Publishing an Android app in the Google Play, is a trivial task.
There are, though, several small things that you should bare in mind before you start doing that. These small things, if neglected, might fail your, otherwise smooth experience with Google Play.
Kind of free
Firstly, to publish an app you need Google Developer account. And that costs money. Exactly 25 EUR. Plus a small bank transfer fee. Creating your Google Developer account might be attached to a new Google username, in case you need it for your company, or you could link it to your existing one. It’s up to you. In both cases the display name for that account is customizable, so don’t worry. The very registration takes a minute and the payment is instantly finished.
Point of no return
Before you publish your app you have to know one thing. Once you have published any of your apps, no matter if Alpha/Beta or a Production, you can’t delete this app any more. You can “Unpublish” it from the Play store, thus making it invisible for anyone, but you can’t remove the app package and delete it from the store.
Merchant or Developer
Second thing before you go into android development regards payment. Anyone from any country can register as a Developer, but if you want to sell apps for real money, you need a Google Merchant accound, which is only allowed for several countries, like USA, UK and etc. Bare that in mind when creating the account as regular Dev. accounts are only allowed to publish Free apps and are not able to take any kind of payment through Google’s system. Using your own payment methods for in-app billing is still possible, though. But the free-app limitation stays.
One of the recent Google improvements in the Play system is the availability of Alpha and Beta versions, prior to Production. This is awesome, as you can add an alpha version of the app, available to only a limited circle of people. Any app can be “promoted” to Beta or Production at any time. You can even add an app directly as Beta. It’s all up to you.
Regarding the very application. A general rule in the app life cycle is that you can’t upload a new APK that’s with the same version as the current one. No matter if you’re putting a newer Alpha version or a Production one. It is not allowed, so think smart what version you first put as an app version, especially if you plan to go through several Alpha/Beta stages.
Along with the general requirements of the app description, name and etc. there is one thing that you’ve most probably not thought of. A 512×512 version of the app icon. Resizing the logo from the app does not look nice. Believe me!
Chose your app namespace correctly and wisely as once you upload an APK you’re no longer able to change the namespace in a case of code refactor!!! Bare that in mind as Google use the unique namespace as an identifier when doing alpha/beta testing.
Once you think you’ve done all required steps, (which are indicated as a basic check-list) be sure to make final checks on the content. Once you push “Publish” you can’t delete the app and start all over. All you will be able to do is to unpublish it from the Google Play. But it will stay on your Developer Console list as a mark of the shame!
A thing, that actually annoyed me is that the Developer Console is not available as a link in the Google Play. I personally would prefer a link to it on the Play, but… anyways.
You are not your own alpha tester!
As I mentioned before, your Developer account is not connected to any Play account of yours. So when adding people for alpha/beta testing (via G+ communities for example) make sure you’ve added yourself there 🙂
Once published to the G Play the app is updated around the servers within 24 hours, although they say only “several hours” so be patient. If you do Alpha release, do not expect to see the app in the store, as it is visible only through a private link, that you should share with your Alpha testers.
These small facts to take in mind once you go down the google road will save you some nerves!
If you have any other useful tips for the Google Play, do comment below 🙂