If you are at the stage where your startup is contemplating whether to build your app on Android or iOS, then you’re definitely doing something right. Building an app that solves people’s problems is definitely a wise business decision because the market is huge. Statista estimates that the number of mobile phone users will surpass the 4.77 billion mark in 2019 while Google announced there are over 2 billion active Android devices. it’s the right time and the opportunities are endless if you get it right. Here are some important factors to consider when choosing a platform to build on.
The very first step is to be sure of what you aim to accomplish from building your app. Do you want to use the app to push your brand forward or do you want to make money from it? After clearly stating this, you need to understand your customers.
Demographics / Target market
In order to choose the right platform, you need to create a customer profile. Because platforms vary over regions you need to consider the location of your customers. Even though Android currently has the largest global market share, it is more prominent in lower income areas and developing nations. Americans use both platforms, while in Asia the situation may differ from country to country. More Nigerians prefer Android phones to iPhones for various reasons. iOS users are usually younger, have a higher level of education, greater engagement and earn more money, so they tend to spend more per app.
User behavior differs by the operating system and by country. If you plan to develop a free app that doesn’t make any money, then it won’t be important for you to know where people are inclined to buy apps and make in-app purchases. But if you do intend to make money, then you should know how to monetize apps. MLSDev states that Apple users are more likely to spend money on applications and Android users usually use free apps and don’t often buy apps or make in-app purchases.
Features of the application
You have to consider your required features as well as user experience and compare them with the abilities of both platforms. Android as an operating system is open source and it gives developers deeper access to the operating system itself. iOS, on the other hand, has a lot of restrictions especially with how apps interact with its filesystem.
App store requirements and Moderation
Apple is strict about moderation. The company has very specific rules on how an app should behave for it to accepted into the App Store. If the app does not comply with the rules, it will be rejected. To build an app for iOS, you need to make sure that it complies with the App Store Review Guidelines. Apple takes up to 10 days to review an app and decide to either accept or reject its submission.
Google Play is a bit different. There are also rules and guidelines that govern applications that will be accepted into Play Store but the rules are not as strict as Apple’s and Play Store has a weaker moderation system.
It is important to note that Android and iOS have different revenue models. Android applications tend to be ad-supported while iOS apps tend to be subscription-based or have purchase models. Even though Google’s Play Store records a significantly higher amount of downloads, iOS had 70% more revenue than Android in the first three months of 2017.
Cost of App Development
The cost of developing an app is dependent on how long it takes to build it. Considering return on investment (ROI), Android development can be said to be more expensive than iOS because Android apps derive lower revenues than iOS. iOS derives more revenue so it appears to be cheaper to build.
You will also have to consider additional costs related to app development. To submit an app into an app store, you have to pay for a developer account. Google Play charges $25 for this service. Apple on the other hand, costs $100 for a developer account and $299 for its Enterprise Program. To develop for both platforms, one has to subscribe to developer accounts on both services.
Apple’s latest iOS 11 supports 28 devices, among which there are various versions of iPads, iPhones, and iPods.
On the Android side of things, there are numerous supported devices. You need to consider whether your app is compatible with each potential device configuration. Because Android runs on a wide range of device configurations, some features are not available on all devices. To make your app compatible to a larger volume of devices, you should follow this guide. Comparing the two major market holders, it’s clear that it would be challenging to adapt an app for each Android device.
Android version updates are controlled by telecom carriers and manufactureres. This means it takes longer for new Android releases to get to users. Android developers would have to support older devices and carry out more testing which could increase the development life cycle of an application.
On iOS however, you have to keep up with the ever-changing iOS Standards. A lot more maintenance and upgrading will have to be done in iOS than in Android because there are higher adoption rates of new versions and developers can stop supporting older versions and devices sooner. This reduces testing, helps incorporate newer APIs and reduces the overall development lifecycle of your app.
After taking all these factors into consideration, you can go ahead to make an informed decision on which platform best suits your app and adequately helps you reach your goals.