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let’s dev Blog | Google Play Console: Pre-Launch Reports
by Fabian
11. Dezember 2019

Google Play Console: Pre-Launch Reports

While users enjoy a wide selection, the diversity of devices in the Android world always presents developers and companies with major challenges:

When the Android operating system versions are fragmented, comprehensive quality assurance of apps for Google's mobile operating system is only feasible with a great deal of effort. In addition to the need for a large number of test devices with different operating system versions, quality assurance also requires an enormous amount of time for each app update.

Google remedies this with the pre-launch reports in the Play Store and automates quality assurance through a large number of automated tests.

Automated tests

Pre-launch reports are automated reports that measure the quality of an app. To generate the reports, the app goes through a wide range of tests.

The tests depict countless scenarios and interactions that are possible with an Android device. The different Android versions are used on a large selection of simulated and physical devices from various manufacturers.

Within just a few minutes, the tests run through the developer's entire app.

The pre-launch reports are part of the publishing process that apps go through when uploaded to one of the various tracks ("tracks") in the Play Store.

Tracks overview

The different tracks, differ by accessibility for the test groups. Google offers four tracks here.

Internal track

Closed track

Open track

Production track

Publication phase

Internal

Alpha

Beta

Production

Distribution

Email invitation

Email invitation

Link Distribution & Play Store

Play Store

User group

Company employees

Company employees + selected users

All

All

Number of users

max. 100

max. 10000

min. 1000

Unlimited

Pre-Launch-Reports

Available

Available

Available

Not available

Internal track

Publication phase

Internal

Distribution

Email invitation

User group

Company employees

Number of users

max. 100

Pre-Launch-Reports

Available

Closes track

Publication phase

Alpha

Distribution

Email invitation

User group

Company employees + selected users

Number of users

max. 10000

Pre-Launch-Reports

Available

Open track

Publication phase

Beta

Distribution

Link Distribution & Play Store

User group

All

Number of users

min. 1000

Pre-Launch-Reports

Available

Production track

Publication phase

Production

Distribution

Play Store

User group

All

Number of users

Unlimited

Pre-Launch-Reports

Not available

Test categories

The reports generated after the tests enlighten the developer exactly about the detected problems in the following categories:

The stability test records and captures crashes of the app. The tests are specifically designed to find critical points where the app crashes, severely limiting the user experience. They are performed on many different devices in order to find possible device-dependent errors. The developer receives an overview of each test device, the corresponding Android version, the number of crashes, a stack trace and the log messages for the use of the app. The error descriptions are also accompanied by screenshots and videos to make troubleshooting as efficient as possible.

The compatibility tests check all APIs that are not included in the public Android SDK. It is determined to what extent they are compatible with the different devices and systems. The compatibility problems are divided into three priority levels: "Restricted", "supported but with restriction imminent" and "Unsupported, restriction not imminent". For each incompatible API, the pre-launch report provides an explanation of the possible incompatibility.

The tests from the performance category measure the required resources when running the app. The test report includes the following metrics:

Test Report

Figure 1: Test report

The metrics visualize important details about the app's performance for the developer. The data can be retrieved as an average value for all devices or monitored on a device-specific basis with a screen recording of usage.

The accessibility tests analyze the usability of the application. The size of the controls and their visibility are evaluated and the usability for different user groups is considered (e.g. for writing directions from right to left). A significant advantage of accessibility testing is the use of multiple languages. This can reveal potential UI problems that may arise, for example, due to longer texts in other languages.

Security tests examine the app's code for vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers. The security holes found should be fixed before the app is released.

Test results

The test results of all test categories are divided into three different levels:

The most problematic results are classified as "Errors". Errors prevent the use of the app or severely limit the user experience. The problems found should be fixed before the app is released.

In the "Warnings" level, the medium quality problems are classified. Warnings include problems that could make using the app difficult or prevent it in the future.

"Minor problems" cover the lowest level of categorization of the problems found. These are mainly problems with the design of the user interface and minor problems with the implementation (mostly just style problems). Often missing or invisible descriptions, badly readable color contrasts and too small areas for touch elements are criticized here.

Test Result

Figure 2: Test result

Restrictions

If you want to use pre-launch reports for your project, you need to consider the following points:

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