Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

iOS Developer Tool TestFlight Launching for Android

TestFlight, a popular developer tool for iOS that helps manage beta testing before applications are released, is adding an Android version.

Fittingly, it’s a private beta version of the app, which developers can request until it hits the Google Play Store at a future date.

So far, TestFlight, which was acquired by Burstly a year ago, has been used for 300,000 apps, and apparently that’s only increasing.

According to the company, 100,000 apps have been uploaded in the past 90 days. Customers include Adobe, Disney, Halfbrick, Spotify and Tumblr.

But TestFlight for Android? Does that even make sense, given the openness of that platform?

Thus far, the reason for TestFlight’s existence has been Apple’s strict policies around testing apps. The company does not permit anything that constitutes a “beta” to be approved into its App Store, so developers use TestFlight to manage and push prerelease versions to employees, investors, testers and press.

(That said, it can still be a pretty awkward process. For instance, most developers are only allowed 100 unique devices during testing, and TestFlight doesn’t help them get around that.)

TestFlight co-founder Ben Satterfield told me that more than 10,000 developers have asked for Android support. His team has built a dashboard so customers can manage beta testing on both platforms in one place.

Satterfield said via email, “While the over the air distribution on Android isn’t a pain point like it is on iOS, team management and ensuring device coverage in the fragmented Android ecosystem are still needed points for developers during the beta process.”

The Android TestFlight experience will be a bit different, as it will come as a native app, where TestFlight for iOS works through Safari and each users’ settings page. But Satterfield said an iOS app is in the works.

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