App beta testing service TestFlight launched its closed Android beta back in February this year, and now the company is making those tools available to any and all. The private beta has included some 5,000 developers, who have incorporated TestFlight services into 4,500 apps, which have been downloaded over 50,000 times by eager Android beta testers.
TestFlight has frequently been asked when and why it would come to Android, so news of the beta earlier this year was understandably exciting for developers. Finding alternatives to TestFlight for the Android platform hasn’t been easy, even with TestFlight keeping away from the platform for a considerable amount of time. TestFlight CEO and founder Ben Satterfield explained in an interview that his company doesn’t seem to have ceded much opportunity with the wait, judging by the initial metrics of this expansion project.
“Our goal is not to be on every platform but to help developers better than other services on the platforms we do support,” he said. “Earlier this year we announced more than 300,000 apps uploaded on iOS alone. Given our base and the strong response to the private Android beta, we think developers will find it much easier to continue using our solution for managing beta-testing on both iOS and Android. ”
Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 3.49.01 PM
As for making sure that the experience translated to the Android platform, Satterfield says that feedback so far indicates they’ve done a decent job, and notes that in fact, the differences between how testing works on iOS vs. Android actually aren’t all that great, at least based on initial impressions.
“The iOS and Android workflows are proving to be similar,” he said. “We actually were counting on this and created the Android workflow to have minimal changes in the UI so developers could onboard effortlessly. It seems to have worked as within the first 24 hours of the private beta we had roughly the same percentage of developers connect their build systems and automatically start uploading their APKs.”
With this release, all developers get access to app management tools, including distribution and feedback reporting, and soon the Android SDK release will allow them to add in crash reporting and more. The SDK launches soon, possibly even as early as next week, TestFlight says, with a closed beta first. Satterfield also says that expanding mobile analytics tool FlightPath to Android is also on their roadmap, but has nothing concrete to share about release timelines as of yet.