Developing For Android Is Much Easier Now, Animoca Claims

Posted: May 8, 2013 in Mobile, Technology
Tags: , , ,

20130508-210558.jpg Software quality assurance testing on Android
devices is far easier than it was just a year ago, at
least according to one of Asia’s largest mobile app
developers, Animoca. The Hong Kong company has produced over 300
apps since it started two years ago, and just shot
past 150 million downloads collectively. It produces
mainly Android apps. Last year, Animoca’s testing process for its apps
covered a whopping 400 Android devices. Today, this
number has been slashed to just a quarter of that,
largely because of standardization in the Android
handset industry. According to Yat Siu, CEO of Animoca’s parent
company Outblaze, most phones have become
standardized on Samsung’s base hardware, thanks to
the Korean manufacturer’s cornering of the
component market. Besides making its own branded devices, Samsung
provides parts for a huge array of other devices. In
2012, Samsung was the world’s biggest manufacturer
of NAND Flash (31 percent), DRAM (38 percent), and
display components (25 percent). The evolution of Android’s platform over the years
has also made it a lot more flexible for app
developers on the software side of things, with fewer
variants of Jelly Bean than Gingerbread, he added.
Together with hardware standardization, this has
really eased the amount of testing that Animoca has to do today. “Japan is the outlier in all of this—they have the
strangest phones, and each one is a little different
from the other. The rest of the world is mainly quite
similar, based on Samsung hardware,” said Yat. Phones are also getting better. He said that the 400
testing devices from 2012 were mainly made up of
low-end handsets. “You have to cater to low-end
devices because otherwise, you cancel out your
biggest audience. But all the new hardware is pretty
kickass, and more and more devices are getting very capable,” he said. Animoca employs about 100 people working just on
its apps, and has operations in Korea, the Philippines,
the US and China. Its strategy is to flood the market
with apps hitting different niche markets, rather than
try to create a “Supercell-style or Angry Birds
blockbuster” hit, said Yat. Some of its titles, Star Girl and Pretty Pet Salon have
pretty much reached hit status, but the company is
focused on churning out a higher volume of app
varieties, in the hopes of casting a wider net for loyal
fans. “Those become paying audiences,” he said. While Star Girl is enjoying millions of downloads, it’s
still a niche app. “It targets girls, you share clothes
and virtually flirt with guys. It’s not a Candy Crush,”
said Yat. The company has grown about four times in the past
12 months, although he wouldn’t say how much
revenue it brings in now. “Frankly, we grew because
Android grew as well,” he said, referring to Android’s
growing market share. “That’s why Korea and Japan
are big markets for us, because they are strong Android bases,” he said. Animoca produces iOS versions of some of its
games, but remains focused on Android, where ARPU
is “very comparable” to iOS. Users in Japan and
Korea tend to spend most on apps, said Yat.

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