Mobile apps are playing a very important role in ruling the world. There is a great increase in the popularity of enterprise apps and consumer-based mobile apps in the recent years. App stores are flooded with millions of apps covering myriad of genres. Mobile application development has become a lucrative business, as a result of which new app developers always hope to develop the next big thing. To cater the increase demand of app developers, several mobile platforms have sprung up.
If you are an aspiring mobile app entrepreneur, your biggest decision is which platform to develop your application for first. This question has been popular for the past few years. The answer to this question varies, as there are a number of factors that help you decide the platform. Because of the extensiveness of this topic, I am going to address it in a different way. Here is an overview of iOS and Android development as well as advice on which platform to build for first.
Building a quality app that works well on one platform is challenging enough. If you are starting with one platform, it is likely that you are deciding between iOS and Android, as these two platforms account for more than 90% of the market share. Here are a few factors to consider that help you make a choice between iOS and Android.
If your target audience is South America, Asia or Africa, you should consider building a mobile app on Android first. The reason behind this is – Android is aiming or massive adoption and has large advantage in the above countries. On the contrary, Apple focuses only on premium smartphone markets, as a result of which only those customers with high income, high education levels and high engagement are likely to use iOS devices. Currently, Android has largest global platform share with prominence in developing nations.
If you want to build a mobile app for making money, you should consider build app for iOS first. Apple generates nearly 45% more revenue than Android. In a survey, it was found that iOS users are more likely to make in-app purchases compared to Android users. Though android has higher percentage of ad-supported apps, users are more likely to pay for iOS apps. There is a huge amount of data that shows that iOS apps generate more revenue compared to Android apps.
• Retail applications
If you are planning to make a retail app, you should consider developing it for iOS first. The reason behind this is that more than 23% of iOS users are likely to make online purchase compared to Android users. More than, 80% of iOS users have same version of operating system, which is very high compared to the number of Android users who are on same version. Android is locked down by carriers and OEMs, which pulls it behind iOS in terms of adoption.
The cost of developing iOS and Android apps is relatively similar. However, the cost of designing the same app can be higher on Android compared to iOS. The reason is the large number of Android devices compared to iOS. Developing for Android is not an easy task, as there are more than 5oo types of handsets that need to be considered for when programming. Apple has been on the positive side of the curve with only 4 different types of devices. So, if cost is your primary concern, you should consider developing an app for iOS first.
Features of iOS vs Android
Android offers several key advantages for first time developers. Android is an open source platform that makes it easier for cash-strapped developers. Developers are allowed to use crowd-created plugins and frameworks easily. It has acquired a global user base because of its open source licensing. The main markets for Android apps have lenient restrictions on different types of apps that one can submit to Google Play and Kindle stores. This gives the developers an advantage of adopting new technologies when building the apps.
When considering the features of iOS vs Android, it is important to note that iOS has some significant advantages over Android. IOS is the best choice for your first platform if your business model relies on in-app purchases. Stability is a crucial advantage of iOS compared to Android and you really need not to worry about fragmentation, when developing app on iOS. The only thing you need to consider when developing app on iOS is to keep the design of your app on top-notch.
Your mobile application tends to leverage, if you understand the features of iOS and Android. Getting as much as information about you target audience will help you determine which platform is right for you.
Drawbacks of Android vs iOS
When developing mobile apps, you need revenue to sustain your business. The platform on which you are developing the mobile app determines your revenue source. The average revenue on iOS is around $500-$1000 per app/month, which is very high as compared to the revenue of Android app i.e. $100-$200 per app/month. In a survey, it was found that only 40% of Android users are likely to upgrade their device, while 80% of iOS users are likely to upgrade their device. This means iOS users are more loyal, creating more revenue generating opportunities for iOS developers.
Piracy is another biggest concern for mobile application developers. Android is reported to have large number of piracy issues on Play Store. Android apps can be pirated easily and installed on devices without having to root them. The open nature of Google’s Play Store compared to Apple Store has created pirated routes without the need of paying for them. As a result of this, many small and big developers turn to ad-injected model on Android for revenue.
Why can’t you build on both platforms simultaneously?
There are many factors and reasons why one can’t build on both the platforms simultaneously. This may include – revenue model, target audience, cost of creation, features etc. Starting on both the platforms is going to be a great consideration for companies that have more resources. Unless an app goes through a series of iterations on any particular platform, it is hard to sustain in Google or Apple store, even if the pockets are deep. The users looking at your app want it to work on the device they are using.
The bottom line is that – both the iOS and Android platforms have their own advantages and disadvantages. You should choose the platform based on your business model. Look at the demographics, revenue, cost, features and other factors before choosing the platform as final winner for your mobile app.