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I am looking to buy an Android phone to test my first Android app on.

What things should I pay attention to to make sure I pick the most suitable device?

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Welcome to Programmers! I edited your question to make it more about learning how to choose the right device instead of focusing on a specific shopping choice. You can then evaluate your options against the answers here and decide if the phone you picked is a good choice. See this blog post for more information. –  Anna Lear Sep 8 '11 at 15:32
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4 Answers

Are you aware of the Android Developer phone? It could be a good starting point. You can find information on testing your app on hardware at:

http://developer.android.com/guide/developing/device.html

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Unfortunately one device will not be enough to do testing. In companies developing Android apps you will have numerous devices, as there are some bugs that are limited to few models.

Your choice of phone depends on you target audience. For example if you're targeting early adopters, your choice will probably be one of the "lead devices". However things working on these might not work on older ones, like for example there are still enormous amounts of Android 1.6 devices out there, not to mention 2.1 devices.

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If I developed for Android I'd get me a dedicated device which is relatively powerful, easy to root and easy to reflash. This would give me more ability to test my app in various conditions, especially user-reported conditions, on real hardware.

Of course you'll test your apps on several emulators: different Android versions, screen sizes, presence/absence of hardware buttons, all the things you can't change easily on a physical phone. But an emulator can't tell you much about how usable your app is in daily use, while a physical phone is something you can carry around to field-test your app.

And certainly enoug you'll be asking your Android-owning friends and willing beta-testers to run your app on various devices they have. It's hardly imaginable to actually own all of the hundreds of devices that run Android.

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I see two ways to choose device for you:

A. If you have no statistic from previous version of app.

You should buy device from potentially most popular group of devices for your future app.

Steps:

  1. Use statistic from android site (developer.android.com/about/dashboards/index.html) choose group that most interesting to you.
  2. Go to http://choosedevice.com group android devices in the same way.
  3. Find selected group from step 1.
  4. Choose device from the list of devices for your group

B. If you have statistic for your app.

You should find device to cover as more android users as possible for your project.

Steps:

  1. Find most popular devices for your project (for example using google analytics)
  2. Group those devices by parameters on choosedevice.com
  3. Find most popular groups
  4. Find most popular devices in each group

So you should buy device from step 4, which will cover more android users than other.

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