Mobile app development is currently a booming business opportunity, showing no signs of slowing anytime soon. Developing a successful app requires a great deal of time and effort, and it’s important to understand the trends and technology available in order to accurately assess what impact your decisions will have. Selecting which mobile OS to focus your app development on is vital, particularly if you have little experience in the mobile market in the first place. With that in mind, let’s cover a few reasons why Android may be the OS for you.
1. The Android user-base is growing fast
For years, iOS dominated the mobile marketplace with their iPhone and iPad products, but recently, Android has taken a major leap ahead in the global market, with 83.4% of all mobile devices running Android software. Android is built on Linux with some additional libraries and platforms built in.
While iOS is only available on dedicated Apple devices, there are countless devices built for Android. The Android OS is essentially free software for consumers and manufacturers to install, so there are a variety of big and small brands that release mobile devices built with Android as their OS.
There is a notable caveat attached to these devices, however, and it’s the fact that they have no real standardized specifications. Since all iOS-based products come directly from Apple, they have a predictable set of specifications each generation which makes targeted app development a bit easier, while Android based devices have fewer consistent specifications. Because of that, it’s important to design your apps with device variability in mind and to ensure a wide degree of compatibility is available in order to maximize your possible impact on the app market.
2. The main programming language is Java
The language of choice for developing apps for Android is Java. Java is one of the most popular and commonly used programming languages, with a history dating back to 1995. Java is designed to be simple and readable, as well as run on any environment that supports it thanks to the Java virtual machine.
Among popular programming languages, Java consistently comes in as the second or third most used language in the world. Consequently, there are vast amounts of resources in order to learn the basics of Java, as well as more in-depth resources in order to grasp the complex side of the language as well. Using these resources, it’s possible to build the skills necessary for custom Android app development in a reasonable amount of time. Alternatively, due to Java’s popularity, it’s much easier to find a viable partner to outsource the programming to or bring on board as a dedicated developer.
No matter the route you choose, understanding the fundamentals of Java at the bare minimum will dramatically increase your development capabilities. Java is a mandatory piece of the puzzle for Android development, so its integral to keep it in mind.
3. The Android SDK is open source
The official Android SDK (software development kit) is an open source set of development tools that assist in the development of Android-based software. The SDK contains every necessary library in order to develop your apps, as well as a debugger and, crucially, an Android emulator, among other useful tools.
While an official SDK isn’t all that uncommon in software development, open source development kits are rare. The open source nature of the Android SDK means that it’s possible to improve the SDK for your own development purposes as you see fit. It is possible to tailor the development process to exactly what you need, and outside of personally editing the SDK, there exists a vast community of enthusiasts and experts improving and updating the kit regularly. The benefit of having access to the open source community means that you can always be sure that the software you’re using is the best tool for the job.
When you consider the popularity of Android, alongside the continuing popularity and demand for Java, it’s easy to see why developing for Android is a great decision. The open source and free official Android SDK means that the cost barrier to entry is low, and you can be certain the technology is constantly improving and evolving.