How To Choose The Best Platform And App Type
The choice between either or both of the two main operating systems - iOS and Android - and between the different types of apps to be developed are critical choices you must make while planning your project.
The final choice will affect the project timeline, budget, potential audience size and chances of generating revenue from your idea. Several factors can influence your decisions. Required features and functions, earning goals, target audience, deadlines, and budget are among them.
In this article, we will explain the difference between the platforms and types of applications and we will help you choose the best one for your project.
iOS vs Android app development
While Android dominates Central and South America, India, Africa, China, the Middle East, Russia, Eastern Europe, and some other countries, iOS is more popular in the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, and Western Europe. So, first of all, consider your key geographical target markets while making the choice.
Advantages and disadvantages of an iOS app
- Faster and cheaper development
- Higher level of security and capacity
- Prefabricated solutions
- Limited customization
- Stringent app Store rules and quality expectations
- Best monetisation model: paid apps, in-app purchases
Advantages and disadvantages of an Android app
- Android dominates the global market
- Platform flexibility
- Potential unexpected negative user experiences on certain phones because of the range of devices
- Every second Android user does not update their operating system regularly
- More expensive and time consuming development
- Best monetisation model: freemium, in-app advertising
Native, cross platform (hybrid) or web app development
Another decision that is important to get right is the selection of the type of app that offers the best chance of success. So, let’s look at all three types of mobile apps in detail.
Native app development
Native apps are developed for specific devices, in a programming language linked to the platform on which they are hosted. This means that, for example, an iOS app will never be available in the Google Play Store and will not work on any Android device.
Let's discover some specifics of a native app:
Technology: iOS apps are built in Objective C or Swift languages. Android apps are built using Java or Kotlin.
Access to the native API: native apps have the ability to fully access the functionality and API of the mobile device.
Distribution method: usually via an app store.
Multi-platform functionality: none, a native app remains limited to the platform for which it was created.
The biggest advantage of native apps is that they can take full advantage of the device's functionality, such as the camera, contact list, GPS, Bluetooth, WiFi and more. They look great because they are specifically designed for the device type. They are also highly responsive because the programming language ‘talks’ directly to the device without any need for conversion or bridging.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a native app?
- There are no limits in the implementation. You can access every resource of the device and fully exploit the hardware functionality.
- The graphical interface of native apps is in line with the experiences users are familiar with
- Full support from the manufacturers
- More skills are required as each version of the app - iOS and Android - must be developed separately
- Higher costs and longer development times
Cross-platform / Hybrid app development
Building cross-platform means creating a hybrid app that can be distributed on various platforms. So, with one application you can target both platforms: iOS and Android, thus maximizing its reach.
Multi-platform mobile development is on the rise. What is the reason for the rapid growth? Cross-platform solutions allow developers to create APPs that work on multiple operating systems. These frameworks also provide a set of tools to help the developer reuse the code and increase its productivity. In this way, you can avoid double costs when building the app, introducing changes, fixing bugs, running tests or releasing updates.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a cross-platform app?
- Reduced development costs
- Easier and faster maintenance
- The bigger codebase size can cause loading and performance issues.
- When developing for multiple systems, it is difficult to maintain specific platform experiences, which results in the loss of the "native feel" of an app for that operating system.
Progressive web app development
Progressive Web Applications are best of all web applications for mobile use. These applications use browsers such as Chrome or Safari to display their interface and that are available at a certain web address (URL) and not distributed though app stores. This means that users don’t have to install the application on their smartphones, and therefore it doesn't affect the memory capacity of the device.
A progressive web app (PWA) works autonomously and is able to load pages instantly even in conditions of low connectivity. Furthermore, a progressive web app has the advantage of always being updated because, when it’s launched, it automatically displays the most recent version.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a web app?
- It works on a wide range of devices
- The application installation and update process is not subject to the control of the store manager
- The app can provide services in categories and types not supported by the official app stores
- The user interface remains the same on all supported devices
- The application is able to work without having to download it
- Compared to native applications, web apps can be slower and consume more power
- Access to the device hardware is more cumbersome. There are limitations in graphical and in functional richness.
- If it has not been fully downloaded, some features may not be available when the device is offline
- The absence from the stores can make it more difficult to market the app
Each type of mobile development is good in particular circumstances. Your choices will depend on your business goals, budget, deadlines, target market, the number and type of features you are going to include, etc.
We hope this article helped you to understand the different options for building your app. The next stage is to find a great team of professional developers to provide you with advice tailored to your specific requirements.
Contact our team for a free initial consultation.