Right before Thanksgiving, prominent guests from a major telecommunications and mobile device maker visited Electric Cloud headquarters. As longtime trusted business partners we discussed challenges and opportunities in the market-place, and I just thought I should share some of the key general takeaways, captured in the below photo of our meeting notes on the whiteboard:
1. Time-to-market is critical
With IDC claiming 75 of the shipped smartphones in the world during Q3 2012 being an Android-device, the competition is fierce and time-to-market is critical. In the meeting we heard of a desire to push for sub three-months manufacturing cycle from the time a new version of the vanilla Android codebase is available to when devices can be upgraded or sold to end-consumers!
If you want to make a name for yourself and be on the cutting-edge of Android device development, then this really means laser-focus on accelerating all involved processes of the development and manufacturing lifecycle!
2. Quality can not be neglected
Assuring the quality of the growing and constantly changing matrix of hardware and software combinations for an Android-device maker is a huge challenge. This growth of the matrix are due to a number of reasons – e.g. upgrades and bug fixes for devices already on the market that needs to be supported and maintained, localized variants for specific geographical markets or carriers, or custom built images for different form factors. The complexity involved to properly and efficiently manage such a matrix of variants can not be over-stated. Seldom does it work out well to just throw more people at the problem, so automation across the lifecycle is key.
More details on the rigorous quality process that Android device makers needs to go through when bringing up a new version of Android onto a device has been summarized by Sony Mobile in this excellent writeup.
3. Private development and build clouds are happening
The constant need for more and better hardware resources to manage the development lifecycle is something I hear over and over again when talking to our customers and end-users. Cutting edge Android device makers are no different – the trend towards large centralized software development and build clouds with shared infrastructure, flexible scheduling and dynamic allocation are very much a real concern and initiative for these organizations as they try to be faster and better than their competitors.
If you are interested in what Electric Cloud can do to help you optimize your Android development lifecycle, watch the below 3m demo or read up on it here.
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