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[Infographics] The State of Mobile SDKs at the Start of 2017

March 8, 2017 4:07 PM

During the course of 2016, we’ve published two reports uncovering the state of mobile SDKs: one in April and on in October. We explored which SDK categories are most popular, exposed which SDKs are leading their category and even compared global and local trends. And judging by last year, we knew 2017 would be as interesting to explore, if not more.

We’ve just published a new report, looking at January 2017. The data comes from a thorough analysis of over 100,000 Android apps, featured in various Google Play stores around the world and available to download for free.  Together, these apps integrate hundreds of SDKs, from the top industry players to new players hoping to take the mobile world by storm.

And let us tell you right now that looking at the January data, and comparing it to the data from our previous reports (and the months in between), we’ve spotted some truly fascinating trends…

Main Highlights

Please note that we are sharing here a partial selection of the findings that are presented in the full report. To access the full report (download is free) click here.

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Mobile Apps Competitive Analysis Done Right

February 7, 2017 1:05 PM

In today’s world, doing competitive analysis is like doing opposition research: it’s just simply a given. It’s a method everybody must follow.

Yet knowing that you must run competitive analysis is one thing. Doing it right is another.

Mobile app professionals are a part of a very competitive industry. It is therefore no surprise that they always need to be vigilant and adaptive. As many developers have smaller budgets than established companies, they must get extra creative when it comes to their business and marketing efforts. That’s why some app developers I know (and very much respect) are not just checking items off their to-do list. They are constantly on the lookout for innovative ways to learn from their competitors’ activities and methods and utilize that information to grow their own business. Moreover, they are constantly looking for faults. Things that their competitors aren’t doing, or aren’t doing well.

I personally think that the “me too” strategy is legit and shouldn’t be instantly rejected, just because of an oversized ego. Running a smart competitive analysis will help you add more hacks and tactics to your list and gain a good understanding of the important tactics or strategies being used. It’ll also uncover which tactics your competitors aren’t using so you can leverage them for your use.

Many app developers focus almost their entire efforts on keywords research (on ASO tactics), and they tend to neglect other vital areas such as high level business data, partnerships, content strategy, PR, and social media strategies etc.  In turn they get to see and understand only a small part of the picture.

To cut a long story short, here is a more comprehensive list of competitive analysis areas, that aims to cover all aspects of mobile app business and marketing, or at least most of them. You are probably familiar with some of the items on the list and I hope to introduce you to some more which might generate news ideas.

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Hello, Kotlin! Converting an Android Project – Part 2

January 24, 2017 10:37 AM

I was trying to convert an Android project to Kotlin in Android Studio via the Kotlin plugin. If you haven’t read part one (you can always do it now), then I’ll briefly tell you that it’s up to you to choose how many classes to convert. I chose them all. The conversion caused numerous compilation errors and practically swayed me to convert one/two classes at a time. Even though solving compilation errors was a great way to learn, I still had an ambition – convert my MVP example project from Java to Kotlin code.

Therefore, I decided to attack it from another angle. My second approach was less messy – one or two compilation errors per conversion, albeit it took me a couple of hours to get everything working.

In the following post I will cover:

  • Adapter’s getView() runtime error, caused by the conversion
  • Kotlin pros/cons for Android developers
  • Verbosity comparison of Java vs Kotlin

TL;DR Conversion might cause errors but Kotlin will reduce NullPointerExceptions, and minify your code into a much more readable version.

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Hello, Kotlin! How to Convert an Android Project – Part 1

January 17, 2017 5:13 PM

I’ve been hearing about Kotlin everywhere. It’s the new big thing in the Android world. So big that Gradle themselves are talking about incorporating it.

So I set out on a journey to see what the hype is all about.

What is Kotlin? Well, simply put it’s a statically-typed language from the house of JetBrains that compiles to Java’s bytecode and therefore can be run using a JVM. It’s got lots of interesting features and full compatibility with Java.

The following post is not a conventional Hello World tutorial on Kotlin, rather it’s an experiment with a big bold “don’t try this at home” warning. It’s risky and code might break because I’m going to convert a whole project of a mid-level complexity (30 classes) at the click of a button, or rather 4 buttons (ctrl + alt + shift + k). If that won’t work out (spoiler alert: it didn’t), I’ll switch to plan B and convert my project one class at a time.  I’ve decided to see if they’re making good on their promise, as well as teaching myself a new programming language upside down. From big concepts to the finer details.

Because I’m going to mess with lots of code and it might not end up pretty I chose to convert one of Android’s google-samples projects which I forked. I chose the todo-mvp branch: https://github.com/SerjSmor/android-architecture. If you are unfamiliar with different styles of Android architecture (MVC, MVP, MVW) or their implications I highly recommend going over them anyway if you haven’t yet.

TL;DR: we’re converting a TODO List app.

Environment:

IDE = Android Studio 2.1.2. There’s a plugin for Eclipse too.

Kotlin version = 1.0.4

The before photo (before tinkering):

Hello, Kotlin! How to Convert an Android Project – Part 1

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The Hottest Mobile App Tools (SDKs) of Q4 2016

January 3, 2017 12:41 PM

It wasn’t too long ago that app developers didn’t know what’s what in the mobile SDKs world. Who’s stronger than whom and who’s fighting to keep their head above water. All that has changed. Last May, we released our first ever Android SDKs Trend Report, disclosing who’s hot and who’s not as we listed the top players overall, in different categories, geos and whatnot.

Now we’ve published our second report, based on an analysis of over 100,000 free Android apps, comprised of apps featured in Google Play’s top charts. These apps implement hundreds of SDKs, including all top industry players.

The report looks at October 2016 data, analyzes the SDKs that are active internationally, and are integrated in the apps we’ve looked at.  The data is then compared with the data presented in the April 2016 report to reveal the leading trends.

Main Highlights

Please note that we are sharing here a partial selection of the findings that are presented in the full report.  To access the full report (download is free) click here.

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16 Industry Events for Mobile App Developers You Should Know Of

November 15, 2016 5:15 PM

As an app developer you must have heard how critical it is to attend industry events. Some talk about leveraging these events from a networking and reputational standpoint, others about fueling your BizDev efforts and some are in it just to learn and stay up to date with industry news, techniques and emerging tools.

Plus industry events break our daily routine which is always fun!

However, not everyone’s so positive about these events. Some complain about them being a waste of money, unfocused, not bringing any real news and lacking relevant colleagues to mingle with. On top of this, events can be viewed as not adding quality leads and as mainly serving to the financial interests of the event producers.

I say it’s all a matter of setting the right expectations and doing your research before attending, speaking or presenting at any given event.

Personally, I like to stay updated with all the relevant events in my industry. Of course, I don’t attend all the events but I base my decision to attend/not attend on key parameters and understanding the value I would gain from that specific event.

I’ve gathered a list of some mobile app / mobile dev / mobile games events (organized chronologically by date) that are focused on developers. Although some further mini research might be needed before you make a decision, the list below can get you off to a nice start.

In the mobile industry, events cover a wide array of topics including mobile innovation, full stack development, marketing solutions, game dev and more. Some events are quite popular among mobile app pros. Please drop us a note to: contact@safedk.com if we left any important events behind!

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Why Developers Must Analyze their Apps’ Store Reviews & How It’s Done

October 31, 2016 4:35 PM

During the course of my career, I’ve worked with app founders, app developers, product teams and marketers, and many times I have turned to store reviews to find answers. Eventually, I developed a method.

I’m assuming you’ve been in the industry for quite a while by now. I know it’s pretty hard to surprise you with tricks that you haven’t heard of or tried before. But let me try nonetheless.

Apparently, professionals in our industry follow a method, a way to qualitatively analyze their users’ inner thoughts. Using that they fine-tune their product efforts around what is specifically required in order to reach the results they are after.

First thing’s first: Let’s agree that you must find out what doesn’t work in your app, what your users don’t like, what they are struggling with and the issues many of them experience.  You can never guess what your users think of your app. You can never win this business unless you collect feedback methodically.


via GIPHY
Now, let’s talk about ‘the how’.

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Two Years of Multidexing: Is the 65K Limit Still a Big Deal?

October 20, 2016 8:42 AM

I still remember when I saw my first multidex app. It was almost two years ago and ho so rare. It was an almost religious experience – seeing something you didn’t think could exist with your very own eyes. And yet today I’m surprised when I stumble upon an app and it only has one dex file. Seriously, it’s like finding an oasis in the Sahara. A sight for sore eyes.

Which is why I was so surprised when our saleswoman told me about a meeting she had, where the developers in question specifically asked about it. They were determined to stay single dex no matter what.

You see, silly me, I thought the 65k limit was like one of those things you read about in history books or see in old movies. But it turns out I was living in a bubble. But hey, can you really blame me? Even Android’s own new compiler – Jack – refers to it in both code and documentation as “legacy”.

Which leads me to really think – is the 65K limit in Android still a big deal?

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All You Need to Know About Mobile App Attribution & Analytics SDKs

September 28, 2016 12:44 PM

We’ve recently released a new Android Mobile SDKs Data Report, revealing the top SDK players in each category, as well as the most popular SDKs categories.

One such popular category is of Attribution Analytics SDKs that allow apps to track the source of their app’s installation. Most app publishers that acquire users through paid installs and engagement campaigns have implemented at least one premium Attribution Analytics SDK, which is probably why this category is among the most popular. Our report discloses which Attribution SDKs are the most popular (depicted below), as well as a geographical drill-down (which SDKs are being used by different developers around the world).

Soon we will publish a new report and will show the trends of Attribution SDKs in the past few months.

SafeDK Data Report: Attribution Category

Because this is such a popular and important category, we’ve decided to dive deeper and share some ways to optimize their cost effectiveness.

Take for example the SDK Adjust. It has recently sent an email to its entire customer base, updating them on a significant price change. And the industry responded accordingly. Many developers started looking for alternative attribution tools or ways to operate their paid media activities without implementing paid attribution tools.

Many of our colleagues started thinking and asking questions. As did we.

We have decided to write this post in an effort to help app publishers with their queries and provide some answers to hot questions. Why use attribution SDKs, when are they “just beneficial” and when are they are a must have, how much should you pay, which tools you should choose etc.

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Mobiles on Fire: Am I Using Firebase or Google Play Services?

September 13, 2016 5:15 AM

It’s been almost five months now since Google announced the new generation of Firebase with great fanfare at this year’s Google I/O, and true enough mobile developers have been adapting. In fact, our research at SafeDK uncovers that nearly 8% of top apps are already actively using Firebase, with Firebase Crash Reporting definitely leading the pack in strength (and that’s just a sneak peek spoiler at our next Android SDK Market Report).

But if you’re a mobile developer and have tried integrating Firebase then you may have found yourself feeling more confused than anything else.

You see, Firebase is this big SDK from the house of the rising Google that answers many of a developer’s needs with the premise being “and it’s all completely free”. Analytics, Crash Reporting, Database, Storage space, Push Notifications and more. Some aren’t even mobile SDKs, just great services for developers such as hosting services and so on.

But Google already has a huge amazing all-you-need-ever-wanted-and-can-ask-for SDK. It’s called the Google Play Services. An SDK which over 96% of [Android] developers use, according to our research. And well, that’s exactly where the confusing parts kick in.

For all of you TL;DR folks – Firebase is actually a part of Google Play Services. What does that mean? Well, read on.

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