Apps and Android Fragmentation

Smashing Magazine LogoWhen it comes to developing for Google’s favourite operating system, Android fragmentation is often bandied around as an issue for app developers. But how bad is it really and what’s the impact?

Fortunately you don’t have to make do with my wild guesses and assumptions as Smashing Magazine have a done a comprehensive critical analysis of testing done by app and game developers using the TestDroid cloud-based testing suite. Over 17 million tests were run on 288 different devices over 3 months early in 2014. Depending on region and measurement, the 288 devices represent somewhere between 92% and 97% of Android phones. With the credentials laid out, let’s take a look and see what the testing revealed.

Most of us will have seen the version stats from Google, showing the relative percentage of Android versions. Put simply, Froyo is less than 1%, Gingerbread is around 10% and ditto for Ice Cream Sandwich. Jelly Bean takes the lion’s share at nearly 55% and KitKat comes in second at about 25%.

Android LogoSmashing Magazine’s testing showed that on average 23% of apps exhibit a problem when moving between versions of Android. The biggest problems arose with Gingerbread (30%) followed by KitKat at 21%. Jelly Bean and ancient Honeycomb were next. Interestingly, although Gingerbread is the oldest version with significant market share, 40% of tested apps still work with this version.

The figures also reveal that ICS is the most stable version of Android with a low failure rate that broadly continues through Jelly Bean, though KitKat was more problematic with an increased error rate.

While the OS can cause problems, the hardware’s not blameless either. The research looked at screen resolution and the impact of memory on apps as well. Devices with resolutions of  2560 × 1600, 1280 × 800 and 1280 × 720 pixels gave the fewest problems, typically 1.5% or less. Small screen resolutions were the worst with 400 × 240 and 320 × 240 pixels being particularly bad.

On the RAM front, 512 MB seems to be a significant cut-off point and it’s no surprise that Google recommends this as a minimum. With this amount of memory or less, around 40% of tested apps exhibited problems. At 768 MB and above, the error rate falls to 16% and by 1 GB RAM, it’s down to 1%.

Overall, this is all interesting stuff and a fascinating insight into what app developers have to put up with. I’ve only covered a few of the areas and there’s additional analysis on drivers, OEM customisations and chipsets. I thoroughly recommend that you read the whole article over at Smashing Magazine to understand more.

Taking a slightly different view from a user perspective, if you want a really stable device, you should be buying a high resolution device, with 1 GB RAM and running Ice Cream Sandwich. Hmm.

GNC #986 Dead Mac Pro

My trusty Mac Pro I have had since 2008 died on Saturday. Not sure if it will be worth salvaging but we will see what Apple has to say next week. Special donations to the GNC 1000 is greatly appreciated. I am remote for today’s show and it will be audio only. For those of you that normally watch the show take a listen by plugging in your headset and pressing play. Congratulations to Christian, Keith and Mason on winning 10 year Anniversary prizes.

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OnePlus Partners with JBL for E1+ Earphones

OnePlus LogoOnePlus today announced a partnership with audio specialists JBL for exclusive earphones to complement the audio capabilities of the OnePlus One smartphone. The new JBL E1+ earbuds are bright red with flat tangle-resistant cable and comes with an in-line three button remote. The built-in microphone means that there’s no need to unplug when a call comes in, and it’s a standard 3.5mm jack on the end.

JBL E1+ Earphones

 

These earbuds look great and I love the knurled endcaps. I’m usually pretty understated with black Sennheisers but I could like these red E1+ earphones and I hope the audio is up-to-scratch too. It’s great to see all these moves in the audio space and it’s not just the iPhone that has all the fun, too.

Available in October for US $39.99 or GB £29.99 from the OnePlus Store. Video below ticks all the expected boxes.

Amazon Prime Videos Come To Android Phones

Amazon_Android_Prime_Video_PlayerFinally, Amazon has made available an Amazon Prime Instant Video Player for Android phones.

However, there is a bit of a catch. Rather than making the Amazon Prime Instant Video Player available in the Google Play Store, it is available only via Amazon Android Apps, which are now part of the regular Amazon Store app that you probably already have installed. Update — it is also available ONLY for Android phones and NOT Android tablets.

To download the Amazon Prime Instant Video Player, it is necessary to go into the Android security settings and temporarily enable installation of apps from “Both Trusted and Unknown Sources” – a.ka. non-Google Play Store sources.

Inside the regular Amazon Store app, go to the Movie and TV section and find a Prime Instant Video and click on play. Simply follow the on-screen prompts to download and install the Amazon Prime Instant Video Player app.

After you have downloaded the app, go back into the Android settings and remove the checkmark from the “Both Trusted and Unknown Sources” in order to lock the phone back down to apps installed from the Google Play Store only.

Once installed the Amazon Prime Instant Video Player for Android seems to work flawlessly. It was able to pick up my user name and password directly from the existing Amazon app.

Until now Android has been lacking an Amazon Prime Video playback app, even though it has been available for iOS for quite some time.

The last streaming video reason to keep an iOS device around has just been removed. Netflix and Hulu Plus have had Android players for a long time. Now with the addition of Amazon Prime Videos the big three video streamers are now all available via Android phones. The next step is to make the videos playable on regular Android tablets.

GNC #985 10 Year Anniversary Show

I take you on a trip down memory lane, and really dig deep into why this Family of Listeners (Ohana) is so important to me. I give you a deeper background on why I am the way I am, and the Genesis of this show and how the roots and my commitment to you runs deep. Thank you for being with me on this incredible journey. If you have been away for a while from the podcast you will want to tune in. Big thank you to my sponsors and the Ohana for making this 10 Year Anniversary show possible.

For the podcasters out their I encourage you to tag along on this episode.

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TriCaster Mini – Go Make Your Own Show!

NewTek LogoNewTek has something that will make it so much easier for people to get out into the world and record video. It is the TriCaster Mini. It enables people to create and publish awesome video content in just minutes and to stream it live!

The TriCaster Mini can replace the expensive professional equipment that some people have been lugging around in order to film a video. Its an all-in-one studio style production system that can be used no matter what your skill level happens to be. Those new to production will be able to use it and those more experienced will love the professional results it can produce.

You will need to add an “off the shelf” video camera (or several, if you prefer). Connect your video camera, a mouse, and a keyboard to the TriCaster Mini and you are ready to go. You can also plug in a microphone or a small audio mixer if you want to use multiple mics in your production.

TriCaster Mini Units

The system can capture live video, overlay graphics, charts, titles, and animations, and even include video that is on another computer. You can use it to have guest speakers call in from their webcams and stream it all live. It will even let you record your work so that it can be posted and watched on-demand later on.

The TriCaster Mini opens up a whole new world for people who are new to video production and live streaming. It also makes things less difficult for professionals who no longer have to bring a ton of equipment along with them to their next video shoot. Further information can be found on the NewTek website.

Are you excited about the TriCaster Mini? NewTek seems to have anticipated that reaction. Scattered across their website are several bright orange buttons that say “I want mine now”. Click one and it will help you find where to purchase one. Here at Geek News Central, we are very excited about the TriCaster Mini and will be trying to get a demo unit.

Logstalgia Shows Server Traffic As Pong

Server traffic is a crucial element of the Internet but it’s pretty dull and hard to make interesting…unless you have Logstalgia (aka ApachePong) by Andrew Caudwell. It’s a “website traffic visualization that replays or streams web-server access logs as a pong-like battle between the web server and an never ending torrent of requests. Requests appear as colored balls (the same color as the host) which travel across the screen to arrive at the requested location. Successful requests are hit by the paddle while unsuccessful ones (eg 404 – File Not Found) are missed and pass through.

Here’s what boring web requests can look like….

Todd, you should get this setup for GNC. It would be awesome!

Robot Underpants: 10.08.14 (172) “Hairgate”

Baron Mat “Langley” Luschek, Eric Rice and “Starman” Michael Gaines bring you all the things you need to know from the past week, including: Star Wars news, Ghostbusters 3 news, Flying Wearable Cameras, Shatner news, and more!

* Star Wars News
* Ghostbusers 3 is Back on (again)
* iPads Weigh More with Apps
* Nixie
* Shatner Denies Star Trek
* HairGate
* Twin Peaks Returns 

Sending It Up

Any seasoned watcher of Indiegogo and Kickstarter will know that there’s a fairly standard formula for product pitches, from the vocal inflections to the disembodied hands. This gives a great opportunity for lampooning those start-ups that take themselves entirely too seriously. Here’s Introducing Carrot, a new venture dedicating to bringing the orange root vegetable to the technorati. Not sure why they didn’t go with Carrt….

If that’s not enough, Ikea’s BookBook, is both a fabulous parody while promoting a real product. Total genius, though it has been around for a little while.

Finally, Mike Frey‘s My Life Vs…GoPro is a great antidote to GoPro’s videos, jumpcutting between their adrenaline-fuelled action and mundane reality.

All too true.

GNC #984 The Real Threat

I celebrate 10 years in podcasting the next show, join me live as we go down memory lane, Thursday October 9th at 8pm Hawaiian Standard Time GMT -10. This is your chance to share your story about how you started listening to this show and what where some memorable moments. I talk abou the real threat and the growing corporate espionage battle to keep business systems secure. I also talk in detail about what the current FBI director is saying about the chinese hackers and general cyberthreats.

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