Android Market Potential

The Android platform has a multitude of negatives for developers such as fragmentation, Tizen, de-compilation, poor app sales, etc. However, it looks like adding Android as a build-target might be good for Xojo, Inc. Judging by Alexa ranks, mobile cross-platform RAD tools seem to be doing land-office business:

PhoneGap - 8,422
Xamarin - 9,310
Appcelerator - 12,951
Corona - 35,165
B4 - 50,003
Xojo - 150,047

Perhaps the market is already saturated, and Xojo would be better off being early to a new platform. After all, new platforms are sprouting up all the time.

Looks to me you should put points on that feature request, now solid number two in the top ten :

11151 - Add support for building apps for Google’s Android mobile smartphone OS

Since Number one is 64 bit support that is already in the pipe line and will be a reality when 2015R3 is released, it is time to move the point to it to push Android support to the top.

Android is the leader of all computing devices OSes (mobile, desktop, laptop) according to statistics, such as

My experience with the Play Store is very limited, as I posted only one little test app when I played with B4A last year. But it seems to me that market is promising, somewhat with more potential than the App Store for consumer software. At least my app can be found in the play store, while the one I have in the App store does not come up, even when I enter its exact name ! The App Store is a mess unless you got millions in advertising.

That said, Android is not a walk on rose petals. Fragmentation is no joke, with screen resolution to start with. In B4A, autoscale eases somewhat the process, making the layout show proportionally no matter which screen size, a bit like RubberViews. Problem is, fonts and pictures may still need management.

When it becomes outright terrible is rotation. Contrary to iOS where Auto Layout takes care of rearranging controls, even autoscale does not follow, as the aspect ratio has changed (autoscale works only for a given aspect ratio, Portrait or landscape). As far as I could figure, there are no third party auto layout solutions for B4A. So in practice, an app must have a set of views for Portrait, and another one for Landscape.

I strongly believe Xojo should investigate Android, though. Even if, at this time, 64 bit is the topic of the day with a coming release that demands a lot of work, and if iOS needs a whole lot of love to approach the maturity of Desktop, with a more complete set of controls to start with.

Yes, I put points on it. I have a free practice app in the Google Play store. I don’t think it has gotten any downloads from the store itself, just from the traffic I’ve driven to it with my own website. I wrote it in Java, and it was like walking over hot coals compared to Xojo. Testing on the simulator with all the various devices took longer than writing the code.

If you absolutely must develop for Android, I found B4A to be close enough to Xojo to be bearable. And the app I made does work fairly nicely across resolutions, thanks to autoscale. But I really wish Xojo considers Android as the next platform.

I’ll keep that in mind in case I get a client asking for an Android app. Thanks.

All current screensizes:

Haha !

These guys always have interesting graphs

Somwhat more up-to-date graphs :wink:

Now - this isn’t to say that Android ISN’T an opportunity
It is.

We’ve looked at it enough to know “not right now” is the right answer for us at this time

It was been awhile since Feedback Case #11151 was originally opened. I supported back in 2010 when it opened, and now five years later with Android running on 80% of the worldwide smartphones it makes even more sense.

Xojo has changed greatly over the years (and for the better mostly). But reluctance to adopt to the changing landscape has hurt it.

Today there is an overwhelming need to create apps and interfaces from mobile devices to existing infrastructure. While I will continue to make use of realbasic/xojo, it is a shame I can not use it for this task.