Tag Archive for: Android

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. 

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.

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!

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!

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. 

Android or iOS Development – Which Costs More?

A report by Top Design Firm states that almost two-thirds of enterprises that developed a mobile app for less than $30,000 (63%) were exclusively for android applications, compared to 41% of companies that developed IOS apps. Top Design Firms surveyed managers and small businesses to determine the cost of developing both the IOS and android applications. The data shows that it is cost-effective and way cheaper to develop for Android than IOS. In addition, it was cheaper to outsource the app development services than to conduct in-house development.

The exact cost of android or IOS app development varies significantly based on each enterprise location and needs. Dawei Lei who’s the outsourcing director for Aloa.com states that developing for android provides massive cost savings while IOS apps have better inclusion in the App Store.

Below we examine why android and IOS app development costs differ and their respective cost drivers.

IOS Development

Apple’s flagship and iconic mobile operating system has inherent benefits. Granted, due to its reputation in the US and across Europe, your business can leverage returns on investment in these regions. The spending habits of this demographic guarantees a higher ROI.

Premium value

With IOS development, you take a bite of that juicy apple and enjoy a western audience. And while you’ll enjoy the value and thrill of a reputable brand, you’ll also be expected to spend substantially more on this inner circle. IOS apps can be written in Objective-C or Swift which both come at a premium cost. In some cases, IOS mobile app development costs can reach 15% more than their java counterparts.

Top minds

In every mobile app development exercise, skills are a must, together with tight app development requirements and considerable restrictions on what you can or cannot add to the IOS environment. Developers will need specialized software such as XCode. Not only does this app come at a premium, it runs exclusively on Mac. App software is such that if you’re looking to develop for iPhones, you will need another piece of technology to support this addition. So, IOS apps are considered well-crafted by highly skilled specialists.

Skilled but manageable condition

IOS has strict operating conditions but is possible to manage. As a first-time developer, you can face redevelopment costs when carrying out app launches due to errors in the production criteria. Missed production criteria can be due to Apple App Store’s tendency to reject applications deemed unusable or irrelevant. The benefit is that there is a limit to the number of software updates. With IOS irregular updates, it’s possible to gain traction with your creations and develop an app that’s relevant for a long time. Apple tends to reject support for old software, meaning that new apps must respond to the emerging needs of new users – nothing archaic!

Limited customization

IOS can present limitations in terms of how many updates it can support and how many features it can add. IOS can also present issues on the ability to customize an application’s interface. In this case, it’s impossible to apply additional features if they need interaction with third-party software. Ultimately, these unwanted limitations can be beneficial, which can shorten development time considerably.

What will you get with IOS app development?

  • Exploring western and US markets – If your business has a special interest in European and the US markets, IOS apps will be a clear winner here.
  • Monetization based on direct charges – IOS device users statistically spend substantially more than android users. If you’re planning to create a paid app or to monetize your app through in-app purchases – IOS is ultimately the winner. App Store’s revenue is much higher than Google Pay even though Google Play triumphs twice in app downloads.

Android Development

Android is the most popular mobile application and it spans the whole world, in any language. Among its most popular markets in Australia, Africa, and Asia. Android allows you to explore a wealth of opportunities worldwide, with flexibility and convenience in the world’s genuinely affordable OS.

Universally affordable

New mobile applications are developed using Kotlin, with Java still famous for carrying out long-running development projects. However, even long-running projects are migrating to Kotlin as transitions are difficult to undertake. With Kotlin, developers are expected to pay a one-time fee of $25.

Average expertise

Expertise is needed in android-supported applications, but without diving into complex projects. The versatility of working with android is thanks to the wide availability of free-to-use information, which keeps cost to a minimum. Google offers an extensive knowledge base to developers, including interactive materials, practical exercises, and the entire training modules for every level of developer.

Highly flexible

Kotlin and Java are versatile programming languages supported by Linux, Windows, and Mac OS. This allows developers to execute Android apps regardless of their machine’s OS. However, as there is a wide range of Android endpoints in circulation, you can encounter compatibility issues for specific technical functions. For example, apps designed with fingerprint scanners may not be featured in the device of end-users.

It’s important to note that this flexibility presents serious issues to some legacy systems. With Android offering support for software versions ranging back to 2012, your application may need adjustments to work with a long list of problematic software versions. This way, the cost of app development may go up as the need for continuous development arises.

Easy customization

Android extends a world of personalization to programs, thanks to market ubiquity. Android changes are due to the multitude of devices using Android. The drawbacks of this are a diverse set of specifications across multiple handset brands. With different screen sizes from different manufacturers, developers must support a list of consumer segments.

What will you get with android app development?

  • Dominates Africa, Australia, and Asia – Android holders outnumber IOS holders worldwide, heavily dominating in Asia, Africa, and Australia.
  • Monetization is based on advertising – Android users have a lesser will to pay for mobile applications, partly because of overall income levels and payability. If you plan to design a free app and you want to monetize your application by advertising – Android is a solution here.

Android vs. IOS – Final Cost Verdict

While IOS offers a sleek development environment replete with rules of engagement, it has far less customization. Precisely, the skill set required raises development expenditure. However, later development stages can lead to lower expenses in the medium term, as the development environment is less prone to complications.

Android app development presents lower entry barriers, unlimited personalization options, and a wealth of development information. These factors are what keep the costs down especially in the immediate term. Where expenses diverge from the IOS, they can emerge in later development phases, involving re-development and testing to attain its substantial user segment.

Ultimately, both operating systems work out to be effectively the same. Each aspect accounts for the labor and time costs involved in developing the application. When looking to optimize costs, consider outlining your app’s objectives early and budgeting your time well. You may not be able to change your IOS or android app but your approach needs to be more proactive and profitable.

 

Open Source Android App Development Software

It seems like everyone’s enamored by open source these days. From solo developers through to large corporations, the free software movement has left its mark. And, this is overwhelmingly positive since it liberates developers from the shackles associated with paid software, which may include mounting costs and dubious licensing agreements.

1. Why Opting For Open Source Solutions Makes Sense

The hard truth is that app development can get expensive in the long run. And one reason why this is a common occurrence is due to rising software licensing costs. If we look at the Android development landscape, the mission-critical Android Studio IDE is freely available. While this may be a boon for cash-strapped developers, others may not like using this particular IDE or programming in Java or Kotlin.

Some may opt for Embarcadero’s RAD Studio, while others may settle for Microsoft’s Visual Studio. But for the higher-tier subscriptions, both IDEs are prohibitively expensive. Moreover, many developers may require additional tools such as code obfuscators, profilers, and UI/UX design software, to name a few. And as indispensable as these tools are, they do drive up development costs further.

So what should you do if you find your app development budget getting out of control? Start by seeking free software that offers similar functionality to paid solutions that you’re already using. Now, keep in mind that commercial vendors often have free or trial versions available for you to try out. But these have limited functionality or allow full functionality for a limited time only. Either way, this is far from ideal.

Luckily, we live in an era where open source solutions have become readily accepted. And there’s a good reason why this has happened. Unlike paid solutions, open-source software is free with no remuneration expected from users. Not only that, there are seldom any restrictive policies or cryptic end-user license agreements (EULAs) that raise concern. Instead, open-source software complies with licenses and standards approved by the Open Source Initiative.

2. Several Great Open Source Tools For Developing Android Apps

There are a plethora of excellent tools that should be part of your tech stack. And since these are open source solutions, your team may extend and modify these to fit the requirements of your projects.

  • Eclipse – The popular open-source IDE used for creating Android, Java, and web applications.
  • Godot – It’s an intuitive, feature-rich, and powerful game engine suitable for AR & VR projects.
  • libGDX – A battle-tested, lightweight, and versatile framework for making games using Kotlin or Java.
  • LeakCanary – Spotting memory leaks can be tricky, but LeakCanary makes it easy by automating the process.
  • Flutter – Google’s cross-platform UI toolkit facilitates speedy development and compiles down to ARM machine code.
  • NativeScript – It’s a framework that makes Android app development possible with JavaScript or TypeScript.
  • Obfuscapk – Bad actors can decompile your APK and look at its source code, but Obfuscapk protects it with black-box obfuscation.

3. The Realities Of Free Software

It’s hard not to like software that delivers, especially if it’s free. But the question you may be asking is — is free software really that good? Isn’t there a quality downgrade when compared to commercial alternatives? Well, that depends. The quality of open source software has been rising consistently and is often on par, if not better, than commercial solutions. 

However, the opposite is also true. It’s not uncommon for open source solutions to lack polish, have too many bugs, and not undergo proper software maintenance. For better or worse, many open-source projects are in the hands of small teams of developers that tend to be underfunded. They’ll often self-fund these projects or rely on donations from the community for support.

The Bottom Line

Android app development can be a fun and rewarding experience. After all, the platform boasts several powerful tools that make it easy to create impressive apps. But don’t shy away from adding more tools in your toolbox that will improve your workflow without breaking the bank. Contact us today to learn how NS804 can help you create phenomenal apps with the most appropriate technologies.

Why Developing A Camera App For Android Makes Sense

Have you thought about developing a camera app recently? If that’s a yes, then you may be on the right path to creating your next killer app. And yes, we’re well aware that there’s plenty of competition in this space. We only have to take a quick look at the growing number of excellent camera apps for Android to confirm this.

But this is also a space that doesn’t stay static for too long. With constant smartphone camera innovations combined with the proliferation of content creation and social media use, there’s always a need for camera apps to evolve. So, if you plan on creating the next Android app that will drive strong user engagement, consider taking advantage of the camera.

1. Smartphone Manufacturers Are Constantly Improving Their Cameras

The Android smartphone market is rich and diverse. With vendors such as Google, Huawei, Motorola, Nokia, Oppo, Samsung, Sony, Vivo, and Xiaomi servicing a global market, consumers have plenty of options. Unlike Apple, which serves a predominantly higher-end market, Android devices do incredibly well in lower-income territories. However, many Android smartphone manufacturers also target well-heeled consumers with their flagship phones. 

And one area that manufacturers are continuously improving is the camera functionality of their smartphones. Lately, they’re implementing depth sensors, monochrome sensors, macro cameras, telephoto zooming, periscope cameras, and ultra-wide lenses. Thus, allowing users to take phenomenal snapshots at almost any angle, distance, and light condition. It’s also possible to shoot 4K videos with many higher-end Android smartphones, making them ideal for content creators.

2. Why Google Camera Is A Game Changer

As impressive as all this hardware is, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. The other piece is the software, which makes all the difference in the world. We’re living in the age of computational photography, and that relies heavily on digital processing techniques. And these techniques are equally, if not more important, than what happens inside the camera lens.

Take Google’s Pixel line of phones, for example. These are neither the most expensive nor technically advanced smartphones on the market. However, they’re capable of capturing the most incredible pictures due to the processing initiated by the Google Camera app. And these post-processing algorithms are so good that ports of Google Camera have been made available for non-Pixel devices.

3. Every Content Creator Needs A Good Camera App

The average user will likely stick to the pre-installed camera app that comes with their smartphone. It may not necessarily be the best choice for taking breathtaking photos, but most users are only concerned about taking a selfie, at best. But there’s another type of user that cares about image fidelity, and that’s the content creator.

Popular platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, Twitch, and YouTube, have given rise to a new generation of content creators. And these content creators rely on high-quality video and digital photography to engage their audiences. Moreover, many of these creators are incredibly tech-savvy and always on the lookout for a good camera app that will give them an edge.

These are the types of users that regularly trawl Google Play to find an Android app that fulfills their needs. It could be an AI-powered camera app that automatically applies image filters. Or it could have improved UX design that makes it easier for the user to identify and adjust shutter speeds. The possibilities are almost endless! And with this growing demand from content creators, developers will need to rise to the occasion.

The Bottom Line

Developing an Android app that will take the world by storm is a challenging but not impossible endeavor. Luckily, smartphone manufacturers and content creators play a crucial role in driving forth innovation. Not only that, but they open up several opportunities that are worth pursuing, such as evolving the camera app. Contact us today to learn how NS804 can help you develop your upcoming Android app with trailblazing camera functionality.