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Thursday, April 7, 2011

How to run Android Market on the Emulator

During development, it is often useful to be able to test the Android Market from a device other than your own. However, by default the Android emulator doesn't include the Android Market - nor offer an easy method of installing it. This tutorial will show you how to setup an Android Virtual Device (AVD) running Android 1.6 and the Market application.

Getting Started
This tutorial assumes you have the Android SDK installed and functioning, and have downloaded at least the basic Android 1.6 target. If not, complete these steps before continuing.

First, you'll need to download the Android 1.6 system image file from (this can also be found on the HTC website - look for Android Dev Phone 1). This is close to 60MB, so it might take a while to download.

While you're waiting, start the Android SDK and AVD Manager, and create a new virtual device. Choose whatever name you like, and set the target as "Android 1.6". I recommend selecting a 2GB SD card, and booting up the virtual device just to test and make sure it runs correctly.

Replacing the System Image
Now find the folder where your Android 1.6 system image is stored (not the folder for your AVD). Under Linux this will be <android-sdk-folder>/platforms/android-1.6/images/. Notice there is a system.img file in this folder. Copy this to a backup location, and paste in the file you just downloaded. This replaces the default Android 1.6 virtual machine with our new custom image, which includes the Android Market pre-installed.

Setting up the device
Using the AVD Manager to start up the virtual device. If all goes well, it will boot directly into Android, and let you choose to setup the device. Click through the tutorial, and when given the option to enter your Google account, choose "Skip". We'll complete that part later*. Finish the wizard.

Now you should see the home screen. Click the grey arrow at the bottom of the screen, and find the Android Market icon. Click to launch it.

Now you can fill in your Google account details. Use a different account than you have on your primary device (you might like to create one specifically for testing Android apps). Accept the terms and conditions, and you should be able to browse and download applications just like on a physical Android device!

Note: The Android Market will automatically update itself some time after linking to your Google Account. Don't be surprised if it suddenly closes without warning - just wait a while and start it up again to continue downloading apps.

* When I tried to complete the initial setup wizard, I got stuck at a screen saying "slide out your keyboard to continue". By skipping this step, and setting up the Google account later on I was able to avoid the issue.

Other resources:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Android Market: First day download stats

A couple of days ago I uploaded a draft of my Android app to the market, to test the signing and publishing process. I was also curious as to exactly how many people were actually interested in downloading an app of this description. So I uploaded the draft (which is not functional in any useful way), added a title and description, as well as a few screenshots. I clearly stated in the description this is an alpha release and not intended for download. Clearly it was not the most attractive app to download by any means. But it's interesting to see the downloads from the first day.

One day after uploading my draft to the Android Market, 99 people had downloaded the app. Of those, 57% were "active users", and two people had submitted error reports for an edge condition which has since been resolved.

I never expected this many people to download my draft - especially not since it was labeled "alpha". I didn't promote it in any way - just uploaded it with a decent icon, title and description. If 100 people will download an app labeled "alpha" with no reviews or comments, how many more would download an actual finished app?

Another stat worth listing is the Ad impressions. I had one ad unit included in the main menu of the app. This single ad unit generated approximately 300 ad impressions, and 1 click. Again, this is in the first day after uploading an unfinished draft to the Android Market. I would expect to see many more downloads (and thus more ad impressions) from a finished product, with a few good reviews on the Market.

Monday, April 4, 2011

How to Make Money with Android

So you want to make money with Android? Sell your Android apps to make a profit? Generate enough revenues from your Android apps that you can quit your job and live off the earnings? Or just learn how to monetize your existing apps? You've come to the right place.

This blog will be a journal of my progress as I start from scratch in developing profitable Android apps. I'll be documenting my discoveries, as well as writing up some general advice for making money. It'll be a rough journey, and possibly a slow one, but I aim to reach an initial goal of $1000 per month from Android apps. This includes a few revenue streams:
I've set the initial goal relatively low for a reason - I believe that having an achievable medium-term goal, and basing my activities around that goal, is the surest way to success. I could have aimed for $1000 a week, but that would be too far in the future. $1000 per month is equivalent to roughly $230 per week, or $34 per day - which is certainly achievable with some effort.

So how to I aim to achieve this? Firstly: build an app. =) It may seem obvious, but the first step towards making money with Android is to actually build a worthwhile app. Not just a throw-away "Hello world" style program, but something really useful. It doesn't need to be complex - some of the most popular games for Android are really quite basic. But it does need to be a complete application, and have a purpose. Don't just start writing for Android for the sake of making money. It will be extremely difficult to write a good Android app with money being your sole objective. You need to find a problem to solve, or a need to be met. Then, build "an app for that".

I've actually got dozens of ideas - far too many to write myself, and have been sorting through some prototypes in recent weeks. I have now decided on the concept which I'll be implementing for my first public app. It's staying under wraps for now, but I can say one thing: my first Android app published on this site will be a Casual Game.

So I hope you'll join me for what will surely be a profitable adventure, and a beneficial exercise in Android development. You can subscribe by email or RSS, and keep up-to-date with my latest progress. Feel free to leave a comment with any questions or suggestions you might have - I'll be learning along with you, and I'd love to get some feedback on what you do (and don't!) like about this site.

See you soon with the latest info on Making Money with Android!