Is An App Really Worth The Investment?

How do you know if your upcoming app project is worth the investment? Well, there are no easy answers if you don’t know what indicators reveal the potential success of your app project. And given the propensity for media hype to center on the most popular apps, this only muddies the waters.

One way to test whether your app idea will hit the mark is by creating a minimum viable product (MVP). But this isn’t always a feasible option, especially if you’ve already started developing a fully featured app. 

Or you may already have released an app that was languishing in the app marketplace. Then you decided to update it and noticed an uptick in downloads and user reviews. However, you’re still unsure whether this updated app warrants further investment. Below, we reveal several of the most pertinent reasons for whether an app is worth the investment

Invest In An App To Stay On Brand

If you’re trying to promote the company brand or an appreneur that develops apps for brands, an app is worth the investment. And that’s because you’re trying to reach customers in as many avenues as possible. Furthermore, you want your brand identity and messaging to be uniform across the board. 

But how would you stay on brand with an app? Well, it’s likely that your company already has a website. It’s also likely that the graphic design, photography, and user interface (UI) reflect the identity of the company brand. 

So, when you decide to develop an app, you’ve already got a blueprint of the design language. The colors, gradients, fonts, icons, user experience (UX), and art assets should follow a standardized format. Once you release your app, customers already familiar with your website will have an easy time navigating your app.

Apps With High Retention Rates Are Worth The Investment

We may have entered the post-COVID-19 phase of the pandemic, but the work-from-home trend continues. That means that many workers won’t be going back to the office or have little desire to return. And that’s a good thing for appreneurs, as having millions of people working from home opens up many opportunities.

Not only that, business, education, and fitness apps boast the highest retention rates. And if you’re targeting any of these market segments and solving a real need, your app may be worth the investment. Moreover, since users will spend significant time with your app, it’s yet another opportunity to promote your brand and stay on brand.

Take Advantage Of New Hardware Features

Smartphones and tablets constantly evolve, especially when manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung release their premium models. Users of these devices expect developers to take advantage of their additional features and innovations. 

And it’s now possible to deliver content and experiences that wouldn’t seem out of place on a powerful desktop PC. So, if you’re a boutique software developer specializing in specific app niches, consider if these are a good fit for premium devices. 

For example, you could be developing an illustration app that takes advantage of the 120Hz refresh rates of these devices. The higher refresh rate allows for smoother drawing when using a stylus, which isn’t possible on 60Hz screens found on lower-end models. Such an application would attract and satisfy professional users willing to pay for using your app.

The Bottom Line

Companies that invest in apps can further increase the stature of their brand across the web and mobile. And new hardware and the work-from-home movement offer appreneurs many opportunities to spread their wings and develop apps that truly are worth the investment. Contact NS804 to learn how we’ll help you develop apps that will excite and satisfy your users!

iOS Vs. Android: Which To Use?

When choosing the ideal mobile platform, we often jump into the common iOS Vs. Android debate. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as we should attempt to weigh the pros and cons of these two leading platforms.

But we know what some of you may be thinking: it’s a done deal, iOS is the better platform, and we should move on. After all, it’s no secret that iOS is the slicker and more user-friendly platform with many satisfied users worldwide. However, it’s wise not to rush to conclusions without investigating the Android platform rigorously.

Due to the open nature of the Android platform and the need to support devices from different manufacturers, the user experience isn’t as polished as on iOS. But Android presents developers and users with a few advantages unique to the platform. 

The ability to distribute and sideload apps on Android outside of Google Play is a boon for enterprises and open-source developers. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about iOS, as Apple prohibits sideloading and app distribution outside the App Store.

Another benefit of Android is the sheer size of its global market share, which stands at 69.74% as of January 2022. And that’s not surprising considering the wide availability of cheap Android devices that appeal to users in developing countries. So, it’s an important platform that no developer that wants to target a global audience can ignore.

But there are many more considerations in the iOS Vs. Android debate that we need to look at in more detail. Below, we reveal what those are and how they may impact your choices as an app developer.

iOS Vs. Android: Don’t Allow Fanboyism To Influence You

We all have biases, and these often influence our choices in life. But these biases may prove detrimental, especially when making crucial business decisions. As an appreneur, developer, or business leader, you need to think clearly about the types of apps you plan to make and what platforms you wish to target. 

In most cases, the answer is simple: you will likely target both Android and iOS. But there are situations where you should target a single mobile platform. And the mobile platform that you ultimately choose should align strictly with your business goals.  

So what does this mean exactly? Ideally, you want to maximize the reach of your app by targeting the platform where it will likely find its target audience. 

Thus, your decision-making process should consist of reliable mobile platform statistics and rigorous research of your target audience. This may sound like a lot of work, but it’s well worth the effort to maximize your app’s success.   

And the last thing you should ever do is base your decision on platform fanboyism. Perhaps, you love Apple and all its products and can’t wait to develop an app for iOS. Or you’re the proud owner of high-end Samsung Galaxy smartphones and only want to target Android.

No matter how much you love a brand or product line, don’t allow this to cloud your judgment. Instead, put the interests of your business and users first!

1. Foldable Devices

The introduction of Microsoft’s Surface Duo and Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip & Fold devices have revolutionized the smartphone space. And that’s because the additional screen real estate helps enhance productivity. 

Consider how much better apps such as Office 365 or Trello work on foldable phones than they do on standard smartphones. Users now have additional workspace to get work done far more efficiently. And that’s because they won’t need to scroll as much as they would on non-foldable devices.

So if you’re developing a productivity app that targets foldable devices, you’ve only got one choice — Android. Currently, Apple hasn’t released any foldable iOS devices, but they have announced the iPhone Flip. But there’s no set release date yet, though it’s speculated for a 2023 or 2024 launch.

2. Hardcore Gaming

Both Android and iOS are excellent platforms for gaming, especially for casual pick-up-play titles. But in recent years, there’s been an emergence of hardcore mobile games and gaming smartphones. 

Manufacturers such as Razer have been instrumental in pushing forward powerful devices that utilize high-end components. And that’s resulted in their devices featuring impressive GPUs and high refresh rates reaching 120Hz and beyond. Given their proficiency in manufacturing powerful PC gaming laptops, much of that know-how has gone into their Android devices. 

But what does all this mean for mobile gaming? Firstly, this shows that the mobile gaming market has matured significantly, as users crave experiences close to those found on PCs and consoles. And secondly, it’s the Android platform leading the way in hardcore gaming device choice and titles. 

However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t release a hardcore game on iOS. But you’ll need to target Apple’s flagship smartphones, as these have the specs capable of powering intensive games. And that’s a limited market segment given the high cost of these flagship devices.

3. Marketplace Diversity

When it comes to iOS, there’s no marketplace diversity as users can only download apps from the App Store. And from a user’s point of view, it’s great to have one convenient and secure place to get hold of apps. 

But things are different on the Android platform. Users can download from several stores, such as Google Play, Amazon Appstore, APKPure, Aptoide, and F-Droid. Furthermore, Huawei AppGallery and Samsung Galaxy Store cater to those using devices from the respective manufacturers. 

And given that it’s a relatively simple process to sideload apps on Android, there’s no need for an app store. Any developer can distribute their Android apps directly from their website or another channel.

The freedom to distribute apps in such a manner should appeal to developers that create custom apps for enterprises. Or even enterprises that want to install their in-house apps on employee phones without relying on any app store.  

4. Security Considerations

If you’re developing an app that needs to be on a more secure platform, then iOS is a good choice. Due to the closed nature and tight integration of iOS, it’s an operating system that offers higher security than Android. However, this doesn’t mean that iOS is hack-proof or not susceptible to malware and viruses. 

And given that Google and Samsung have gone to great strides to improve security, the gap between iOS and specific Android devices isn’t as wide as it used to be. But iOS still has an edge in the security department for the time being.

5. User Demographics And Engagement

Android enthusiasts may not like to hear this, but the hard truth is that iOS users are a lot more valuable. And that’s because iPhone users fall in a higher income bracket and spend more on apps. Not only that, but they also engage more with apps, especially in the entertainment and games categories. 

However, Google Play is where most new apps get discovered and downloaded at a higher rate. And generally, Android users prefer to download and engage with social apps such as TikTok. 

If you’re planning on developing mobile games or paid apps, iOS should be your first port of call. But if you’re launching a social app, you’ll find your audience on Android.

The Bottom Line

When we deliberate the iOS Vs. Android question, we’re often looking for an easy answer. We covered several of the most critical factors when deciding on a platform. And we pointed out where one outshines the other and where they’re almost equal. Therefore, you’ll need to consider all these factors and how they’ll line up with your upcoming app project. Contact NS804 today to learn how we’ll help you create stunning apps on either iOS or Android. 

What Investors Want To See In An App Startup

If you’ve been wondering whether your latest idea could turn into a profitable app startup, then you’re not alone. Every day, developers reach out to tech investors to fund their projects. And a few succeed in attracting these investors and turning their minimum viable products (MVP) into the next big thing!

Of course, not everyone has such luck, with many developers left out in the cold. Their underfunded apps languish in the app stores, and user interest dwindles to a trickle. But with the right strategy, it’s possible to win over app startup investors, giving you the impetus to succeed rapidly. Here are a few handy tips on what you need to do.

Learn From Startup Success Stories

You could have the freshest and most unique app idea, but that doesn’t mean it will catch on. Whether we like it or not, market trends play a pivotal role in determining success. So take the time to investigate what apps do well in today’s market and attract investment.

Fortunately, there are many excellent resources to help you do just this. Start by reading tech-oriented news sites such as 9to5Mac, AppleInsider, Android Authority, Ars Technica, TechCrunch, The Verge, and Wired to learn about the latest and upcoming developments. Then, use analytics and data intelligence platforms such as App Annie and Apptopia to gain insights into competing and top-trending apps.

But you’ll also want to find tech investors and learn more about the startups they’re funding. And one of the best sites for this purpose is Crunchbase that features detailed information about acquisitions, angel investors, companies, funding rounds, private equity firms, and venture capitalists. If you do your homework, you’ll find potential app startup investors and key people to contact here.

Create A Marketable App With Monetization In Mind

If you want to attract investors, be careful about how you position your app. Ensure that you’re creating a quality product that fulfills the wants and needs of the target audience. Moreover, ensure that you’re offering functionality superior to that of competitors. Or that you’re introducing an innovative feature that makes your app indispensable to users.

You’ll also need to market the app properly to reach as many users as possible. Tech investors want to see ongoing user acquisition, even if your app is earning minimal revenues in its early stages.

Also, implement a monetization strategy that incentivizes users to upgrade to the paid version. This move will help convince app startup investors of the earning potential of your mobile app. Its financial feasibility will determine whether investors can achieve a good return on investment (ROI). 

Why An MVP Is The Right Choice For A Startup? 

Developing a full-fledged app to draw investors may be a risky choice for a startup. Not only is this option costly, but development will take longer, and your app will reach the market later. But an MVP is far cheaper and quicker to complete since it has the bare minimum functionality.

More importantly, after releasing the MVP, your potential investors can ascertain its viability. They’ll gauge market fit, target audience reaction, and overall feasibility. You’ll also have access to valuable analytics, which you can share with potential investors. And you’ll also have proven that you’re committed to the project and have a capable team able to release an app on time.

In Conclusion

Every startup company dreams of creating the next Instagram, Telegram, or TikTok and taking the app world by storm. While it’s not easy to develop an app that gains such massive traction overnight, it’s not impossible either.

One of the best ways to give your app a fighting chance is to attract the right investor to fund your project. And you can do this by creating an MVP that shows significant growth potential. Contact us today to learn how NS804 can help you develop apps and MVPs that turn heads!

Best Android Apps To Install On Your Phone

It’s never easy compiling a list of the best Android apps. After all, there are a plethora of excellent apps available for download on Google Play. But there are also many low-quality and gimmicky apps that are a complete waste of time. And then, some apps pose a serious cybersecurity risk, which you should avoid downloading in the first place.

Thus, the criteria for choosing apps to add to our list is straightforward. We focused on best-in-class apps that ooze quality, are snappy, and solve users’ problems effectively.

And we disqualified apps that have redundant features, lack regular updates, and suffer from ongoing issues. We also didn’t add any Google apps, as many come pre-installed with Android devices.

1. Brave Private Web Browser

Surfing the web has become increasingly risky recently. That’s because hackers use vulnerabilities found in browser extensions and websites to harm users. And given that the Android platform is often a target for these bad actors, most browsers don’t offer sufficient protection.

But that’s where Brave Private Web Browser comes in. It’s fast, lightweight, and secure and doesn’t overwhelm users with unnecessary features. And its built-in blockers are very effective at dealing with those pesky ads, cookies, and scripts.

2. GitHub

Every appreneur and software engineer should have the GitHub app installed on their Android phone. With many development teams working remotely, it’s essential to have a tool that allows them to collaborate while using the world’s most popular code repository.

GitHub makes it easy to merge and review pull requests, respond to comments, and provide feedback. It’s also lightweight and boasts a clutterless and intuitive user interface (UI).

3. Microsoft Office: Edit & Share

We couldn’t make a list of the best Android apps without including Microsoft’s flagship productivity app. Microsoft Office: Edit & Share is the swiss army knife of productivity tools, as it allows users to create documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. It’s also great for taking notes and viewing PDFs.

And as a testament to its power and versatility, this very article was written entirely in Microsoft Office on a mid-range Samsung Galaxy. It’s such an essential app that every executive, office worker, or student should have it installed.

4. Todoist: To-Do List & Tasks

Todoist: To-Do List & Tasks boasts over 20 million users and has received Google’s Editor’s Choice in 2020. And while there are many good to-do list apps in Google Play, few have an equivalent and comprehensive set of features.

Its clean and simple UI makes it easy for users to organize tasks, set reminders, and keep track of progress. Moreover, it integrates flawlessly with Amazon Alexa, Gmail, Google Calendar, and Slack. And it’s designed to run on a wide variety of devices, including the Wear OS Smartwatch. With so much going for it, it’s little wonder that it made our best Android apps list. 

5. Viber – Safe Chats And Calls

There are many good voice chat and messenger apps on Google Play, so this was a difficult choice. But we opted for Viber for several reasons. For one, it’s renowned for its rock-solid end-to-end encryption, giving users high levels of privacy and security.

Secondly, Viber users can make low-cost international costs and even communicate with those using landlines. It’s a feature that makes it stand out from most of its competitors and a good reason for businesses to use it. And thirdly, it boasts a large and vibrant community of users and includes excellent group chat capabilities. And it even syncs and transmits messages to the Wear OS Smartwatch.

The Bottom Line

Our list of the best Android apps is short but squarely focussed on the applications that can unlock the true potential of your smartphone. You’re carrying a powerful device in your pocket that’s an indispensable business machine, provided you install the right apps.

Contact NS804 to learn how we’ll help you create phenomenal Android apps to empower and engage your users.

How to Achieve App Store Success: Tips and Tricks

Even seasoned developers need a few tips and tricks to succeed in today’s crowded app marketplace. According to Statista, there are approximately 2.2 million mobile apps on the App Store and 3 million on Google Play. Now, let that sink in!

But if you go in prepared with a well-conceived plan, you can enjoy phenomenal success in 2022 and beyond. There’s no reason why the mobile apps you’ve worked so hard on should fail to find their audience. Below, we provide several helpful tips and tricks to make app store success a reality.

Have An App Store Optimization Checklist Handy

One of the most crucial tools at your disposal is the app store optimization checklist. And that’s because it will help you focus on the key processes that lead to success. Without this checklist, you’ll waste valuable time figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Here are the ten things your app store optimization checklist should contain:

  • App store SEO tools
  • Keyword research
  • Adding local keywords of the target market
  • Checking on competitors and their keywords
  • Creating engaging icons
  • Creating impactful videos
  • Capturing screenshots
  • Picking a catchy and distinctive app name
  • Updating app description
  • Encouraging user reviews

Tips And Tricks On Getting Featured On The App Stores

The above checklist will go a long way in securing some level of success. But if you want your mobile apps to steal the show, there’s only one way to do this — and that’s by getting featured on the App Store and Google Play. While this isn’t easy by any stretch, it’s more than worth the effort. 

First and foremost, you’ll need to create a high-quality app that’s meaningful to users. That’s an app that runs smoothly and takes advantage of the latest OS and mobile phone features. Furthermore, you’ll need to quash any bugs and closely follow the developer guidelines set by Apple and Google.

Then, put in the time and effort to localize your app for all target markets. Optimizing for local languages and cultures not only wins over new audiences but also increases your chances of getting featured in foreign app stores. 

More importantly, listen to your audience and update your app regularly, as this will improve your ratings and downloads. Both Apple and Google take performance metrics seriously and will usually only feature apps with 4.5 stars or higher.

Network And Build Relationships

For the majority of developers, getting featured is a long-term process. But it’s possible to speed things up by networking and building relationships with key people in Apple and Google. That’s why you should always budget for travel expenses and ticket costs to attend Apple’s WWDC. Currently, Google keeps its Android Dev Summit a free online virtual event.

Attending such events helps keep you informed about upcoming developments that will benefit your endeavors. But they also present opportunities to connect with the right people that can play a decisive role in your success. Familiarize these people with your company and the apps you develop and build a relationship based on your mutual interests in releasing amazing apps

If it’s not possible to attend these events, always reach out via LinkedIn and other social media channels. Better yet, try to locate the app store contact responsible for your local or target market.

The Bottom Line

The tips and tricks we’ve provided will help narrow the gap between an app fading into obscurity and one bound for success. It’s hard work creating mobile apps that connect with today’s audiences and breach those vaunted top app store rankings. Contact NS804 today to learn how we can help you develop apps that rank and succeed. 

How Much Does It Cost To Build An App Like Waze

Nowadays, many drivers plan their daily routes using apps such as Waze. And it’s easy to see why that is, considering how much it enhances the driving experience. A few of Waze’s features include enhanced Google Assistant integration, lane suggestions, and traffic notifications. All these give drivers an accurate visual representation of their trip, how long it will take, and when they’ll encounter traffic.

If you’re considering a real-time navigation app as your next project, Waze can serve as inspiration. But developing such an app is also complex and costly, which we’ll cover in more detail below.

A Brief History Of Waze

Waze has roots dating back to 2006 as a community project known as FreeMap Israel. The project introduced a free-to-use digital database and map of Israel. And its enthusiastic and growing community of users contributed significantly to its early success. In 2008, Waze was established as a company to commercialize the project.

The company then raised $25 million in 2010 and $35 million in 2011. And after updating the app, it presented users with curated points of interest in real-time. And in 2012, Waze offered advertisers and resellers the opportunity to advertise via a web interface. It also extended this opportunity to news networks in the US and Brazil.

All that hard work and growth did not go unnoticed. In 2013, the GSM Association awarded Waze the Best Overall Mobile App. But the good fortunes of the company didn’t end there. In June 2013, Google acquired Waze for the princely sum of $966 million. 

The acquisition drew attention from the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) due to the similarities between Waze and Google Maps. However, the FTC did not challenge the acquisition, and it went through successfully. 

Key Features Of Waze

What makes Waze stand out is its effective collection and dissemination of crowdsourced information. However, it doesn’t rely solely on the information provided by users but also from the relevant state agencies. 

So what type of information is reported to Waze? Usually, information about construction work and traffic events, likely to hinder travel. In some cases, users may report the locations of traffic monitoring cameras to warn other drivers. Furthermore, registered users may alter map data using the app’s built-in editor. 

But the range of features has grown significantly over the years. It’s possible to choose a navigation app voice from celebrities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, DJ Khaled, and Kevin Darnell Hart, to name a few. Users can also record their voices to serve as navigation prompts. 

Moreover, Waze introduced trip suggestions, lane guidance, and specialized routes. The app isn’t limited to car drivers but also accommodates motorcyclists and those using carpools. 

More importantly, Waze has partnered with popular apps, media networks, and services. Users enjoy additional functionality due to Waze’s integration with the following: 

  • Android Auto
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Deezer
  • Google Assistant
  • iHeartRadio
  • NPR One
  • Pandora
  • Scribd
  • Spotify
  • Stitcher
  • TuneIn
  • YouTube Music

Similarities And Differences To Google Maps

Google Maps and Waze are both owned by Google and may seem very similar. But given the strong branding and market positioning of Google Maps, most users will opt for this particular navigation app. However, we need to look at both apps in more detail to appreciate what makes each unique.

  • Advertising: Waze displays banner ads every time drivers come to a stop. These ads tend to distract and not to everyone’s tastes. Alternatively, Google Maps takes a more subtle approach by displaying small square icons on the map of businesses that have paid to advertise. 
  • Data collection: Both apps collect a plethora of data about road conditions and traffic events. But Waze relies on user-submitted information, whereas Google Maps taps into a wider pool of information, including historical data.
  • Navigation: Waze always tries to find the most efficient and quickest route to the destination. Alternatively, Google Maps will suggest the most eco-friendly and safest route instead.
  • Public transportation: Waze caters to drivers and not those using public transport. On the other hand, Google Maps greatly helps public transport users, cyclists, hikers, and pedestrians.
  • Road hazard and traffic notifications: An area where Waze truly shines is notifying drivers about upcoming road hazards and traffic. As long as enough users have reported these incidents, Waze will find the best route around them. However, Google Maps seldom provides a similarly time-saving route.
  • User interface (UI) design: Since both apps are Google products, they have good UI design. Waze has a cartoony appearance with a simple UI since it’s aimed primarily at drivers. Google Map’s UI is a bit more complex as it doesn’t only cater to drivers but also businesses. 

Cost Of Development

It’s possible to start creating a compelling navigation app with several core features and the right development partner, such as NS804. Here’s what features you’ll need to have basic functionality:

  • Authorization and user profile: It’s crucial to allow users to log in via their emails and social media accounts. Thus, it’s necessary to implement an integration pipeline with the Facebook SDK and Twitter Kit, at the very least.
  • Camera functionality: The app must work flawlessly with the cameras and file systems on both Android and iOS. Users will want to take photos of traffic incidents and store them on their devices or share them with other users.
  • Chat and user reviews features: Users will want to chat with other users, leave reviews and ratings about rides, and share road trip information with others on social media. All these features will require backend development to store and retrieve data on a server. Additionally, further social media integrations will be necessary.  
  • Geolocation mapping and navigation: Geolocation determines a user’s location, while navigation allows the user to pick the destination. It’s essential to integrate with Apple Maps (iOS only), Google Maps, and Mapbox Maps SDK to make this work.
  • Voice assistant: It’s potentially dangerous for drivers to look at the navigation map while driving. Therefore, it’s better to offer navigation coordinates by voice with API.AI, Google Cloud API, and Google Maps Directions API.

The cost of a basic navigation app with the above features will range between $40,000 and $60,000 and take four to six weeks to develop. But you’ll likely need additional features such as machine learning (ML), ridesharing, planned driver, Spotify, and ad integrations in the long run. As you add these features, expect development costs to reach $150,000 and beyond.

Development And Maintenance Considerations

Developing and maintaining a navigation app is a massive undertaking. After all, it relies heavily on data collection and sharing relevant data in real-time. And it must allow users to post photos of traffic jams and other road incidents. But it must also integrate with social media and a wide range of apps to increase its functionality. 

Then, to drive further engagement, the app may need gamification features. Waze offers a ranking system, incentivizing users to score points and gain a high position on the scoreboard. Thus, users can compare their level and score with their friends and other Waze users.

Since app development is an ongoing process, it won’t be necessary to roll out all features from day one. But it’s crucial to maintain and update the app at a regular cadence for the best results. As we’ve seen with Waze, it was a project that started life over 15 years ago and then gradually introduced new features and partnerships. 

The Bottom Line

Waze is a prime example of how indispensable and life-changing the navigation app is in people’s lives. It’s not cheap to develop and maintain such an app, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor for developers and appreneurs that see the big picture and how lucrative it can be in the long term. Contact NS804 to find out how we can help you develop phenomenal navigation apps that will empower your users.

7 Tips For Better Android App Development

Android app development remains a promising path for appreneurs and developers seeking new opportunities. And with recent announcements regarding Android 12, Material You, and the latest foldable phones, these are exciting times. 

If you are an experienced Android developer or simply sitting by the sidelines, there’s never been a better time to hop on board. Even if you’re an ardent iOS developer that has steered clear of Android, it’s time to give the platform another look. Below, we reveal several handy tips to enhance your Android app development experience in 2022 and beyond!

1. Read The Developer Guides Thoroughly

Set up your Google developer profile, then go through the developer guides. These are well-written and informative, so you should find everything you need to get started. Furthermore, there are training courses for beginner and intermediate developers. And if you plan on studying further, you may want to sign up for the certification and degree programs.

2. Download And Install Android Studio

Android Studio is the official integrated development environment (IDE) for Android development, so you should use it. It’s a powerful suite that’s indispensable for native Android app development. Moreover, it’s a better option than the Eclipse IDE since it’s a more focused tool for Android development. But if you’re developing for multiple platforms, you may want to go with Visual Studio 2019 or 2022.

3. Choose Kotlin Instead Of Java

If you’re starting your Android development journey today, choose Kotlin instead of Java as your programming language. Kotlin is a more modern yet less-verbose language than Java, resulting in a faster and smoother coding experience. The only reason to choose Java is to maintain existing apps written in that language.

4. Learn Material Design

Google has created Material, a design system for creating eye-catching user interfaces (UI) and themes. It consists of component libraries and a states system, allowing designers to build interactive UIs efficiently. Learning the Material design system is worthwhile because it supports Android, Flutter, iOS, and the web.

5. Use A Game Engine For Immersive Experiences

While Android Studio is great, it does have a few shortcomings. For example, it’s not the most effective tool for creating the immersive experiences found in augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) apps. Instead, it’s better to use Godot, Unity, or Unreal Engine for any visually-rich projects, including mobile games.

6. Profile Your Apps Regularly 

Android Studio and most game engines come with a built-in profiler. Use the profiler regularly, as it reveals performance bottlenecks in your apps. It will track CPU and GPU usage, examine threads, detect memory leaks, and even show network traffic. Without profiling, you risk submitting an app that Google Play will likely reject or earn you negative user reviews.

7. Focus On Security

Hackers and malware creators target the Android platform due to its massive user base. That’s why you should seek ways to harden the security of your apps and follow best practices. 

Ensure that you’re doing the utmost when storing user data and dealing with sensitive information. Furthermore, keep the number of app permissions to a minimum and cede these when no longer necessary. And use the Nogotofail tool to check for vulnerabilities in your encrypted communications.

The Bottom Line

While Android app development can be fun and rewarding, it can also be frustrating. But the good news is that the development experience on Android has improved tremendously over the years. And if you follow our handy tips, you’re bound to reap the benefits of the platform. Contact NS804 to learn more about building phenomenal Android apps today!

What The Metaverse Means For Developers

If you regularly follow tech media outlets, you’ve likely heard of the metaverse. But even if you haven’t, recent announcements by the Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, turned heads. He launched an ambitious initiative that will transform the social media giant into an all-encompassing metaverse company. Now that’s big news that no developer can ignore!

But will the metaverse live up to expectations, or is it only hype? While we don’t have a crystal ball to predict its future, many big players want to make the metaverse a part of our lives. We’ve seen how the internet, smartphones, and cryptocurrencies gained support early on and now enjoy wide adoption. Thus, the metaverse may enjoy a similar fate and open up many exciting opportunities for developers.

What Exactly Is The Metaverse?

If you’ve played an immersive 3D game or tried out virtual reality (VR), you’ve experienced something akin to the metaverse. A better example is Second Life, an online virtual world dating back to 2003. It combined gameplay aspects from massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) and social space for users to interact with each other. 

Yet what made Second Life so compelling is how users could craft clothes and other goods for their 3D avatars and sell these to others. Many savvy content creators took advantage of this and started selling their virtual goods within Second Life’s marketplace. Thus, giving birth to an early model of a digital economy that functioned independently from exterior influences. 

And you could also say that Second Life is the granddaddy of the modern metaverse. But there are a few differences, as the metaverse doesn’t rely on an MMORPG as its core component and doesn’t have the limited appeal of Second Life. After all, not everyone is a gamer, and many users would prefer to trade virtual goods or provide other services instead.

What Can Users Do In The Metaverse

We’ve already established the metaverse is like a giant virtual sandbox that allows for many forms of user interaction. And a key reason why Facebook is moving in this direction is that it’s a natural evolutionary process for the company. It already engages over 2.9 billion active users that interact with each other and conduct business directly on Facebook.

So every social media outlet and any business that engages with these outlets will give users the necessary tools to interact within the metaverse. In a way, they will democratize the creation process of virtual goods and services for the masses. 

Architects can create and sell virtual real estate, while artists and designers can turn their creations into non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and sell them at auctions. Furthermore, advertisers and fashion brands can use the floor space and shops within the metaverse’s virtual malls. And due to the easy integration of blockchain technologies, expect crypto transactions to become commonplace.

What Opportunities Should Developers Pursue? 

Developers should focus on blockchain technology and crypto APIs. These must work flawlessly with any virtual stores found in the metaverse. And make it easy for users to conduct transactions via any device, whether a smartphone or virtual headset.

But there are also many opportunities for creating the tools that will empower users. Easy-to-use 3D modeling apps, NFT minting tools, and secure crypto exchanges will be essential. On top of that, create apps that allow users to trade virtual goods, hire virtual laborers, and host virtual events.

In Conclusion

The metaverse is still in its infancy but promises big things thanks to the support coming from Epic Games, Facebook, and Microsoft. And it may very well become the next big thing that opens doors for creative and savvy developers. Contact NS804 to learn how we’ll help you create stunning apps for smartphones and the metaverse.

Mobile App Design Do’s and Don’ts

Mobile app design may seem easy, but it’s not. An inexperienced or overconfident developer may think they can cobble together the mobile UI at the last minute. But that results in a clunky and unintuitive mobile app that only offers a frustrating and poor user experience. That’s why many of the best app developers have at least one UI/UX designer on the team that focuses exclusively on design.

But what if you’re an appreneur or startup that’s new to mobile app development? Perhaps, you haven’t had the time or funding to hire an experienced UI/UX designer. Or you possess some design skills of your own but don’t quite know how to apply these to your mobile apps. Please don’t fret, as we’re about to reveal several handy tips to help you out!

Mobile App Design Must Do’s

Your app’s success largely depends on how well you go about creating a fantastic user experience. Therefore, it’s crucial to be detail-oriented and have a checklist of the following must-do tasks. 

1. Study The App Market And Latest Mobile UI Trends

The app market is very dynamic and changes constantly. And what was popular two years ago may no longer appeal to today’s audience. That’s why you should study the top trending apps in the marketplace carefully and consistently.

Start by using the storefronts themselves, and see what apps appear in the top spots. Google Play makes things even easier for you, as it shows an estimation of downloads of every app.

Then, download and try out several of the most successful apps to see what makes them tick. More importantly, pay close attention to their mobile UI to determine whether they offer a satisfactory user experience. And study all their UI elements, such as the app bar, checkboxes, buttons, menus, and other interactive touch targets. 

Spend time spotting notable design trends in all of these. See if they’re using rounded or square corners on checkboxes and menus. Moreover, see if they use flat shading, glass effects, gradients, shadows, or 3D UI elements. And take inspiration from any impressive mobile UI animations, motion design, and other visual effects.

2. Keep Your Mobile UI Clean And Functional

Given that the mobile app market is incredibly competitive, you may want to outdo your rivals. Perhaps, you’re developing a music-making app and plan to offer more features than BandLab or FL Studio Mobile. But the reason these apps are so successful is due to their ease-of-use and clean, uncluttered mobile UI.

And if we take a deeper look at FL Studio Mobile, we’ll find that it’s a significantly stripped-down iteration of the desktop version. The desktop version is a professional suite used by producers behind many hit songs. It’s also a fairly complex tool with a bit of a learning curve, especially for newcomers to digital music production. Furthermore, its UI may seem overwhelming to many and have them searching through the manual.

The developers behind FL Studio knew that this comprehensive production suite would never work on mobile. So they created a simple, inviting, and colorful UI without the bells and whistles found in the desktop version. 

Therefore, instead of offering users everything but the kitchen sink, give them only the bare essentials. A clean, minimalist mobile UI that allows users to quickly and intuitively create professional-sounding songs will win the day. You can always add more features later, specifically when users ask for these.

3. Reward User Input With The Appropriate Feedback

Your mobile app design should focus squarely on what users want. And nowadays, users prefer snappy and responsive apps that look visually stunning. They also need apps to immediately register their actions and provide visual cues that this has happened successfully. That’s why it’s crucial to have a well-implemented input and feedback mechanism with every app you ship.

So how do you about creating such a mechanism? Firstly, you should make your app as tap-friendly as possible. Ensure that all buttons and other touch targets on the screen are easily identifiable. The last thing you want is users repeatedly tapping on a checkbox or menu that doesn’t register their taps because it’s too small, not positioned correctly, or incorrectly conveys its intended use. 

And secondly, implement mobile UI animations and transition effects to show that the app has registered the tap. A button may display a blink effect soon after a finger tap, or a menu item may quickly slide sideways and fade after a swipe. And if you work with a UI/UX designer or an experienced app developer such as NS804, they’ll come up with many more imaginative ways to enhance your input and feedback mechanism.

Mobile App Design Don’ts

Creating amazing apps that will keep users engaged is very difficult but rewarding work. Yet even the most experienced developers can ship substandard apps if they make the following mistakes.

1. Implementing Poor User Flow 

There’s nothing worse than users trying out an app and then quickly giving up in frustration and subsequently uninstalling it from their phones.

So why is this such a common occurrence, and why are so many appreneurs and developers getting it wrong? A primary reason why this happens is due to poor user flow. Either most developers didn’t correctly map out the sequence of events that users will take after running the app for the first time, or they didn’t consider user flow at all.

Whether you’re developing an m-commerce store, mobile game, or social media app, you’ll need to create a frictionless user experience. Start by mapping out the user flow from the welcome screen through to every page users will access. You may use flow charts to create an intuitive user flow that won’t drive users to a dead page or take actions that will frustrate them.

2. Interrupting And Annoying Users

Don’t ever take your users for granted just because they seem to be enjoying your app. It’s all too easy to lose users the minute you interrupt them when there’s no reason to do so. The last thing that users want is to respond to a feedback survey when they’ve only been using your app for a short period or while trying to complete a task.

Keep in mind that most users are still evaluating your app during those initial hours of usage. Thus, you want to make a good impression by ditching annoying popups and surveys during this critical stage. Instead, give your users enough time to make a proper assessment of your app before asking for feedback, ratings, and reviews.

3. Using Complex Words And Terms Unnecessarily 

Most mobile app users are not computer scientists or programmers, so avoid using complex words and terms they don’t understand. For example, your latest app may have impressive artificial learning (AI) algorithms that track down hard-to-find ebooks. You may want users to know about these algorithms by adding their names somewhere within the app or mobile UI, but that’s unnecessary.

It’s better to allow these algorithms to do their work behind the scenes. Users will realize that you’ve created a great app by how well it tracks those ebooks. After all, they don’t care about the inner workings of your app or want to memorize technical terminology. If anything, you’ll likely lower user engagement or even lose users if your wording is too technical or if you rely on marketing catchphrases.

The Bottom Line

Most of the best apps closely follow solid mobile app design fundamentals. Much work goes into creating a mobile UI that not only looks great but is clean and intuitive. But it’s also crucial to follow the latest design trends that will make even the most renowned UI/UX designer look on in envy. Contact NS804 to learn how we’ll help you develop phenomenal apps that look and feel great!

Cross-Platform Mobile Development: Pros And Cons

Cross-platform mobile app development has taken the world by storm. But is it that great, or are you better off focusing on native app development? It’s not a question we can answer right away, as there are many considerations. 

Depending on the tools you use, you may experience a challenging or smooth development experience. Then, there’s the matter of how adaptable you and your team are at deploying to more platforms. And let’s not forget about the costs involved in using some of the leading cross-platform tools in the market today. We cover all these matters in more detail below.

Cross-Platform Versus Native App Development Environments

It’s tricky attempting cross-platform development, especially if you’ve been developing native apps for a single platform. And you may be wondering if it’s worth the additional costs and challenges. Will you find success developing for multiple platforms? Or will you get burned out dealing with a more bloated development environment and new technical requirements?

Pros:

  • Advances in cross-platform technology: There was a time when cross-platform tech stacks couldn’t compete with native solutions. But the performance gap has narrowed significantly, especially with the introduction of Xamarin.
  • Integrated Development Environments (IDEs): Having access to several of the world’s best IDEs is a huge boon. All serious app developers should have Android Studio, Visual Studio, and Xcode installed on their machines.
  • Single codebase: There’s no longer a need to write in multiple programming languages. Today’s cross-platform tech stacks make it possible to maintain a single codebase entirely in C# or JavaScript.
  • Transferable skills: If you’re already a competent Android developer, making the jump to iOS should be a quick process. Most mobile development skills transfer from one platform to another easily.

Cons: 

  • Additional hardware: If your studio only has Windows or Linux PCs for development purposes, you won’t be able to target iOS. So you’ll need to purchase at least one Apple Mac and various iOS devices to develop and test your apps.
  • Higher difficulty curve: Targeting multiple platforms is far more challenging than native app development. While cross-platform tools promise a ‘write once, run anywhere’ experience, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes it’s necessary to write user interface (UI) code for each platform. 
  • Worse performance: One of the benefits of native app development is the better performance it brings to the table. Even the best cross-platform tools and languages don’t quite match native solutions. 

Creating Cross-Platform Mobile Games

The popularity of mobile gaming continues unabated. Moreover, the gaming market is massive yet fragmented since it encompasses PC, console, mobile, and the web. So, savvy game developers will want to target most if not all of these platforms. But there are several factors to consider before heading down this road.

Pros:

  • Development tools: There’s no shortage of excellent game engines and frameworks facilitating cross-platform development.  
  • Device ownership: Most users own multiple devices and will likely play games on all of these at one point or another.
  • Esports: The phenomenal growth of mobile eSports presents new opportunities. Given the multiplayer nature of eSports, it’s only natural that Android and iOS users will want to compete against each other. 
  • Reaching new audiences: Releasing simultaneously on Android and iOS ensures that your mobile games reach as many users as possible. But it doesn’t have to end there when the web and desktop platforms have millions of potential new users.

Cons:

  • API integrations: The more platforms and storefronts you target, the more APIs you’ll integrate. Thus, increasing costs and time to market (TTM).
  • Different audience expectations: iOS users have different expectations from Android users. Creating mobile games that appeal to both groups will prove challenging.
  • Maintenance and updates: You will need additional team members to maintain and update your game on two or more platforms. And this is especially true if you’re creating live service games or rely on subscriptions and in-app purchases. 
  • Profiling and testing: It’s a lot easier to profile and test a mobile game when targeting a single platform. With cross-platform development, you’ll use additional tooling to test across devices with different CPUs, GPUs, displays, and memory.

Consider The Costs Of Your Development Tools

Targeting multiple platforms is not cheap, especially when weighing the costs of the development tools. Let’s start with the good news, both Android Studio and Xcode are free to use. Even Microsoft offers the community edition of Visual Studio for free. But now — the bad news — several cross-platform tools and game engines can get offensively expensive. 

And many of these tools are only available via subscription. Thus, you’ll need to consider how long you plan on using these tools to determine their costs. But be forewarned, it’s never a good idea to cancel a subscription after completing an app. You still need access to these tools as long as you’re maintaining and updating the app. So, make sure that you’ve planned for this eventuality. 

Now, let’s take a look at several popular cross-platform tools that could drive up your development costs considerably:

  • Embarcadero Delphi 11: It’s a mobile-first IDE aimed at developers comfortable with the Delphi language, which natively compiles to the target platform. The professional edition costs $1,599 for the first year with a $399 renewal.
  • Unity: As the most popular tool for mobile game development, Unity has garnered a massive community thanks to its free personal version. But professional studios and teams will opt for the pro edition costing $1,800 per year and per seat, or the enterprise edition costing $4,000 per month and for 20 seats. 
  • Xamarin: For small indie developers that want to write their apps in C#, Xamarin offers a subscription for $25 per month. Professional studios will likely opt for the enterprise edition, which costs $1,899 per year.

Open Source Solutions Are Viable Options

If you’re a startup, you may not be able to afford the steep prices of proprietary development tools. However, not all is lost as there are several good free and open-source tools for your cross-platform development needs. We’ll briefly look at several of the more popular solutions:

  • Flutter: It’s a versatile framework for creating apps for embedded devices, desktops, mobile platforms, and the web. It uses the Dart programming language, which developers coming from a mobile or web app background will pick up quickly.
  • Godot: As a close competitor to Unity, Godot has made significant strides in becoming the game engine choice for indie developers. Furthermore, it’s an indispensable and lightweight tool for creating augmented reality (AR) apps, virtual reality (VR) experiences, and mobile games. 
  • Ionic: Web developers should feel at home with Ionic since it utilizes CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. It facilitates rapid development and can deploy mobile apps and even Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). 
  • React Native: Like Flutter, React Native is a framework targeting many platforms and devices, including Windows Universal Platform (UWP). But the best part is that it allows developers comfortable with the JavaScript language to create impressive-looking mobile apps.

In Conclusion

If you’re considering cross-platform mobile app development, then there’s never been a better time to pursue this avenue. And the wide range of excellent paid and open-source tools make this path a lot more accessible. Contact NS804 to learn how we’ll help you deploy phenomenal native apps on Android and iOS.