Charles Brian Quinn
For some companies thinking about developing a mobile app, it may seem wise to develop only for the iOS platform first. The thought is that this will save money upfront and will allow changes to be made to improve user experience prior to launching on the Android platform. But only launching a mobile app on iOS is a lot like opening a restaurant and only serving appetizers. Read on to see how developing an Android app will help your business.
Billions of people worldwide use the Android operating system, so refusing to develop an Android app means that your company loses the opportunity to interact with millions of potential users. The Android operating system leads the global market with an 87.6% market share, while iOS owns only 11.7% of the market. If your company is targeting users in Asia, Africa and/or South America, keep in mind that your consumers are much more likely to have phones running on the Android operating system.
Even in the United States, Android users make up more than 53% of the smartphone-owning population—if you don’t offer an Android app, over half of the U.S. population is unable to download or use your app. It simply makes financial sense to build on a platform that gives you the greatest access to prospective users.
That said, expanding to a new platform incurs additional cost, which must be balanced by additional income. The general consensus is that the iPhone is purchased by richer users who are more willing to spend more money on both app downloads and in-app purchases, but that is proving to be less and less true as time progresses.
We believe this trend is likely to continue as more and more people buy smartphones and download apps. With worldwide app revenues expected to nearly triple the 2015 dollar amount by the end of this year, it makes little sense to believe that 100% of profits will be made by Apple.
And with the release of the Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy S7 and similar high-end devices, Android phones cost about as much as an iPhone, indicating that the user base is willing to spend more for their devices. If the logic around the iPhone user base rings true, then it’s likely that these users with high-end devices will spend more on apps (and in-app purchases) than have Android users in the past.
Launching a successful iOS app means that people with all kinds of smartphones will be interested in downloading it—not just those with iPhones. And once there is demand for an app, there must also be supply. By not also launching a comparable Android app, companies open the door for competitors and copycats to take the idea and launch a similar app on Google Play. Launching apps on both platforms at the same time, or at least within a few weeks of one another, solves this problem and keeps businesses from losing both users and revenue.
Developing an Android application is a smart business decision. It may cost more upfront to develop two apps simultaneously, but it will ultimately pay off in both revenue and customer experience. If your company is looking to develop an Android app (or an app for both major operating systems), talk to Big Nerd Ranch. We focus on understanding your objectives, and we will let you know quickly if our team has the right skills to develop an app (or two!) that will help you meet your goals.
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Charles Brian Quinn