A Definitive Guide on Choosing the Right Smartphone for Android Development

Monday February 22nd, 2016

As an Android app developer, the big question that you might always be trying to answer is what smartphone you should use for testing while developing an app.

This is probably one point where iOS is better than Android. Since Apple is the sole provider of iOS, the latest Apple iPhone is always used for development and testing.

But, the choice is not as simple with Android apps. There is a large number of sellers of Android mobiles and each seller has its very own user interface.

So, we have put together some basic points to consider when selecting an Android mobile for app development. We also provide you with a guide to the top brands that you should consider.

Android OS

The very first point that you should consider is the OS version that each device has. It is important to note that low-end Android mobiles do not come with the latest Android OS and users around the world use a variety of different OS versions.

So, those who buy a new mobile phone with Android will not necessarily get the latest Android OS.

Below is a table of the global distribution of Android platforms:

スクリーンショット 2016-02-22 15.02.50

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Note: This data is gathered from the new Google Play Store app, which supports Android 2.2 and above, so devices running older versions are not included. However, in August, 2013, versions older than Android 2.2 accounted for about 1% of devices that checked in to Google servers (not those that actually visited Google Play Store).

Source: Developer.android

If you want to test your app on the latest Android platform, it is best to opt for a mobile device that receive early software updates.

However, there are very few mobile devices which actually provide users with software updates as soon as they are released.

Google’s very own Nexus series is among those that receive early updates from Google. Besides Nexus, Motorola’s Moto G series and Moto X Play series also get updated as soon as updates are available.

Motorola mobiles, at times covered under the brand name Lenovo, are among the top Android mobiles when it comes to early software updates and an uncorrupted Android experience.

 

 

Price

Price is also a major factor. Your developmental budget should thus include the mobile you will buy to test your app. You should always opt for the best Android mobile, providing a bloatware free experience, that falls within your budget.

Nexus could have a hefty price which many developers would not be able to cover in their budget. However, the Moto series mobiles are quite affordable and offer stock Android, which is the most uncorrupted version of Android that would allow one to test the app.

Hardware

The hardware of the smartphone that you choose is as important as its software.

So, make sure that the mobile you use for testing has good hardware support. However, the support should not be too high, since most users will be using a platform that offers decent hardware, but not the best. A dual-core processor with 1 GB RAM and 8 GB internal memory should be decent enough for testing.

The Top Brands to Consider

Taking into consideration the OS version, the price and the hardware, we have drawn up the following list of the top five smartphones which you should consider for Android app development:

  • Moto G (3rd Generation or Turbo)
  • Moto X Play
  • Nexus 6P
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
  • Xiaomi Mi 4i

These smartphones are not only among the top selling mobiles across the world, they also provide the best Android user experiences which is free from bloatware.

Xiaomi has its MIUI which is always being updated, but this should not be much of an issue with any app that you are planning to develop.

Samsung also provides its own UI, while Motorola and Nexus provide a stock Android experience. The hardware also holds good for all of these smartphones.

It is thus the price that will greatly impact your selection. We suggest that you try about two or three different brands’ platforms to ensure uniformity in your app’s performance across many devices from different manufacturers.

So, which smartphone will you use for Android development?