Why is Android QA So Expensive?

Technical Challenges - Many Varieties of Android


My client, a mobile app company, discovered that Quality Assurance is spending 80% of its budget on Android. Stated differently, that’s 4x the cost for Android as for iOS. What’s going on? Is one dev team much worse than the other?


I asked how many versions and platforms are supported for each, and the answer revealed itself.


At any given time, over 80% of iOS users are on the current version (and 15% are on the previous version). 100% of iOS users are on an Apple-manufactured device. Very old iPhones might not accept the latest iOS update, but very few people keep their iPhones long enough for this to happen.

By contrast, the Android platform has many vendors. It is quite common for a given phone to be unable to accept the latest OS update. These two factors combine to create a multitude of combinations which must be tested.

Picture a grid, with a list of hardware companies on one axis (Samsung, Motorola, Huawei, LG) and a list of recent OS versions on the other (Red Velvet Cake, Snow Cone, Tiramisu, Upside Down Cake). Now you’ve got 16 boxes to check, compared with only one or two on the iOS side. Yes, in case you didn’t know, Android OS releases are named after desserts.

It’s natural for Quality Assurance to be more complex on Android than on iOS.


However it’s easier to get new releases into Google Play than into the Apple App Store, so this mitigates some expense on the overall cost of mobile deployment.


Posted on

January 8th, 2019