So, now that the dust has settled (and then some), time to put down my thoughts on all these mobile publishing lessons I have learned. First things first, I know saving money is good, don’t pay for something you don’t need yet, but as you’ll see later when it comes to your developer license, don’t wait, because the potential headaches are quite large.
Google Play, for the most part, was exceptionally straightforward. Build your store listing, upload your apk to a test group if desired or send it straight to release, and hit go. It takes a few hours to get changes approved (slightly annoying when you’re just adjusting text in the description). Their web interface is fantastic for both setting up your app listing as well as tracking afterward, leagues beyond the others, it makes me really wish I had something with a larger install base to check out all the features and see the data they collect for you.
As I mentioned, you have the option of creating a test group using Google Groups or, the beauty of Android, you can just install the apk straight onto your devices without any special provisioning. I developed on Android first, because with the 3rd party tool I was using to export apk files, it is just incredibly easy to test on that platform. Unless I was using a full XCode project, I couldn’t imagine testing on an Apple device.
The only hitch I ran into with Google Play was over something I never would have anticipated, sales tax. Turns out it doesn’t collect it by default like others do, which was just a tad confusing to say the least. The other confusing bit is that Google Play highlights the number of installs you have, not necessarily the number of sales. The full sale details can be pulled up of course, but at a quick glance I found this initial page a bit odd.
Actually now that they’ve seemingly dropped the developer fee, the Amazon App store is actually quite simple if you are already developing for Google Play. Yes there are services you won’t be able to use (the ones that start with G and end with oogle…) but they actually offer alternates if you so choose. For this project I did not tie into any platform features though so this will be more learning for next time.
Honestly the only thing I didn’t like about the Amazon App store is the web interface. It is very clunky, nothing at all like the Google experience.
Not just due to appearance, but with my whole registration fiasco, I would rather not be using the Apple iOS system. I’m really not sure what the annual fee pays for when Google offers a far superior interface for a 1 time cost.
First off, my registration. I wanted to register as a company and not an individual, despite having my LLC all registered for years ahead of time actually, their verification system did not want to recognize it. Now they were very nice, even called me up to help get it resolved, but it put a 2 week delay on my just getting started testing and never should have been an issue to begin with.
Once everything was running I found their iTunes Connect site felt very disjointed. All the information is there, it is just a pain to navigate around. I haven’t found a page that gives any useful summary of all your apps and their current state like Google does.
More to come…
This is just a quick run down, I’ll be following up shortly with my post mortem on the whole process. Despite some of the issues I encountered though, it is still incredible that these platforms exist. When I first started coding there was really no chance of distributing an app like this for anything but free, and even then it would be hard to get any downloads.