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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Android more reliable than Apple iOS

This short post is about a very interesting article from PCWorld entitled:¬†“Who’s the Smartphone OS Crash Champion?” that presents app crash stats and concludes that Android apps crash far less frequently than iOS apps. For details on the crash reports see the article and its graphs.
http://www.pcworld.com/article/249356/whos_the_smartphone_os_crash_champion.html#tk.hp_fv

Essentially the article examines, quotes and shows the crash results from apps as reported by the mobile app monitoring company Crittercism at
http://www.crittercism.com/index.html

There is also more data and an analysis from Forbes at
http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomiogeron/2012/02/02/does-ios-crash-more-than-android-a-data-dive/

Android and iOS
If one takes a very brief look at the articles it might appear that it is the mobile operating systems crashing whereas the reports are actually about apps crashing. Does it matter? Yes, most certainly, because if the operating system crashes it probably needs a reboot of the phone or tablet device and that could lose the users current work or data. Of course a really badly behaved app can deprive the the operating system of resources and perhaps even make it crash, so crashing apps are still a bad thing.

Why the Differences?
Assuming that on average the percentage  of Android apps crashing is far less than the percentage of iOS apps crashing then why should this be? The authors and commenters give a number of reasons but only detailed analysis would really shed light on what is actually happening. Anyhow, here are a few suggestions they made:-

(1) Is it the operating system? Well Android is better at multi-tasking so perhaps it is better at house-keeping, memory, stability etc. The problem is how to measure this from the reports.

(2) Is it the number of operating systems? They suggest that perhaps because there are so many different versions of each operation system therefore developers are having problems making their apps work on each version. However, their stats were from 33 versions of Android and 23 versions of iOS so one might expect the Android to be worse when the contrary is true.

(3) Is it the memory management? – I’m not an iOS programmer so can’t vouch for it but some iOS programmers say it is much more difficult managing the memory on iOS than on Android as the programmer themselves must do it. If true, this would make it much more likely that newbie programmers on iOS would produce less reliable apps than those on Android.

(4) Is it the development languages? – some say Java is more robust than Objective C although Java certainly gives the inexperienced programmer lots of scope to crash their app.

(5) There is also talk of the inbuilt advertising making apps unstable. That might be true because if something in the app starts connecting to the net it might interfere with the app’s natural stability.

(6) There is also the hardware but Apple tightly controls its hardware whereas Android runs on a wide variety of devices from different manufactures. Again, Android should fare worse than iOS but the opposite is true.

Conclusions
Clearly by the reported stats Android apps crash far less than iOS apps but there doesn’t seem a clear case for why it should be. There are so many variables here, different versions of operating system and hardware, types of app, what the app does, and how it interacts with hardware. Perhaps the Android OS is more stable than iOS, time will tell. However, they are both developing so rapidly, so watch this space.

 
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Posted by on 07/02/2012 in Android OS, iOS

 

5 How To: Create and Use an Emulator (AVD)

Emulators, also known as AVDs(Android Virtual Device) allow users to test their apps on different versions and setups of the Android operating system without having an actual physical device present. Here we will explain how to create an emulator, launch it and run your app/project on it. At the end are a few tips on emulators.

Creating an AVD in three steps
It is very easy to create an Android emulator using the Android AVD Manager.

1) From within HAC, load the Android AVD Manager by using the menu Android and option Android Emulators.
The AVD Manager image below shows it with no AVDs created:-

1 Empty AVD Manager

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2) To create a new AVD click the New button as shown above and the following window will open.
An AVD needs these options setting:- the name of the AVD, the target Android API to use and the SD Card size in MB as underlined in the picture.

2 Create AVD

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3) Once the settings have been filled in then click the Create AVD button and it will open the AVD Manager showing the entry for this newly created AVD:-

3 AVD Manager with AVD present

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Running an Emulator
There are two easy ways to run an emulator. Firstly by using the Android AVD Manager as shown above, in which case just highlight the required emulator and click the Start button. Secondly, from within HAC using its Android Device Manager as shown below. This lists all the AVDs known to HAC in the top half of the window and displays running AVDs and Android devices in the the bottom half. To run an emulator just select it from the upper list then use the HAC menu Go and option Launch Emulator.

HAC Manage Devices

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Running Project on an Emulator/Device
HAC’s Android Device Manager lists all of the running emulators and Android devices in the bottom list. To run the project on an already running emulator or device just select the target emulator/device from the lower list then use the HAC menu Go and option Run Android.
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A Few Tips
(1) An emulator’s first run is very slow and newer APIs can take many minutes to start up.
(2) Emulators like Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich do more and so use more resources, therefore on older PCs don’t run non-essential background apps or the emulator might crawl to a halt.
(3) Some of the newer emulators may occasionally crash or freeze during startup but just try again.
(4) Emulator graphics can be very slow but are still very useful in setting up a game or apps screen layout.
(5) If you need to test your game but don’t have an Android device then use older emulators as they will draw more frames/second, run your code faster and be more responsive.
(6) Emulator keyboards can be problematic so use at least one Android device to check its behaviour.
(7) When creating an emulator ignore the density setting as HAC copes automatically with screen scaling.
(8) Test your app on a range of Android emulators.

 
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Posted by on 07/02/2012 in How-to

 

HAC v1.12 with Easy Installer

This update greatly simplifies the installation of HAC and the Android SDK. It also adds some improvements and bug fixes.
HAC users now have the option of using an Easy Installer that can set up HAC and a basic Android SDK in 10 minutes or less depending upon the user’s internet connection speed.

Improvements
During HAC’s first and subsequent runs it is now better at finding the paths to the Android SDK.
A new menu option “Android Emulators” now makes it easier to set up Emulators (also called AVDs).
An important bug has been fixed for non-English Windows systems that affected signing apps with a Private Key.

HAC Installers
As mentioned above there are now two installers available for HAC.
The previous HAC Installer (now called Standard) required the user to either have the Android SDK already setup or to install it themselves. For beginner programers setting up the Android SDK can be daunting as it has many options and can take a few hours to download and fully install.

(1) Standard Installer is about 14MB in size and just installs HAC.
This should be used if you already have the Android SDK installed in your Program Files directory, you are happy with your current Android SDK installation or you are confident in your ability to install the Android SDK.

(2) Easy Installer is about 140MB in size and installs both HAC and a basic Android SDK.
It should be used if the Android SDK is not already installed and you want to get HAC running as quickly as possible. The Android SDK installed by this Easy Installer just installs API 9 (Gingerbread) but can be updated to include the latest or even older APIs.

For further details see the release notes accompanying HAC and the posts listed in our forums.

Thank you to our forum users and others for submitting such valuable feedback.

 
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Posted by on 06/02/2012 in Updates