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The All-Star Winners of Mobile App Tools (SDKs)

June 13, 2016 3:53 PM

Highlights from our recent SDKs data trends report that was featured by VentureBeat.

The mobile app industry is huge. It’s young and growing at an amazing rate, feeding an entire ecosystem. 3rd party SDKs (Software Development Kits) play a key part in the mobile app industry. Hundreds of thousands of app publishers are building millions of apps, with the crucial support of 3rd party mobile SDKs that provide their apps with advanced analytics, engagement, monetization, social and many other capabilities.

App publishers can choose between thousands of SDKs to integrate, but only some will make an optimal choice in terms of quality, pricing and added value.

It appears that apps at different scales and categories vary in their choices of how many SDKs to integrate, which SDK categories are a must, and so on.

Until recently there wasn’t much data out there to rely on with regards to mobile SDK trends. App developers explored SDKs via recommendations from colleagues, professional groups, and industry events.

Well, that’s why we decided to release a comprehensive Android SDKs Trend Report, relying on data (from April 2016) attained from 35,000 Android apps, found on top charts worldwide (including all categories; Games and Family subcategories in the mix), and explore hundreds of SDKs implemented within these apps.

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The JIT of N: How Android’s ART Will Be Faster?

May 30, 2016 1:18 PM

If you’ve read some of my posts in the past, you know I have a near-obsession with mobile app start time. And I know I’m not alone there. It’s this generation “We can lend a man on the moon” most favorite complaint – It’s 2016, how can it be we’re still waiting for apps to launch?

Well, looks like indeed I’m not alone. I’m in good company with the nice folks over at Google / Android, who are doing some nice things to improve app start time.

One of the most interesting things I’ve heard in both keynote and sessions at Google I/O two weeks ago was how the ART virtual machine has improved and how well it’s going to affect both start time and system update time. Alongside the introduction of Android Instant Apps, it looks like Android is looking to dispose of any unnecessary waiting time.

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Key Notes from Google IO’s Keynote

May 19, 2016 7:17 AM

Google IO is the ComicCon of devs. Being there is being square and damn proud of it! The three-day hoopla was kicked off this morning with the much anticipated two hour keynote speech at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View and I am glad to say I was there for every syllable of it.

I’ll be honest – when Sundar Pichai took the stage, I was giddy as a schoolgirl, ready to throw my shirt on the stage like your common average groupie.

And then they proceeded to blow my mind. If you thought Google was seeing and hearing everything before, the announcement of Google Home, as well as the new messaging app Allo (or the counterpart video chat app Duo and its knock-knock feature to let you see the caller’s video before answering), emphasized that Natural Language Processing is the future and what Google is all about in 2016. This was definitely not one for the paranoids who worry machines are about to rise up against us J

The second hour of the keynote focused on advances regarding mobile, which is really what caught my attention. Those devices that have become the center of our universe are what drew me to IO in the first place, and there were some interesting notes to take from this particular keynote.

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Make Your Mobile App’s K Factor Count: Concrete Use Cases of Great Viral Loops

May 5, 2016 1:34 PM

In today’s digital age, being connected is as apparent as breathing (‘I’m connected, therefore I am’). I’ve once read that if you have over 500 LinkedIn connections, you are practically 3 steps away from approaching anyone in your industry, in the entire world!

Popular apps like Candy Crush or Dropbox have realized that a long time ago and have built their apps to become super viral.  Their epic success is considered to be greatly related to the viral loops they have managed to build. Through viral loops, existing users are becoming the product ambassadors and bringing new users in, organically (with no premium media costs).

Impressive mobile app virality K-factor value helps top apps differentiate, and sky rocket. Your K factor is your virality indicator.

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What’s New with the New ‘Google Play Developer Policy’?

April 27, 2016 2:25 PM

Google have recently done an Extreme Makeover Edition of their Play Store developer policy, completely redesigning the policy website. If you hadn’t taken a look, you should. Starting March 1st, policies and regulations have been made much clearer, and the Google Play experience has been almost completely revamped to become much more developer friendly.

While it may be the facelift that draws you in (the new site is definitely an upgrade to the long list of bullet points it was in the past), it’s the context that should catch your eye. When you look deep down beneath the surface, you’ll see the change to policies themselves is relatively minor. It’s the overall attitude that changed.

If I have to summarize the new policy website in just one word, it would definitely be – transparency.

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The 3 Surprises Hidden in Your App’s Start Time

April 13, 2016 2:59 PM

What more is there to say about the mobile app start time? I’ve already written about it in the past, describing our research about what makes up the time from the moment you click on an app’s icon until you get a visual feedback.

But when Samsung’s Innovation Center in Tel-Aviv offered us the chance to record a podcast, we knew it had to be about the start time. After all, listening is better than reading, right? So Ronnie Sternberg, Maya Mograbi and myself headed over to Samsung offices to embark on a conversation about the mobile app start time. And what can I tell you? It was fun!

Some interesting points were made, not all of which were covered in my original post…

SafeDK is broadcasting from TLV Samsung’s innovation center , suppprting Israeli High Tech professionals, communities, entrepreneurs and startups.

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Don’t Crash the Party: How to Ensure Your App’s Stability?

March 30, 2016 4:13 PM

App crashes are a developer’s worst nightmare. Though it happens to everyone at one point or another (yes, including the top apps), it is still unbearable.

There’s no other way to say it: The cold harsh truth is that mobile apps’ quality and performance impact the bottom line. It’s what will make users decide to come back. Crashes, especially of the repeated kind, drive the uninstall numbers high and drive your users to run away.

Fortunately, it’s not solely up to the gods. There’s plenty you can do to minimize this phenomenon: from familiarizing yourself with the most known and common causes for mobile app crashes to making sure you’re even aware of your own crashes, you can make your app more stable with a relatively small investment.

A crittercism research has found that not only do 47% of apps crash over 1% of the time, but 32% also have a crash rate of over 2%. If that sounds excessive, it probably should.

Now let’s be honest: Everybody bugs. We know that for a fact. But statistically speaking, knowing almost half of the apps out there are so susceptible to unhandled bugs is somewhat daunting. And it also means that bugs aren’t unique to new-comers. No, they happen to old-timers, big and small, as well. So whether you’re established or brand new, a long-timer or a first-timer, you must make sure that your app does not only supply the content users crave, but also provides a frustration-free environment. Therefore, making it crash-free (or at least crash-low) should be at top of your priority list.

Crittercism Research Found that 47% of apps crash 1% of the timeImage source: Crittercism Continue Reading

Your App Never Gets Featured? Here Are Some Possible Reasons

March 3, 2016 3:03 PM

A lot has been said about getting featured in Google Play or iTunes and, indeed, it’s a well-justified reputation. Being featured is a blast. True. You get a lot of high-quality users. However, the road to paradise is paved with all kinds of actions that need to be taken and some requirements that need to be met, that many developers are unaware of.

Do you match the standards of quality? Are you being a good developer?

Do you match the standards of quality? Are you being a good developer?

Once upon a time, being featured was almost a commodity. New apps were automatically featured, and just asking the app stores internal teams to feature your app was many times all you needed to do… but those days are over.

Today, there’s a hidden UX and performance standard you just have to meet, if you want your app to be featured in Google Play or in iTunes store. The top developers know it: if you meet with the app stores representatives they will provide some hints, but most app developers aren’t aware of the bits and bytes.  Battery consumption matters, crashes, and so forth, are side effects all app developers encounter. Where are you on the quality score graph? You better be somewhere high or ‘no soup for you!’. Don’t expect Google or Apple to let major performance issues slide. They know it all, and their stores teams are instructed to consider the users interests prior to everything else.

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to StackOverflow

February 22, 2016 3:28 PM

A little less than a year ago, it finally happened to me too. I stumbled upon a question that even Dr. Google couldn’t answer. No search result seemed to fit. So after years of standing on the sidelines, I signed up to StackOverflow. What’s StackOverflow? Well, for those of you who are new here on Earth, it’s a brilliant question and answer site for programmers.

So I asked my question. And then, armed with my very own StackOverflow profile, I figured the next step should be to give a little back. After all, the community has always been there for me. Why not do the same for them?

So I did. And man, ho man, the things I’ve learned once I crossed the threshold.  Two things in particular surprised me the most: The first was the engagement. Every answer I gave was almost immediately followed by additional people commenting and relating to my answer; the second was the fact that so many people worldwide got completely chastised, immediately after posting their first question ever. Their questions were muted or deleted, and their entire first step in the big vast stack exchange universe left them with a bad aftertaste.

In fact, ‘newbies’ common mistakes inspired me to write down my thoughts, talk about these little pitfalls that have surely frustrated anyone who’s been hanging around the StackOverflow watercooler long enough.

So allow me to share with you some of the things I’ve seen, once past the velvet ropes.

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Enough with the Mobile SDK Mess: A New Technology Is Born

February 9, 2016 4:05 PM

SafeDK is presenting at MWC – Set a demo meeting!

In a previous blog post I’ve written (Mobile SDKs: Use with Caution), I mentioned the potential risks related with integrating Mobile SDKs into your mobile app. ‘SDKs’ as in these off-the-shelf 3rd party tools that app developers integrate into their mobile app for advertising, payment, analytics, social and many other functions. We all know that SDKs are a necessity in the mobile development process, but not all app publishers are aware of how these SDKs can affect the app’s performance, stability, battery consumption, security and privacy.

After going through an extensive analysis of a tens of thousands of apps and hundreds of different SDKs, we realized that there are 2 major domains of problems when using 3rd party SDKs. Both are crucial:

  • Security and Privacy – SDKs may contain viruses, malwares, backdoors or, most commonly, piggy-bag your app permissions to access your users’ private data.
  • User Experience – SDKs may contain bugs, consume a great deal of battery power and data, crash your app, slow down your app, and so forth.

During the last few months, we all read about major SDKs-related issues: apps that were banned from the stores because of a specific SDK that violated Apple or Google regulations, an ad-network SDK which  displayed ads that were  incompatible with the app’s ‘spirit’ (e-cigarette commercial in a kids app, someone?), marshmellow incompatibility of SDKs in an app that was supposed to be compatible… and the list goes on and on.

Basically, app developers must all ask themselves the following, ASAP:

Do I really know what’s going on with my app's SDKs? Can I really vouch for my app when I use so many 3rd party codes?

That’s exactly what led us to establish SafeDK. I focused my entire career on mobile development, and like everyone else, I constantly implemented SDKs the messy way… It took me a while, but I finally realized I was out of control, using so many SDKs. But I sure wasn’t going to work on all these SDKs’ functionalities in-house, so I created SafeDK to provide an optimal and elegant solution to this dilemma. This is simply what we say: Implement as many SDKs as you want, in order to create a wonderful app in the shortest time-to-market possible, but use SafeDK to maintain transparency and control over the SDKs code.

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