Mobile App Development: Android Vs. iOS Vs. Windows Phone

Jayashree Mudaliar
 


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The increasing number of smartphone users has led to the development of a separate market entity by itself. This wide base of smartphone users forced companies to concentrate on developing apps for mobile devices to generate better business. This comparative study of mobile app development on top of different mobile operating systems intends to help you choose a development platform to start with when you have shoe-string budget or resource constraints.

Android

With more than 1.4 billion active devices using the platform, Android holds the largest share with 62% of all smartphone users globally. Developing an Android app is useful if you target wider demographics and advertisement revenues since Android apps fetch better ad revenues compared to other platforms.

Pros and Cons of Android App Development

  1. Developing an Android app needs very minimal requirements. All you need is to have a computer and knowledge in Java. Android is an open source project and hence receives support from a large developer community. Android Studio is Google’s official Integrated Development Environment (IDE) which can be used to develop Android apps. There are also a number of other IDEs to choose from.
  1. Android offers a large number of beta testers when compared to other platforms, thus helping to fix bugs before the stable version is released. Beta testing is very important for Android as it has a very large number of devices running on the platform. Compatibility with various devices can be checked only by beta testing.
  1. Publishing an Android app in Google Play is easier as it has very lenient guidelines and review systems. It takes only a few days to feature an app on Google Play store, while it may take weeks to get an app to feature in iTunes. Also, featuring in Google Play is way cheaper when compared to Apple. Google Play charges you a onetime registration fee of $25, while the charges for Apple are $99/year.
  1. Development in Android is tricky as Android runs on more than 25 000 device models. Each device model is different in hardware configurations and is running on different versions of the OS. Thus it takes larger time to develop a perfect Android app. Android is also prone to a lot of bugs due to the above reasons.
  1. Coding for Android is lengthier than iOS which means more man hours and higher development costs. As per data from Infinum research, Android apps has 40% more coding than iOS apps, resulting in an increase of 30% in development costs.

iOS

Apple products always carry the premium tag with them. With limited number of models and higher costs, Apple targets only a specific set of users. Apple generates considerable revenue from apps and services than from the sales of the device itself. Piggybacking on this concept for development is a good idea. Apple offers you higher app revenue as users are willing to pay for their needs. If your app is targeted at premium level users, you might consider developing iOS mobile apps.

Pros and Cons of iOS Development

  1. As mentioned earlier, developing an iOS app is easier than developing an Android app. Using the Objective-C or Swift languages, coding can be minimized up to 40%, which means you can save a lot of money on development time and costs. It also has fewer bugs as Apple products are limited in number and have fewer variations. Testing an Apple product is also relatively easy due to its limited number of device models.
  1. Apple offers better development tools when compared to other platforms. Xcode the official IDE of Apple has already released version 7.3 and has been around for more than 12 years now. Apple also offers faster emulators and firmer tools.
  1. With its stringent policies and quality guidelines, publishing apps in iTunes involve more time. This is to make sure that your app meets the benchmarks set by Apple. If you are in need of publishing your app on a deadline, you might plan for the review process while in the development stage itself.
  1. The main disadvantage of developing an iOS app is that it has a smaller reach than Android apps. Most of the iOS apps made are targeted for users based in urban areas and in developed countries. Taking this into consideration is important while developing iOS apps.

Windows Phone

Although Windows is the leader in desktop OS for decades, their Mobile OS is not as popular. Windows based devices consists of less than 3% of the entire smartphone population. So is it worth to develop an app for Windows?

Pros and Cons of Windows Phone Development

  1. Microsoft launched the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), a faster way for developers to make a desktop app and quickly make its Windows Phone (now branded as Windows 10 Mobile) counterpart by reusing most of the same code. According to Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella, all devices using Windows software are like one platform and the company is aiming for a complete user experience across all devices.
  1. If your target is the B2B industry where most of the companies use Windows devices in their day to day work, developing a Windows app is an option, which stands close to the CEO’s vision of ‘mobility of experience’.
  1. Microsoft is also working on Windows bridges like ‘Islandwood’ to bring apps from other platforms (iOS) to Windows. However, the company recently dropped its Android bridging project named ‘Astoria’. On the whole, it is better to wait rather than going head first to Windows development.
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