Android waitlist app sneak preview

Hi everyone!

You may remember that I joined Freetrade back in April to work on the Android app and may also be wondering where I’ve been since then! Well, Freetrade was a very different company 7 months ago than it is now (there were only 10 of us, and I was the second engineering hire).

The engineering team had a very busy summer trying to get everything ready for the 18th of September and I just didn’t have time to spend on the Android app as originally planned. By focusing on launching the platform on iOS we managed to ship it sooner and our initial iOS customers have ironed out a lot of issues with it. I know a lot of people are frustrated that iOS came first as always in UK fintech… sorry guys. Rest assured that Android does have a lot of love at Freetrade - @Freetrade_Team_Design , @Ian and @Viktor are all Android users desperate to have their account available on their personal phones, and it won’t be a second class citizen now that we have the capacity to build it. You may have noticed that even the iOS app has a very Material Design look about it and that’s no coincidence! I’m glad that at least some Android users managed to onboard on iPads or old iPhones.

Anyway, now that we’ve successfully launched and ironed out the issues I’ve been able to spend some time on the Android app again. The advantage vs 7 months ago is that I now know a LOT more about stockbroking, how our entire platform fits together and all of the lessons learned building the iOS app. So I’m confident we can deliver an excellent Android app. It’s a bit too early to give a timeline right now, but I’ll give updates here as I go.

The Android waitlist app is finished - we’re just doing some final testing and will be releasing it on the Play store very soon. Here’s a quick sneak preview:

One last thing!
We’re recruiting for a Senior Android Developer at the moment (and Mid/Juniors with Android experience may also apply). If you know anyone who you think would be a good fit then send them our way and the full launch on Android can happen sooner!


Can you tell us how the android waitlist app will handle users (like myself) who have reached the top of the queue already and been sent an invite (albeit for iOS, which I can’t use)?


Hi Mike,
Good question! I added this screen for anyone in your situation. You will be able to access the rest of the app as soon as we are ready, there won’t be a wait.


Waitlist or not I’m super happy to see the Android app on my phone!


woooo hoooo!!

Looking forward to it! :partying_face:

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In with a lovely 0 on the app - now we just need investing added before this dip recovers! ISAs are already done!

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Any reason for the Android app requiring version 7 of the OS? That basically means around a quarter of the current Android user base (including myself) can’t access the app.

Will this be a requirement for the actual trading app?


Does the Marshmallow OS still get security updates?

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The data that we’ve seen suggests that it’s about 15% of Android users who don’t have version 7.0 of the app or newer. We will take everyone’s feedback on board now that we’re rolling out the app. But supporting lower version’s would be a significant challenge so we’ll take some time to think this through carefully, before we make a decision.


Thanks for this but our stats are based on UK users.


Thanks for the quick reply Alex.

I guess I’m comparing the requirements to some of your competitors apps (trading212, Etoro, IG) all of which need either version 4 or 5.

What are you making use of in the Android 7 SDK that other comparable apps wouldn’t be?

As an Android user of 7 years, I can’t ever recall having an app be unable to install due to a OS requirement.

But more importantly, as an investor I’d be interested to hear why you’d chose to not chase potentially 15-20% (the figure I saw was 23%) of the Android market?

As an investor I’d want them to focus resources where they felt maximum efficiency was achieved (time spent v number of users reached) for a particular version of an OS.

Android is a difficult operating system to ensure your app works with, not only for outdated operating systems (which may have security flaws, something I wouldn’t want freetrade to open themselves up to) but also the sheet volume of different mobile phones that use those multiple versions that again would need to be tested.

I’m not saying forget the 20% but while there are huge wishlists from the community and fundamental functionality still to make such as the a teal release of Android and US stocks to name a couple, I’d prefer they concentrate on those.


Re: security, I’d refer to my previous comments about competitors that are already using much older versions of the OS.

Testing and QA is a very real concern with supporting older OS’s. But that’s a bit of a throw the baby out with the bath water mentality. If you want to avoid fragmentation, a web app would’ve been a better approach.

As it stands at the moment, I can’t evangelise something I can’t use. That’s frustrating, especially as I’ve invested in the product.

Hopefully someone on the tech side can illuminate us with why such a high OS version is a requirement.


I agree — if competitors and the soon to be new market entrant, Revolut, have this ability, then freetrade is potentially leaving a huge base of targets on the sidelines, particularily as they look to expand in Europe next year.

Hi everyone,

Sorry it took me a while to get back to you on this, been a really busy few days in the office. Anyway I’d love to share our thoughts on why we went for support for Android 7.0 up.

Ultimately we always want to support as many devices and OS’s as we can. The diversity of devices and slightly varying OS’s in Android make it harder to support as many as we’d like to. So we looked for a balance between covering as many potential users as we can and making sure we could ship in a timely way for everyone.

Android 7.0 was chosen based upon the stats we saw for 5.0/5.1/6.0. Based upon this data we expect that 6.0 currently has less than a 10% share of our users.

We can see in stats pages such as Mobile Android Version Market Share United Kingdom | Statcounter Global Stats that in the wider UK market right now 6.0 has a market share of 13.37%. We expect this is not necessarily reflective of our early adopter, UK audience though. Given the stats we currently have for our first 1500 downloads, our users are more skewed towards newer devices and OS versions. For instance, 86% of them are on 8.0 and above, and only 14% of them are on 7.0 and 7.1. By the time we actually launch the full version of the app next year we would expect even more users will have upgraded their device or OS to newer versions.

Unfortunately the more versions of Android we support, the more time we spend finding and fixing issues on different versions and the less time we can spend building features. So right now, the Android MVP doesn’t include support for 6.0.

Potentially after we release the first Android version we could start the process of supporting 6.0 alongside building new features, if we believe it’s right for our customers.


Are there any plans for a mobile first progressive web app ( PWA ) for OS’ not supported initially?

Hey Saf, sadly there’s no plan for it right now, but it’s something that’s already been talked about inside the team and that we may strongly consider in the future :slightly_smiling_face:


Hi Greg, thanks for your response.

I’m not sure you’ve answered my specific question regarding what in the version 7 Android SDK that you need that 6 (or even 5 for that matter) won’t support?

Or is it simply a case of supporting more platforms is too much of a drag on QA resource? If so, I can kinda understand that, as long as you’ve factored in that you’re missing a decent chunk of users that your competitors are currently servicing.

As it stands (and I mentioned this in a previous response) I can’t evangelise something I can’t use. I’m looking at upgrading my phone (once the current notch fad dies a death); in the interim hopefully I can get some clarity on the SDK question :sunglasses:

It is more a case of QA resource, but also engineering resource supporting all the quirks of devices on 6.0. For instance at my last job the Huawei P8 series (running 6.0) often required engineering resources to be spent on it specifically due to problems in the cryptography libraries. We didn’t have many users using it, but we had to support them. That’s just a single example, of course we also spent time on Samsung devices and so on (the Huawei one is burned in my memory forever since it was particularly suspicious that they had replaced the cryptography implementations with buggy ones….). The more modern versions of Android and devices have more reliable APIs each generation - there will still be problem devices but we want to cut down the amount of time spent on supporting older devices and OSs and concentrate on shipping the MVP for now.

It’s fair enough that you won’t be evangelising us. As we’ve said it will still be a while before we launch the full Android app so you are only missing out on a waitlist for now. Hopefully we can find a way to support you in the future either through 6.0 or a web version, it’s just that neither are currently on the roadmap.