Even if the platform wars are over now, one questions remains: which platform should you choose for your brand new mobile app? Don’t count on a universal answer to solve this problem – there are simply too many factors involved in selecting Android or iOS for building your presence on mobile. Here are 4 key metrics to help you make the best decision when choosing the platform for your mobile app.
Everyone agrees that iOS users are more engaged and tend to spend more money per app than Android users. That’s why iOS apps generally bring in more revenue.
Still, Android dominates over the market – in particular in developing countries and lower income areas. iOS users have higher income, education level and spending capacity. Naturally, Android users can have all these characteristics as well, but the general Android population tends to verge on the other side of the spectrum.
2. DEVELOPMENT SPEED AND COST
When building an app, speed to market is a critical metric. Android apps typically take more time to build, because of the platform’s fragmentation, iOS release cycles and maturity of development tools. Still, Android approval time tends to be shorter. It’s faster to get an iOS app to market, but with Android apps you can quickly deliver regular app updates.
Since they take longer to build, Android apps will cost you more upfront. And then they’re also likely to drive less revenue compared to iOS. That’s why many businesses start with iOS and move to Android once they hit critical mass.
3. RELEASE CYCLE
Sure, Android is open source, but it’s locked down by carriers and OEMs. That’s why it often lags behind iOS when it comes to adoption rate of the latest system version. iOS users like to update their operating systems, which means you don’t have to support older devices for long periods of time and can easily concentrate on delivering the app to the newest version of the iOS. All this significantly reduces testing and development cycle times.
4. REVENUE MODEL
While Android apps are usually free and supported by ads, more users are willing to pay for iOS apps. That’s how iOS apps manage to earn more revenue – even 70% more than Android as noted during the first quarter of 2015. Looking at demographics, it’s evident that iOS users are generally more valuable.
WHICH ONE WORKS FOR YOU?
All things considered, it’s almost always better to start with iOS platform first and once you build a great app experience and reach critical mass on the platform, move to Android. Considering speed to market, development cost and demographics (including the presence of influencers!), it’s a good idea to test your app on iPhone first.
However, it makes sense to choose Android first if you know that your target audience is focused on the platform. It’s also a good idea to start with Android if you plan to use or customize an element of the platform that isn’t accessible on iOS.
Starting with both platforms is an option if you’re a well-established brand and have more resources. Still, big companies are also concerned on starting out with the right platform first. The reason behind that is learning. An app always goes through multiple iterations before it starts delivering a great user experience. During the first stages of an app’s life, you basically learn what works and what doesn’t. As you can imagine, trying to apply all your insights to both platforms at the same time is challenging and costly.
Choosing the best operating system for launching your app is critical for its survival on the overcrowded market. Both Android and iOS have their benefits, so take a close look at your project, target audience and revenue expectations to decide which platform will work best for establishing your mobile presence.
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