Publish Android App to Google Play

This post shows step by step how to publish an Android App on the Goole Play Store.

After doing all the hard work programming an Android App, you finally want publish the App.

First a little background about Android App Stores.
There’re several App Store where you can publish your Android App but in this post I will focus on the Google Play Store only because the Google Play Store is the biggest Store for Android Apps and the most important for any Android App to become popular.

But it is also important for any developer to keep open minded. There are maybe other Stores than the Google Play Store that fits you and your customers better.

The differences between Google Play Store and other App Stores are for example:
Google Play Store is in general worldwide accessible for the developer and App users. Other App Stores are maybe only available in certain countries, China is an example for this. (Sorry, don’t remember the name of this Store). Another example where a local Store maybe makes sense is India. In India, many people don’t have Credit Cards, a lot of the payment is made via the mobile phone with the support of the Telecom companies. The App Store “Mobango” in India has these different payment systems included.
Then you have App Stores like the Samsung App Store. From this App Store, only Samsung Phones are able to download Apps.
And last but not least, for the Google Play Store you need to pay a one-time fee of $25 for the developer account. Most of the other App Stores ask you to create an Account for their market only without taking any fee. The only exception I found so far was the “Mobile9” App Store. They want for their premium account $29.99 per year!

Here is a short list of Android App Store you maybe want to check later. But always use your common sense when choosing one of them. My advice, look at their website to see who is behind the Store, who is paying you, do they have a support mail, … I still don’t know who is behind “mobile9” for example.

Amazon Appstore is the second biggest App Store for Android APK’s. Several things are special:

  1. You’re reaching all Blackberry 10 users without publishing on Blackberrys own app store.
  2. Amazon App Store let you publish HTML5/ JavaScript Apps. You can’t do this on Google Play.

SlideME (not recommended)

1Mobile

Samsung Galaxy Apps

Mobile9

Opera Mobile Store

Mobango

F-droid

GetJar

Now, back to the Google Play Store.

For this post, I will use the BMI App from one of the last articles.
Let us make a list see what we need to prepare before the app can be uploaded to the App market:

1. Release Build of the App (APK)
2. Screenshots, marketing images and maybe a video
3. Description for the App

1. Release Build of the App (APK)
The way you create a Release APK goes like this:

From the menu choose: Build/ Generate Signed APK …

Screenshot from 2015-07-29 13:39:11

Next, create a key.
Keep the key save. You will need it every time you make an update.
You can create for every App e several key if you want, but you don’t need to.
Make a notice of the path where the APK is been saved.

The APK from the BMI Calculator App made like this is 2.7 MB big.

This way you create an App APK you can upload to the Google Play Store. But it is not protected. If you want your App APK being protected against re-engineering for example you have to make a change in the build.graddle file of the project.

replace
buildTypes {
release {
minifyEnabled false
proguardFiles getDefaultProguardFile(‘proguard-android.txt’), ‘proguard-rules.txt’

with
buildTypes {
release {
minifyEnabled true
proguardFiles getDefaultProguardFile(‘proguard-android.txt’), ‘proguard-rules.txt’

Sync the Graddle file again and make a new APK like before.

Save the protected APK in another folder than the unprotected. This way you have two to choose from and you’re able to compare them.

There’s a chance that you get Errors during the build process like this:

Screenshot from 2015-07-30 08:06:19

Some Java libraries are not able to work together properly with ProGuard. If this is the case, you need to exclude them from the building process. The file that needs to get this information is the ‘proguard-rules.txt’.

For this App I needed to exclude everything under ‘gsm’.

Screenshot from 2015-07-31 07:28:01

After every change that is related to Graddle, Sync.

Then go ahead and build a Signed APK again.

If you have saved this one in another directory, compare the two APK files. In my case, the APK that uses ProGuard has only a size of 1.7 MB. Big difference, right?

So, the use of ProGuard is highly recommended, not only for protection but also to reduce the size of the APK.

2. Screenshots, marketing images and maybe video

You need minimum 1 Screenshot for Phones and 2 for Tablets (7″ an 10″) per language. This App is only in English. So, I don’t need more than the 2 I mentioned. The best, easiest way to make Screenshots is using Android Studio.

Click on Android-Tab at the bottom of the IDE.

Screenshot from 2015-08-06 12:04:36

After that, choose from the left the camera symbol to make a screenshot from the running App either on your phone or Emulator.

To make a video from your App is easy too. Click on the symbol under the camera and record a short video. The video cannot directly be uploaded to the App Store. Instead, you have to publish it on youtube and to use the Link to the video.

Description for the App

The third thing you maybe want to prepare is a description for the App in every language you are supporting in your App.

Time to go to the Google Play App Store and publish

Screenshot from 2015-07-30 12:43:30

 

I normally start by uploading the APK file and continue with filling in the Store details like Screenshots, description, etc.

Screenshot from 2015-07-30 12:44:52

When you go to the section upload APK, you have 3 options.

Production -> your App goes directly to the App Store

Alpha and Beta Testing -> your App don’t get published on the App Store, it’s only available for testers.

Now, continue with the Store Listing:

Adding the Screenshots

Screenshot from 2015-07-30 12:58:08

 

Adding the descriptions

Screenshot from 2015-07-30 12:55:52

Continue with working through the list on the left side

Screenshot from 2015-08-06 12:39:34

Only if every part of the list is checked and became “green”, you’ll be able to click on the “publish” button in the upper right corner.

Good Luck!

Next step: Promote your app

For example with your own download badge, automaticly made for you by Google.

It could look like this:

Promo

Get it on Google Play

Category: Android Studio
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