Since the unveiling of Android One, Google have been working hard behind the scenes to make sure the new Android platform will be up and running on time. Yesterday was the launch date in India for Android One making its debut on three different Indian OEMs, Micromax, Karbonn and Spice. For those of you who are not up-to-date with Android One then here is a quick recap. Android One has been designed by Google for low-end devices. Everyone is awaiting the release of Google’s next big platform, Android L, but this will be optimized for the newer and highest spec devices. In contrast and specifically designed for emerging markets such as India, where the spec of the device is second to its cost Google created Android One. In short this is a budget-friendly version of Android for budget-friendly handsets.
With the ethos of making Android ‘available to all’ Google sent out a very clear message today on its developer blog asking developers to think carefully about Android One when developing new apps. Google realizes creating Android One will only be successful if the other side of the operating system (OS), namely the apps are also designed to maximize the OS functionality. There is no point in Android working hard on a platform if the subsequent apps available are not customized specifically to accommodate the system. In particular Google has asked developers to remember certain points when creating their new apps. These points generally refer to the local state of cellular and WiFi networks in the targeted emerging markets. An example given by Google of the type of problems developers might encounter is ‘search functionality’ and response. Due to the lack of consistent network speeds Google advises developers Android One search results might be better off focusing more on returning searches effectively and not the speed of the return searches. One idea suggested by Google to combat this issue is to include a ‘notify function’ which allows users to receive a notification when the search is completed. This according to Google will allow the app to continue running searches in the background on slower networks instead of continually timing-out.
Google also advises the other areas to consider when developing for this unique platform include performance on 2G networks, memory utilization, battery usage and obese APKs. As Android One devices will be typically lower on RAM, contain smaller batteries and have a lesser memory capacity, Google wants to make sure third party apps do not overload the devices. Overall, this type of outward advice to developers does suggest Google are well aware of the problems a new platform in emerging markets might pose and genuinely look to be trying to avoid the issues before they arise. As Google points out by following the suggested guidelines “you will help the next five billion discover, use and love your app”. So if you are an app developer and thinking about the next five billion customers you might want to give the full developer blog a thorough read.