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Android Lollipop is a game changer for agencies

The last few months have seen a slew of high profile announcements from some of the world’s biggest tech companies.

First, there was the release of Apple’s iPhone 6 and iOS 8 operating system, and then Google’s announcement of the latest Android platform, Lollipop, as well as three new Nexus devices. Samsung announced two new Smartphones and even Twitter got in on the act by announcing the release of a new developer platform.

Of all of this news, however, the announcement that was by far the most significant for digital agencies was the advent of Android Lollipop.  

In a blog post, Sundar Pitchai, Google’s Senior Vice President of Android, explained why: “…with more devices connecting together, your expectation is that things just work. With Lollipop, it’s easier than ever to pick up where you left off, so the songs, photos, apps and even recent searches from one of your Android devices can be immediately enjoyed across all the other ones.”

In other words, Lollipop is designed to give a seamless software experience from one mobile device to the next. A consumer will be able to use an app on her smartphone, say, then pick up her tablet and carry on using the app as if there had been no transition between devices.

Agencies, therefore, need to start ensuring that the apps and websites they develop for brands function correctly across a wider array of mobile devices than ever.

With mobile traffic beginning to overtake desktop, brands are already keenly aware of the importance of providing a flawless user experience on smartphones and tablets. But, as Pitchai says, as consumers develop the expectation that ‘things just work’, brands will seek to provide a multichannel experience that is continuous from device to device.

Therefore, if agencies develop apps that work on some devices but not others, they risk disrupting that smooth inter-device experience and losing their clients’ business.    

Perhaps most significant in the long run, however, is the gesture towards wearable tech and the Internet of Things made by Lollipop’s device-jumping capabilities.

Recent announcements of Google’s Nexus Player, a device designed to run Android TV, Microsoft’s fitness-tracking wearable Microsoft Band and a collaboration by IBM and Nationwide of a banking app for smartwatches, all indicate that the smartphone/tablet paradigm will soon be shifted into a much wider array of devices.

Innovative agencies therefore need to start anticipating the kinds of user experiences their clients will want to bring to market, and create apps capable off jumping seamlessly between TVs, phones, watches and tablets.

One way to make sure apps are up to clients’ standards is to test them across as many unique devices as possible. Finding an effective software testing partner can help agencies do this – innovations in crowdsourcing software testing mean that it is now possible for apps to be cost-efficiently tested to a high standard across hundreds of devices in just a few days, enabling agencies to meet clients’ expectations in a more dispersed mobile world.

Martin Mudge is technical director of BugFinders.

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