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Posts tagged ‘Android’

18
Nov

Version 4.8 for Android Now Available

cats

While we’re busy beavering away on the Lollipop update of Pocket Casts (which looks amazing by the way), we thought we’d give you a few new things to play with:

  • Pocket Casts now has actionable notifications, so you can download or stream episodes right from your phone or Android Wear watch. If an episode is auto-downloaded while you’re away, those buttons will change to play and add to Up Next.
  • Variable speed playback has been enhanced so that it now works with more than just MP3 files. On most phones AAC and OGG are also now supported!
  • We’ve fixed quite a few Lollipop bugs, like the skip buttons in the player getting stuck on a colour.
  • You can now choose exactly which podcasts you’d like to be notified about, instead of it being an all or nothing setting.
  • Auto download has been changed by popular request to download any new shows that come out. This is especially handy for people that listen to things like hourly news podcasts, that used to have to download some of these manually if they weren’t around when the shows came out.

So grab it if you haven’t already and enjoy your favourite podcasts just that little bit more. Speaking of which: Adnan totally did it by the way. No way that guy is innocent. Sorry…runs away…

17
Mar

The Best Pocket Casts Yet

pocket casts 4.5

After many months of hard work we’d like to introduce you to our latest update: Pocket Casts v4.5 for Android. Don’t be fooled by the ‘.5’ part there’s a lot that’s new:

  • Chromecast support: send your favourite podcasts straight to your TV with a single tap.
  • Up Next playlist: no need to wonder what’s playing next, flick right on the now playing screen and see. Re-arrange items to your heart’s content, and quickly skip between them too.
  • Colourful Awesomeness: podcast authors have some amazing artwork. The new Pocket Casts automatically detects colours from the artwork and brightens the interface in subtle, but powerful ways.
  • Modern Android Interface: When Pocket Casts 4 first came out, it was everything that was right about Android design. Since then Android has moved forward, and now so have we. See your podcasts in a whole new light.
  • Enhancements Galore: We’ve re-written so many parts of Pocket Casts to make it faster, more robust and better than ever before. There’s a million little details that have gone into this update and we can’t wait for you to experience them.

So what are you waiting for? Head over to the Google Play Store and grab it now!

1
Aug

iOS vs Android, Great Balls of Fire

Smart people like John Gruber of Daring Fireball seem to believe that Android development takes 3x as many developers as iOS. He believes it so strongly he mentions it again in another post about analysts who try to fit facts into a narrative.

Unlike John, we actually do Android development full time, and we have for many years. We’ve made big apps, we’ve made small apps. Sorry to disappoint you John, but a talented Android developer works at roughly the same speed as a talented iOS one. They make the same apps, of the same complexity, in the same amount of time. Sure there are differences in platforms and API. Some things are quicker to do on iOS, others on Android. Long story short, there’s not a lot of difference when it comes to development time.

Like the very analysts he mocks, Gruber is trying to fit a story to his pre-existing narrative. Does the BBC story offer a reason as to why the team is 3x bigger? Nope. Does it suggest any sort of causality? None. It’s a casually mentioned fact about an app which is currently being developed. It could be that the team is bigger because the app is playing catch up to the iOS one that came out first. It could be bigger because some of the iOS team is helping out. It could be bigger because the BBC is using developers who are less familiar with Android. It could be that the iOS team used to be the same size or bigger, but was ramped down after the first version of the app was completed. Which one is it? I have no idea, I don’t infer facts from stories that don’t explicitly state them. Justin Williams (an iOS developer by trade) speculates along the same lines. Your mileage may vary, but unlike most other people I speak from years of experience in actually developing on these platforms.

John is certainly not the only one doing this, people write articles like this almost every day on both sides of the fence. It’s just disappointing that these kind of myths are perpetuated in the echo chamber that the tech press occasionally becomes.

Update: Johns response is quite well done, and his research shows that indeed, the BBC iPlayer team is having a lot more issues on Android than iOS. He also links to a PBS Article where they’re having the same issues. Then states:

Maybe the problems the BBC faces are specific to the domain of streaming video.

Maybe? I’d say most likely since that’s all they talk about in the other articles John has now linked to. I realise however, that I should have provided examples of where Android development was faster, or the same as iOS. So here goes:

Skala View development on Android was easily 10x faster than the iOS version. The main reason? Networking is far easier on Android, as are most of the other tasks that Skala View needed to perform.  The iOS version was also there for us to work from. To quote Marc Edwards of Bjango:

Backing up @shiftyjelly’s claim re Skala View. Android was way faster and has some additional abilities.

My Physio, a client app we developed was also done in a shorter amount of time than the iOS one. Again because the iOS version was already completed so a lot of the hard work had already been done. I’d say if they were done in parallel they would have been finished in parallel.

Pocket Casts on Android was easier to develop than the iOS counterpart, though the testing and support costs are higher. It’s no small project either, taking 6 months to complete the version 4 update.

Likewise our other apps like Pocket Weather take about the same amount of time to develop for Android as with iOS.

At this point I could scour the Internet for more examples like this one where the author explains how both platforms took him equal amount of times to develop for, and which aspects of each he prefers. That’s not my intention though, it was merely to point out that Android and iOS development in general, take about the same amount of time. In some cases is Android development harder? Of course. In some cases is it easier? Yes. I’m not here to champion Android and claim it’s not fragmented, because it is. I’m not here to tell you that it’s somehow superior to iOS, the truth is that it’s a lot more nuanced than that.

8
Mar

Can Android and iOS Co-Exist?

Today we’re proud to announce our latest app Pocket Casts, for Android:

https://market.android.com/details?id=au.com.shiftyjelly.pocketcasts

Which begs the obvious question: Have we gone mad, two Android apps in the space of a month? Have we abandoned iOS for greener pastures? The simple answer to which would be: no, we’ve always been mad, but we’re still committed to iOS development.

The longer answer is that currently we have two programmers at Shifty Jelly: Philip and Russell. Out of those two only one coded all our iOS apps, Russell. Philip focussed on the server side of things, which pretty much all of our apps rely on, and which has always been a full time job on it’s own. Since resigning from our full time jobs in September of 2010 Philip has been optimising the heck out of our servers, to ensure that each day he has less and less maintenance that he has to do on them. This frees him up to do some front-end development, which is something he’s always wanted to do. Combine that with his 10 years of experience in Java, and Androids rise in the mobile world, and you have a pretty good match. If you’ll endulge us a second, let’s rephrase it as a computer hardware analogy: in essence we’re a dual core machine, capable of working on iOS apps on one core, and Android apps on the other, while taking advantage of our design co-processor across both.

In many ways the Android side of things is still an experiment, a way of putting a toe into the water to see what happens. So far we’re pleased with the results, but it’s early days. We’re going to be writing a series of blog posts over the next few weeks about the experience, should be quite interesting!

So what can you expect from the Shifties over the next few months? Here’s our current plan:

  • New version of Pocket Weather AU for iPhone (hopefully released to Apple today)
  • New versions of Pocket Casts for iOS and Android (hint: we’re building a platform here, not a podcasting app as such…there’s a LOT more in the pipeline for Pocket Casts)
  • New version of Pocket Weather AU HD for iPad
  • New versions of our world weather apps
  • New versions of Pocket Weather AU for Android to slowly build up the feature list to match the iPhones
  • What, that’s not enough for you? 😉

So let’s put aside the iPhone vs Android war, it’s pointless, both platforms have their merits and neither one is really superior to the other. It all depends on your preference, and having a choice is a good thing as far as we’re concerned. But more importantly, you can enjoy the benefits of Shifty Jelly on both…now isn’t that a load off your minds? Now go be good little boys and girls and buy up all our apps so we can eat for another week! No really…I’m hungry…