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Droid-Blog.net now on Google+

Most of you probably already realized: Google+ is now capable of Pages, an equivalent to the Facebook pages. This was a feature we’ve been lating for for a long time, and now it arrived.

Of course, Droid-Blog.net is also on Google+ now, so go ahead and add us to your circles here. I’m confident that this will be a great new way to interact with you, since it’s still one of the nerdyest social networks out there (based on the nerd/no nerd ratio of the users).

 

Droid-Blog.net is now on Google+

Droid-Blog.net is now on Google+

Android Market: Mutliple APKs – how it works

If you checked your developer console in the last hour, you will have noticed that the Android Market now allows developers to upload multiple APKs of the same app.

We all know the problem: The Android platform has a huge variety of devices and screen densities. Hence, all apps should support four pixel densities and every image needs to be saved in four sizes. This results in apps much bigger than they have to be. Now, this problem is solved. From now on it is possible to upload different APKs with the same packagename and different filters to support the fitting app to the users device. This can shrink the apps size dramatically.

Here is how it works:

  1. All APKs need to have the same packagename and must be signed with the same certificate key.
  2. All APKs need to have a different version code.
  3. The filters used to differentiate between your APKs are screen size, Open GL texture format and API level.
  4. These filters must not all be equal over the different APKs.
  5. If there is a case when only the API level differenciates two APKs, the APK with the higher API level needs to have the higher version code. Let me explain this: An Android device recognizes available updates only via the version code, so when a version code of an app available on the market is < than the version code of an app with an identical packagename on a device, an update is available. Now imagine this: You install an app with a version code = 4 and an API level = 7. There are Multiple APKs available, the other one being for API level = 8 with a version code 3. Now the device gets an update to API level 8. There is a new APK available, but the version code of that new APK is lower than that of the APK currently installed, therefore no available update will be identified. To avoid thas error, this rule has to be adhered to.
  6. To get everything done correctly, the Android Market team suggests a scheme for the version code of an app:
    Suggested version code scheme

    Suggested version code scheme

     

Keeping all this in mind you are ready to upload multiple APKs to the Android Market. Simply go to the new APK files tab and choose advanced mode. Choose activate on all the APKs you want to be delivered.

Conclusion

Now it is possible to publish an app in different forms for the different devices on the Android Market. Unfortunately there are no tools supporting this yet and maintaining many codebases takes a lot of time. Producing one APK for all devices is still considered best practice, but the developers can decide on their own.

Please tell me what you think of the new Android Market feature in the comments.

The new Android Market design: Essentials

The new Android Market is still arriving. Some things have changed, here’s what’s essential for app developers:

The new Android Market Design

The new Android Market Design

  1. No more Just In: The Just In tab always gave developers the change to boost their apps visibility for a short time. This is gone now. If you have an important update, publish it now, as long as some people still have the old version of the Android Market.
  2. Top Grossing, Top New, Trending: Instead, there are some new categories: Top Grossing shows the apps bringing in the most money over the last time. It’s interesting to see the rise of In-App Billing here as some of the apps listed are free. Top New Free amd Top new Paid shows the best performing newest apps. Trending shows the apps that are gaining big download numbers. All these new categories are already available on the web interface for a little while.
  3. New Featured Categories: The Market now comes with a Staff Choices and an Editor’s Choice category. While the latter is describet as “Here are some of the best apps on Android Market, as chosen by our staff.”, I don’t know what the difference is (yet).
  4. Promotion Videos: Your promotion videos are now also shown on the device (Got to make some videoss soon).
  5. Five lines of introduction text: That’s important for the way you structure your Description. You now have five instead of three lines to tell the user what your app is all about.
  6. Comments: Are now a mixture of old and new comments.
  7. Two apps in a row: As you can see on the screenshot, the Market now shows two apps instead of one in a row. This gives the user a faster overview over all the apps out there (I like it).
  8. Changed search algorithm: It seems that the search algorithm has changed again as some of my apps are now ranked quiet different.

I know, there are also books and movies now, but that’s not important for developers, especially when they are not living in the US (like me).

Some of you already knew this, but if you didn’t, I hope it was helpful. Please feel free to leave any comment you want, twitter, plusone or like it.

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