Entries Tagged as 'Android development'

One Android App, Two Different Markets (Nook vs. Amazon)

Android , Android development , Mobile devices 2 Comments »


  • My Quick Shopper app is a fairly simple app for creating a current shopping list from reusable items I designed based on my own shopping list habits.  It is currently optimized for 7-inch tablets.
  • It became available on the Barnes and Noble Nook app market on October 28th at a price of $1.  On the Nook app market, the search term "shopping" returns 4 results for apps focused on shopping lists or the act of shopping.
  • It became available on the Amazon App Store around November 26th, also at a price of $1.  In the Amazon App Store, the search term "shopping" returns over 400 results.
  • If Quick Shopper was highlighted or advertised in some way on either market, I am unaware of it.
  • The sales numbers for the first 30 days in each app market:
    • Amazon - 4 sales
    • Nook - 478 sales
  • 478 > 4 (by a lot).
  • I know of at least one other developer who sees higher sales of his same app in the Nook market over the Amazon market.


The most likely cause of the vast difference in sales is that my app has very little competition in the Nook market, while in the Amazon App Store it's simply lost in a sea of similar apps, some of which are free.

But since I'm not the only app developer who's seeing more success in the Nook market than they are in the Amazon App Store, there may be other factors at work.  The Nook app market exists solely to provide apps for the Nook Color and the newer Nook Tablet:  anyone using that market knows that any app they see is (supposedly) designed for use on those tablets.  The Amazon App Store on the other hand caters to Android phones and standard Android tablets in addition to Amazon's own Kindle Fire, so perhaps the phone-targeted apps get more of the attention and the ratings because of the wider install base.

It may also have something to do with the buying habits of the different audiences.  I attended a web-based presentation given by a Nook evangelist who said that their studies showed Nook owners were far more willing to pay for apps than the average Android user (or something to that effect; I forget exactly what the slide said).  The sales numbers I've seen would seem to support that claim.

Of course, this is just my experience. If other developers are seeing similar results or perhaps even the opposite, I'd like to hear about it.

My First Flex Mobile App: Quick Shopper

AIR , Android , Android development , Flex 10 Comments »

Work has kept me from doing much personal coding lately, but when I had some time to spare I spent it building a mobile app with Flash Builder, and I've now released it (for free) on the Android Market.

It's called Quick Shopper.  It's a fairly unremarkable app that I built mainly for my own use, to replace the pen and paper list I would always take to the grocery store.  There are more than a few apps like it in the Android Market, but I felt like building my own. 

In fact, I had originally planned to code it as a native Android app but never got around to it, and after attending a workshop Adam Lehman gave to the local Flash/Flex user group that showed how easy it was to build and deploy an app with Flash Builder 4.5 I thought it would serve as a good learning experience.

And it was. I hadn't touched Flex since version 2, so while certain concepts were familiar I had to relearn a few things.  And of course all of the Spark stuff was brand-new.  But the documentation and blog posts I found online helped me figure out how to get everything working, and the device emulator and mobile device debugger in Flash Builder helped me work out some of the details via trial-and-error.

So am I a mobile Flex convert?  I'll put it this way:  when I come up with my next idea for an app I want for my Android devices, my first thought will be "can I build this with Flash Builder?"  If I can, and I don't see any significant advantage in coding the app in native Android code, then I'll probably go the Flash Builder route.  There may be some app designs that would work better as native apps (apps with widgets, or apps that utilize the scheduling and notification services of the Android OS), but now that Adobe's adding the ability to create native OS code extensions that work with Flex mobile apps, the number of cases where one would have no choice but to go the native route will probably get smaller.

As I said, it's not a very exciting app, but feel free to download it and check it out (it's free, after all).  I made use of the new feature in the Android Market that lets you provide multiple APKs for an app, so tablet users who download it will automatically get the tablet version with the larger icons and slightly tweaked UI layout, and phone users will get the "regular" version.

The Impact of Exposure (Part 2)

Android , Android development No Comments »

Back on November 17th, my MyReminders Android app was reviewed by another website.  This time, it was reviewed by Gizmodo, a major gadget blog rather than an Android-specific blog, and it was compared to two other to-do list/reminder apps (here is the review).

I was curious to see what the impact would be on the download numbers for the app compared to what happened when Android Central reviewed my app.  Here's a chart with the results:

download chart

Not unexpectedly, the Gizmodo review created a much larger spike in the numbers since it undoubtedly reaches a larger audience than Android Central.  However, the numbers went down again more quickly than they did after the Android Central review.  That's probably due to the fact that the app review stayed on the Android Central front page for a day or two, while Gizmodo cranks out so many posts that the review got buried on the second and third page of the site after several hours.

One other thing worth noting:  the Gizmodo review also included a link to the free, more limited version of MyReminders (my NoteToSelf app).  Although the Android Market doesn't document individual downloads for free apps like it does for paid apps, I was able to determine that NoteToSelf had about 691 downloads on November 17th and 275 downloads the following day. Even though the download numbers for NoteToSelf do average higher than the numbers for MyReminders, that seemed to indicate to me that a lot of folks preferred to go with the free version despite the positive review for the paid version.

The Impact of Exposure

Android , Android development 5 Comments »

The following is a graph of the number of times my MyReminders Android app has been downloaded since I put it on the market:

Download graph 

That spike in the graph?  The direct result of my app being reviewed on the Android Central website.  It certainly demonstrates the impact a little media exposure can have when your app is merely one upon thousands on the market.

It's also a lesson in customer relations.  The guy who wrote the review was one of the first users of my app:  he began using it a month or two prior to becoming a writer for Android Central.  He and I had exchanged a few e-mails regarding the app (ideas for improvements, mainly), and I have to wonder if he would have done the review if I hadn't been responsive to questions from him and other users.

Quick Tip: Take a Screenshot of Your Android Phone Without Rooting It

Android , Android development No Comments »

Just a quick note about something I learned yesterday:  a few blog posts ago, I said that when you publish your Android app, you want to provide a couple of screenshots, and I said that you could do that either by using the emulator to simulate your Android phone and getting the screen via a normal computer screenshot, or by rooting your phone and using one of several screenshot apps.

Turns out that one of the tools that comes with the Android SDK lets you take a screenshot from your actual Android phone screen without the need to root the phone:  you just need to plug your phone into the computer where the SDK is installed and run the tool.  Here is the page I found that described the tool and where to find the screenshot option: