The previous article "Mobile Application Development Tip No. 1 - Make a Perfect Idea" was focused on how to plan a mobile idea, and manage the elements that affect the entire planning. This one is dedicated to how to choose a right mobile platform for your app. The article attempts to cover all those things that help developers choose the most suitable mobile OS as per the app type, competition, monetization preference, app development complexity, quality and customization requirements, target market, target technology, security and need of brand creation.
Before beginning to explain about any of the above mentioned factors, the fact of today's mobile market is that there are only four mobile operating systems that are practically in use. These four mobile operating systems are Android, iOS, BlackBerry and Windows Phone. So the entire game of mobile technology boom and application development is being played for these four mobile platforms.
Let us begin with the competition among operating systems and find how this competition can affect your decision. There is a tough competition between Android and iOS. An article of Tech Time with the title "Who's Winning, iOS or Android? All the Numbers, All in One Place" offers fairly interesting evaluation of both platforms. However, the article is not dedicated to developers, but it points out statistics to easily go with an iOS or Android application development.
It refers the data of IDC for worldwide smartphone shipments, Q4 2012. The statistics suggests that Android is now holding 70.1% market share, while iOS just holds 21%. The rest share goes to Windows Phone, Blackberry and others. The article further explains that just over half of all apps downloaded in the first quarter of this year were for Android. iOS, at about 40 percent share, was the only other big-time player. So Android leads for the total number of smartphones and app downloads. But when it comes to monetization, iOS users are spending much more on apps. iOS accounts for 74% of the total online revenue earned through selling apps in Q1 2013.
The app type can also affect your decision on choosing an OS for your mobile app. If you are developing a business-based application, the recommended platform for you is iOS. More than 62% smartphone users use iOS powered devices such as iPhone and iPad for business purposes. Android powered smartphones and tablets are used by not more than 35% business users. If you are developing free gaming apps and want millions of downloads within a few weeks, the best platform is Android. If you want to build paid-only gaming apps, you are advised to prefer iOS over others. Because most iOS users can afford credit cards, they do not mind to pay a few dollars to purchase paid apps. If you want to build app with heavy customization, the best platform is Android. Choosing Android over iOS for an app, which involves a lot of development and customization related complexities, is a wise decision.
Think of the market you intend to target. If you want to target the mass market, Android development is the best choice for you. If you want to target business and executive community, BlackBerry can still be a better choice. But you are supposed to choose a platform by putting the potential needs of customers first.
If you want quick and easy publicity for your app, the best platform is Windows Phone. Because Windows Phone has fewer apps on its app store, an app developed for this platform will give you quick recognition.
The handiest technology for mobile application development is of course iOS. Unlike Android, iOS is so far away from any sort of fragmentation. And for Android developers, fragmentation is just like a nightmare. They cannot assure that their apps will support all Android powered devices.
As far as security is concerned, Android has not earned enough credibility because of malware. Android has got several malware attacks since 2008; however, newer versions of the OS, such as Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean, have better features to address most of the security issues.
Last but not least, the brand creation is another aspect that can affect your decision on choosing a mobile platform for your application development. iOS is a reputed brand and being on this platform ultimately improves the brand image of a company. Apple follows strict guidelines to approve iOS apps and thus it only has high-quality apps. But, Android is open for all types of apps, whether they are of high-quality or low quality.
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