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Android App Quality Pathetically Low Says Developer 336

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the bleep-bloop dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Christopher Mims writes at MIT Technology Review that Mika Mobile, developer of Battleheart, a big hit on both the iOS and Android platforms, says that 'a polished, high quality product is more likely to be embraced on Android than on iOS because the quality bar on the android market is so pathetically low.' Evidence to that effect comes from the fact that 'on iOS, user reviews for Battleheart average 4.5 stars (4000 total ratings), which is quite good. On Android it's a stunning 4.8, with 1000 ratings,' writes the developer. 'So not only is it reviewed more highly, it's also reviewed more often, with a huge percentage of android users taking the time to rate the app. I think the lack of competition makes quality apps really stand out, and generates a lot of enthusiasm from app-starved android users." Mika Mobile adds that the most frustrating part about developing for Android is dealing with the deluge of support e-mail, most of which is related to download and installation problems which have nothing to do with the app itself, and everything to do with the Android OS and market having innate technical problems. 'Do some googling for "can't download apps from android market" or similar wording, and you'll see that this is a widespread chronic issue for all devices and all OS versions,' writes the developer. 'Based on the amount of e-mails I get every day, download problems effect 1-2% of all buyers, or in more practical terms, somewhere between two and three s**t-loads.'"
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Android App Quality Pathetically Low Says Developer

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @10:28AM (#36528058)

    In other news:

    • Film director reports that most movies suck ass.
    • Musician reports that most music is subpar at best.
    • Writer reports that most writers are not all that, much less a bag of chips.
    • Person reports that most people are boring dipshits.
    • Slashdot poster reports that most Slashdot comments are garbage, just fucking garbage.

    Stay tuned for tomorrow's report: "Everything Was Better When I Was Younger, Reports Random Asshole on Street"

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by dziban303 (540095)
      You should apply for a job at the Onion. Seriously, this bullshit is better than their bullshit.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by SnarfQuest (469614)

      FWIW: If carpenters built buildings like programmers write programs, then the first woodpecker to come around would destroy civilization.

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        Yeah, we went ahead and replaced your joists with spaghetti and your foundation with Jello...but we think we can make it work, with a few patches and bugfixes.

      • by Altus (1034) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @12:24PM (#36530184) Homepage

        That is an understandable way to feel, but if you really think about the level of complexity, nothing a carpenter does is nearly as complex as most applications. If you thought of ever line of code as a single piece of clockwork connected with other pieces of clockwork, an average application would be a clockwork construction about the size of a tractor trailer. The level of complexity is actually kind of staggering when you think about it. I'm often amazed that software works as well as it does.

    • by MogNuts (97512)

      Hah ain't it the truth.

      On a more serious note, this article should have been put in the Firehose. We've all just been trolled by this garbage. Most smartphone apps, regardless of platform, are crap. I have an iPhone. I'd venture to say that most apps that aren't games are:

      1) Buggy and crash

      2) Have majorly stripped down features or no features at all to make it worthless. For example: the Myspace app or the Google Voice app. They're simple web services, and therefore should easily be transported to a smartph

      • There are a few exceptions for the Android that I can think of off the top of my head: 1) Connectbot (SSH client) and 2) Wyse Pocket Cloud (RDP client). Both work pretty well and are tools I use at work on my Dell tablet. And, as you mentioned, the Google Maps/Navigator app is pretty useful. I've also been happy with Speedview, a GPS-based speedometer and odometer. I've got a mount for my HTC Hero on the handlebars of my motorcycle, and I use Speedview to give me an arguably more accurate speedometer th
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Stay tuned for tomorrow's report: "Everything Was Better When I Was Younger, Reports Random Asshole on Street"

      "Today's cantankerous curmudgeons aren't a patch on the cantankerous curmudgeons you got when I was a lad. You call that griping? That's not even mumbling discontentedly! If you want griping, you should have talked to old "Jawbone" Perkins. Now there was a man who could complain about falling standards! Why, I remember a time when he heard about this new car ...."

  • Title (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ltap (1572175) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @10:31AM (#36528096) Homepage

    Android App Quality Pathetically Low SaysDeveloper

    Title Quality Pathetically Low, Says Commenter.

    • Re:Title (Score:4, Insightful)

      by delinear (991444) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @11:27AM (#36529090)
      I was thinking more "Developer figures out way to get plenty of eyeballs on his press release (by mentioning Android and iOS) which just happens to mention how highly his game is rated on the two systems", but I guess that was too long and not nearly inflammatory enough. Seriously, though, blatant slashvertisement wrapped up in flamebait language to generate lots of clicks - pretty much par for the course.
    • by meloneg (101248)

      Android App Quality Pathetically Low SaysDeveloper

      Title Quality Pathetically Low, SaysCommenter.

      FTFY

    • Android App Quality Pathetically Low SaysDeveloper

      Title Quality Pathetically Low, Says Commenter.

      Both are correct, though.

  • Uhhh... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cozzbp (1845636) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @10:31AM (#36528102)
    As an android user, I don't feel this way in the slightest. Actually, when my iPhone friends play with my phone they are pretty much always impressed.
    • Re:Uhhh... (Score:5, Funny)

      by localman57 (1340533) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @10:48AM (#36528354)

      when my iPhone friends play with my phone they are pretty much always impressed.

      When your iPhone friends play with a block of wood, they're pretty much always impressed too. Don't give that too much weight.

      • Re:Uhhh... (Score:5, Funny)

        by jd2112 (1535857) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @11:02AM (#36528568)

        when my iPhone friends play with my phone they are pretty much always impressed.

        When your iPhone friends play with a block of wood, they're pretty much always impressed too. Don't give that too much weight.

        Only if it has an Apple logo on it. Otherwise the fanbois will say that Apple could make superior wood blocks.

        • when my iPhone friends play with my phone they are pretty much always impressed.

          When your iPhone friends play with a block of wood, they're pretty much always impressed too. Don't give that too much weight.

          Only if it has an Apple logo on it. Otherwise the fanbois will say that Apple could make superior wood blocks.

          The people I know with iPhones tend to be more technologically challenged than those in my circle with Android phones, IMHO. While it may not be a statistically significant sample, the fact that someone went to the trouble of making this animation [youtube.com] leads me to believe I might not be the only one who thinks so.

      • It's LOG!! (Score:5, Funny)

        by Sectoid_Dev (232963) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @11:06AM (#36528626)

        When your iPhone friends play with a block of wood, they're pretty much always impressed too. Don't give that too much weight.

        What rolls down stairs
        alone or in pairs,
        and over your neighbor's dog?
        What's great for a snack,
        And fits on your back?
        It's log, log, log

        It's log, it's log,
        It's big, it's heavy, it's wood.
        It's log, it's log, it's better than bad, it's good."

        Everyone wants a log
        You're gonna love it, log
        Come on and get your log
        Everyone needs a log
        log log log

        *whistle*
        LOG FROM BLAMMO

      • Relevant Ren and Stimpy reference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hP0kWqJJZa4 [youtube.com]
    • my iPhone friends

      What is that a euphemism for?

    • Re:Uhhh... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rwven (663186) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @11:14AM (#36528762)

      How is 4.8 vs 4.5 all that much of a difference? If android had just as many reviews, it could easily drop that .3 stars and be just as equally rated as the iphone version.

      When apps on Android ARE truly lower quality than their iphone counterparts, it's usually because the developers saw android as a lower priority and only put a half-effort into developing the app. When i see this it seriously annoys the heck out of me. Tap Tap Revenge is a prime example of a pretty solid app on iOS that is a total piece of crap on Android, directly through the fault of the developer.

      Also, the news item can't make up its mind what it's about. Are the apps low quality or is the android platform?

    • by EvilStein (414640)

      Stock Android that came with your phone? Or did you follow the most common path to fixing Android issues, which is "root your phone/install 3rd party mod?" ;-)

      • by cozzbp (1845636)
        Droid X, I am now running the official gingerbread OS right now. Works fine for me, was rooted before, and as soon as I stop being lazy I'll probably get around to re-rooting it.
  • by timeOday (582209) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @10:35AM (#36528158)
    My impression was iPhone users are more likely to pay (if only $1 or $2) for apps, whereas android users are less so - is there any truth to that? People making more money developing their apps surely work harder on them.
    • I'm most likely to spend a few dollars on any app that's worth it and will be useful to me. Differentiating between users of two distinct but very similar marketplaces only opens up the conversation for flaming, fanboying, and stereotyping.
    • by jedrek (79264)

      Talk to any company that develops for both Android and iOS, ask them which platform makes them more money. See if you can compare income to phone market penetration.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Speaking as someone who developed for both and posting anon so as not 'spam'. I have some utilities for both iOS and Android available. The best selling one (a network utility, subnet calc, etc. all in one) had consistently pulled in ~$3k/month from the AppStore, that's after Apple's cut. Android, on the other hand, nets ~$150/month yet has approximately 3.5 times the installs. That's due to rampant piracy. The software still does auto-checks for versions which is how I know.

        Guess where I'm concentrati
    • by GooberToo (74388) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @11:27AM (#36529084)

      Yes it absolutely is true. iPhone users don't have a problem coughing up some cash to support their developers. Android users typically complain like crazy - even when the application is free. One minor issue - 1 star and a flamed comment. Furthermore, because piracy is so high, adware is forced to be the primary source of revenue for developers. Which in turn, pirates and rooted users actively work to deny any and all possible source of income for developers.

      As a result of piracy and selfish, dumb users, the quality of applications on the platform typically suffers. Its not exactly rocket science.

      Here's an example application I knew of from some time back. ~2500 downloads from market. ~1500 purchases. ~250,000 pirate installs.The developer abandoned their application. But thankfully pirates assure us they are not the cause of the problems. After all, its dumb for the developer to believe he's entitled to a paycheck just like the hypocritical pirate live on. According to pirates, developers are only fit to live in the streets while they, themselves, demand additional features.

    • by steelfood (895457) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @11:54AM (#36529588)

      When all of your users are willing to pay the Apple tax, you know they're casual with how they spend money.

      When you have a diverse device base, you likewise have a diverse user base. Of course percentage-wise, the iOS users will be more willing to spend money compared to Android as an ecosystem.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      My impression was iPhone users are more likely to pay (if only $1 or $2) for apps, whereas android users are less so - is there any truth to that? People making more money developing their apps surely work harder on them.

      Revenue wise, the Apple App Store makes hands-over-fist more money than the Google Marketplace rakes in, and it seems per-device app payments is higher on iOS than Android. (Apple has publicly said they paid out $2.5B to developers).

      This ignores indirect revenue sources though. Some Android

  • 4000 1000? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @10:36AM (#36528162)

    "on iOS, user reviews for Battleheart average 4.5 stars (4000 total ratings), which is quite good. On Android it's a stunning 4.8, with 1000 ratings," writes the developer. "So not only is it reviewed more highly, it's also reviewed more often

    It does not seem to be rated that much more highly, and it is certainly not reviewed more often.

    • by jaymz666 (34050)

      yeah, I caught that too. Maybe there's a time scale that was missed here, i.e. being available for longer on iOS or something.

    • It is, though, if you look at the distribution. For most decent apps, people pick between 4 stars or 5 stars. A technically functional, resonably thought out app isn't going to get 1 or 2 stars. Occasionally you'll get a 3, but mostly 4 or 5s. Based on this, about half of iPhone users rate it a 5. But 80% of Android users do. The 4.8 gets even more impressive when you throw back in the 1,2,and 3 ratings.
    • by rbrausse (1319883)

      funny - and it wasn't a copy&paste error of TFS but is a direct quote from the developer's blog [blogspot.com].

      and to blame the coder more: it seems he believe what he wrote; at the moment his game is rated in the Android market 1400 times...

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        Yes, but has it been out for a year on the iPhone and 2 months on Android? If thats the cause, the android version IS selling faster at this point.

        Statistics you don't understand aren't useful. Please try to understand the statistics you're looking at before you talk about how great/evil/right/wrong they are.

        • by rbrausse (1319883)

          yes, I read the later comments about "reviews per sold copy" may be a solution for the strange sentence. Maybe my wording was too harsh but I stick to my opinion: The meaning of the statement is not understandable without a high level of interpretation

    • "on iOS, user reviews for Battleheart average 4.5 stars (4000 total ratings), which is quite good. On Android it's a stunning 4.8, with 1000 ratings," writes the developer. "So not only is it reviewed more highly, it's also reviewed more often

      It does not seem to be rated that much more highly, and it is certainly not reviewed more often.

      From reading the developer's blog post, it's clear he's sold a lot more on iOS than Android. It's not clear from the linked article, but he's saying that Android users are more likely to give a rating for a purchased application. The 1000 Android ratings represent a larger proportion of sales he's had on Android, than the 4000 iOS reviews measured against the total sales he's made on that platform.

  • by achacha (139424) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @10:40AM (#36528220) Homepage

    So from "quite good" to "stunning" is a 0.3 rating on a 1 to 5 scale? That's quite a non-linear scale.

    • by vlm (69642)

      So from "quite good" to "stunning" is a 0.3 rating on a 1 to 5 scale? That's quite a non-linear scale.

      Maybe its like the video game review website scale, where they call it 1 to 10 but oddly enough everything scores 8 to 10.

      • by jd2112 (1535857)

        So from "quite good" to "stunning" is a 0.3 rating on a 1 to 5 scale? That's quite a non-linear scale.

        Maybe its like the video game review website scale, where they call it 1 to 10 but oddly enough everything scores 8 to 10.

        So from "quite good" to "stunning" is a 0.3 rating on a 1 to 5 scale? That's quite a non-linear scale.

        Maybe its like the video game review website scale, where they call it 1 to 10 but oddly enough everything scores 8 to 10.

        Because anything under an 8 rating means you wont get that publishers next title for review.

    • .3 is a big difference. See my arguement in comment http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2260056&cid=36528384 [slashdot.org]
    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      Also 20,000+ high quality fart and broken screen apps tend to be weighted fairly low in most people's assessment.

      I find that there are loads of good, high quality Android apps. There are plenty of shitty wallpaper "apps" and just plain crap ones, but that is true of iOS too. Just having a fancy page turn effect does not make an app higher quality (but does piss away battery life quite efficiently).

      • by delinear (991444)
        The biggest disappointment with Android though is search. Sure both market places have their share of good and bad apps, but I would have hoped Google of all people would be able to help me sort the wheat from the chaff - it's what they do.
    • by BitZtream (692029)

      A 1 to 5 scale is really a 4-5 scale.

      People are generally too pussy or to mad to rate properly.

      In this day and age, where everyone wants to be nice to everyone, and most people have self-esteem issues so they want everyone else in the world to like them, no one gives accurate reviews. You'll get 4 starts for a shitty app just cause no one wants to make the developer feel bad.

      This is a well known and established fact.

      A 1-10 scale is more like a 6/7-10 scale if they are good about it, really its probably a 8

      • by delinear (991444)
        Not the case on Android. In fact I regularly see people give out grossly unfair 1 star ratings. The number of times I've seen an app explicitly state "Does not work with handset X", only to receive a slew of 1 star ratings from handset X owners who didn't bother to read the description - even in cases where the app has cost them nothing to try! - is beyond ridiculous. However, I do think when people have paid for a product they are more likely to rate it higher, either because they've tried a free demo firs
  • Before this i had never heard of 'Battleheart'. /. advertising at it's best.
    • by vlm (69642)

      Before this i had never heard of 'Battleheart'. /. advertising at it's best.

      Eh, I'd argue that anyone into RPGs on ipods/phones/tablets probably already knew about Battlehart and already decided to either download it or skip it. Its not new. Its like complaining "John Carmack, of Id software" is a slashvertisement, maybe to people who still have not played Doom...

      I had no idea who the author is, I like playing battleheart, so knowing the guy actually knows something about game design and programming makes his opinion somewhat more useful than the author of yet another fart app or

  • I hate (really HATE) branding myself. I hate folks who say I am a "Liberal" or a "Conservative" ... an "Apple" guy or a "Microsoft" guy ... or a "Ford" or a "Chevy" dude. I take a stance on a case-by-case basis. I own a Samsung Galaxy S phone and love it. Most of my apps are utilities I use to make life easier (i.e. I am not one who aspires to play games on a tiny-screen footprint device). I really dig the phone (except for the crappy AT&T service). About two months ago .. I purchased my FIRST-EVER A
  • by jaymz666 (34050) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @10:53AM (#36528420)

    How do we know that Apple users aren't having similar issues but are asking in apple forums how to install stuff or at the genius bar, and those comments aren't deleted from the apple forums ?

  • by thepainguy (1436453) <thepainguy@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @10:53AM (#36528430) Homepage
    Or is this the new math?
  • Evidence to that effect comes from the fact that "on iOS, user reviews for Battleheart average 4.5 stars (4000 total ratings), which is quite good. On Android it's a stunning 4.8, with 1000 ratings," writes the developer. "So not only is it reviewed more highly, it's also reviewed more often,

    Or is he saying that there are more than 4x as many iOS users as Android users?

    Thought I read very recently that Android was more prevalent.

    • by daid303 (843777)

      Read a bit better and you'll notice that he says:
      4.5 > 4.8
      4000 > 1000
      or
      4.5 < 4.8
      4000 < 1000
      Depending on what "it" is. Does not compute.

  • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @10:55AM (#36528462)

    Seriously, I'm not sure what the point of this article is. He dismisses higher ratings and then compains of technical issues. Err, okay.

    From what I can tell, there's a real fear of the breaking of the Apple monopoly right now. Froyo and Gingerbread and Honeycomb are really on par with Apple's usually excellent mobile quality. Android phones are now moving into dual cores and with Gingerbread can do hardware acceleration. I think we're looking at a lot of people who have invested themselves into iOS and are now complaining that their customers are moving to Android. Now these developers have to learn a new mobile ecosystem and deal with its issues.

    Christ, imagine if these people were as whiny about Windows as they are about Android. "OMG, one of my customers is using a slow Pentium 4!" Grow up, whiny devs. Either you move with the market or you fall behind. Someone else will make the next fart simulator or tip calculator. You're not some genius the world needs, you're 100% replaceable. If you can't code for my phone that fine because your competitors can.

    • by Americano (920576)

      From what I can tell, there's a real fear of the breaking of the Apple monopoly right now.

      There would have to be an "Apple monopoly" for it to be broken, or for there to be any fear that it "might" be broken at some point in the near future.

      Since there isn't, is it safe to dismiss the rest of your post as insane rambling?

      • by medcalf (68293)
        This is slashdot. It's not merely safe but wise to dismiss effectively everything, including this, as insane rambling.
    • Froyo and Gingerbread and Honeycomb are really on par with Apple's usually excellent mobile quality.

      Unlike iOS, which has the iPod touch, Android doesn't appear to have a flagship pocket-size Wi-Fi tablet. Sure, there's the Archos 43 Internet Tablet, but its touch screen is resistive and thus incompatible with applications requiring multitouch such as Cordy. Archos 43 also doesn't come with Android Market, instead relying on AppsLib and Amazon Appstore and missing out on Market-exclusive applications such as my bank's check deposit app.

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      OMG, one of my customers is using a slow Pentium 4!

      That slow pentium 4 is still capable of actually being useful as 'slow' in PCs now days is still incredibly fast.

      On a phone however the difference between fast and slow is trivial, so a slow phone is far more noticeable.

      Of course, I could rant and rave about how the fact that someone notices their phone is slow already shows the whole thing is built wrong, but that'd take too long.

      Froyo and Gingerbread and Honeycomb

      Really? 3 different versions are as good as iOS ... then why are there 3 versions? The funny part is that you say froyo and gi

  • by IpSo_ (21711) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @10:58AM (#36528512) Homepage Journal

    I purchased a Motorola Xoom (my first Android device) about a month after it came out... Wow was I ever disappointed. It would crash several times an hour just browsing the web (especially on Motorola's own Xoom website), but I chalked that up to "being an early adopter". Then I started downloading apps from the Android market and things got even worse, if the app even loaded without crashing, I felt like I was teleported back to the late 90's from a design / look & feel standpoint. Other than the rare exceptions ( Angry Birds ) every app I downloaded didn't even compare to a similar app on Apple's App Store, it felt like companies/developers were publishing an app for Android just to say they did it, without the intention of it actually being used. Many apps that did have an iOS counterpart (*cough* thinkorswim *cough*) hadn't been updated in almost a year and were pathetic at best.

    Needless to say after two weeks of torture I took it back and purchased an iPad2, I've been quite happy with it.

    Hopefully in a few years it will be a different story, I would much prefer if Apple had some decent competition.

  • When you lower the barriers of entry sufficiently, you reap the rewards. All of the rewards. Not really news.
  • Because it sounds like one, look my app is rated very well on both markets, which means you should really buy i, but first I need to discover a round about means to get free advertisement. So lets start a flame war

  • by c.r.o.c.o (123083) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @11:38AM (#36529286)

    Go on the Android Market and check out any widget. Invariably you will see comments along the lines "I installed the widget, but now I can't open it. It sucks."

    People can't even be bothered to understand that widgets and apps are different. You open apps but you add widgets to your screen. Is it intuitive? Probably not. But that doesn't change the fact that some people are unwilling or unable to understand anything about the devices they use.

    • And how easy would it be for Google to change the 'open' button to a 'add to home' button instead of disabling it? Instead developers now include an 'app' just to tell you to install the widget, further clogging up the menus. This exactly the attention to detail which creates a sense of quality.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @11:40AM (#36529304)

    I've been using an Android phone (LG Thrive on AT&T prepay) for three months now, after having used an iOS device (iTouch) for a couple years along with a "dumb" phone. I mainly did this to consolidate devices - I got tired of carrying a phone and an iPod around. My conclusion thus far is: Android is a mixed bag.

    Several of the apps Google itself offers are awesome (I love the beta Voice Navigation app! But, notably, the stock music player sucks). The mainstream commercial apps (read: "Angry Birds") are, as you'd expect, on par with their iOS counterparts. However the bulk of the apps do feel somewhat klunky and unpolished compared to similar apps available for Apple devices. Often they don't look as good, and expected features are not there - Google searches on the product will return a lot of "you've said that feature was coming for over two years now!" sorts of posts.

    There are niggling issues in terms of integration with one's desktop environment, for those apps where that's relevant; but I don't think that's the developers' fault - I suspect Google doesn't do anything to make that easy because they want you to live in their ecosystem 100% of the time.

    That said -

  • I think the big news from the summary is that 1000 > 4000. Welcome to the future!
  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @11:50AM (#36529510)

    Rethinking Apps for the iPad By Christopher Mims
    App Developers Sticking to iPhone By Christopher Mims
    can the Creators of the iPhone Make Home Energy Management Sexy? Christopher Mims

    No bias towards Apple there. Nope, none at all.

  • Not flaming: I am an iPhone4 and iPad2 owner, and I love them. But, I feel a little guilty about it. I an in a walled garden, my freedom is curtailed, etc. etc., and as a geek, I feel guilty about that. So, I don't spend any more money than I need to within this walled garden, and I don't speak up about it very often.

    If I had an Android device, I would be much more vocal and enthusiastic about it, I would buy more apps, and probably be inclined to rate them more often and more highly, because I would be get

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