Designing and building a mobile app involves choices: of purpose and interface, of course, but perhaps most importantly of the platform.
There is some debate about the wisdom of native apps versus hybrid ones: whether it’s at all necessary to build a particular application to be “native” to one platform or another, or whether all apps should be built generically using web browser technology, to more or less fit every platform.
Native apps continue to have passionate advocates because they provide such a smooth, seamless experience for their users. In being written specifically for the operating system on which they run, native apps can make use of a range of functionalities simply not open to hybrid or web apps … and this often makes them better – and even more fun – to use.
Let’s assume you’ve been won over by the arguments for native apps. Once you’ve made that choice, you’re faced with another: which platform are you writing for?
The smartphone market is dominated by two primary operating systems: Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, which powers phones from Google’s own Pixel to Samsung’s flagship Galaxy line. Of course, tablets, too, are powered by these operating systems. They are the “Big Two” of the mobile experience.
When choosing between iOS and Android, it’s worth considering three factors.
Demographics. Who do you want to be using your app? In truth, iOS occupies a smaller share of the app market … however, they do have higher spending users. Android boasts more users, but more frugal ones, too. iOS users, meanwhile, are typically younger; Android’s users are more global.
Profitability. The iOS platform produces more revenue than the Google Play Store, despite the fewer users on iOS – if your app is intended to offer in-app purchases, that’s worth bearing in mind. iOS simply has a higher number of paid apps and in-app purchases in its docket; Android, on the other hand, tends to use more advertising-based apps. Your own model will to some extent dictate which platform is best for it.
App Approval & Release. To offer any app through the respective platform’s app stores, you’ll need to submit it for approval and release. Android has the fastest approval and release time, typically taking just one or two days. The iOS app store, however, can take around 2-3 weeks, or even longer, depending on your app. If turnaround matters to you, Android may be the place to be.
Whether to opt for iOS or Android is a finely balanced decision, and many factors will play a part. The trick is to be aware of them, and understand the key differences – the pros and the cons – of each operating system. You’ll then be able to decide which of iOS or Android are right for you.
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We provide mobile app design and development for all project requirements, both consumer and business apps. If you’re in need of a mobile app or just have an idea for a project you wish to discuss, please contact us to arrange a consultancy.