It’s time to get started with your app development.
Or is it?
Do you know which app market you’ll be developing for first?
Android vs iOS development is a major decision to be made well before the development process begins. In fact, your app design and the functionality you incorporate will be largely dependent on the platform you choose.
In this post I’ll be running you through the pros and cons of each platform. As a world class app development team, we know our way around both and want to help you make the right decision for your unique idea.
When determining Android vs iOS development, this is the post to read. So, let’s dive in!
Android vs iOS Development — Picking the Perfect Platform
I’ve selected the most important aspects of each platform to assist in your decision. The following information will help you decide which platform to develop first, or if you even want to develop for both.
Developing for User Experience
When considering Android vs iOS development, or anything that has to do with your app for that matter, the user experience should your top priority. After all, it’s your users that will determine the success of your app.
The most valuable apps are those that are used regularly by a large, loyal following. Whichever platform you choose, it should be able to deliver the ultimate user experience and seamless intuitive functionality.
Apple products have always been known for delivering a user friendly, highly intuitive experience that requires less of a learning curve, and their apps are no different. iOS frameworks are inherently easy to use and follow a more strict set of guidelines in order to maintain a similarity.
From an app owner’s point of view, it’s essentially easier to ensure your design will provide an intuitive user experience. The IDE (integrated development environment) is far easier for even less experienced developers to use.
As far as Android is concerned, a less experienced app developer can detract from what would have otherwise been a pleasant user experience. The Android IDE is far behind what is on offer from Apple and the more complicated process could get them stuck, delivering an end result that was not the intended outcome.
That said, the user experience is largely dependant on the design, layout, and functionality of your app. If you hire the right development team, you’ll find that there will be little to worry about in this area.
The number of people in this world using mobile devices has exploded in the last decade. The sheer number of users on Android may be a major determining factor when selecting your platform.
iOS was the original app market, and still plays a dominant role in the distribution of apps around the world. That said, it simply cannot compete (for volume) with the juggernaut that is Android/Google Play.
While iOS was technically the first kid on the playground, Android has taken over. The market is dominated by Android devices thanks to their lower costs, both domestically and especially in developing nations around the world.
What that means is that Android controls over 82% of the market and has 60% more downloads by volume. If you’re looking to create a game, for instance, who’s monetization strategy depends largely on volume for ad display, Android may be your platform.
We know that Android wins in overall volume, but where are your demographics easier to target?
The iOS platform is more exclusive thanks to its higher barrier for entry due to the cost of its devices. That tells you a lot about the type of person using the device, as well as the types of apps they may be more interested in downloading/purchasing. Apple users are typically at the higher end of the income spectrum. It’s not that high-end apps aren’t found and purchased by Android users, but you’ll certainly find the majority of these hitting the App Store first.
The Android platform controls nearly 8 times the market share of iOS, which naturally means a wider range of demographics. Android allows you to find more specific niches to market your app to than iOS, plain and simple.
As the app owner, this is an important area to consider before making your decision of Android vs iOS development. The potential for successful monetization will have a major influence on your decision.
While Android controls a much larger percentage of the overall market, iOS may actually be more profitable. The downloads by volume figure goes to Google Play, but the percentage of apps being paid for in the App Store is actually much higher, with revenue generated by the smaller marketplace topping that of the larger.
As far a sheer volume goes, Android takes the cake. However, the number of people willing to pay for your app or make in-app purchases is considerably smaller. This is something to consider for your monetization strategy. While monetization certainly doesn’t depend on app purchases, when deciding on Android vs iOS development, this information can’t be ignored.
Android is especially popular in developing nations where access to a credit cards is less common. They have yet to adopt carrier billing, which means app purchases lie just out of reach for this massive segment of their users.
Android users are still paying for apps domestically throughout the developed world, just at a lower overall percentage when compared to their market share.
Finally, if your app monetization strategy depends largely on ad display and volume of users, Android is still probably your best option. Android overtook iOS for ad revenue and isn’t looking back.
Variety of Devices/Operating Systems — Fragmentation
The iOS platform means far fewer devices and operating systems to contend with, while Android gives you access to a much higher number of people on a wide variety of devices. What does that mean for your Android vs iOS development decision?
iOS users are using Apple devices, and there aren’t very many varieties. That means developing for these devices is far more straightforward than the huge variety of operating systems and screen sizes being used on Android.
That makes designing and developing an app that works seamlessly every time is much easier to do.
The same qualities that allow Android to reach more people make it more difficult to achieve a perfect design and development process. The huge variety of screen sizes and operating systems (sometimes very old) make it tough to achieve the perfect user interface and functionality some of the time.
This misalignment problem can cause issues with the interface, including glitchy functionality and crashing. These bugs can hurt reviews in the Play Store and, in turn, downloads and associated profits.
Your app development team should help you through the testing process, but it’s important to understand what testing options are available for either platform.
iOS has fewer beta testing options available but, in our experience, requires a bit less testing to ensure perfection. These apps are typically exposed to fewer early bugs that can dramatically affect an app’s performance in the marketplace.
Android has opened beta version testing up to a beta testing service where tech nerds can try out new apps before anyone else and give feedback. That means plenty of opportunities to get it right with the help of a segment of the public.
The review process is something you’ll have to consider in your Android vs iOS shootout. The process is very different for either platform, so pay attention.
Apple puts your app through a serious review process that can take weeks. If it’s imperative that you get your new app to market quickly, this may not be the platform for you. The official process looks very closely at whether your app meets their guidelines, so it’s important to account for any delays that may come up during this stage of the app development process.
The review process is much more lenient, and therefore much shorter. Typical reviews take a few days instead of weeks and you have fewer guidelines to adhere to, meaning less chances of a roadblock.
We’ve reached the big one: cost. The amount you’ll spend to develop on either platform may play a larger role in your Android vs iOS decision-making process than anything else.
The ease of development means fewer lines of code. Fewer lines of code, in theory, means less time developing. Less time developing traditionally keeps development costs lower.
The same rules apply here. Due to the fact that development is more complicated, Android apps typically take longer and cost more to create. It’s as simple as that.
Is there a winner?
If you listen closely to development circles, you might think that iOS has a definite edge over Android, and you'd be right. However, the overall difficulty of creating an excellent Android app is diminishing by the day and it won’t be long before the two platforms are equal.
Your best bet for creating a successful app, especially one geared toward supporting an existing business, is to develop for both. So the real issue isn’t Android vs iOS development, it’s which one makes sense for my app, my business, my budget, my timeline, and my user.
Hopefully I’ve given you enough insight into the pros and cons of each of these amazing platforms to help you make your decision. If you still have questions, I’d be happy to talk shop with you and answer any questions you may still have. Best of luck!