Android vs. iOS: Choosing The Right Mobile App Strategy
Every development lead must comprehend the pros and cons of the most popular mobile platforms. Therefore, it’s common to engage in lengthy and strenuous deliberations regarding the age-old Android vs. iOS debate. And yes, this may sound passé considering how firmly established both platforms have become and how often the fanboys on both camps have had to eat humble pie.
But we’re not talking about fanboyism here, as that’s detrimental for any app developer. After all, the best app developers and publishers don’t pick favorites but focus on tangible results. And there’s no point in favoring Android over iOS, or vice versa, in an era when both platforms satisfy billions of users globally.
Therefore, the wisest option is to target both platforms if that fits the budget and capabilities of the development team. But we do want to stress that it’s crucial to implement a different strategy for each platform. And that’s because Android and iOS each serve specific markets and demographics better than others.
For example, Android is the mobile gaming heavyweight and has a far larger global audience. Thus, it makes good business sense for game developers to focus their efforts more on Android vs. iOS in most cases. These efforts could involve the game assets, code, testing, marketing, and ad campaigns.
On the flip side, iOS users love apps that enhance their photos or help them edit videos. That makes sense, considering that iOS devices are known for their excellent cameras and are used extensively by content creators and social media influencers. Understanding these differences allows every development lead to stay on top of the Android vs. iOS discussion and even steer it toward a fruitful direction.
But What Is A Mobile App Strategy?
A mobile app strategy encompasses the early planning stages, development phase, marketing efforts, and release. Ultimately, it serves as a roadmap for bringing your app to fruition. Without a mobile app strategy, your team will have scattered goals and priorities, and your project will fail.
And this is a problem because too many small indie developers treat mobile app development as a feel-good endeavor. They watch several YouTube videos, then read some articles and Reddit posts, which convince them that app development is fun.
And while app development is indeed fun, professional studios always focus on delivering results. That means the fun and excitement of app development take a back seat to work within the parameters of a carefully conceived plan instead. Clients who partner with studios such as NS804 expect high-quality apps that meet their requirements. Therefore, there’s no room for aimless “what if” scenarios or raw experimentation, which indie and freelance developers may embrace.
Android vs. iOS: A Mobile App Strategy That Applies To Both
As we mentioned earlier, you’ll likely target both Android and iOS platforms for your apps. Therefore, when you start putting together your mobile app strategy, you’ll have to consider the following for both platforms:
- Identify a problem users face and provide a solution your app idea aims to solve.
- Research the marketplace to determine whether other apps already solve this problem. And if they do, can you implement a feature that innovates or improves on what existing competing apps offer users? If you cannot forge ahead with a better alternative, reconsider your app idea before entering a market with an oversupply of similar apps.
- Conduct a SWOT analysis to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats your app business will likely face.
- Draw up user profiles of the types of users who will likely embrace your app. Consider several demographic examples about these users, such as their age, sex, location, occupation, education, salary, and interests.
- Define the capabilities of your app in detail, even if some of these don’t make it into the end product. Also, create a wireframe to prototype the user interface (UI) to show all stakeholders involved in the project.
- Document all the data accessibility and management systems you’ll use for your app. And don’t forget to design your privacy and security protocols early on. Moreover, be sure your team’s up to speed with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) if you’re releasing your app in Europe.
Android vs. iOS: When Your Mobile App Strategy Will Differ
The primary areas that impact your mobile app strategy for each platform relate to the app stores, marketing, monetization, and tech stacks. Let’s take a more detailed look at these factors below:
- App stores: The App Store (iOS) and Google Play (Android) are where most users will download their apps. But given Android’s more open philosophy and a wider variety of device manufacturers, there are way more stores to download Android apps. However, all these stores have their own app store optimization (ASO) requirements and user expectations that developers and publishers must meet. A one-size-fits-all approach won’t work, but a different strategy for each app store leads to success.
- Marketing: Brand positioning, public relations (PR), outreach programs, pre-launch promotions, sales offers, and even post-release strategies will impact the success or failure of your app. Also, ensure you tailor your marketing messaging specifically for Android and iOS users and your app’s potential user demographics.
- Monetization: iOS attracts more affluent users, and they’re more likely to spend money on apps than their Android counterparts. Therefore, an iOS app can make money with in-app purchases, subscriptions, or even as a paid app. But an Android app will likely generate more income via advertisements. So, a completely different monetization strategy for each platform will work best.
- Tech stacks: Apple provides its proprietary Xcode integrated development environment (IDE), the Swift programming language, and platform-specific application programming interfaces (APIs). And Google offers its Android Studio IDE & App Tools and the Kotlin programming language. Developers should use these two tech stacks, especially if they develop native apps for each platform.
Additional Mobile App Strategy Considerations
It’s not uncommon for app developers to utilize cross-platform tools and other handy tools that aid productivity. For example, a developer may use the Visual Studio IDE, the C# programming language, and Xamarin for cross-platform development. And such a tool allows the developer to focus on a single codebase while enjoying the benefits of native performance.
But what would this do for the mobile app strategy? It would simplify it somewhat, as the developer won’t have to deal with the complexities and costs of maintaining two codebases. But the developer should still consider a contingency plan in case Xamarin is sunset during development or any similar scenario, even if it seems unlikely.
Another factor that will seriously impact productivity and development costs is cloud infrastructure. It may save company resources to use a cloud-based testing service to run unit tests, especially for a startup. And even a more established developer may benefit from additional security and scalability offered by a good cloud service.
Understanding the pros and cons and associated costs of all tooling ahead of time is a huge boon. But it’s equally important to document all these within the mobile app strategy from the get-go. Furthermore, it’s essential to detail when Android and iOS strategies will be similar or different.
The Bottom Line
The days of getting into heated Android vs. iOS debates should hopefully be over. But that doesn’t mean that the development lead should ignore the core differences between these two platforms. In fact, it’s essential to understand these differences intimately and draft a mobile app strategy that works flawlessly for Android and iOS specifically. Contact NS804 today to learn how we’ll help you craft a strategy to bring your best app ideas to the market!