Archive for May, 2011

Android – onRestoreInstanceState

Are your users complaining that your app is crashing when it’s restarted after being killed by the operating system or a task manager? Are you still trying to figure out why? You might want to try overriding onRestoreInstanceState, not calling the super, and seeing if the problem goes away.

    @Override
    protected void onRestoreInstanceState (Bundle savedInstanceState) {
    	//super.onRestoreInstanceState(savedInstanceState);
    }

This is a quick way of dealing with the problem and keeping your users happy, while you’re busy trying to figure out the root cause of the problem. You need to do a lot of testing to ensure it doesn’t cause any new problems, especially when switching activities and using the home and back keys.  Good luck!

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Android Honeycomb Emulator: Completely Unusable

I don’t know about anyone else out there in Internet land, but the Android Honeycomb emulator runs so incredibly slow on both of my computers, that it’s not even worth firing it up.  In my opinion, they should have named it Molasses.  It’s no wonder that there are only a small number of Honeycomb optimized apps in the Android Market.  Given the low probability of making any money from Android apps to begin with, why would anyone who hasn’t already made money invest a few hundred dollars on a device just to see if they can come up with a Honeycomb specific application? Is a slow emulator Google’s way of weeding out potential tablet developers? That’s just nonsense, right?

It always amazes me when Google IO presenters say something like, “…we know it’s bad, and we know it sucks for you, but it’s going to get better!” Yeah, thanks. It really makes it worth all the pain and suffering we have to go through to develop an app knowing that you’ve acknowledged that it sucks.

I had to launch the emulator three times before I could take the screen shot you see above. It froze the first time, never fully loaded the second time – and even on the third try, I saw so many errors, I really started to wonder if the thing was working right at all.

Nothing I develop is perfect out of the chute, but I’m just some guy developing apps in my spare time. I expect a lot more from a cash cow like Google that is raking in billions from ad revenue and has several thousand people on staff. Maybe I’m expecting too much.

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Android App Stats: The most revealing stats of them all

AndroLib.com has some interesting stats posted on their Website about Android apps, most telling of which continues to be the graph you see below.

Here are some facts:

  • 44.7% of free apps have less than 100 downloads
  • 83.6% of paid apps have less than 100 purchases. 77.1% have less than 50 purchases
  • Only 1,032 (0.9%) paid apps have more than 5,000 purchases

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Android App Testing: You’re never really done testing

 I’m pretty good at application testing, but I know that I won’t catch everything.  As a result of literally using my apps on a daily basis (Yellow Pad List and Mew Media Player Pro), I’m always on the lookout for things that need to be fixed or improved upon.

Yellow Pad List is about 99.9% crash proof and there are no logic flaws that I’m aware of. It could use a few more features, but since its popularity isn’t growing, it will remain as is for now – stable! If you use it and have some features you would like to see incorporated into the app, please let me know!

Mew Media Player/Pro has been keeping me busy over the past 11 days. The biggest issue has been intermittent song skip fixes (i.e. song plays for 1-2 seconds and then goes onto the next song) and I think  I finally found the last of three logic flaws, each of which was resolved on a different day. The last one was related to calls to onStop and onResume within the main activity.  The code in those procedures made sense when I wrote it and worked perfectly in pre-release testing, but there were some logic errors as a result of doing a combination of actions which I just didn’t catch.   I have my fingers crossed that the player won’t skip anymore, but I won’t be satisfied until a week goes by without skips.

It’s important to use your apps on a daily basis after you’ve published them, to catch any bugs and logic errors that you didn’t catch during pre-release testing. Don’t just rely on your users to report them to you.  The less problems users encounter with your app, the more likely they are to keep it and tell others about it.

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Telling people about your new Android app: Marketing or spam?

Submitting news about your new app to Android sites = marketing. Telling everyone else… SPAM!

The biggest challenge for Android developers continues to be getting the word out about new apps.  Once you’ve contacted all the Android sites, you really have to use your brain to avoid being perceived as a spammer. If you have any ideas, I’m all ears!

… and if you have an Android phone, please try my newest apps, Mew Media Player Pro and the free version, Mew Media Player.

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Best Music Player for Android: Mew Media Player Pro

Yes, I know, I’m somewhat biased, but Mew Media Player Pro really is the best music player for Android phones.  Music library navigation is the easiest of any player, the tab-based search feature makes it easy to find music, you can create playlists from search results, and it has some really cool features that will enhance your Android music listening experience .  Get Mew Media Player Pro today!

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