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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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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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Find out Who’s Crashing your Party! Mobile Crash Reporting Tools Review

June 27, 2016 4:46 PM

As every app developer surely knows, monitoring your app’s stability is a must. And there’s hardly anything more important than keeping your crash count down to a minimum. No developer wants to end up with a bad app reputation because he or she didn’t pay enough attention to what’s really going on with their app out in the world.

Fortunately, there is a variety of crash reporting tools at your disposal with which you can arm yourself. These tools help developers identify and respond to common crashes in a timely manner.

Think of reporting tools as alert guard dogs, always ready to let you know if something goes wrong so you can identify the culprit and contain it. They also offer critical data and analysis about the number of crashes, including which devices were affected most and so on.

But, which crash reporting tool should you implement in your app? And, how can it benefit you compared to other tools?

It’s not an easy decision. You need to choose smartly from the plethora of solutions out there. Nobody can do the selection process for you. Not even us. You are the one who knows your product best; Your KPIs, restrictions and budget limitation. But, we can try and ease the process a bit.

To help you make the best decision, we asked multiple app developers about their favorite go-to tools and put together a review of the top tools available.  We also tracked online reviews posted by developers, with remarks about advantages and disadvantages.

Needless to say, we are not engaged with any of these tools, nor do we prefer one over others. Still, we did include qualitative feedback from developers we know or comments that we’ve read through online groups and forums.

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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 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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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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