Mobile application development is rapidly growing in the software industry at the moment and it is full of opportunities for jobs, be it full time or freelance. Due to its quick expansion, the job scope of a mobile developer is becoming increasingly dynamic as well, with all the new devices, new technological capabilities and versions of operating systems being constantly updated.
Photo by Sarah Pflug
For operating systems, Android and iOS are the most popular currently and they are dominating the industry. According to a recent study, the two systems account for approximately 96.7% of the whole market. The battle for supremacy between these two giants is ongoing and will probably never come to a conclusion. However, choosing the right platform to build your first app is half the success as about 23% of people abandon an app after a single use. Hence, the question remains for the business, which platform should you focus on for your project?
Let’s take a look at the business aspects first. After all, I am sure you want your app to be profitable and popular. A number of years back, the market share for Android are less than that of iOS. However, the table has turned significantly. As of 2018, Android owns 74% of the world’s mobile market, which is more than 3 times higher than the 22% of iOS. Of course, other statistics should be considered, but having 3 potential users must be better than having 1.
Continuing with business, with more focus on profitability, you must be thinking that with such a huge disparity in terms of market share, the revenue of Android should be outstripping that of iOS. However, that is not what’s actually happening. In the first half of 2018, iOS app store generated $22.6 billion of gross app revenue worldwide, almost twice that of Google Play. Furthermore, this trend is not new; iOS app store has consistently brought in higher revenue for years. One reason could be due to Google Play being unavailable in China but iOS app store is.
Let’s move on to the technical aspects with the score tied so far. I shall not go into technical terms such as Xcode, Swift, Java, etc. A development process flows faster when you have to build your app for a narrow range of devices and operating systems. Everyone is aware that there are a limited number of devices running on iOS, exclusively the Apple products. Additionally, statistics have shown that there are a high percentage of iOS users updating their operating system to the latest version very soon after its release. These are in complete contrast to Android. There are dozens of smartphones and tablets on Android with different screen sizes and aspect ratios. It means your app should be suitable for all of them. Same issue goes for the operating systems of Android. There is no one system that is used by majority of the Android device users.
Next up will be literally the final step to the start of your app conquering the world. The publishing of your app. To publish an app on Android, all you need to do is sign up and upload your app for a one-time payment of $25. Within just a few hours, your app will be live in the store. You can also run a live beta test or update it easily. On the contrary, there is a long and strict approval process done by humans for iOS. Given that it can be rather subjective, there is a good chance that the submission will be rejected. Furthermore, they may take up to a week to inform you the outcome. Not to mention that the fee for iOS is an annual recurring fee of $99.
In conclusion and this might seem quite anti-climactic, each platform has its own advantages and disadvantages and their importance may vary according to your own preference, goals and needs. There is really no best way to make a comparison. Moreover, if there is a perfect one, why would we need the other?