As companies prepare to enter the new year, some will embrace new technologies like mobile applications. While a large number of businesses already have apps for both Android and iOS, may smaller business do not. Those businesses will have to decide if the investment will provide value for their users as well as their organization. To help make that decision, it’s useful to better understand the mobile app ecosphere.
Android or iOS?
The most important question is what devices you are targeting with a mobile application. Are you only looking to support iPhones, or do you want Android too? This decision will drive the rest of the decisions you make. While most organizations want an application for both platforms, you may be looking to create apps for a niche market better serviced by one or the other. For example, if you want to create an app that will target a handheld barcode scanner and label printer, you’ll want to develop for Android only as iOS doesn’t support that that hardware.
Native or Hybrid?
The next question is if you want the app to be developed natively or using hybrid technologies. The difference is the programming environments used as well as the development time and costs. While native apps almost always ‘feel’ better than their hybrid counterparts, they also require developing separately for both platforms – which increases the development time as well as the cost. Conversely, hybrid apps can be written once and will work well on both devices.
Costs & Monitization
To place an app on either store, you will need a license. For Google, this is a nominal one-time purchase, but requires an annual license from Apple. If your organization is a non-profit or business that doesn’t wish to pay an annual license fee, you may wish to skip on Apple development. If you’re planning to sell your app on the store, note that both Apple and Google take a 30% cut of all sales. This can be significant cost, but the large market available to you makes it well worth the cost.
After you’ve created your app, it will need to be reviewed. Both Google and Apple have staff who download apps to verify compliance with their rules. Note, it is possible for your app to be rejected, in which case you will have to make modifications and resubmit.
One last point I’ve learned is to make sure your app services a purpose. I’ve had several clients create an app they thought was great only to find that nobody downloaded or used the app. This can be disappointing and lead to a substantial loss to the business. The best way to avoid this is to ensure that you’re creating an application that fills an actual user need – not just something that you perceive as a need.
The decision to make an app can be a big one with lots of options and potential costs. Take time to research the market and ecosphere before you jump in and you will have a much more successful app launch!