Have a quick look at the smartphones in the office. I’ll hazard a guess there are a lot of Android devices, right? There’s probably a bunch of iPhones, too. Hell, there might even be a Windows phone amongst them!
According to this report from those smart folks at Strategy Analytics, as of the second quarter of 2016, Android accounted for more than 87% of the worldwide smartphone market . So, from an app developer’s point of view, you can see why many of us might think Android is pretty important.
Being able to reach more users isn’t the only reason your app developer might be pushing to focus your apps development on Android, however – let us take a minute to go into some of the things which Android brings to the party that platforms like iOS do not…
It’s a platform for the people
The Android operating system is present on lots of different devices, of all shapes and screen sizes. Therefore, you are not bound to a specific group of users and many more people are able to install your mobile app.
Also, in terms of developing an app ready for distribution, Android is super accessible for a beginner – the only thing a novice needs is a computer and knowledge of Java programming language. Sure, you’d be much better off using the Android Studio – Google’s official Integrated Development Environment – but, in theory, anybody with a good idea for an app can take the world by storm. It really is a platform for the people.
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It’s (marginally) cheaper
The internet will tell you all sorts of things (even the fact that Donald Trump will make a good President), so don’t pay too much attention to articles that will tell you getting your app approved by Google Play is ten times faster than the App Store. The truth is, it just depends on the app itself, and both platforms have gotten better in recent years at reducing the approval time of submitted apps.
What is true, however, is that it is a bit cheaper to get your app published on Google Play. While we’re only talking $70 or so – Apple charges $99 a year while Google Play charges a one-off cost of $25 – if you’re a start up, every penny counts as you go about building your first mobile app. Of course, more established businesses will want to develop an audience on both platforms and $99 per year isn’t really a big issue to reach all those premium iOS users every year.
You can do what you like
Well, within reason. Android does not have the rigorous restrictions iOS has about what you can and can’t do in your app, and the review process is not as thorough as Apple’s. While this has caused Google problems with some nasty virus laden apps, it does mean that developers aren’t limited by anything but their imagination.
It promotes a sense of community
We might be getting a little bit sentimental now, but the fact there are so many available beta testers on Android promotes a sense of community. Beta testers are vital for apps – especially Android apps - as there tends to be more potential for bugs, what with the easier publication process and the more devices and operating systems apps have to be compatible with.
Beta testing provides you with the opportunity to have real users run their eye (and thumb) over your app, identifying early bug fixes that can make or break your app.
Broadly speaking (and, disclaimer: this is a generalisation), Android users tend to be a fairly forgiving bunch. Thanks to the open nature of the Android ecosystem, ‘bedroom developers’ have managed to find their app voice and it’s probably fair to say the Android audience is used to this. Therefore, unlike on iOS, they may not be so quick to judge and slam your app in the review section of Google Play.
If you're wondering how much it might cost in total to build your app on Android, get a free quote from us.
There are drawbacks of the Android platform, of course, as we’ve touched upon, such as the fragmentation brought about by users owning different devices, some of which are running very old versions of the operating system. To put it into perspective, there are 19,000 distinct Android devices on the market, compared to just a dozen iOS devices.
However, it’s a great place to start if you want to work without the restrictions of iOS, want to get cracking on your Windows computer, even if it’s just to quickly launch a proof of concept and enjoy the feeling of having your very own app in the wild.
Ideally, if your business is looking to engage with your customers via a mobile app, you should be looking to lever the maximum potential across both Android and iOS. While this might not be the cheapest way and sometimes it’s not the quickest way, it should ring a few warning bells if your developer is totally against the idea from the outset.