Although not a big name or that well known, the AQuA is fast becoming relevant for developers and that’s thanks in part to the group's powerful friends.
Founded in 2011, the non-profit association is funded by AT&T, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Oracle, Orange, Samsung, and Sony Mobile and has been on a mission ever since to improve the quality of smartphone and tablet applications.
Indeed, the group caused quite a stir when it announced the Quality App Directory at Apps World last year, with the directory essentially a vetting house for app developers to prove that their apps are worth using.
In a world of mixed Android apps and app stores from Apple and Microsoft that are selective in what apps they feature, AQuA executive director Martin Wrigley thinks that the group, with its Quality App Directory, could hold the key to some developers getting ahead.
“It’s a way developers can improve the quality of their app and demonstrate that they have gone through their own testing to show that they haven’t fallen into traps first time developers often fall into,” Wrigley told TabTimes.
“It’s a great way for developers to show that they have developed a great quality app, while commissioning parties can see if they have a good track record.”
Frustration with quality of Android apps
Despite AQuA’s history stretching back to a similar scheme with Java development (Java Verified), a lot of this movement appears to stem from the frustrations users are having with Android apps.
“The problem with Android is that everyone thinks everything is free, and that’s very tough to deal with. I think the first step is for developers to use the test criteria to verify that they’ve done some work [in trying to improve the app].”
However, while Wrigley stresses that Android suffers most because of a lack of quality control or "gateway" in his words, the AQuA executive director suggests that other mobile platforms could also benefit from the Quality App Directory, but only if those companies choose to listen.
“We are looking at going to other platforms and we are having discussions with those vendors. But there are strict gatekeepers at Apple and Microsoft and while there are no urgent needs there, a testing area could certainly still help developers,"
HTML5 is another area which the AQuA could tackle in the future, with Wrigley, like others before him, seeing the technology behind the rise of hybrid native apps.
“It’s going to be very interesting and I know a lot of people are building it out as a great saviour. We see people creating hybrid apps and using HTML5 where they can, but it may still be more practical to have different apps that focus on phones and tablets.
“Only time will tell but it’s an area we are certainly looking at, to see if we can help people there too."
Business apps are on the rise
Another area that Wrigley sees growth in is the enterprise sector, with the AQuA exec adamant that 2013 could be the year business apps come to the fore.
When asked if 2013 would be the year enterprises would look closer at app development, he responded: “I think you’re right, these companies are taking it [app development] more seriously.
“I also think that while we’re seeing fewer home grown developers – the opportunities are few and far between for them, a lot of small development houses are now working with big brands [on these business apps]. They’re starting to realize that apps are not just for consumers.”