A Survey of Android App Quality Using Third Party Markets
Type of Degreethesis
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Since its inception, the smart phone has quickly become one of the most ubiquitous technological artifacts in today’s society. In the first quarter of 2014, 281.5 million units were shipped. This was a 28.6 percent increase from the first quarter of 2013. Sales continue to increase year after year, as the phones become even more accessible and intertwined in day-to-day life. Such phones have achieved success due in part to easily available third-party applications (apps). Apps have major implications for both end users and software developers, especially in terms of software quality. Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS operating systems dominated the market in 2013, accounting for just over 90 percent of the total market, with Android at 79.3 percent. Whereas Apple takes a very restrictive and carefully monitored approach to its app market, Google allows apps to be distributed from any source. Though Google does host an official market, the Google Play store, many third party markets have seen success due to their relaxed policy. While many Android app markets have a rating system, no mechanism exists by which to assess the quality of an app based on its implementation. In addition, little data exists about the quality of these markets as a whole. In this work we present a process for gathering applications from several third-party Android markets, decompiling them into readable form, and assessing their quality based on their implementation. We use a mixture of traditional and custom metrics to determine the quality of the code. We then present our findings, comparing the performance of apps and markets. We also leverage the app rating system to compare quality from the perspective of the developer and the end user in order to gain new insight into the concept of software quality.