Taking Screenshots of your Android App

As a result of some support questions from people having trouble taking screenshots of their Andromo apps I decided to write this short (long?) tutorial. This tutorial is meant as a companion to the How to take screenshots of your application knowledge base article. The big difference between this tutorial and the knowledge base article is the detail this tutorial will go into.

Note: This article assumes that you are running the Microsoft Windows operating system. If you are running a Mac (OS X) please contact us and let us know and we will create a step-by-step tutorial for you. If you are running Linux…well you probably don’t need a step-by-step tutorial do you?

Step 1: Turn on USB debugging

Before being able to take screenshots, you must enable USB Debugging on your Android device so that the Android tools can interact with it. You can do this by selecting Settings > Applications > Development on your phone or tablet and enabling the USB Debugging option.

From the home screen press the menu button to bring up the options menu, and then select settings.

Settings

Press the Menu Button and select Settings

In the Settings area scroll down a bit until you see an item labeled “Applications” in the list. Select the “Applications” item.

Select the Applications option

Select the Applications option

In the Applications settings area select the item labeled “Development”.

Then select Development

Then select Development

In the Development settign simple ensure that the “USB debugging” option has been enabled.

Finally ensure that USB debugging has been turned on

Finally ensure that USB debugging has been turned on

Step 2: Install the Android SDK

In order to take screenshots you need to install the Android Software Development Kit (SDK). To do this visit the Android SDK download page and download the SDK installer:

Andoird SDK

Android SDK Download page

You will want the recommended Windows download:

Recommended download link

Recommended download link

Click on the link for the Android SDK installer (circled in the image above) if the name of the link has changed choose the link with the “(Recommended)” text and the .exe file extension. When you click on the link a dialog may popup asking you what you want to do with the file. If it does, click the “Run” button:

Download and run the SDK Installer

Download and run the SDK Installer

If you do not get a dialog like this, simply save the file onto your hard drive and then launch the executable (double-click on it) when the download has finished.

When the download has finished and the setup is launched, you may be presented with a User Account Control (UAC) dialog:

UAC Dialog

UAC Dialog

Simply click the yes button to continue on with the installation. During the install you may be prompted to install the Java SE Development Kit. If you are click on the “Visit java.oracle.com button”:

Install the Java JDK

Install the Java JDK

Clicking on that button will bring you to the JDK download website. Scroll down a bit and click on the JDK download link, this will bring you to another page where you can select the correct download.

First accept the license agreement by selecting the “Accept License Agreement” radio button. Then select the correct download for your computer. Either the 64-bit or 32-bit download, which you choose will depend on the type of computer that you have. Information on how to determine which version of windows you are running can be found on the 32-bit and 64-bit Windows FAQ.

JDK Windoes Downloads

JDK Windoes Downloads

When you have determined the correct links, click on the link and begin the JDK download. As before with the Android SDK simply select the Run button if you are given the chance, or save the executable to your computer and then launch it by double-clicking on it. If the UAC dialog comes up again select yes to authorize the installation.

You should be able to accept all of the default settings for the JDK install. Once the JDK has finished installing, go back to the Adroid SDK installer, click the back button to bring you to the Welcome setup screen, and then click the next button again. This should allow you to move passed the check for the JDK.

The third screen you will see in the Android ADK Tools Setup is the “Choose Install Location” screen:

Choose Install Location

Choose Install Location

Make a note of the destination folder. It will be something similar to:

C:\Program Files\Android\android-sdk

Or

C:\Program Files (x86)\Android\android-sdk

Or

C:\Program Files (x86)\Android\android-sdk-windows

Continue with the installation accepting all of the default settings. Once the installation has complete click the “Next” button to navigate to the last screen in the install. Uncheck the “Start SDK Manager” checkbox and click the finish button to exit the Setup.

Step 3: Install the Platform Tools

Now open up Windows explorer and browse to the folder where you installed the Android SDK.

Android SDK Folder

Android SDK Folder

Next go into the tools directory (e.g. C:\Program Files\Android\android-sdk\tools) and right click on the android file and select “Run as administrator”:

Launch the Android tool as an Administrator

Launch the Android tool as an Administrator

Note: If you are running Windows XP you should be able to simply double-click on the “Android” file to launch it.

Now check the checkbox beside the “Android SDK Platform-tools” item and the “Google USB Driver package” item. You can install more items but these are the two that you will need:

Install the Android additional tools

Install the Android additional tools

Next click the Install button and install the packages that you have selected. This will bring up the “Choose Packages to Install” dialog. You can then select “Accept All” radio button to accept all of the license agreements and then click the Install button to begin the installation:

Choose Packages to Install

Choose Packages to Install

During this process you may be asked to restart the ADB manager, select yes to do this.

Once the installation has finished press the close button to close the Android SDK Manager Log dialog and then exit the Android SDK Manager.

Step 4: Start the DDMS Tool

Now from within the tools directory (e.g. C:\Program Files\Android\android-sdk\tools) double-click on the ddms file to launch the Dalvik Debug Monitor (DDMS) tool:

Launch the DDMS

Launch the DDMS

Once the DDMS tool launches you should see something similar to the following:

Android DDMS Running

Android DDMS Running

Step 5: Connect your Android Device

The next step is to connect your Android device to your PC using the USB cable that came with your device. Make sure that you have turned your device on before connecting it to your computer. If all goes well you should see your device appear in the device section of the DDMS tool. If it does not appear, you will need to install the correct drivers for your Android device. The list of drivers can be found on the Android OEM USB Drivers page.

If you do need a driver, shut down the DDMS tool, and disconnect your Android device from the computer. Then download the appropriate driver for your Android device. Once the driver installation has completed restart the DDMS tool and reconnect your device to the computer.

Some device manufacturers make it difficult to find the correct driver for different devices. If you run into trouble finding the driver please contact your device manufacturer directly.

Once everything is installed and connected you should see your device in the DDMS:

A connected Android device

A connected Android device

Step 6: Take the screenshot

Now select your device in the Device pane and then from the DDMS main menu select Device | Screen Capture:

Start the DDMS Screen capture

Start the DDMS Screen capture

This will launch the “Device Screen Capture” window and you will now be able to capture as many screenshots are you want:

Now you can take screenshots

Now you can take screenshots

Step 7: Relax

That’s it. Now you have your screenshots, and you will be able to create proper listings for your Andromo apps in the Android Market. So take your screenshots and then take a break…you’ve earned it!

An App in the Market or: The Story of a Puck Head Part One

Part one

Wednesday, November 23 2011

I’m on a bit of a quest, a quest to figure out what types of apps become popular on the Android Market. I know that games like Angry Birds are very popular, but I’m focusing on apps that can be made by Andromo. I’ve tried my hand at a few before and I’ve been relatively pleased at the results, but I haven’t had a runaway success yet.

Ideas for new, and more popular apps, are always bouncing around in my head. Different ideas I can try in order to add to my collection of data, helping me understand what makes an app popular.

After thinking for a while I decided, late Tuesday night, that I’d try my hand at creating an app for Hockey Fans. The hockey season was in its early stages so I thought that there would be enough time for NHL fans to find and download the app.

I had tried a sports app in the past European Football News but I was a bit concerned that the name I had chosen for the app was holding it back, “European Football News” doesn’t necessarily roll off the tongue. And there was something about calling the app European that I didn’t really like. It felt as though it might be cutting off a large portion of the Android market right away – those people located outside of Europe. Even so, this was (based upon my AdMob statistics) my most used app by a long shot, hence my return to the sporting app world.

On the other hand, one thing that the title “European Football News” had going for it was the inclusion of the word “news” in the app’s title. My second most used, and most downloaded, app Developer News for Android also has “news” in the title. Did that help attract people to the application? Would calling it something like Puck Head be a benefit because it was slightly creative? Or would it make it harder for people to find? Does it matter? We’ll see…

So I spent my Wednesday morning rooting through the Internet gathering feeds and sites that would become the basis for my Hockey App. Finally after a few hours of work, and a few hours of working on my App I uploaded Puck Head to the Android Market, it was 1:30pm. Then all I had to do was wait for the downloads to roll in…

Friday, November 25 2011 10:00am

All right, it’s been two days which should be enough time for the Android Market to crunch the numbers and I should finally have some statistics. So I brought up the developer console to see how many people have installed my app:

Finally tally after two days: 5 total installs and 6 active installs. Now those numbers are a bit mixed up, which means that I probably have to wait a few more days for real statistics, but so far that’s all we’ve got. Total installs represent the number of times Puck Head has been installed, and active installs represents the number of devices that still have the application installed. Which is why having the app on six devices but only installed on five doesn’t make much sense. As I said the market still needs a few more days to give me “correct” data, but the results aren’t that positive.

I know it’s possible to get a lot of downloads; other Andromo apps have fared much better, and in less time. Here’s a list of a few Andromo Android apps with their install numbers from the market:

So what does an app need to do in order to be popular? Time? Promotion? Tweets? News in the title? We’ll look at that in Part two, where I get some more data, analyze that data, and attempt to figure out what makes an app popular.

Forums and Five Thousand User

Andromo has just passed the five thousand user mark, and the rate of subscribers and apps showing up in the market is increasing. A big thank you to everyone who has added their app to the Android Market and everyone who’s signed up and played with Andromo.

I’m also pleased to anounce the release of the Andromo forums if you want to ask the andromo developers questions, chat with other users, or just talk about your Android app, that’s the place to do it.

Also, and totally off topic, if you like Radiohead as much as I do you might get a kick out of these wallpapers by Kitsune Noir:

Anmesiac

Pablo Honey is also pretty slick:

Pablo Honey

Apple’s Market Share Falls as Android Rockets Past 50%

Interesting new market data out today on Android vs iPhone vs Those Other Guys…

According to recent data courtesy of Gartner, Android’s market share has rocketed past the 50% mark to hit 52.5% of worldwide smartphone sales. To put that into perspective, that’s over double its share on year ago.

After Android, there’s a huge drop to Nokia’s Symbian, which suffered the sharpest fall since 2010′s third quarter. Back then, Symbian stood at 36.3% of sales, but has since plummeted to less than half of its 2010 share to 16.9%. Soon, it’s likely to drop below iOS, making it the third most popular worldwide platform.

In third, for the time being, is Apple’s iOS with a 15% market share — a drop of 1.6% from last year.

Blackberry and Windows Phone continue to decline, and quite dramatically so… Interesting stats.

Read the full article here:
http://www.minyanville.com/dailyfeed/2011/11/15/apples-market-share-falls-as

Andromo v1.4.0 – Now with Free AdMob Ads!

Andromo version 1.4.0 has been released!

The big thing we’ve added in this release, is that you can now start showing AdMob ads in your app – for free!

While you can still choose to have ads displayed using Andromo’s AdMob account (that’s awesome, as it helps support the development of Andromo so you can make cool Android Apps for free), you can now choose to use your own AdMob Publisher ID (free signup at http://www.admob.com) and start making ad revenue on each app you create.

There’s no upgrade charge for this. We simply split the ad impressions 50/50 between your account and our account. Sound fair? It is! We want you to make cool Android apps, and it’s just sweeter if you can make some money for your effort as well. We supply the free and easy to use Android app creator, you supply the spark and everyone wins!

Of course, there is still a Gold Upgrade Package available ($99 introductory price during our Beta period – it’ll go up to $199 when we lift the Beta label), which gives you 100% of the AdMob ad impressions – or let’s you turn off the ads entirely. That’s the package to choose if you want to sell your app, or if you want to use it for business or promotional purposes and don’t want to see your competitors advertised in your app!

Lots of cool new things coming to Andromo App Maker for Android in the next few weeks… Like new community discussion forums, an Audio Player activity and some other fun goodies!

Please help spread the word. It’s a good time to be an Android developer. Thanks for joining us!

Note: To all the people who had purchased the ‘Silver Upgrade’ package, we’ve upgraded you for free to the ‘Gold’ package. Just rebuild your app and you’ll get 100% of the AdMob impressions. Thanks for supporting us from the start!

Andromo Hits 4K and gets a Map Activity

We’ve been hard at work on Andromo over the last while fixing bugs and adding new features, so you’ve probably noticed that this blog has been pretty quiet…But that doesn’t mean that Andromo has been quiet, in fact we’ve passed the four thousand user mark and just yesterday we released Andromo version 1.3.0.

The new version of Andromo includes a brand new Map Activity. You can learn more about the Map activity by reading the Map Activity knowledge base article. The Map activity allows you, the developer, to plot multiple locations with titles and descriptions, and allows your users to interact with the map within your app in order to get directions or leave the application and use Google Maps Navigation to navigate to a location, using the phone as a GPS device.

The map is a great activity for store, restaurant, conference, and many other types of Android Apps. It allows you to show the location of your brick and mortar outlets, the hotel where your conference is, or a satellite view of your golf course. If it’s got a location somewhere in the world, you can show it.

Now let’s see some screen shots of the Map activity in action:


Andromo Map Activity

Indigo Rose on the Map

Andromo Map Activity

Google Headquarters

Andromo Map Activity

It would be a long drive

This isn’t the last activity that you’ll see being added to Andromo, we’ve got a few more activities in the works that will hopefully see the light of day in the next few weeks. We want to broaden the scope of what Andromo can do for you and your users. Keep an eye on the Andromo website or this blog for more updates.