In part 1 of the series, we analyzed why businesses need a mobile app. Also, we touch base on different app categories, platforms, device form factors etc. We also went through the typical workflow within a company on how the decision-making process for developing a mobile app. Also, we looked into specifics of why companies tend to hire expert consultants for mobile app development.
In this blog, we will do an analysis on how an IT team goes about choosing the right platform for an app. Step 1 to this process is the business decisions already made by the management team.
The obvious question is why not develop the app for multiple platforms and avoid the process of selecting the platform altogether? This is an easy choice to make but time and money are always a constraint.
The cost of developing mobile apps is directly proportional to the number of platforms involved. The exception here is hybrid apps.
Maintenance, enhancement and lifetime cost will also increase as and when the number of platforms increases.
User experience and expectations are very for different platforms. For example, the gesture recognition in Android and iOS are different, there is no dedicated back button in iOS, Android has new material design etc.
This means that the team will have to develop UI and UX specific to each target platform.
If the need is to maintain a similar experience across platforms then certain compromises would need to be made on UI and UX.
All these constraints usually mean that the team would inevitably do the process of choosing the right platform.
Now, what are the steps to choose whether the app needs to be built for iOS or Android or Windows?
Following are some of the key factors taken into consideration while choosing the right platform:
- The target geography of the app plays a critical role in the platform selection process.
- For example, iOS is the preferred platforms when targeting US markets. For emerging markets like India/China android becomes critical.
- In the middle east blackberry still, have a good market share.
- A target audience is another influencing factor.
- For example, young users and first-time mobile users tend to prefer Android.
- Every mobile app development platform has features that are proprietary to that platform.
- Developers will have incentives to develop on such platforms.
- Apple Pay
- Apple Beacon
- Apple Health Kit and Home Kit
- Android games and content for Samsung Gear VR
- App that needs to run on background
- Bluetooth data transfer etc.
- There are certain security vulnerabilities with different platforms.
- iOS tend to be more close and secure compared to much more open Android platform.
Integration with third-party devices
- There might be requirements for the app to integrate with third-party accessories.
- For example credit card readers, Bluetooth printers, barcode scanners etc.
- Manufacturers of these accessories provide support to certain platforms only.
- App type and genre
- Some app types and genres have restrictions in certain app marketplaces. This is more relevant in Apple App Store.
- Premium and paid apps tend to perform well in Apple App Stores.
- One interesting factor is the same paid version of an app fare better in Amazon App store as against google play. The reason is Amazon app store users are used to buying items.
- In-app purchase policies are different in different app stores.
A thorough understanding of all these factors is essential for choosing the right platform to launch the app. These reasons all the more highlight the need to have an expert engaged in the early stages of mobile app development.
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