Android vs iOS: Which platform to build for first?

5 min read

One of the main questions that beginner developers of mobile applications ask to themselves is, without a doubt, the following: on what platform, Android or iOS, to concentrate at the beginning? Does it make sense to try to release the application on both platforms at once, or is it permissible to first make a working product on only one of them, and develop it for the remainder after the application has proven itself in the existing version?

Answering the second question, it makes sense to say that if there is a sufficient resource (time and finances) it is quite possible to develop immediately under both dominant operating systems on the market (however, in this case, you should not discount Windows Phone, which recently confidently presses the leaders and takes its segment of the market for operating systems for mobile devices). If the resource is limited, then, in order to understand which platform to prefer to start with, you should answer yourself a number of clarifying questions.

Which operating system do you use / have available?

Despite the seeming unimportance of this moment, you should not dismiss it. The emulator does not allow you to fully experience how your application will work on live hardware, because each device has its own features, which you can suddenly "stumble" during development. If you have an iPhone and an iPad available, then it might have sense to start development under iOS, using them as test devices, if not - better focus on Android, devices running by this operating system are much more affordable.

How much time do you have before the final release?

According to experts, development under iOS significantly wins in speed in relation to writing programs for Android. Android is an open source platform, which leads to a lack of standardization, the devices under its control are very much fragmented by the resolution of screens and versions of operating systems. Closed ecosystem of Apple provides more deterministic environment. This, in fact, one OS from one manufacturer, and it's only 4 screen resolutions for the iPhone and 2 resolutions for the iPad (retina and non-retina). For this reason, from the point of view of debugging process the development under iOS is much easier then under Android. However, do not forget about the totalitarian policy conducted by Apple in its AppStore. The time it takes to preview and approve an application in the AppStore is noticeably longer than that in GooglePlay. Apple's standards are also very high, and your application can be rejected if it is found not meeting these standards. $ 100 is the annual payment of the developer in the AppStore, while in GooglePlay the developer account is purchased for $ 25 once.

How do you planning to monetize your application?

In general, iPhone owners are more inclined to pay money for downloaded applications, as well as make purchases inside applications. Android users tend to prefer free apps. The only exceptions to this rule are utilities, here Android is in the lead. Thus, if you are making a paid application, an app with subscriptions or purchases inside the application, it makes sense to pay attention to iOS. In case if that it is planned to reach the widest possible audience coverage with a free application with advertising inside, the choice should be made in favor of Android.

How do you imagine your audience, who is the potential user of your application?

In terms of audience coverage, indisputably, devices running by Android are leading. Especially it concerns the markets of developing countries of Africa, Latin America and South-Eastern Asia, in some sense - Eastern Europe. At the same time, iOS users are generally more affluent. Devices running by IOS are more widespread in Western Europe, North America and Australia, they are also popular in Japan and China. Their owners are mostly young people with a good income and a high level of education. Also, Apple owners spend more time with their mobile devices and spend more money on applications. They are also more inclined to shopping and making purchases online using their mobile devices.

How complex product are you planning to release, with how many different functions and how flexible interface?

Being an open source platform, Android provides the developer with a much more diverse and flexible set of tools. A large number of third-party open source libraries for Android allow you to customize your application, add features that your customers need. At the same time, this openness makes Android more vulnerable to malware. iOS, with its closeness, is considered more stable in this regard.

As it is not difficult to understand from all of the above, we did not set ourselves the task of giving an unambiguous answer to the question of which platform is better to start developing a mobile application. There is no one-sided answer to this question. At the same time, based on the evaluation criteria given in the article, each developer can formulate for himself the right answer and make a choice that is best suited for the application he develops.

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