We’ve been quiet on the Android front for X-Plane 10 Mobile but typically around here, quiet is a good thing because it means we’re busy!

We’ve put in a lot of effort and we’re at a point now where we’re going to begin testing the product. More on that in a minute…

First, I’m excited to say that for the first time, our iOS and our Android products will be the same! In the past, Android came around much later than iOS did and the Android operating system and the devices running it were quite a bit behind Apple’s so we had to make our Android product different. This is no longer the case. Google offers all of the same amenities that we’re currently using on iOS. We will have leaderboards, achievements and multiplayer. The product itself will be effectively identical. It’s the same X-Plane Engine, flight model, scenery packages, aircraft etc. There will be no teaser screenshots because…well….it looks exactly the same as all of the iOS screenshots that we’ve already been posting.

Our goal, once the Android version is released, is to keep the iOS and Android products simultaneously up to date. If a new feature is added to one platform, it will be available on the other platform almost immediately (store approval times permitting).

Testing, testing…1,2,3

We’re going to begin testing relatively soon. I have a few odds and ends to tie up before we’ll be ready to go but i’d say in the next week or so we’ll begin our first round. If you want to be considered to be a tester, you can click on the link and submit a request. There’s no guarantee that you’ll get in. We can’t play favorites.

This testing will be slightly different from the norm. Typically we let users Beta test our products to find some bugs early and help us stabilize. With Android however, our goal is to release an early Alpha version to a small number of users and then slowly increase the size of the test group until we’re confident that it’s running properly on a wide range of devices. Then we will expand the group even more and begin Beta testing per usual.

Why are we doing things differently? With iOS, we had one operating system version to worry about (iOS 8) and twelve different devices (every supported iPhone and iPad) running one brand of GPU to test against. Between Ben, Tyler and myself, we essentially own one of everything. On Android, we have three (4.1.X, 4.4.X and 5.X) operating system versions, four major GPU manufacturers and (wait for it….) over six thousand different devices. Needless to say, we do not own one of everything! We need to ease into the testing to find driver issues and other device-specific problems early which is why we’re doing the Alpha test.

We’re mainly focused on testing the Android-specific pieces because 90% of the code is the same as what’s running on iOS which has already been thoroughly tested.

When will it be released?!

As soon as it’s ready! Awwww (sad face), I know you hate that answer…but it’s true. Our goal is to release it as soon as testing shows that it’s stable! This will probably be in a number of weeks, not days but also not likely months.

About Chris Serio

Chris is an electrical engineer and commercial pilot who got roped into software development by Ben because misery loves company.

29 comments on “Android Status Update – Testers Wanted!

  1. Off topic but there is free HTC Hive Developer Edition up for grabs. “The Developer Edition is currently not for sale. It will be available to developers free of charge.” Maybe you can pass this on to whoever is working on the VR stuff !


  2. Dear X-Plane Developer !

    It´s nice to see, that you are also going to android and co., but most of Us who allready invested in XP10, would be glad to here something about like “extended DSF´s” allready ready to go”, or “revorked weather engine” (real volumetric fog etc., revorked bridges to external engines, etc.). Please do not understand me wrong please, I don´t want to criticize you but XP10 (I´m very happy about XP10), was released 4 years ago and there are some other unsolved things which needs some improvement.
    As I said, this should not be a “negative feedback”, you have your strategy of business, but don´t forget on Us, “real” XPlane “fans”……and with some revorked things you will get more of “them”, I think !!

    greetings and thank you !!

      1. Thank you !!

        yes of course, there is no doubt about that !!
        as I said, none negative feedback, only a small call….
        You have a lot of work, that´s clear……

  3. sorry for mistakes (“already” and “to hear”) but my IPAD is doing some strange things….. 🙂 (sometimes)!

  4. Desktop users continually hear how “mobile funds desktop” – Totally get that.

    I really hope with X-Plane 11 you guys do a business model that allows us to keep paying you for quality work and continue the focus on desktop as much as possible.

    For some of us, the desktop version is beyond a “game”. It’s used for actual recurrent training practice and preparation for real flying.

    Just hard to watch so much effort going into mobile silly stuff (in my opinion).

    If it’s about money, please make the XP desktop business model somehow organized so we can keep paying you to keep working on it as close to full time as possible.

    Thanks guys!

    1. It’s not just about funding desktop with cash, but also with features! There are already a dozen features hidden inside mobile that are getting ported over to desktop and vice versa. Some of them are user-facing features but many are behind the scenes things like new frameworks and improved subsystems that have been modernized and will make desktop a better product as well. Mobile is a far easier platform to develop for so it’s a great place to develop new ideas, try them out and them move them upstream to desktop. They are not dissimilar products, they are complimentary to one another.

      1. Gotta love the ole cross-platform operating model….what is it that makes mobile “easier” to develop for? I’ve always had the impression that it’s all coming from the same pile of C/C++ accompanied with some (tons of?) tweaks to be ensure functionality on all those 6000+ devices.

        1. Mobile’s easier because we don’t have to worry about backwards compatibility with years of 3rd party add-ons. We control all of the aircraft and scenery that the product will ever see. There are no plugin interactions to consider. It’s also a much simpler product in terms of feature scope.

          1. Thanks for the replies Chris, but what you just described doesn’t exactly excite most desktop users.

            “plugins” and “3rd party compatibility” are pretty much the only reasons the desktop XPX gets used.

            Wasn’t the whole idea that it was open and moldable and thus the whole community grew?

            Don’t want to get too negative on here. Glad LM is making lots of Mobile money and I’ll just have to believe you that it’s going to be a good thing for desktop at some point.

          2. We’re not trying to make a version of desktop that runs on mobile. We’re trying to make a mobile product that makes sense for a mobile environment. It does not surprise me that some desktop users “don’t get it”. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just not for them.

            Car companies can’t just make minivans, some of their customers want a small sedan, other customers want a full size sedan. That doesn’t stop the company from developing car parts that work equally well on all of their models. That’s what we’re doing here.

          3. Hi Buck,

            I think you missed the point Chris was trying to make.

            With the desktop product, once we release a feature in a non-beta build, we pretty much have to support it for years to keep airplanes working. This means that if the feature has a design flaw, we have to code around that design flaw for years.

            With mobile, if we -have- to break compatibility, we can, because all of the airplanes are ours and can be updated.

            What this means is that it’s cheaper to -prototype- new features on mobile, where the stakes are lower. Once the feature has been developed on mobile, proven to perform well (mobile’s great for testing that), and our artists are happy with it, we can move it to desktop.

            That’s easier than going desktop first. The apt.dat 850 format has a design flaw in how bezier curves are handled – by the time I realized how screwed up my design was, the file format had shipped and there was data using it. We’ve been stuck with it for nearly a decade since then. Had we had mobile as a test-bed first, we would have been able to fix the problem on mobile and shipped something more solid for desktop.

            Anyway, if Chris is working on X-Plane mobile for Android and you don’t care, that’s fine. But Chris isn’t working on extended DSF range, I am. And we’re not going to drop mobile to focus on desktop any more than we’re going to drop the desktop consumer product to focus on the pro market.


  5. So how do we apply?

    I can test in various devices (at least 8 different smartphones and tablets ranging up to – unreleased unofficial – 5.1 Lollipop).

  6. I suppose that in all this, Windows Phone is not even being taken into account 😉 :p

  7. @Ben & Chris:

    Thank you for the detailed replies.

    @Chris: Desktop users absolutely “Get it” with regard to mobile, no worries there.

    @Ben: Totally understand your caution about new features creating support issues and I’m glad to hear that the main mobile development isn’t necessarily taking away from things like x-dsf’s getting some love.

    As you know, us longtime desktop users are tough. We have been around literally forever and are always envious of the budgets and update cycles other sims have had through the years is all.

    As you identified, I’m what you’d call a pro user (legitimate use of XPX as a safety and training aid to complement real flying) so I’m probably the huge minority that wishes XPX simply cost a LOT more (and more frequently) so even more staff could be directed towards faster progress is all.

    Cheers and please keep up the good work as always.

  8. so, i do not want to complain, but sound like actually you are focusing on mobile app 🙁

      1. I thought you were originally hired to work on ATC… is that still the case, and if not, who is doing that?

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