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Published March 15th, 2017 by

Don’t Port from iOS to Android Unless You Know These Essentials

If you are reading this, then it’s evident that you already have an iOS app, which you want to port to Android. But questions like- where to start? How to do it? Is it worth porting to a new platform? continue to bewilder you. Isn’t it? With this read, we address each query individually giving you a clear idea of how to go about the porting process.

Here are crucial reasons that why you need to port to Android asap.

  • Immense market scope

With 80% of the mobile market being occupied by Android gadgets, it can be considered as a gold mine for the business owners. Users are inclined towards this operating system due to a long list of device offerings, deals and affordable pricing. Due to a wide range of Android users, you get a head start as far as marketing of your app/product is concerned. From the word go, you can target the masses who use more than 14 million active Android-powered devices globally.

  • Levitated profit margins

The growth opportunities are immense as you have more users to tap on and possibilities to generating more profits as compared to iOS. Android market is open to all offering tremendous opportunities for businesses like you to grow and reach new heights with every step taken in the process of expansion.

  • Quick, easy and effective

Unlike App Store, you don’t have to wait for weeks to get your app approved. Instead, a no review mechanism is in place, which lets you start earning from the day you submit your app to the Google Play Store.

Next, comes the pointers you need to consider while porting from iOS to Android as you don’t want to offer different experiences to your users on two different platforms. A unified approach needs to be followed to achieve the desired results. Take note of the following aspects with a detective’s eye so that you don’t miss out any.

The Design Trauma

Porting design from iOS to Android isn’t a piece of cake. Even the best mobile app development agencies in the business find it tough to switch ways.

You can’t simply copy & paste the design elements from iPhone app to Android. There are certain guidelines and standards, which need to be adhered. There are different design elements for each platform to navigate through multiple screens, to tap on a call-to-action button or scroll through a list. An app developer needs to alter the same accordingly with precision so that no bug prevails.

By copying the design, you’d not only baffle your users but would also invite a plethora of negative reviews for glitchy app experience and poor performance. Each platform comes with its own design guidelines, which an app developer needs to follow and build an app that complies with the same.

Things to ponder while porting the design to Android

Mobile app development companies need to pay close attention to this aspect because if done right, then it can do wonders to your ported app else all the efforts would go in vain.

  • Media assets

If iOS is a sea of devices, Android is an ocean. There are myriad devices in the market that run on Android, which is a matter of concern when we talk about design porting from iOS to Android. Designers need to port media assets carefully and skillfully complying to the prescribed guidelines and rules.

  • Tabs need to be optimized

Both the platforms, iOS and Android have different tabs placement. While in apple devices, the tabs are positioned at the bottom edge of the screen whereas, in the case of Android devices, they are placed at the top just below the action bar. Hence, a modification is required.

  • Buttons require attention

There is a convention followed in the case of button style as well. Round buttons on iOS, while square on Android.

  • Use the lists correctly

Both the platforms, Android and iOS follow different approaches to performing actions with lists. You need to pay close attention to the same. A left pointing arrow is used in Android, while iOS follows the right pointing culture.

  • Navigation adjustment

Another considering aspect during Android porting is the navigation. In the case of Android devices, users are treated with a physical button for navigating to the previous screen, which isn’t the case in iOS as Apple users get the back button on the top left corner of the screen to go back.

  • Font family

Different font families are used in Android and iOS. Roboto is the go-to font for Android, while iOS-powered devices use San Francisco fonts since iOS 9.

  • Menu style

Android apps use bottom sheets for supporting content or additional information or can be used to present deep-linked content from other apps, while for the same task, iOS use popover and action sheet elements. These elements are only displayed as a result of the user-initiated action.

OS compatibility

With several operating system versions, prominent in the market, it adds to the worry stack of the developers, analysts and tech team working behind. It becomes another point of discussion to support which OS version.

It is recommended to build an app supporting the latest release in addition to the previous two.

Android users don’t get OS updates as quickly as their iOS counterparts. While, at times device manufacturer defies of releasing an update to the users, which ultimately leads to a high percentage of users with older OS versions on their smart devices. This makes a viable point of going with latest (Nougat) OS along with the previously prominent, Marshmallow and Lollipop.

As of November 2016, only 0.3% of devices were updated to Nougat, but considering the global market share of Android users, this percentage implies that there would be a lot of people.

However, users who purchase apps like to keep their operating systems up to date so if you offer incredible services and charging for the app download then you don’t need to think about it much.

Devices to target

There are thousands of Android devices available in the market including smartphones and tablets with multiple screen sizes, different models and made by different manufacturers, which isn’t the case with iOS devices. All iOS-powered devices are manufactured by a single company with standard screen resolutions and sizes.

So, which devices to target for Android? You can’t target all because nobody can develop apps and test them for every single of those thousand models in the market. Then, which devices could help the cause?

It totally depends on your target audience. You got to research and learn the most popular devices your customers own. Like for example, the Android models popular in the US would differ from that prominent in Africa. Research well for the same and shortlist 10 most popular models in the market.

Android phones supported in North America include Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Samsung Galaxy S4, S5, S6/Edge, S7/Edge, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, 4, 5, Nexus 6, 5x, 6p, HTC One M7, M8, M9, Sony Xperia Z3, Z5 and more, while some of the tablets that mobile app development companies in the US support include Nexus 10, 9, 7 (2012 & 2013), Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014), 8, Sony Xperia Z4 and Asus Transformer Pad.

Coding concerns

The porting of an app from one OS to another brings along the coding concerns, which symbolizes that the code written for iOS app can’t be simply taken and recompiled for Android. Server-side coding for iOS written in Objective-C/Swift can’t be ported to Android and it requires development team to write the entire code from scratch.

Also, code for Android apps is written in Java, which is a weaker counterpart than Objective-C as far as performance is concerned. Hence, time-sensitive elements require relatively more attention when you port.

Build and test

Knowing all the technicalities and essentials, it’s finally the time for you to get onboard a skilled bunch of developers and designers who can visualize, plan and act in the most appropriate way. However, just getting the app ready for Android won’t help the cause because you got to do a lot of testing thereafter. With a wide range of active mobile devices, you need to test on a consistent basis for the most prominent models that users are using.

In such cases, an Android simulator featuring multiple screens and memory sizes along with different API levels would act as a savior. Try to find and rectify the bugs at an early stage as post-release alteration could hit hard on your pockets.

Testing is a prolonged process, which continues even after releasing the final version of the application, so get your best professionals to work on the same as a glitchy app experience could invite a number of negative reviews and uninstalls.

We, at Konstant Infosolutions, offer a guiding hand for all your professional needs including app porting, mobile app development and offshore dedicated staffing. Feel free to mail us your requirements as we’ll be glad to assist you.

Manish Jain
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Manish Jain

Managing Director at Konstant Infosolutions
Manish Jain is the co-founder and Managing Director of Konstant Infosolutions - Top Mobile App Development Company. He is responsible for the overall operations of the company and has played a major role in bringing Konstant up from its humble beginnings and, with his immense energy and drive, transforming it into a globally trusted name in IT solutions.
Manish Jain
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