When it comes to mobile app development, choosing a platform is one of the most important decisions app creators have to make. Nowadays, Android and iOS are two major options. Ideally, an app should be available on both of them. However, if you don’t have enough financial resources to start the development of native Android and iOS applications simultaneously, making a choice of which platform to pick first may become quite a challenge.
In this blog post, we’ll explain in what cases it’s more reasonable to opt for the Android app development. We will also mention some advantages of Android as compared to iOS for you to make this task even easier.
- Target audience
- Market share
- Flexibility with features and devices
- Development costs
- Compliance procedures
No matter what your primary purpose is (e.g. earning money, making your business more mobile, etc.), you’ll build an app for users to use it. So the first thing you should consider is the target audience of your product as well as its preferences.
Many studies show that Android phone owners receive in general a lower income than iPhone owners. According to the survey by Slickdeals, their average salary constitutes about $37k while for iOS users this figure is much higher, i.e. $53k. As a result, people using Android have fewer resources available for tech-related spending. In particular, the mentioned survey shows that they are ready to spend only about $50 on tech monthly that is twice less than owners of Apple devices.
Does this mean that you’ll make more money if you decide to build an iOS application? Of course, no. The above difference in statistics occurred mainly because Android smartphones covers all price ranges. Hence, their audience is more diverse, the salary range is wider and, as a result, the average figure is lower.
Yet, the information about income level and spending habits of phone owners may still help you choose the platform based on a monetization model you envisioned. Specifically, Android is a good choice if you want to create a free app and then make money on advertising.
Gender, personality, and habits
Some studies show that women choose Android phones more often than men. However, the difference is indeed insufficient so it’ll unlikely have any impact on your platform choice (see below).
Speaking about personality, Android users tend to be more introverted than iPhone owners and they are less concerned about their status. Another interesting fact is that these two groups of people react to the push notifications differently. Android phone owners are more likely to open a push notification when looking at the screen, but it’ll take them more time to respond to it.
Yet, the above information is way too general to help you choose the right platform. Before making a decision, you should learn a lot more about the behavior, needs, and pains of people who will use your mobile app.
Your target countries are also an important criterion when choosing the right platform for mobile app development. Android keeps a leadership position in Europe, Asia, and Latin America (see the map below). So if your target audience is located in these regions, you know what operating system to choose.
Importantly, if your app is country-specific, we recommend you to do deep research on the number of Android and iOS users across the relevant area. You should also consider the current trends in OS popularity. For instance, in some countries like the UK, the difference between Android and iOS market shares is extremely low (nearly 2 percent). So even the slightest fluctuation of users’ preferences may have a great impact on the situation.
In general, there are about 2.5 billion active devices which are based on Android today and the figure is constantly growing. According to Statista, Android is an operating system of as many as 88 percents of smartphones purchased by end-users in the second half of 2018.
The market share is quite significant but it may be easily explained. Android is an open-source OS so it naturally became the first choice for many phone vendors worldwide, including such giants as Samsung, HTC, and Sony. At the same time, iOS operates exclusively on Apple devices. Hence, there are more chances that you capture the bigger audience by building an Android app first.
Flexibility with features and devices
As compared to iOS that has a closed nature, Android allows for more freedom in terms of the app functionality. This means that you can experiment with features and make a product that is highly tailored to the specific needs of end-users. Such an advantage of the Android operating system is especially important for startuppers as they usually want to create an innovative app with a few or no alternatives available on the market.
At the same time, flexibility with devices is equally beneficial for both new businesses and established enterprises when it comes to the development of a corporate app. It’s quite a rare case that a company and all its employees use exclusively Apple devices. So Android definitely wins here.
App development costs depend on many factors, including the complexity of a project, seniority level of the programmers, geographical location of a coding team, etc. However, Android development is generally considered more budget-friendly than iOS development.
This is because all Android apps are written in the Java programming language. In general, Java developers charge 10-15% lower hourly rates than their colleagues coding in Swift or Objective-C, languages for iOS applications (see the chart below). Hence, Android would be a perfect option if you have a limited budget.
As a side note, the Java community is much larger than the Swift community. In fact, Java is the most popular programming language nowadays, according to the TIOBE ranking. So you’ll likely find software engineers for your Android development project quite fast.
Want to get more info about the price/quality ratio of app development in different world regions? Check out this article!A Price/Quality Ratio of Software Development by Regions
When choosing an operating system for your future mobile app, you should also think strategically and understand what to expect after the application is developed. In general, Google Play Store has more flexible procedures and they are usually completed faster than the same procedures in the App Store. For example, the review process of an Android app constitutes only a few hours. To compare, it takes the App Store on average two days to approve or reject a submitted application.
The main reason is that Google’s team performs only preliminary automatic screening with high-level manual testing after that. At the same time, Apple’s team does a comprehensive review manually from the very beginning to the end. Of course, the above doesn’t mean that you may launch an app containing bugs on Google Play Store or that you can ignore its policies. But if you want to have fewer barriers on your way to the mobile app market, Android should be a platform of your choice.
The choice on the platform for app development will create long-term consequences for your business so you have to make a wise decision. In general, Android is advantageous in many aspects. Specifically, its user pool is much bigger and it allows for greater flexibility with app features and devices. The compliance procedure of Google Play Store is also simpler and faster than the same processes in the App Store. Another significant benefit is that the costs will likely be lower if you opt for Android development as Java programmers have lower hourly rates.
Want to develop an Android app?