Everything you need to know about releasing Android products (part 1)

Written by: Electric Bee
3 min read
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Here at CloudBees, we have been enabling software build, test, and release teams automate and accelerate their software delivery processes for many years.
But lately, we have been getting lots of interest from device vendors–particularly Android device vendors – to improve the quality and speed of getting devices to market. In this blog series, we will describe some of the dynamics and challenges in this unique market and discuss ways in which CloudBees can help.
First, Android is hot! There are over a billion Android-based mobile devices being used today, and this growth trend shows no signs of slowing (in a recently survey of embedded developers, 34 claimed that their project will be on the Android OS. The next closest OS had less than 15 endorsement in the same survey).
Android is innovating exceptionally fast (the first Android release was after all out in late 2008) and we have seen 8 significant iterations/versions of the OS in the last 4 years. See the chart below, which provides a neat view of the OS releases and market penetration for the Android releases.

Android release/version distribution (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Android_historical_version_distribution.png)

The rich capabilities in each revision provides for lot of differentiation options – both on the application and device sides. And finally, Android has a large install base of knowledgeable developers worldwide today. Its no wonder Android is the OS of choice for most device vendors today!
Android device vendors see opportunities in this new world, but they are also keenly aware of the challenges in this market. A few months delay delivering the latest Android device can spell the difference between a rockstar and dud (as of the last report on Android handset development latency – the time from release of an OS to the release of a (mobile) handset optimized for that OS was under 4 months!). And of course, delivering quality products in this razor-thin-margin business is crucial. The CEO of a top 5 Android device maker recently attributed 70 of their returns to poor device/application quality, not hardware. Few development or release managers want to be associated with these poor-quality products.
So what are the technical challenges in delivering Android devices with high quality? Stay tuned as we discuss these challenges in the next few blogs. And by the end of this series, you will know what it takes to deliver these devices with high quality and impeccable TTM.
Note: If you are going to be attending the Android Builders Summit 2013 (http://events.linuxfoundation.org/events/android-builders-summit ), come see us there.

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