As I had previously hinted at in my Nexus 5 post, we’ve been working on new Android products at equinux. We released our latest Android app, TV Pro for Android, on the Google Play Store and Amazon App Shop just before Christmas, so it’s time for a few thoughts on the whole process.
A brief aside on the Google Play Dev Console
For those of you that are familiar with iTunes Connect, it’s worth mentioning how fantastic the Google Play Developer Console is. Great built-in stats, you can do staggered roll-outs of your apps — and if you missed a bug during testing, it’s easy to remove the offending binary and re-enable any previous version of your app, before the bug hits all your users (not that we’ve had to use this option yet, but it’s nice to know it’s there!).
Oh, and you can reply to user reviews.
It’s by no means perfect, but it really makes iTunes Connect look like the shit-show it is. (And yes, I’m glad Apple focuses on polishing the end-user experience, but is it too much to ask for the developer interfaces to get a bit of attention?)
We went through every nook and cranny of our iOS app and decided to concentrate on the features that matter most to the core TV guide experience for the first release. As it turns out, we were able to do more than I had estimated at the outset and I’m really pleased with the result. All the core functionality from our iOS app is there and we adapted a lot of the iOS-views and workflows to work well on Android 4 devices.
Since this was a large project on what is still fairly new territory for us, we decided to go with a slower roll-out than we would on iOS. Google Play makes it easy to first do a closed beta and then slowly open it up for more users. Since there’s no waiting for approval, we were able to fix a few bugs almost immediately.
Going forward, I’d like to achieve a more “Android-native” look and feel. We’ve incorporated typical gestures (long press to add a reminder for example) and UI metaphors (back button), but didn’t have time to re-work every single element of the app’s UI design. But we’ve got a solid foundation to work with and an ambitious roadmap ahead.