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WPWiseOwl says

With how many (ThemeForest / CodeCanyon) authors that I’ve I encountered here that offer mobile compatible products but don’t yet own an Android device, it may be time to purchase one?

http://royal.pingdom.com/2013/02/25/ginormous-android/

I have both iOS and Android devices. How can you really consider yourself professional and not own both?

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CipheredDesigns says

Brilliant question(s)! Thanks a bunch for this thread WPWiseOwl :-)

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WPWiseOwl says

I’m seriously interested to hear anyone’s “real world” reasoning(s) for why or why not? No one?

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WebSmacker says

You don’t need a device to test your sites. You can download and use the android emulator for free :)

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VF says

I have Galaxy Tab 2 and old HTC wildfire for testing (and occasional help from my friend to test with Galaxy Note). It was horrible testing and optimizing for them when comparing to iDevices, so started assuming it is Androids responsibility to fine-tune themselves to match their OS/Device for standard web browsing :D Being dominant doesn’t mean automatically efficient enough to make developers to work and test. ;)

A dominant device/OS supposed to work fairly even without much testing from developers (logically :D ). Not sure when this will happen.

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WPWiseOwl says

@WebSmacker – True. I’d hope both the emulator and an actual device would get used. Since the emulator is not perfect. Apple also provides a simulator for it’s iOS enviroment. So, this should be able to apply to both. No need to go into the reasons here why an emulator / simulator alone is insufficient for final testing.

@VF – With many Android users not using the Stock browser but instead Chrome or FireFox, standards are less of an issue. Safari 6 is certainly not without it’s issues. Using “real” (not just a skinned version) of Chrome / Firefox is not an option on iOS, perhaps Apple will change this one day.

I’m simply surprised how many authors say “I don’t have an Android device to test on.” I’ve informed some of them of the availability of the SDK but I typically don’t hear anything after that. It’s this support that I look for in an theme / author while reviewing the “live preview” pre-purchase. Do you they support iOS and Android? No, ok…moving on even though it might be a perfect fit otherwise.

I have also often heard, “Works fine on my iPhone / iPad. I can’t see what you’re talking about.” So, you send them a screenshot and while it gets confirmed, it never gets resolved (judging by the live preview / changelogs). I bookmark the themes and come back but eventually I remove them from my bookmark list.

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oxfordshireweb says

I have multiple Android devices but for most I imagine it’s cost – it’s also a pretty fragmented platform so things change a lot on different Android devices.

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VF says

I have multiple Android devices but for most I imagine it’s cost – it’s also a pretty fragmented platform so things change a lot on different Android devices.

Yeah, for a same major version of Android, it requires testing with multiple brands / models. No thanks Android! :)

When Android OS is made for multiple device vendors, it is Android’s responsibility to make sure consistency with Stock browser itself. Sadly, these things doesn’t encourage developers to invest on Android.

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Orbital_Themes says

You see, while iOS may have smaller market share than Android, Android market is much more fragmented. This makes investing in iOS device much more convenient because you can actually cover more users by owning one iPhone (given the consistency of the platform) than by owning one Android device.

The fact that Android devices usually don’t have an option to upgrade the OS past one or two OS iterations (from the time they were released) only adds to that. So while one can get iPhone 4 / iPod Touch for few bucks, install the newest iOS on it and cover entire iPhone market without huge investment, it’s not possible to rely on cheaper/older Android devices since they are probably still sitting on an ancient version of Android OS.

It’s very similar with screen sizes – all iPhone / iPod Touch devices have had exactly the same screen width for years and device pixel ration of either 1 or 2. Android devices come in quadrillions various screen sizes and pixel ratios.

In my opinion these are the main reasons why some developers may choose iOS over Android for testing. At least that’s why I chose iOS. That and the fact that I personally prefer to use iOS platform over Android, so I have a device that I actually want to use and was the best choice in terms of what percentage of mobile market I can cover by testing on it.

Now you say that there is an Android emulator. Have you ever used it? It’s nearly impossible to use because it’s so damn slow. I have to wait 10+ seconds for each click on a simple webpage and imputing an IP address of my local computer into browser’s address bar takes several minutes. Don’t even get me started on more complex websites with animations.

As developers we have a responsibility to test on as many devices as possible and we try to do our best, but device vendors and OS developers have the responsibility to deliver a consistent and up to date experience for users too. Web pages breaking on some Android devices may as well be caused by irresponsibility of device vendors and lack of support for OS upgrades. Maybe it’s time to change platform? :)

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WPWiseOwl says

Great responses! I consider Android to be somewhat analogous to MS Windows though. Windows has much fragmentation in it’s ecosystem too. The Android / Windows approach seems to most often produce more variation than that of a closed / controlled system due to the multiple partners / OEMS involved. Apple designs but doesn’t builds / manufactures nothing. Since it doesn’t license anything out, it’s limited to a few devices / configurations per year. This is both good and bad.

I think the Android device you choose can affect the quality of testing. The Nexus and Surface Pro are these respective companies best efforts to try to have more control of the fragmented OS distribution models. However, if you have even just one Nexus device (which gets updated much more quickly / often directly from Google – bypassing OEM / Carrier) this is the probably the closest thing to owning an Apple product. At $200 USD for a Nexus 7 (for example), that’s much less than what an iPad Mini or Regular would cost you. The OEMs and Carriers are partly to blame for the fragmentation but Google hasn’t enforced many rules either. Apple rules with an iron fist and there are obvious pros and cons to this.

While iOS is fragmented too, Apple does a rather admirable job of hiding it from the public though. Google isn’t as on top of this issue. There are plenty of iDevices out there that are stuck on iOS 5 and Safari 5, never to be updated again. Even the devices that qualified for iOS v6, don’t qualify to benefit from all the features the update brings. This isn’t the first time this has happened to Apple products but Google’s failure to better manage people’s perception of Android has garnered it the reputable it currently has.

Fragmentation can be nothing more than an convenient excuse to not to test Android at all for some. I’d like to see that attitude change. I DO think it’s too much too expect ALL IE / iOS / Android versions devices to work with products sold here. I’m really just hoping that that more products will get tested on at least ONE device (as opposed to NONE).

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