Every one who wants to develop an app for their business or entrepreneurial idea always faces the questions…
Which platform do I choose? Should I release my app on more than one platform? Is windows phone dead?
(Note: for this blog post, we use the word iPhone to refer to the iOS platform and we include iPhones and iPads when we mention ‘iPhone’)
Usually, there’s no easy answer but a good place to start is to consider what the end user wants. If you’re developing an app for general public use and you intend to distribute it via the app stores (Play Store, iTunes and Windows Store) then you should consider the global usage statistics and the usage statistics for your region (eg. Ireland, UK).
As of today, Android is marginally dominant in Europe and has 71% of the mobile market. iPhone is next with 21% and Windows have a surprisingly high 7%.
In Ireland and the UK, Android has 52%, iPhone 39% and Windows has 9%. Across all world regions, Android is no1 and iPhone is no2. This gap is widening with every quarter in all regions apart from China.
So, the obvious answer for mobile apps that are sold to the public is that you should build for Android but be prepared to also build your app on iPhone should the demand arise.
There are some exceptions to this rule of thumb. For example, your app may be targeting a specific demographic group that use iPhones more than Android phones. For example, the middle to upper class are likely to use iPhones more than Android phones. I came across some stats on this a few years ago, but I can’t confirm that this is still the case, but anecdotal evidence would seem to support this.
Of course, if you’re building a business to business app, or you are building an app strictly for internal business use, then you don’t care about the general stats. What matters is how much each individual phone or tablet will cost and what your employees or clients wish to use. Generally speaking, you can get away with developing on just one platform. For cost reasons, it’s usually Android. But not always. We carried out an internal business app lately for a multi-national medical devices company and they went with iPhone because it was being used by just 30 of their upper management employees and most of them used iPhones.
So the conclusion is to go with what your users will want. If it’s for the general public then stick with the numbers and check the latest usage statistics for your target region. If you plan to target a subset of the general public, then try to dig out statistics for that sub group and if you’re developing for your own business then ask your users directly what phones they use. If you will be purchasing the phones or tablets yourself then check the cost of good quality products and make your decision accordingly.
Here at irishApps, the mobile software applications that we develop usually enjoy widespread use so we always assume that even for a single platform project, we will eventually be developing for multiple platforms. For this reason we build in the design features required to ensure it’s as easy as possible for our clients to expand onto multiple platforms in the future.
And lastly…. never make your decision based on the phone that you prefer!! Remember, you will not be the sole audience for your app!!