Choosing the right app platform is not as obvious as you think. Many developers decide on a platform without seriously considering the pros ad cons of each. As a result their app flops when it might have succeeded on another platform.
If you need help deciding which one of out of the three – Android, Windows, and iOS – is the best platform to develop your app, read this guide.
Android: The Pros
Android is for apps as to what Windows is for desktop computers. Because of its acclaimed speed and affordable appeal to the masses, Android has a much larger user base than any other app platform, and it also has a bigger market of users for your app.
There are very little rules to publish your app on Google Play, and there are no rules when it comes to publishing on other Android marketplaces.
Developing Android apps has two big downsides: developers make less money compared with iOS apps, and there is a lot of fragmentation in the market.
“The Android Market is fragmented, and when we’re developing that becomes an issue. No two devices on the Android are necessarily the same, so you have to start thinking from a design and front-end angle, ‘Well okay, this one has a different screen ratio and which ones are we going to release on?’ Whereas with iOS, you can just release on one,” says Rolando Garcia, head of technical production for ScrollMotion.
When developing apps for Android, consider that even targeting only 5 of the most used Android versions, they’re still spread across dozens of devices. Thus, it requires a lot of testing and development time to make your app run as intended.
Given Android’s global reign and reach, most developers will need an Android version of their app at some point in time. However, the complexity and time you need to test across many devices and operating systems, may not make Android the best place to start.
That’s why you should always consider your goals before you design an app. If you’re out to maximize revenue, Android is the second choice. But if you want to maximize user adoption, then Android wins without a doubt.
iOS: The Pros
The biggest reason why app developers choose iOS is because it has the most potential to make the most money. For every $1.00 that iOS developers make in revenue per download, Android developers are only making $0.19, according to this Business Insider study.
Another thing iOS has going for it is that it’s much simpler to develop and test your apps with. There are only a handful of devices you have to test for, and considering that most users adopt to whatever current version of iOS is available, the advantage is clear as to why you should develop your app first on iOS.
But it’s not all sunshine with the Apple platform; these benefits also come at a price. For instance, developers have far less flexibility when creating iOS apps compared with Windows or Android. In fact, there is a rather strict approval process to get your app into the Apple Store.
For most apps, this isn’t an issue. But if you have any adult content or if you alter any of the basic operating system functions, expect rejection. So before you develop for iOS – or any platform for that matter – know for sure what kind of app you want to develop. Also, be sure to check Apple’s guidelines before you begin developing for iOS.
Apple has a lot of rules. But if you can conform, the higher revenue combined with the ease of app testing should be enough to push you in favor of the platform. Though, keep in mind, you won’t have the same market reach as you would with Android, so if you choose to develop your apps primarily on iOS, ensure your goals align with the platform.
Windows Phone: The Pros
Even though Windows is nowhere near as popular as Android or iOS, Microsoft still has a strong influence in the tech world and it’s not about to change. So good or bad, there is still a segment of the population – no matter how small – that will buy a Windows Phone simply because they have a Windows computer.
Also, since there are fewer app developers for Windows Phone, there’s more opportunity with less competition. This means you can create an app similar to another already successful on iOS or Android that has yet been created for the Windows Phone.
The biggest drawback for developing apps for Windows Phone is that the platform only has a 4 percent market share. The chances of your app having explosive growth if you reach that 4 percent is nearly zilch.
While niche audiences may be the exception, don’t expect success by starting with Widows Phone.
Developing apps for Windows Phone should really be your third choice, if a choice at all. If you’re already happy with your app’s Android and iOS versions and have the budget to spare, then Windows Phone may not be such a bad option.
But with an anemic app store ecosystem and only 4 percent of the market share, maybe it’s best to ignore this platform altogether.
Though this guide didn’t cover every app platform available, you should at least have a better idea of the major 3 platforms worth considering. With that being said, go out there and start building!