Mobile App Upgrade: 5 Signs That Your App Needs Improvements

A mobile app upgrade may either excite or scare you. It may excite you if you’re eager to introduce new features and enhancements. And scare you if you’re anticipating many issues and roadblocks when upgrading your app.

Now, unless you’re not planning on sunsetting your app, it’s best to forego the fear and forge ahead with the upgrade process. And that’s because you want to keep your app relevant to retain existing users and attract new users.

1. A New Design Requires A Mobile App Upgrade

If you haven’t updated your mobile app in a while, it probably has an outdated user interface (UI). And that’s no good, as users may equate an outdated UI with a low-quality app. Furthermore, users accustomed to modern design conventions may have difficulty navigating your app in its current state. 

So you must have a proficient designer on your team or work with an established studio such as NS804 to refresh your app’s design. And then create an easy-to-navigate and modern UI that even non-tech savvy users can comprehend at a glance.

2. Performance Issues 

Most users won’t put up with a poor-performing app and will eventually uninstall it from their devices if performance issues persist. But how do you determine if your app’s performing poorly?

Firstly, you should be asking users for feedback and collecting and diagnosing your app’s crash logs. And secondly, you should be looking out for the following issues: app runs slower than intended, audio and screen glitches, device overheats when the app runs, memory leaks, ongoing crashes, and storage errors, to name a few.

3. The Codebase Is Outdated And Difficult To Maintain

You should move ahead with a mobile app upgrade if you have an outdated codebase. And the reason for this is that it’s a maintenance nightmare to keep code that’s old. Moreover, you may have difficulty scaling your app and introducing new features with an older codebase.

And then, you should also consider migrating to more modern programming languages. For example, an Android app programmed in Java can become more readable and quicker to type if rewritten in Kotlin, a modern counterpart of Java. The same applies to an iOS app if you plan to migrate from Objective-C to Swift.

4. Support For Additional Platforms And Devices

Perhaps your mobile app only supports Android smartphones and tablets. But recently, some users have requested that you target Android TVs and even the latest generation of flip phones. Furthermore, iOS users have heard of your app and have requested a port for their platform. Under such circumstances, it’s a good idea to move ahead with a mobile app upgrade that properly utilizes this wide range of form factors and screen sizes. 

5. Introduce New Features And Tighten Up Security

Every OS update of Android and iOS presents yet another opportunity to move ahead with a mobile app upgrade. And that’s because newer versions of Android and iOS boast new features and enhanced security. So, users will often upgrade to these versions, especially when they purchase newer devices.

Furthermore, users will expect your app to take advantage of the latest OS features and enhancements. And you’d definitely want to do that, especially if you have a premium or paid app and a user base that quickly migrates to the latest OS.

In Conclusion

It may be time to forge ahead with that all-important mobile app upgrade if you’ve noticed any of the five signs mentioned earlier. Contact NS804 to learn how we’ll help you handle this challenging but incredibly rewarding part of a mobile app’s lifecycle.

How To Grow Brand Awareness with An App

Business leaders often want to find effective ways to increase brand awareness. You’re likely one of those business leaders looking at how technology can positively impact your brand. And since we live in an era with so many options, technology-wise, it may seem incredibly daunting to make the right choice. 

Now, you may be wondering if apps can help grow brand awareness. And the short answer is a resounding yes, especially if you’re thinking of mobile apps instead of desktop or web apps. However, haphazardly releasing a mobile app for your brand will likely yield negative results. Instead, it’s best to follow these handy tips to make your app development endeavors worthwhile.

1. Increase Brand Awareness With A Quality Native App

Sadly, the mobile app stores have too many cheaply done, low-effort, and redundant apps. Users will often download apps that pique their interests, try them out, and eventually delete them. And what’s worse, most of these apps won’t get downloaded again in the future.

Obviously, as someone that wants to grow brand awareness, you don’t want such an outcome. So, how do you go about developing a mobile app that will do your brand justice?

Start by creating a native app that will run smoothly on Android and iOS. And while it costs more to develop a native app versus a hybrid app, your users will appreciate the better performance your app will deliver. Another benefit of releasing a native app is it will have a native UI that corresponds with the target platform’s guidelines and specifications.

2. Focus On UI Design And Usability

Your app must have an attractive and easy-to-navigate UI, as you want it to appeal to users while not frustrating them. After all, an ugly and unintuitive UI makes it harder for users to navigate the app. And this is usually a tell-tale sign of a low-quality app, which will reflect poorly on your brand.

Then, ensure that the design language of your app is on-brand. So use color schemes, graphic design, images, fonts, logos, and patterns associated with your brand for your UI. Ultimately, you want users already familiar with your brand to ‘feel right at home’ once they run your app.

Also, you want users to quickly associate your app with your brand by having a cohesive design language. The cohesion must be so strong that when you release other apps, users will instantly make the connection by simply looking at a screenshot of your app on social media or in the app store.

3. Grow Brand Awareness And Increase Retention With Push Notifications

Push notifications are a powerful tool that every savvy brand should utilize. Users love having announcements and content delivered that’s tailor-made for them.

For example, you’ve created a food delivery app meant to serve customers of your pizza brand. But to engage these customers, you offer them discounts on pizzas they’ve bought before based on their prior purchase history. And to keep them hooked, you provide them with pizza eating and making tips and run contests at a regular cadence. 

The beauty of push notifications is that they’re relatively easy, cheap, and quick to set up. And if users know that they’ll be receiving discounts and handy tips via upcoming push notifications, they’re more likely to engage with your app and keep it installed on their smartphones.

In Conclusion

Increasing brand awareness can and should go hand-in-hand with creating quality native apps, implementing UI design with usability in mind, and using push notifications. Contact NS804 today to learn how we’ll help you develop phenomenal apps that will help grow your brand!

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!

Enhancing User Acquisition and Retention Strategies

There’s no doubt that a central tactic for driving mobile app success is achieving user acquisition, engagement and retention. However, without an effective acquisition and retention strategy that keeps active users around, higher rates of downloads won’t yield any lifetime business value.

Mobile app engagement and retention are two critical metrics that give a clear and accurate insight into the success of any mobile app. Lower app retention and engagement rates are a sure-fire recipe for disaster.

App developers, brands, and enterprises must know that achieving sufficient app engagement and retention is difficult. For instance, Statista reports that only 32% of mobile users will return to a mobile app ten times or more after downloading. What’s even surprising is that a whopping 25% of users will abandon an app after one-time use.

Enhancing user acquisition, engagement and retention leads to an active user group that drives leads and sustains growth. The following tips for increasing user acquisition and retention will help you reduce your app churn rate and help your enterprise see the desired ROI and the results it anticipates from your app investment.

Let’s delve right in!

  1.   Efficient Onboarding

While it may seem simple to welcome users to your app, not all apps kick-start an efficient onboarding process. Therefore, it’s advisable to make your onboarding process as simple and as efficient as possible to initiate user acquisition and retention. The more difficult it is to use an app, the more likely new and existing users will abandon it.

Some of the ways to simplify the user onboarding process include:

  • Cut down the number of steps required to set up a new account — and capture multiple registration platforms (Facebook, Google, Twitter, and others)
  • Educate users throughout the onboarding process to launch the app’s functionality, but don’t overload users instantly.
  • Teach and educate through actions and pointers to show the main gestures in the app’s functionality.

An efficient onboarding process equals faster and easier user acquisition and engagement.

  1.   Track Data Early Enough

To accurately evaluate and measure data and improvements, you need to start tracking your app’s data early enough. Early data collection and tracking will give you what you need to evaluate performance. It will also help you fast-track which features and strategies affect engagement and retention.

  1.   Push Notifications Right Away!

Users who experience personalized brand interaction are reportedly more likely to return to a mobile app for ten or more sessions. To put it simply, if you walk into a retail outlet and you aren’t acknowledged, you’d most likely feel disgruntled. Consider app experience the same way.

An app interaction can be as simple as sending a push notification, thus providing valuable information as users leverage the app. Successful mobile applications use this approach to shape the customer’s journey. They’re strategic and thoughtful in how they access and engage new users. For instance, giving relevant retail deals based on user patterns and geo-location are clever approaches to promoting app retention.

  1.   Offer an Incentive Program

If your business model allows you to offer loyalty or a reward program, it’s vital to capitalize on this opportunity. Not only do reward and loyalty programs incentivize users towards the app, but they also make users feel recognized and part of the brand.

Realize that apps that utilize in-app purchases as a monetization approach, especially the quick router set-up (QRS) applications, offer time-sensitive discounts. However, freemium mobile apps can be incentivized with usage-based discounts instead of monetary benefits.

  1.   In-app Messages

The more disposed your app experience is with your users’ needs and preferences, the more likely users will continue using the product. Brands utilizing in-app messaging to communicate with users will see a retention rate within a month.

In-app notifications denote notifications that don’t demand immediate action or response but are altogether crucial in the customer’s engagement journey. These messages can capture notifications or warnings about version upgrades, app issues, or payment failures. Therefore, remember that not every notification you see is relevant to every user. Fragmenting your audience ensures the information you convey is relevant to their needs and expectations.

Contact NS804 to discover how your app can respond to new user acquisition, engagement and retention needs.

 

Mobile UX Best Practices For User Retention

User experience denotes the ability of any virtual object or material to be accessible, understandable, and easy to use. When a user logins into your mobile app or website, what features do they find that compel them to “come back?” Think about how long it takes for a user to return to Twitter after trying out a new application when there are millions of mobile apps out there.

Keeping the user retention up can be a daunting task, especially today when a sea of applications battles up in popular app stores. Yet, there are practices and steps that you can leverage to stay at the top of the game.

Our colleagues at NS804 share the best practices for mobile UX user retention to help keep your users engaged through a superior UX design. Apart from the discrete functions, the overall app’s design makes or breaks it. Keeping the right mix of customer experience, features, and support can go a long way when user retention is low.

1. Fluid User Experience

Completing actions from start to end is an optimal solution for any app. The linear app flow estimates the time needed to conduct any activity, providing a clear view of what the app has to offer. With a clear-cut direction – users will not feel lost swiping through multiple screens. One action in every screen will simplify the process, keeping unnecessary complexity out of the equation.

2. Attractive First Impression

For users to visit your app for the second time, you need a great first impression. The first few screens must be simple, succinct, and appealing, tucked in one package. The overall UX design in the first few pages should host all the core functions, clearly explained. It’s advisable to declutter irrelevant information to separate the wheat from the chaff.

3. Mix with Animation

Motion design is gradually taking the front seat in the app market, especially after the release of the iPhone X. With gesture-based techniques now becoming a spotlight, animated hints help users become aware of app functionality. Animation clarifies the relationship between AI elements while maintaining the overall app smoothness.

4. Use HD Images in Correct Order

App users value relevant content that matches the logical order and structure of UI elements. So, it’s advisable to maintain a set of high-quality images. App owners must set enhanced visuals that highlight certain elements and significant information. In our experience, contrasting colors work best sometimes when users are forced to take desirable actions.

5. Deliver Personalized Content

Conveying messages in a language best understood by users immensely helps to keep them around. App users are exposed to different content every day – from TikTok videos to fresh, sizzling tweets on emerging socio-economic issues. Some of the content the app users are engaged in is confusing to navigate through. That’s why it’s advisable to personalize app content with relevant emoticons and images and provide content that conforms to your target audience.

Note that emoticons also offer a great way for users to interact and rate certain aspects of your application. This informs you about any potential future improvements.

Contact NS804 to obtain useful insights on using UX best practices for user retention.

Is the App Store the only distribution marketplace for my app?

Once you have a minimum viable product, you want to get your app to users so that you start receiving feedback and improving gradually. The most obvious places to get your app listed is the Android’s Google Play Store and App Store for iOS. However, there are a few more mobile app distribution platforms that could increase the visibility for your app. Some of these stores will also take a smaller share of the revenue generated by your app.

Firefox Marketplace

The Firefox Marketplace is an official store for apps meant to be used by Firefox Operating System devices. If you are in the business of creating Open Web Apps, then the Firefox Marketplace is a great place to publish.

Amazon App Store

The Amazon Store allows developers to list apps meant for Android, iOS, and web platforms. Amazon gives your apps the chance to be seen by users from more than 200 countries. Creating a developer account on Amazon is free and allows you to use their APIs at no cost too. If your app is a paid app, Amazon pays you 70% of the revenue generated.

GETJAR

This is a platform that allows developers to create apps for different platforms including iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and Java. The platform also allows the publishing of those apps for a global audience. It’s quite a popular platform that gets more than 3 million app downloads every day.

Mobango

This platform is free to publish apps for iOS, Blackberry, Android, Java, Symbian, and Windows Mobile. The app allows you to pay to promote your app. You can increase visibility by paying to have your app featured in their premium section. Interestingly, the amount is only billed whenever the app gets a download. This allows you to track the impact of your marketing efforts. They provide a dashboard to track important metrics of your app’s visibility.

To learn more about app development and distribution, contact us through our website.

Android App Development: How To Store Data Locally

There comes a time when every Android app developer will have to figure out how to store data locally. Fortunately, the Android development environment does provide all the tools for achieving this goal. 

But why would a developer want to store data locally? Aren’t more apps taking advantage of cloud storage lately? Yes, cloud storage has become commonplace and works incredibly well. However, it’s always a good idea to store your app’s settings, media files, and sensitive data locally in most cases. 

Since the Android developer documentation already provides guides and code samples for data storage, we won’t include any code snippets. On top of that, we’d need to show both Kotlin and Java examples, which would make this article unbearably long and complex for most readers. 

But what we’ll do is reveal how a developer can store data locally and cover this topic from several angles. It’s also preferable to have some background knowledge of the Android app development environment to follow along.

Various Ways To Store Data On Android

The beauty of Android’s file system is that it borrows much from existing disk-based file systems. Thus, it’s both easy-to-understand and versatile for several use cases. 

But don’t go rushing in without understanding the various data storage methods and when to use them. Here’s a brief rundown of how Android can save your app’s data: 

  • App-specific storage: Store data only meant for your app. It’s possible to store this data in an internal storage volume using dedicated directories or within external storage using different dedicated directories. 
  • Databases: With the Room persistence library, it’s possible to store data in a private database. 
  • Preferences: For storing private and primitive data within key-value pairs. 
  • Shared storage: Storing files that your app will share, such as documents and media files.

Data Storage Considerations

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, it’s time to shift focus. After all, not every data storage solution mentioned earlier is right for your project. And as an Android developer, you should be asking yourself several crucial questions, such as the following:

Can my app reliably access the data? 

That depends entirely on how your app functions. For example, you could be developing a visual novel that autosaves the user’s progression. Every time the user launches the app, they’ll want to continue playing from their latest save.

Therefore, the best place to place the autosave file is in internal storage, where the app can access it immediately and reliably. Storing this file in external storage, such as an SD card, isn’t reliable because the user may remove it at any time. So, when the user launches the app, it will either crash or notify that it can’t find the autosave file, ultimately ruining the play experience. 

How much space does my app need to store data

Always keep in mind the limits of internal storage. Even though newer Android smartphones come with a respectable amount of storage, many users still carry older devices with a severely limited amount of internal storage

Therefore, if your app’s data storage requirements exceed the limits of most commonly-used phones, then consider using external storage.

What type of data will I need to store for my app?  

If you need to store data that only your app will access, you should use app-specific storage. However, if you’re storing documents and media files, you’ll want to use shared storage so that other apps can access these also.

And if you need to store key-value data, you should use preferences, and for data containing more than two columns, use a database instead.

Understanding Storage Locations And Permissions

As mentioned earlier, Android devices come with internal storage and external storage. Although, the size of the latter varies depending on the capacity of the SD card or other storage device that the user decides to insert or plug into their Android device.

And the majority of apps get installed in internal storage, provided they are small enough in size. While Google Play has a 150MB size limit for apps, developers can exceed that limit when utilizing Android App Bundles, an advanced app distribution system. 

For apps that stick within the 150MB size limit, it’s best to store these in internal storage. And if you use the Files app on your Android device, you’ll see that ‘Installed apps’ and ‘System apps’ use the internal storage. But users can move apps from internal storage to external storage with a few simple clicks. And why users often do this is to clear up space on their devices for other tasks.

To store and manage data on Android devices, developers must use the following permissions: MANAGE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE, READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE, and WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE. 

And as of Android 11 (API level 30), the MANAGE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission allows write access to files outside MediaStore and the app-specific directory. In most use cases, apps no longer need to declare permissions. But developers should regularly read through the Android guides on how to manage the various file types, as methodologies often change with newer versions of the Android platform.

Know The Differences Between SQLite And Room

If your app needs to handle a large amount of structured data, you’ll want to use a database that utilizes internal storage. And you’ll also want to cache the data that’s most relevant to your app so that users can access it when they’re offline. However, it’s advisable to keep any cache files within the recommended size limit, preferably not exceeding 1MB. 

The good news is that the Android platform provides developers with two powerful tools for these purposes. Firstly, there’s SQLite, a database engine consisting of libraries that developers can embed in just about any app. And secondly, there’s Room, an abstraction layer that sits over SQLite and is a part of Android Jetpack’s libraries.

So, what does SQLite bring to the table that will benefit Android developers? It facilitates the creation of custom databases for developers knowledgeable in the Structured Query Language (SQL). And since Android provides complete support for SQLite from the get-go, most developers take advantage of this.

Renowned for its power and speed, SQLite is also a great choice if you require a comprehensive relational database. Also worth implementing if you anticipate that users will store data and run queries at regular intervals.

But what about Room, and why should developers use it when SQLite seems so effective? Google has made great strides in offering developers many handy tools as part of Android Jetpack. And for modern Android app development, every developer should consider using Kotlin and the Android Jetpack suite of libraries — and Room is one of those libraries.

Room offers the following advantages; annotations that reduce boilerplate code, simplified database migrations paths, and verification of SQL queries on compile-time. And due to these advantages, it’s recommended to use Room instead of directly utilizing the SQLite APIs.

The Bottom Line

Today, the Android app development environment is mature and offers developers many powerful tools. And these tools make it a relatively simple process to store data locally if it’s a requirement for your app to function as intended. 

Whether you need to store media files, sensitive information, or structured data, you have access to the tools and methodologies to do this properly. Contact NS804 today to learn how we’ll help you develop phenomenal Android apps with the best-in-class tools!

Android Or iOS: Which Is The Better MVP Platform?

Deciding between Android or iOS for your upcoming minimum viable product (MVP) project can be daunting. Both platforms are massively popular and have generated billions of dollars in revenue. So the answer should be simple, right? Why not release on both platforms? Yes, but only if it’s financially feasible and in line with your goals. 

But you could be wondering why financial feasibility plays a role at all. Aren’t MVPs supposed to be cheaper and quicker to develop than full-fledged apps? Unfortunately, that’s a common misconception when considering the funding and work required to complete MVP projects. 

There’s still a considerable cost involved, between $5,000 to $35,000 if you hire a company. It’s best to be prepared from the get-go to ensure that the project won’t run out of funding during development. Furthermore, it’s vital to understand what the development process entails and what you’ll need to consider when deciding on an MVP platform

1. Choosing The Most Feasible Platform For Your Project: Android or iOS

In the mobile development space, there are only two choices worth considering. That’s either Android or iOS, the two platforms that have redefined smartphones for more than a decade. And even with the emergence of Linux-based smartphones, these are too niche to make a dent in the market.

But must you choose between these two market leaders? Ideally, you should develop for both platforms for maximum reach. The benefits of making your app available in both the App Store and Google Play are immense. Both digital storefronts are established, organized, and quality-driven. Moreover, both facilitate the efficient and safe distribution of apps to over two billion users globally.

And while it’s wiser to release on both platforms, we understand that’s not always possible. Your team may not have the capabilities or resources to release on both platforms simultaneously. After all, cross-platform mobile app development costs could easily exceed your budget. Or perhaps, you’re developing a custom enterprise app that only needs to be made available on one platform.

However, it’s not necessarily a bad idea to target one platform when commencing a project. And this is especially true if you’re planning on developing an MVP. Your team may want to test an idea and deliver it to a territory where one platform enjoys market dominance. For example, your upcoming video chat app will do much better on Android if you’re targeting the Indian market.

Market forces will almost always play a primary role when deciding on a platform. However, there are other factors that you should also consider before coming to a decision. 

2. Apple’s Flagship Programming Language Saves Development Time

In most cases, your mobile app development costs will directly correlate with the amount of time it takes to complete your project. And if you’re a startup, it’s crucial to keep costs down to remain feasible in the long haul. So, you’ll want to target the platform that facilitates a speedy development process. But does one platform offer this distinct advantage over the other? Well, the answer is not as clear-cut as we’d like it to be, but we’ll aim to provide one.

Several years ago, you’d be hard-pressed to choose Android over iOS if development time was at a premium. And there’s a good reason for this, given how well-thought-out Apple’s ecosystem and development tools are, compared to its rivals. With Swift, Apple’s flagship programming language, developers can craft impressive native apps in record time. The language is modern and slick, making it easy for developers accustomed to object-oriented languages to pick up quickly and be productive.

And when compared to Java, the language commonly used for Android development, Swift seems like a breath of fresh air. That’s because Java feels cumbersome since it’s an older, more complex, and verbose language. Thus, Java developers often need to write more lines of code than their Swift counterparts to achieve similar results. From a productivity and time standpoint, the clear winner is Swift. At least, that was the case until now.

3. Google Moves Beyond Java

At Google’s I/O ’17 developer conference, the company announced that it would officially support Kotlin for Android development. And in 2019, Google took things further by announcing that Kotlin would become the preferred language for Android development moving forward. Undoubtedly, this news was met with much fanfare by Android developers, who welcomed the introduction of a more modern language.

And Kotlin is indeed a great alternative to Java because it’s far more expressive and allows developers to achieve similar results with less boilerplate code. Not only that, Kotlin is similar to Swift in that it offers an easy-to-learn syntax, plenty of built-in features, and a more functional feel. Moreover, both come with excellent declarative UI toolkits: Jetpack Compose and SwiftUI for building native UI quickly and efficiently. 

Ultimately, this means that the time and productivity gap between creating an Android or iOS app has narrowed significantly. The introduction of Kotlin has been a game-changer, and Android developers no longer need to lag behind their iOS counterparts. Therefore, choosing one development environment over the other is more a matter of preference than enjoying real productivity gains.

4. The Challenges Of Testing And Deploying On Multiple Devices

While Kotlin makes life easier for Android developers, they still have to jump through hoops when testing, profiling, and deploying on multiple devices. Unlike Apple, which produces a limited range of iOS devices and models, the Android ecosystem is an entirely different beast. A few brands that come to mind include Google, Huawei, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, and Xiamoi. Yet the actual list of manufacturers is much longer than that, pushing the range of Android models to the tens of thousands.

Undoubtedly, Android developers have their work cut out of them. It’s a Herculean task to test and deploy when so much device fragmentation exists. Furthermore, this can increase mobile app development costs significantly if not handled diligently. And the hard truth is that no developer will have access to every Android device in the marketplace for testing purposes. Fortunately, there are tools available that make testing and profiling possible without having all these devices on hand.

Android Emulator, Android Virtual Device (AVD), and Genymotion make it easy for developers to set up and run virtual devices of any specification available. And while these aren’t the perfect solution, they’re incredibly accurate at emulating real Android hardware. But this doesn’t mean that developers should skimp on testing on actual hardware, regardless of platform. Nevertheless, iOS is the better platform for a quicker and more hassle-free testing and deployment experience.

5. Deciding On An MVP Platform Based On User Engagement

Before settling on an MVP platform, you should consider a crucial factor, namely, user engagement. The level of user engagement of your app will play a critical role in its success. If too few users engage with your MVP regularly, it means that they don’t find it interesting enough to warrant extended use. And, you won’t achieve the goals and return on investment (ROI) that your MVP was supposed to deliver.

Therefore, you must minimize risk by focussing on the platform that has the most engaged users. In this regard, iOS is the clear winner with an overwhelming difference. iOS users are not only incredibly engaged, but they’re big spenders too. According to AppleInsider, the App Store earned a whopping $72.3 billion in 2020 — almost double the revenue generated by Google Play. And games performed impressively, managing to generate $47.6 billion throughout the year.

Also, iOS is the better performing platform for apps offering registrations, subscriptions, in-app purchases, and one-time purchases. But you may want to consider Android if your MVP is an anti-virus, utility, or performance app, as these often do better on the platform. And while both Android and iOS users love discovering new content, iOS users engage and purchase more of it. So, keep these factors in mind when deciding on an MVP platform that best serves your goals.

In Conclusion

Choosing to go with either Android or iOS for your next project will be a vital decision. It’s necessary to consider your goals and what your MVP is supposed to achieve before concluding. In many cases, choosing iOS seems like the obvious choice, given the benefits the platform brings to the table. Its tightly integrated development tools, limited range of target devices, and high-quality users make it a platform you can’t ignore. 

But Android is no slouch either, boasting a rapidly improving developer experience and an ever-growing user base. It’s also worth considering if you want to create an antivirus or utility app, which Android users download in droves. Whatever your decision, do consider teaming with a professional development studio for the best results. Contact us today to learn how NS804 can help you develop a phenomenal MVP on Android or iOS.

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. 

Best Language To Develop Android Apps

Mobile apps are gaining popularity due to the rapid infiltration of mobile phone devices and the growing coverage of internet connectivity. The ability of mobile applications to connect people, support instant communications, and sustain social networks is what makes mobile apps a darling to many.

So, in a nutshell, smartphone applications are an integral part of our lives. They can pass information, create connections, obtain information, or have fun. And while creating a mobile application is fun, it requires more guidance, specifically in choosing the best programming language.

  1.   Kotlin

Kotlin is the official android language declared by Google Inc. since 2019. Kotlin is a cross-platform programming language used as an alternative to Java. Kotlin is the secondary official Java language. This programming language can interoperate with Java virtual machines. The only significant difference is that Kotlin eliminates the superfluous Java features like null pointer exceptions.

  1.   Java

Since it was established 25 years ago, Java remains one of the best programming languages among android developers. Despite all the new entrants that have made their mark, Java remains a frontrunner in android development. The reason Java is the most preferred by Android developers is that it’s easy to learn and get started with. In addition, there’s wide community support which is an added advantage to newbies or novice developers.

  1.   JavaScript

JavaScript is among the world’s leading programming languages. The emergence of frameworks like Vue, Angular, jQuery, React.js, and Svelte makes JavaScript popular. Even if you’re not using React JS or Angular JS, there are many other libraries (like jQuery) that are based on JavaScript. JavaScript also happens to be a superior option for client-side validation. The best thing is that it’s a full-stack programming language, you can create back-end servers, front-end GUI, and mobile apps.

  1.   C++

C++ can be used for android mobile app development using the android native development kit NDK. However, an app cannot be created using C++ and the NDK kit is used to implement parts of the app in C++ native code. While C++ is useful for android mobile app development in some cases, it’s difficult to set up and less flexible. It can also lead to more bugs because of increased complexity. So, it’s advisable to use Java as compared to C++ because it doesn’t provide more gain to offset the efforts required.

  1.   Python

Python can be used for native android app development. However, Android doesn’t support native python development. Using python for native android app development can be done using various tools that convert python applications into Android packages that run on android devices. Python is a great programming language for android app development because it’s easy to read, learn and write. Python leads to improved productivity, is free and open-source, and has vast library support.

NS804 – Simplifying Android App Development

NS804 is a trusted service provider with proven excellence in android and IOS app development. With a rising demand for mobile applications, individuals, businesses, and organizations are using mobile applications to optimize their business processes – marketing, sales, brand positioning, and outreach. So, if you’re searching for superior android app development – look no further.

Contact NS804 for inquiries on mobile app development.