Monday, July 2

Which phones are my students using?

We build applications for all sorts of different phones, and despite the hype, many of the development tools and platforms we use are fairly stable: (MMS, SMS, Flash, Flash Lite, C for PPC etc).

The one technology that we seem to be endlessly tweaking is Java for phones (J2ME), because despite the good-karma that surrounds java's "runs on any device" ethos, the harsh reality is that each phone is different, and J2ME applications need to be tweaked endlessly to deal with new phones.

In fact, we have a huge box full of ex-ebay phones we use for testing.

But how do we know WHICH phones to test on, and which to build for?

It is a bit of a black art, and we rely heavily on our friends (thanks Wolf!) but here are a few useful links:

1. top seller lists are a good start:
http://www.ciao.co.uk/charts.php/ListId/3

2. then, you need to try to get some "install base" lists. This is a lot harder to do, as you need access to some insider knowledge, or very expensive reports. Here is a UK list for jan07:

Nokia

6230i

1,614,900

Samsung

D500

981,660

Motorola

RAZR V3 Black Edition

932,760

Sony Ericsson

K800i

879,900

Nokia

6230

860,470

Sony Ericsson

K750i

792,680

Nokia

6280

781,560

Samsung

D600

774,260

Nokia

3310

769,520

Nokia

1100

744,440


but this still doesn't help you narrow down to your target group. What we do for this group is:

3: We make our own lists. Because we offer free previews of many of our java games, we log all incoming connections against phone types. That way we can spot trends, as well as see new phone-variants we don't support yet and do some preventative development!

here is a sneaky screen dump from one of our games. You can see there are two columns - the red (pre-support) shows the number of downloads we missed out on, and the green (post-support) are the success stories. For total attempts you need to add these together.
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