iOS or Android mobile app development, or both?

Mobile App Development: Choosing Your OS to Keep Users Engaged

 
Do you think that your iOS or Android offering is going to win the war for mobile app development supremacy? Many companies have tried before you. If you fail, then you wouldn’t be the first to succumb to the pitfalls.
 
Countless perils lie along the path to the perfect app. The biggest hurdle, however, may depend on how you answer one deceptively simple question. Here it is: Should you target Android development, iOS development or both? Although it seems like an impossibly tough decision, the following tips will help you come up with a more informed response.
 

What Makes a Given Mobile App Development Strategy Worthwhile?

 
Creating mobile apps is a smart business move. From getting consumers more comfortable with your branding to keeping them notified about your latest offerings, the potential gains are hardly disputable.
 
Statista data retrieved in mid-2017 showed that around 68.4 percent of the U.S. population owned smartphones that year. This figure was projected to jump to almost 79 percent by 2021.
 
Apps may not reach everyone, but they put your business in contact with a huge segment of the population. This access doesn’t mean, however, that every development plan is equally rewarding.
 

Should You Develop Based on Market Share?

 
The biggest question for many companies struggling to decide whether to pursue iOS or Android development is how much of the smartphone user market they can reach with either option. Unfortunately, the issue isn’t quite as cut-and-dry as many marketers might assume.
 
For instance, Statista also revealed that Android device owners represented more than 53 percent of all U.S. smartphone users in March 2017. Although this was still greater than the 44.5 percent of users who preferred iOS during the same timeframe, the difference wasn’t overwhelmingly massive. To make a well-advised decision about which platform to target, you’ll need to examine additional data.
 

Who Uses Which Mobile OSes?

 
Marketers have long assumed that iOS users possess more disposable income than their Android counterparts. This concept makes sense considering the far higher entry prices of base model iPhones and Apple hardware in general. Of course, responsible business decision-making demands more than mere suppositions, so it’s best to look at some hard facts.
 
One 2011 study conducted by bianor examined 20,972 mobile device users in the U.S. and found that iOS adherents were typically more likely to be in income brackets making $60,000 and above. They were also more prone to live in urban areas and use their devices in languages other than English. In 2014, Forbes found that individuals with graduate degrees were also more likely to own iOS devices, but so were people who had only graduated from high school.
 

Speaking Your Audience’s Language

 
These findings don’t universally skew in one direction or the other, so what do they mean? In short, you may find it best to remain as flexible as possible.
 
Suppose that you’re operating a luxury brand. Even though your services mainly cater to high rollers, Android users still exist in number among the wealthy. Failing to address their needs might mean that you miss out on potential revenue.
 
Maybe you’re building a sales app to help your estimators and on-the-go staff connect with consumers. You might be inclined to stick to Android because the majority of your workers are tech enthusiasts who prefer the platform. The only problem is that this might restrict who you can hire in the future. Along those lines, it may cause you to incur the costs of providing corporate devices to new team members. It’s always wise to cater to users, but you shouldn’t paint yourself into a corner in the process.
 

The Argument for Universal Development

 
In the early days of mobile development, your choice of platform was everything. To deliver the best performance features, you had to create native code that took advantage of Android or iOS system tools and wowed users by leveraging low-level device capabilities.
 
Things have come a long way since then. Even though iOS and Android apps aren’t exactly interchangeable, phones are getting more powerful. In addition, tools like emscripten make it possible to translate traditional languages, like C and C++, into web-ready Javascript. In short, your dev strategies can target multiple devices with greater ease and uniformity.
 
What drives such trends forward? As Android Authority notes, manufacturers continually release lower-cost phones with heightened processor clock speeds, growing core counts and other performance-oriented improvements. As a result, today’s smartphones are powerful enough to deliver seamless app performance even inside software like web browsers.
 

Enter the World of the Progressive Web App

 
Progressive web apps, or PWAs, load inside web browsers and leverage technologies like ECMA-compliant Javascript, HTML5 and CSS3. Although they’re essentially web pages with a focus on adaptive mobile design, they can emulate the look and feel of a user’s native smartphone environment with little noticeable difference.
 
Unlike many traditional websites, PWAs can make use of multiple computing cores. Additionally, they save their states when they’re shut down to let users pick up right where they left off later. Users can also add PWAs to their home screens and run them when they lose web service. In that sense, they’re just like regular native applications.
 
According to Techathlon, PWAs require significantly less time to develop than native or even hybrid apps. They may also lead to more conversions because they can be shared easily via links, create push notifications and facilitate seamless cross-platform experiences.
 
Although iOS isn’t as supportive of PWA technologies, developers at Microsoft and other companies note that Apple’s Safari browser is moving in that direction. Now may be the prime time to target Android with PWAs and simultaneously build iOS apps. Or you could even stick to PWAs and accept limited iOS functionality pending Apple’s implementation of additional features.
 

Why Is Accommodating Both Platforms Such a Good Idea?

 
Your typical user’s mobile platform of choice aside, PWAs and iOS development strategies may grant you a firmer foothold in a highly competitive market. TechCrunch reported in 2015 that although smartphone consumers spent around 85 percent of their time using apps, around 84 percent of their attention went to just five of their favorites.
 
These revelations suggest that you should play the odds. Although developing mobile apps has a high potential for gain, you’re also fighting a fierce battle to compete against giants like Facebook, Amazon and Google. Sinking all of your time into a single platform in the hopes of making it to the top of the App Store or Google Play might not be prudent when it’s increasingly easy to target both.
 

Take Device-agnostic Mobile App Development by Storm

 
Whether you want to create a business app or a consumer-ready brand engagement platform, you must reach broader audiences. Doing so requires a dev team that knows how to streamline the complex process of targeting multiple platforms with uniform precision. Learn more about creating apps that drive frequent usage and ROI by chatting with one of our specialists.