By Arnaud Dupuis, Genymobile CEO
A few days ago, Google released Android 7.0 Nougat. With its 250 new features, Google’s OS has revived the debate around the most efficient operating system to develop top quality mobile applications. A crucial debate. Indeed this year, 61% of mobile phone users accessed the internet through their mobile device! We can expect this figure to grow steadily over the coming years. From a strictly business perspective, mobility is also a major lever for productivity for companies, increasing the ubiquity of the workplace (work anywhere) . All these factors make development of top quality mobile applications a matter of absolute necessity. Even a Holy Grail. But unlike the mythical cup sought by the Knights of the Round Table, this Grail can be discovered, on two conditions: we have to decide which operating system will take priority, and we must have the insight to review the development scenario for mobile applications.
Android, the right choice?
There is no shortage of operating systems today. So developers have to look at the facts when making a choice. There are three main criteria: popularity, user loyalty and the range available from the Store. On every point, Android is the clear winner. With an 83% market share, Android is the most widely used OS in the world , with the most loyal users – 82% of people who use it stay with it – and with 1.43 million applications (in January 2015) Google Play has the largest offering. No other OS does it better. Moreover with new features such as Daydream (a platform which enables virtual reality from a mobile powered by Android 7.0), the split screen or the quick switch, Google has added new assets to build up its OS leadership.
The dictatorship of quality
When app stores were created for smartphones, visibility was the main challenge for most brands. This was often achieved by developing apps at every turn on the largest possible number of OSs. But things have changed: quality has become more important than quantity. So now if an app causes problems the first time it is used, 80% will only try their luck again once, and 34% will go to a competitor. The quality of an application must therefore be impeccable. Most of the major economic players have understood this now. Facebook is one example. Despite a somewhat problematic start on mobile, some 40% of users now access the social network on their phones. However, despite appearances, design of applications that meet the end user’s desired quality level is possible for all developers. How? By starting with a clean slate, free of past (bad) habits.
Android 7.0 Nougat is not enough, companies must rethink the mobile app development scenario
However, even the choice of Android 7.0 Nougat is not enough to meet the challenge of app quality. Many companies still have a silo and self-sufficient mentality when it comes to applications development. The new competitive landscape demands development of applications that work successfully as soon as they are downloaded, so this way of working needs rethinking. A company therefore has to focus on a new development method, encouraging collaboration among all those involved: sales staff, after-sales, marketing and quality assurance teams, as well as developers… Obviously, this needs the resources of the right technology, of which the Cloud is the cornerstone. Only the Cloud – more specifically, an emulator designed for the Cloud – meets the conditions necessary for collaborative working.
In other words, with an emulator designed for the Cloud, developers can share the latest version of the applications instantly with all the departments concerned. The quality assurance department can detect and repair the smallest bits of faulty code with real time quality tests. The team responsible for customer experience will make use of it to inform developers of areas for improvement during the development process. Even departments that seem furthest from the development process may benefit from the emulation association and the Cloud.
The marketing and sales teams could use this technology to develop tools and ad hoc demos to support their sales pitch, without waiting for the final version of the application. And the after-sales service would benefit from much greater detail in giving advice and more efficient repair work, since the emulator would precisely repeat the experience of each user with their own applications.
Little will change over the next few months. User requirements will not decline. Nor will the number of applications available in the stores. But change may come with the capacity of companies to adapt to these demanding requirements and the competition. Thanks to a thorough process of self-examination!
Let us know what you think about the observations in this guest post by Arnaud Dupuis (Genymobile CEO) in the comments below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.