Struggling to decide which is the best mobile application development platform for your first app? Miracle Group is all too familiar with the mess of advantages and pitfalls with each so we have arranged a comprehensive overview of the most common pros and cons found in using iOS, Android and Windows Phone platforms. Whether you want to launch your app as fast as possible, reach wider audiences or deal with fewer bugs, our analysis has the solution for you that will set you up for higher profits. Ultimately, there is no perfect answer for your app development project however; our well of experience developing apps with each platform will be useful to you before getting started.
If you don’t have the budget or resources to create an app on more than one platform, deciding between iOS, Android and Windows can be a daunting task. The ongoing battle between these platforms can be overwhelming for app developers however, in this article; I will discuss the pros and cons each.
Miracle Group has developed mobile apps using these operating systems for years and so we hope this will be a comparison that helps you find the best platform for you as well as your potential customers and users.
Figure 1 Source: google.co.uk
Google is shaping up to be the biggest player in mobile devices OS market. Here are some advantages at a glance:
- Largest market share
- Wider demographics
- Variety of devices
- Higher ad revenue
- Less requirements for development
- Faster review in Google Play
- Cheaper to feature on Google Play
- Easy publication
- More beta testers
Largest Market Share
In theory, using the Android platform will give you more users globally. Android has the biggest audience allowing for the opportunity to reach more potential customers.
With more access to users globally, the easier it will be to reach specific demographics and niches. Whether you are creating kid’s games, business tools for the B2B industry, or a health and fitness app, with Android you are able to find more highly specific niches with potential users.
Variety of Devices
You are also not bound to a specific group of users since Android is present on a multitude of different devices. Android devices come with a wide range of screen sizes and prices therefore, more people are able to install your mobile app.
Android also gives you the ability to cash in on free apps by displaying ads.
Higher Ad Revenue
Android has overtaken iOS in revenue generation on all types of devices. iOS is still on top when it comes to monetization however, the Android platform gives you other ways to monetize your application by displaying adds.
Fewer Requirements for Development
Compared to iOS, Android has fewer requirements for development. Armed with knowledge of Java programming language, you have many development tools to choose from thanks to a global Android development community and its open-sourced platform.
Faster Review on Google Play
Google Play has a simple review system giving your app the opportunity to be featured more quickly. In general, it takes two to three days to have an app published on Google Play while it can take weeks in Apple’s official store.
Cheaper to Feature
Not only is it faster to feature on Google Play, publishing your mobile app on the Android platform is also cheaper. The Apple store charges $99 a year to feature an app while Android charges one payment of $25; a critical difference for app developers on a shoestring budget.
Easier Publication Process
If you decide to use Android Studio to publish your first app, the process is made to be as simple as possible. You will have an APK file which you can share, run on different devices and send to beta testers until its ready to share with the world.
More Beta Testers
It’s also easier to find beta testers on the Android Platform than in iOS. Google Play launched a service for beta testers, which allows the real tech geeks to try new apps as they come out.
Android apps are more susceptible to bugs so having readily accessible beta testers who can facilitate early bug fixes can make or break your app.
With this mind, we can move on to the cons of creating your app with Android:
- More potential bugs
- Longer and more costly to develop
As mentioned before, Android is available on a variety of devices however this can be a double edged sword. The same characteristic that allows your app to reach more users can also make it more difficult to develop a good app.
Android users own different devices that run differently and often on an older version of the OS. Developers need to be prepared to develop for different screen sizes, OS versions, and device technical capabilities.
More Potential Bugs
Therefore, Android apps are prone to bugs more so than iOS. Android’s most appealing features like an easier publication process and a variety of devices renders a greater possibility for failure which is problematic if you want to develop your app quickly.
Bugs are unavoidable but you can circumvent these pitfalls if you take the time to beta test and double check the code before publishing.
Longer and More Costly to Develop
Android development requires more lines of code than iOS which means more time and effort for developers. Since more software companies charge by the hour, these circumstances can become quite costly.
Infinum research found that the Android platform is thirty percent more expensive than iOS after developing six apps for Android and iOS.
Figure 2 Source:www.tidbits.com
Now that we have covered Android development, we can discuss the pros and cons of iOS. In sum, the pros include:
- Higher app revenue
- Dedicated user base
- Better e-commerce results
- Fewer lines of code
- Fewer bugs
- Better tools for developer
Higher App Revenue
Apple devices are usually more expensive which means users are more inclined to spend money for tools and services related to them. If your target audience is based on developed countries with higher income per capita or urban areas, targeting iOS users is a good idea.
Although Android users make more money on displaying ads, selling apps is more profitable on iOS.
Dedicated User Base
iOS users have proven to be the most dedicated and will often choose their apps more carefully and stay with them if they prove to be valuable.
If you provide an app that will answer their needs and offer a unique user experience with a compelling design, users will stay with you.
Better E-Commerce Results
iOS is the best option for developers looking to create a mobile commerce tool. According to research conducted by Episerver in the UK, iOS users are responsible for a majority of mobile commerce purchases.
When it comes to mobile commerce, follow the money and it can be found in the hands of iOS users.
Fewer Lines of Code
Another clear advantage of iOS is development on this platform requires fewer lines of code. With Objective-C or Swift, you can develop your first app writing fewer lines of code saving you time and money you would need to pay for more developers.
With a smaller variety of devices running on iOS and the newest OS version being the norm, developing apps with fewer bugs is easier. Apple also has strict development guidelines but once you finish the process and gain permission to publish your app in the Apple store, you are set.
Better Tools for Developers
Though hotly debated, the general consensus is that Apple provides better tools for its developers. While Android Studio has a good IDE, it’s time on the market is more limited. Xcode has already released version 7.3 and has built on years of experience.
For proponents of Apple, emulators are faster and Apple’s commitment to developers is deeper.
Moving on to the cons of iOS, they appear to include:
- Longer review process
- Smaller market share
Longer Review Process
If you want to release your app as soon as possible, this is a huge disadvantage.
Strict development guidelines extend the time it takes to publish an app in the Apple Store however, this process ensures that your app meets better quality standards.
If you want to avoid launch delays, take the review process into consideration while planning your app development with iOS.
Smaller Market Share
For those who count on the app’s reach, iOS may be a problematic platform. To get the most out of your app’s reach, determine if your audience comes from developed countries, where customers are more willing to buy Apple’s products and spend more money on apps.
Figure 3 Source: www.veltrod.in
On certain occasions, developing with Windows can be advantageous. Here is a look at the pros:
- Large presence in B2B industries
- Committed and active users
- Growing market share
- Multiple platforms across all Microsoft devices
Large Presence in B2B Industries
If your intended audience resides in B2B industries and you know that devices running on Windows are used, then Windows is a clear advantage.
Since Saas is becoming more common, delivering software that is compatible with PCs and mobile devices could be a big advantage.
Committed and Active Users
What Windows phone users complain most about is the lack of superior apps and Windows versions of trending apps. If you target this group of people and create a high-functioning app that is well designed and offers a unique user experience, they will be more committed.
Growing Market Share
Kantar WorldPanel research found that Windows smart phone OS sales shares grew last year in Germany, France and Australia. While the market shares are still quite low, this proves that Windows phone is relevant.
Multiple platforms across all Microsoft Devices
According to Sataya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, all devices using Microsoft’s software are more like one platform delivering the same experience for all users which is more important than market share.
This tactic known by Nadella as “mobility of experience,” may be a good reason to develop with Windows.
A common complaint, as mentioned before, is Windows’ meager market share which me leads me to the platforms largest pitfall:
- Marginal market share
Marginal Market Share
With the possibility of Microsoft allowing Android to release on WP, foreseeing how Windows’ mobile app market will change is difficult. Microsoft handles this fact by attempting to offer a comprehensive user experience across all devices however, this does not seem to be incredibly convincing.
There are advantages to developing with either platform, however you ultimate decision depends on your plans, your app’s purpose, the problems it solves and users it reaches. Miracle Group is familiar with the pros and cons of each and if you’re overwhelmed by the task of getting started, we can help you.