Are you thinking about building a mobile application for your business? If you are, I am sure that you are going through a lot of confusion. How to choose the right platform for your mobile app is a tough choice to make. But, let me tell you that it is way easier today than it was a few years ago. Back then, we had several players in the market, like Microsoft, Android, Symbian, iOS, etc. And for a while, it looked like the list would go on expanding.
Then, things started changing; Android and iOS began outshining the rest of the operating systems. Slowly, all the other platforms became obsolete. And today, we have reached a point where 99% of operating systems are Android or iOS. So for a person wanting to go for mobile app development now, the choice is almost always between Android and iOS. Get what I mean when I said it’s far easier today?
However, the fact remains that this is also not a very simple thing to do. Both Android and iOS have their own features, advantages and disadvantages. Choosing between them requires considerable research and understanding. But, I am here to make it easy for you. Go thoroughly through the following sections, and by the end of this article, I promise you will be at least a few steps closer to your decision! So, let’s get started.
Define Your Target Audience
A determining factor for choosing the mobile app platform is your target market and the audience. It is best to choose the operating system that is popular in your main markets. Otherwise, the audience may not take to the app easily. So it’s very important to understand the behavior of your potential users. For example, what device do they use, is there any specific factor determining the device like age or gender, etc.
Both iOS and Android cater to different audiences. Generally, iOS is popular in countries like the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, and Western Europe. Likewise, India, Africa, China, Middle East, Eastern Europe, etc., have more Android users. So you will need to pay attention to the geography of your potential users and make a decision based on research.
Understand Your User Behaviour
Different users will have different expectations and varying behavior. Some users might need to get their hands on the latest innovations and may be ready to pay for extra purchases. Usability may be the most important criteria for some, while others look for the latest trends and designs. Whatever the user expectation is, you must identify it and include it while choosing the app development platform.
iOS users are generally more conscious of the look and feel of designs and expect an incredible user experience. They also perform more in-app purchases and buy paid apps. At the same time, Android users generally don’t prefer paying for apps or the latest innovations. So if you have an idea of developing a paid app and your target audience consists of the majority of Android users, your app may not be accepted.
Be Clear About Development Costs
Before choosing the platform, you need to have a very clear idea about the cost of app development and how it sticks to your budget. Generally, it is said that iOS and Android app development costs the same. However, since Android has many devices and screen sizes to work on as compared to iOS, the app development time may turn out to be a bit longer. The cost associated with the app store or play store submissions must also be taken into account.
Identify Your Monetization Needs
If you have decided on developing an app, you must have an idea about your expectations on ROI. You may plan on either selling the app, implementing in-app purchases, or providing ad-free premium versions. You may even choose advertisements as your money-making strategy. Depending on what your monetization needs are, you must research its relevance on the audience of both platforms, that is, Android and iOS.
According to studies, Android users spend thrice less on apps as compared to iOS users. So if your monetization strategy is paid apps or in-app purchases, Android might not be the right option. Generally, it is app stores that generate money from app purchases. Advertisements, ad-free versions etc., may work well for Android users as well. So, if your monetization strategy falls in those categories, go for Android!
Decide the App Development Approach
Mobile apps generally fall between two categories- native apps and hybrid apps. Native app development means creating applications that are suited for one particular platform. On the other hand, hybrid apps are multi-platform. Both native and hybrid apps have their own pros and cons. While native apps offer better performance and seamless user experience, hybrid apps are more cost-effective and easy to develop.
You must ask yourself whether you want your app built for both Android and iOS. If your answer is yes, you have to decide between native and hybrid app development. If you choose native app development, you will need to code, develop, and design two separate apps for Android and iOS. If it is hybrid, a single codebase will suffice for both platforms.
How Strict are Your Security Concerns
For any mobile phone user, securing the smartphone and keeping hackers at bay is an important consideration. Although basic security must be maintained by all apps, some apps require additional security measures. For example, if your app is for a healthcare sector or finance-related, protecting app data will be of paramount importance. For other sectors as well, app security is definitely a matter of concern. It is commonly known that iOS devices offer better privacy protection. In fact, privacy is one of the selling points of iOS devices. Apps will also have to follow government guidelines as well as app store guidelines to get published.
While discussing security, it must be mentioned that cross-platform app development does not offer the highest level of security. So, although it is an easier form of development, for apps with huge security risks, native apps will be the best choice.
Check Availability of Developers
Depending on where you are located, you might have difficulty finding developers for your desired platform. iOS developers are not as easy to find as Android developers. It might also depend on the features and functionalities you want to implement for your app. High-end features would require more expert developers. If you are going for local development, you might have to seriously consider developer availability.
However, if you have no concern about outsourcing app development, then you need not worry about it. That way, you can find developers that suit your needs without any geographical restrictions coming to play.
How to Make the Choice
After reading all the points we have discussed above, you might have got an idea about the things to consider. Now, it will be impossible for me to tell you whether to go for Android or iOS. It depends completely on your app requirements as well as your needs. Both platforms have their own loyal user base. And in case you don’t want to miss out on either, you can definitely go for cross-platform app development. The mobile app development field has grown far and wide today and has an answer for every problem of yours. So just go out there and ask questions, and you will know what to do!