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Android vs iOS: Which Platform to Build for First?

When you have a great product idea, it’s always tempting to build an app on every platform that exists. But, developing an app that works well on one is hard enough and trying to do the same for multiple platforms simultaneously can be disastrous.

Hence, most companies start out with developing for one platform at a time. Since both Android and iOS enjoy considerable market share, you will likely have to decide between these.

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I’ll identify the data points that will help you take the right decision in Android VS iOS development.

Target Audience

Preference of your target audience is a very important factor to consider when making a decision on the mobile development platform. Here are some important pointers.

  1. An average iOS user is younger when compared to that of an android user
  2. iOS users spend more time per app
  3. iOS users mostly are based in the US and Europe
  4. iOS users generally tend to earn more than their Android using counterparts

Revenue Model

Cost and time effort

The cost incurred in iOS VS Android development is relatively similar. But, in some cases, the cost involved in building an Android app can be higher as it needs to be designed for more devices than that of iOS. Here is a high-level comparison of Android and iOS app development processes:

  1. iOS apps are less time consuming to develop when compared to Android for the same reason mentioned above. Also, iOS app store comes with more strict approval policies than that on official Google Play Store.
  2. However, developing for iOS may cost you a bit more than developing for Android because top-level iOS developers cost more than Android developers and request higher salaries if you hire in-house. Same rules apply if you’re hiring a remote dev team – the iOS mobile app price is usually higher.
  3. Main advantages of Android app development are simplicity or the app testing (you don’t need to approve users as with the iOS, you can easily send a beta version of your Android app to a number of people you want to), and a free app’s release in Google Play Store (to release the app in Apple App Store you should pay $200).
  4. Back in 2010 people would say that it’s faster to make the app for Android because it’s easier to program in Java (primary language for Android mobile applications) than on old Objective-C. However, in 2017, programmers have a few more options like Swift (new open source programming language from Apple) and React Native (it can be used for both Android and iOS applications). It makes developing for iOS much easier. You can google and find pros and cons for both Swift and React Native or read one of my other articles here.

Release Cycles

Although Android is an open source system, OEMs build their own UI on top of it and lock it down. This is one of the Android disadvantages and the reasons why Android users lag behind iOS users in terms of adoption rates of it’s updated versions. Mixpanel reports that more than 80 percent of the iOS users are already on iOS 10:

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Android has a much more complex structure:

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Read How We Helped a Marketing Company to Build a Back-Office Custom Ads Dashboard

This way, if you build an iOS app first, you can concentrate more on releasing updates and support the newest versions of the iOS and not waste time on older versions of the platform. These are substantial benefits, I should say.

In summary, we finally get down to these questions showing the difference between Android and iOS:

  1. When do I choose to design the app for iOS first?
    • Cost of development is a driving factor
    • Speed to market requirement is higher
    • If your revenue model is driven by paid app downloads
    • If you want your developers to concentrate building apps for the latest version of the platform and not concentrate on optimizing the app for the previous versions
  2. When do I choose Android first?
    • Your target demographics are concentrated in developing nations
    • If cost is not an issue for testing
    • If you think higher approval times and stringent guidelines can kill your product idea
    • If your revenue model is driven by ads shown to the app users

Conclusion

I covered the most important data points that can help you and your company make the right choice for your future projects. Whether you plan to launch a custom mobile application for your startup or apply a digital marketing strategy for your growing business, this information can help you to make a right choise between Android and iOS.

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