You just thought of a brilliant idea for the perfect mobile app. It is new and nothing like it is in the market and you are certain it would be a big hit!
But, you don’t know how to go forward with, if it needs to be developed in iOS or Android or Both.
After spending almost two years as a designer and a marketeer at Mallow Technologies, I wish to share some insights I’ve learnt.
Before developing any application you need to be sure of few things. What is that you are going to do? What is the problem that you are going to solve? or How is it going to make a part of the user’s life better? These questions answered, would define a clear goal for the app.
An application has to be clear and precise in the idea of about how the problem is to be solved. The app has to be clear in the value it is going to add to the customer or the user. If that is not clear then it might not be a good option to proceed further.
Next comes the big question of what platform should the app be done in. The prominent question is if the app is to be developed in iOS or Android or Both. This relies on various factors such as demographic, geographic and user segment. You have to have a clear idea of the user base you are addressing to.
Android currently has the largest global platform share. It has a prominence in lower income areas and developing nations. Comparatively, iOS users have higher income, more engagement, and spend more per app. This doesn’t mean, those who have the same characteristics won’t carry an Android device. Rather, this is indicative of the general Android population.
The user demographics decides the platform for the app to be developed and also if it is to be a paid app or a free app. If the business model is to generate revenue. Then it has to be sure that the user segment is right. Android has a higher percentage of ad-supported apps and paying for apps is still more common on iOS.
Now comes the time frame to develop the app. It has been observed that Android development consumes nearly twice the time needed to develop in iOS. So if time is a constraint and you have to go for one among the two platforms, then it will be better to go with iOS platform.
Next, the version for which the app is to be developed has to be decided. Version discrepancies play a key role in app development and it cannot be ignored. Adoption factor of the OS forms a major factor. Even though Android is open source, it generally is locked down by the mobile manufacturers. This causes Android to lag behind iOS in adoption rate of its latest OS version.
In case of, Android nearly 72% of the people don’t have an updated version of the recent OS. Whereas the adoption rate of iOS users is around 80%. Apple’s audience is more engaged and loyal, where as Android allows you to reach a wider audience.
Since, Android is an open source operating system, it has “mods” like CyanogenMOD or Paranoid Android. It gives developers a lot of access into the OS. This can’t be done in iOS, making certain apps to be available only on Android.
If you decide to develop on both the platforms, the question of whether to develop them simultaneously arises. Simultaneous development costs a lot and ROI is tough. And building an app that works well on just one device is challenging enough.
My general advice is to start with the iOS platform first. During the first stages of any app, there would be a of learning about what’s working and what’s not. Trying to apply all that learning across two platforms is time and cost prohibitive.
Developing in Android first makes sense, if the target audience is largely focused on Android. Especially in developing nations or certain user segments.
There are number of factors that play a role in deciding the platform to develop an application. By analysing and answering each question, you can create a sustainable application. Each platform has its own pros and cons. And choosing one over the other is entirely based on the needs of the specific application.