines features of iOS 4 Testing Applications final native application for the —multi-tasking, unified mailbox, specific platform and pack- and fast app-switching—with ages it for distribution, testing, Regardless of platform, app Airplay, Airprint, and other or to run on a simulator. creators must always test on ac- updates geared toward the iPad. tual devices. Simulators help im-Appcelerator offers numerous mensely during development, butfree and paid support options application behaviors can differ in Bringing It All Togetherto guide developers through the a simulator versus on a physicalapp creation process. There are device.a range of on-demand videos, There are no concrete answerscustom development training, Testing on the Android platform when it comes to the route anypremium forum access, and sup- has a mixed feel. The lack of re- one company or business shouldport webcasts. strictions on applications makes take when creating a mobile Android testing easier than iOS application. The main factorsAppMakr testing. For example, testers to consider are: the devices andAppMakr is a DIY app develop- can utilize open-source testing platforms for the app, whether toment workbench for non-pro- frameworks like Robotium to create a custom or native app, itsgrammers and HTML developers. automate some testing tasks. primary uses, budget, target au-AppMakr.com allows the public However, the plethora of Android dience, and most importantly, theto use a drag-and-drop style devices, which currently come in reputation and previous work ofwizard to build apps quickly and at least six different screen reso- the developing firm/team. Eachsubmit the binary to various app lutions, complicates testing. The platform lends itself differently tomarketplaces. Today AppMakr variation in screen resolutions will the projects at hand, so it’s impor-supports the iPhone and in early grow quickly, as a large number tant to research the advantages2011 it will support iPad, Android, of Android tablets are expected to and limitations of each operatingand Microsoft Phone 7. AppMakr arrive on the market this fall. As it system.is easy to use: people like web- stands now, some devices contain Contact PointAbout at 202.391.0347, info@pointabout.com or visit www.pointabout.com for more information.