Why Develop an App
There are many different reasons to have an app developed. You might have a great idea or see a need for an app in a specific industry. Perhaps you share the responsibility of streamlining or tying together business process in your company or mundane business repetitive task are just becoming too overwhelming and hard to keep track off.
Regardless of your motivation to have an app developed, you will face the same big choices – one of them being what platform or technology should be used. Developing a quality app that runs well on one device is already complex, building it simultaneously for other platforms can make it even more difficult. Choosing one platform to launch your application is a hard choice but sensible choice, not only does it give you breathing space to test your app in the market, but it also insures you against making major changes across multiple devices
So, what are the important things to consider when choosing a platform for your mobile application? At iSolve mobility we’ve build up considerable experience with developing mobile applications, which we are sharing with you in this article.
The first step is to get clued up on the technology options available for mobile app development to give you a point of reference when discussing options with your mobile app developer.
A web-based application works just like an ordinary website and similarly is accessed in a smartphone’s browser just like one. Apps and websites send information back and forth from a user’s device and smartphone, and modern web apps can do that pretty well and are optimised to give a pleasant experience on mobile devices. The advantages of web apps are:
- Easy to maintain – you only have to update one version of the app when necessary
- The most affordable to develop – developing web applications require coding skills which are commonly available, and are the cheapest way to bring an app to market.
- Works well with other apps – It’s easy to customise a web app to send and receive information from other web apps, such as a shopping cart with accounting software. This makes it possible to integrate different business processes and change it according to your business needs.
- Can be deployed to any device with internet access and a browser.
Disadvantages of web applications
- It’s slow – Web apps cannot use the device’s native operating software, all it’s code are executed through the browser. The browser cannot optimally make use of the device’s operating system and hardware as an application is specifically developed for the device and operating software version.
- Less intuitive – The programming languages for web development are very cumbersome when it comes to creating slick user interfaces. Web developers create web applications with tools and code that were not originally created for mobile, which very often translates into a poorer experience for user’s vs developing applications with resources that are specific to a device or operating system.
- Cannot use offline. Mobile users cannot access the app content or store data to send later when offline.
Android App development
With more than 85% percent market share worldwide and more than 60% in South Africa, Android is the dominant mobile operating system today. It runs on countless models of smartphones and tablets, as well as many other devices. This doesn’t mean that android should be the default choice, as this ubiquitous operating system also has its drawbacks.
Advantages of Android Apps.
- Most smartphone users use Android. – Android devices range from high end to very cheap, representing a huge demographic range. This holds obvious advantages if you are promoting diverse products and services. It’s worth recognising that the bulk if android users are low income earners.
- Android has a very open development environment, which results in a lot of crowd-created plugins and frameworks. As a result, there are a lot of creative possibilities when it comes to features and functionality of mobile apps that does not exist with other platforms.
- There’s an android device at every price point, allowing you to target users from almost every market segment.
- It’s easy to change the things that helps your app to get found on the app store, such as the title, description and keywords. That makes it easy to tweak your app to help your ideal customers find it. The keywords in the title.
Disadvantages of launching app on Android.
- Software fragmentation. At any moment, there are several different versions of Android in use at the same time, because mobile service providers and device manufacturers decide when to roll out version updates. A staggering 18.8 % of Android users still use the Android KitKat released in 2013 as opposed to the 6.6 % that use the latest version, Nougat, that was released in 2016. Fragmentation makes it impossible to deploy just a standard version of your app and as a result it will have a huge impact on the cost of your application and how long it takes to be developed if you go the Android route.
- Device fragmentation. Similarly, there are a huge variety of Android devices, from high end to dirt cheap. For instance, cheaper phones might have lower specs and run slower. This means an app that runs well one device might not work well on another. While this concern might be addressed with market segmentation, it does add another layer of complexity.
iOSiOS is the mobile operating system that runs on Apple’s mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads. Apple maintains a closed ecosystem – only devices manufactured by Apple can run iOS, and apps that are downloaded on those devices are strictly controlled by Apple. Apple products are generally more expensive, and as a result user on the platform are generally more affluent.
Advantages of launching apps on iOS
- Cost and time of development. Developers just need to ensure that their apps work well on a small range of iPhones and/or iPads as opposed to the thousands of different android devices that are available.
- iOS users are spending more than android users on in app purchases and are more likely to buy online (m-commerce) than Android users.
Disadvantages of launching an app on iOS first
- iOS users make up a very narrow niche that may not suit all business models.
- More than 90% of all apps on the iOS app store are never downloaded by anyone at all, and Apple isn’t helping the situation either. Once an app is approved on the app store you cannot easily change the aspects that affects discoverability such as content, keywords and the title, without submitting a revision. You just have to get clued up on discoverability (app store optimisation and localisation) and implement it from the get go if you plan to spend any resources in developing an iOS app.
- While developing for iOS is a bit more straightforward than most of the frameworks and plugins are proprietary, which will increase the cost of development.
SummaryWeb apps trumps both native platforms when it comes to cost and accessibility, the same set of code can be rendered on any device that have internet access and a browser. However, with the current technology web applications are not as fast and cannot give users the same intuitive experience as native apps that interacts with the device’s own operating system. Getting found is no mystery when you use SEO and digital marketing strategies, but getting users to return is a challenge when you don’t have the benefit of a constant presence on the user’s device and the ability to send well timed notifications.
Android applications have a wide reach, with users distributed across market segments on devices at almost every price point. Low income earners in South Africa that have a smartphone are likely to have an Android device, and the sheer number in this segment means represents significant buying power. It’s also much easier for people who don’t have access to sophisticated banking services to buy apps, books and music with Google Play gift cards available in almost every major supermarket in South Africa. It’s a massive and growing market that are increasingly using mobile to do business, transact, connect and be entertained. However, access to this broad market will come at a steep price in time and costs as your development time and labour are spend on catering for every device and operating system version.
Although the iOS Development journey is straightforward, you need to hire a developer who knows and have experience of dealing with Apple’s strict guidelines to make sure your app is approved the first time it’s submitted. In many aspects, there are not much leeway to fiddle around, as things like optimisation for discovery ideally needs to get done right the first time around. Secondly, you should be willing to spend a considerable amount of effort more on promoting your application than you would have on Android, considering the discoverability limitations, and even then, the mature market can make it difficult for your app to get noticed. If you are sure that you have cornered a niche of affluent iOS users whose lives will be infinitely improved if they download your app, then by all means go for it. iOS users are still outspending the massive Android user base worldwide, and if you hit the nail on the head you might just be in for a big pay day.
Interesting Facts About Android
- 1. Android was not Found by Google.
- 2. Android is open source.
- 3. 1.43 Miilion Android Apps on Google Play
- 4. Android has more than a billion users
OS Market Share in South Africa
- Apple iOS
Mobile is….as close as you can get to your consumers in South AfricaWith an audience of 37.2m adults in SA, you can reach:
- 97% or 36m adults through a cellphone in the household (2.4 phones per household)
- 39% or 14.6m through voice, SMS or USSD
- 52% through the internet – with the majority on mobile internet
- 48% or 17.7m in mobile apps and their mobile browsers