Debunking 6 myths about Android app development

9 min read
August 21, 2023

Android is full of malware.”

“It’s cheap.”

“Android apps are slow.”

You’ve probably heard your fair share of these Android myths, and others like them.

No surprise there, as Android has been misunderstood and maligned for many years.

You can chalk a lot of the most prevalent myths up to marketing from Android’s biggest competitor, Apple. But some of the rumors may have been born from Android’s rocky start.

Nevertheless, the truth is that many of these myths are either downright wrong or things of the past. Android is a better OS than what you’ve seen or heard.

So, in this article, we’ll bust a few of the more popular Android myths.

Android Studio is inferior to Xcode

Android apps are compared to iOS in every way possible, from their UI design philosophy to the effectiveness of their respective programming languages.

One of the most common points of contention is the integrated development environment (IDE). There’s a widespread belief that Apple’s Xcode is vastly superior to Android Studio.

This particular myth isn’t entirely unfounded. A few years back, Android Studio was indeed lagging behind Xcode and other IDEs at the time in almost every metric.

For instance, here’s a 2015 study from Strategy Analytics Inc. which reflects that:

Android Studio was indeed lagging behind Xcode and other IDEs at the time in almost every metric

Source: ADT Magazine

But that was almost a decade ago, and Android Studio kept getting better and better with each update while Xcode continued to stagnate as time went on.

Nowadays, Android Studio is leaps and bounds the superior IDE.

Take language interoperability.

Swift and Objective-C code are designed to be interchangeable, but this doesn’t work ideally in practice.

As one Reddit user points out, many features between the two are actually incompatible.

Java and Kotlin, in contrast, work almost seamlessly together.

Android Studio also has features that are either absent or inefficient in Xcode.

One of them is code refactoring. As you can see below, Android Studio provides various refactoring tools and features that make the process easy and accurate.

Xcode’s version is outdated in comparison, which leads to refactoring errors.

refactoring errors

Source: Medium

There are dozens of other reasons that Android Studio is the superior IDE. But it all comes down to having better and more innovative features.

It’s difficult to create a well-designed Android app

Apple is well-known for its well-designed, minimalist product design, which also extends to its app UI.

For many users that is enough to be convinced that Android apps are unpleasant by comparison, or at the very least, that achieving good design on the latter platform is challenging.

But that’s not entirely true.

In fact, plenty of Android app designs could give iOS a run for its money. And it takes surprisingly little effort and guesswork.

Android app designs

Source: Android

That’s because Google also emphasizes and supports good UI design as much as Apple does.

Android also has the Material Design guidelines, its answer to Apple’s own Human Interface Guidelines.

This resource outlines everything a designer needs to create a fantastic UI, including explanations and best practices on each UI component.

For instance, it specifies that bottom app bars shouldn’t be used for screens with only one action or less.

bottom app bars shouldnt be used for screens with only one action or less

Source: Material

Finally, keep in mind that a good UI is based on sound design principles and UX strategies, regardless of platform.

So, the general approach that applies to iOS will also work well in Android, making them equally capable of amazing app designs.

Developing an Android app is increasingly difficult

Admittedly, there is some truth to the myth that Android apps are more difficult to develop than their iOS counterparts.

For one, iOS’s native language, Swift, is considered one of the easiest languages to learn and use, far more accessible than Java or Kotlin.

That makes iOS development faster and more effortless.

Android also has a complex ecosystem with thousands of devices and manufacturers. This creates numerous variations that you need to account for during development.

In spite of all this, in our opinion, Android’s difficulty is greatly exaggerated.

In other words, it isn’t as hard as many developers claim it to be. Plus, there are numerous ways you can make it easier.

One is that Android provides plenty of learning resources that contain guidelines, best practices, and tips to streamline development.

App architecture

Source: Android

Android’s popularity also gives you an advantage, in that thousands of experienced Android developers in communities around the world are ready to answer your questions and help you with creating your app.

Or better yet, you can partner with an agency known for developing high-quality Android apps, such as DECODE.

This is perhaps the best approach. By leveraging the right team’s knowledge, skills, and experience, you can create high-quality Android apps without any fuss.

You must own numerous real devices for testing

Fragmentation is by far the number one problem Android developers face.

The term refers to the sheer number of manufacturers and devices in the Android ecosystem.

This creates thousands of combinations of screen dimensions, hardware specs, and OS versions you need to test.

And because Android is open-source, more devices will enter the ecosystem and exacerbate fragmentation over time.

Android and iOS Screen Size Fragmentation

Source: Excellent Webworld

Now, there’s a misconception that this variety means that you need to own dozens of physical Android devices to adequately test your app.

And while this could be beneficial, it’s hardly necessary, as there are numerous alternatives around it.

One easy workaround is to use Android Studio’s Emulator feature.

Android Emulator allows you to run virtual versions of popular Android devices, closely mimicking their screen sizes, dimensions, hardware specs, and even Home screen.

You can also select from various OS versions.

OS versions

Source: Android

This is a powerful approach because you can test your app on dozens of virtual devices from the convenience of your workstation. Not only does it save time, but cuts down on costs as well.

Alternatively, you can also try cloud-based services like BrowserStack.

These solutions give you access to thousands of desktop and mobile devices hosted on the cloud so that you can test your apps anytime and anywhere.

They also allow you to test what emulators can’t, such as network connectivity and GPS sensors.

Android suffers from far too many security issues

Many developers consider Android less secure than iOS, and admittedly, there has been some truth to that.

This is partly thanks to Android’s open ecosystem. Its open nature provides hackers with an opportunity to view Android’s source code freely, allowing them to exploit its vulnerabilities.

Fragmentation makes updates slower, further exacerbating the issue.

iOS’s closed system, in contrast, is more tightly controlled and, therefore, harder to break.

But even that’s changing fast. Look at this chart that tracks iOS and Android vulnerabilities in terms of volume and severity.

OS vulnerability scores

Source: Clario

Notice that the newer Android versions are considered more secure than iOS. That’s a great indicator that things are improving.

Because, while Android is more vulnerable, Google is also working double time to compensate for that with security updates.

For instance, Google now requires manufacturers to release security patches at least once every 90 days for the next two years.

And they also commit to supporting even older OS versions.

Plus, modern Android security features are now at par with Apple’s. They include the app sandbox, app signing, authentication, and encryption.

Android also has security solutions built specifically for its open nature.

An example is verified boot, a safeguard that prevents the device from loading code from an untrusted source.

Boot Yellow

Source: e-Con Systems

The bottom line is that Android is a much more secure OS than before. But remember that no platform can prevent 100% of vulnerabilities.

Thus, it’s still up to the developer to implement safe coding practices to protect app users.

Android app development isn’t nearly as profitable

This myth stems from one simple fact, which is that iOS users spend more than their Android peers.

Indeed, a consumer spending survey shows that people spent over $20 billion on the Apple App Store in Q2 2022—double that of the Google Play Store’s $10 billion revenue.

Worldwide app consumer spend by store


This is because the typical iPhone owner has a higher income and, therefore, discretionary spending for apps.

However, Android has an ace up its sleeve—market size.

Android is the dominant mobile operating system by a wide margin, capturing more than 70% of the market. The next contender, iOS, sits at around 28% market share.

mobile operating system market share worldwide

Source: StatCounter

This means that while Android users spend less, there’s potentially more of them to tap.

The key to monetizing Android apps is to deliver a fantastic user experience. You should also provide a clear value to your users that they’re willing to pay for.

But at the same time, you should keep your pricing fair to get more paying users.

You can also leverage Android’s market size with in-app advertising. More eyeballs means potentially more clicks that translate to a bigger ad revenue.

The bottom line is that Android apps can be just as profitable. You just need to approach it with a different monetization strategy.

What other Android myths have you heard?

Whatever the myth, the DECODE team can help you debunk it!

We offer a solid team of experienced developers, each with dozens of successful Android apps under their belt.

So the next time someone says that Android apps have poor quality or are slower, let us prove them wrong by making your next project the best it can be!

Interested? Contact us today, and let’s schedule a talk!

Written by

Ivan Trogrlic

Android Team Lead

An Applied Sciences graduate and a true connoisseur of tech, Ivan is a software developer with a genuine love for exploring new technologies. QAs love his code, and his fellow developers always value his input. For Ivan, there is no issue too small to talk over, and no problem that can’t be solved together. When he is not coding, Ivan is usually hiking or playing football. His ideal workspace? Probably a cottage in the mountains, with a serious gaming setup and fast internet connection.

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