If you’re about to step into the custom mobile application development business, the first question you need to ask yourself is which operating system you want to develop your app on: Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android. To help answer this question, we’ve got five things for you to consider before you decide.

custom mobile application development

The type of mobile application you want to develop

Choosing the perfect platform largely depends on the category of mobile application you plan on building. For example, gaming applications, especially graphically intense games, are easier to develop on the iOS platform because libraries for such applications are pre-processed in the languages used to develop iOS applications. iOS’ libraries for game development are comparatively more mature than Android’s IDE languages and are easier for existing game programmers to pick up.

On the other hand, Android comes handy when your application needs savvy connectivity. This becomes an advantage when, for example, you want your app to connect to cloud services. The Android framework is also sophisticated in terms of native syncing and it allows developers to easily integrate synced data directly into phones through features like application widgets, contact syncing, and its native accounts framework.

Your target audience

Your target audience will play an important role in deciding which platform is right for your app. And two factors will help you land on your audience.

The first thing you should consider is the type of users you want to attract in terms of revenue. If your target audience is business people, start by developing your app for iOS. Since iOS users spend a small fortune on their phones, they don’t shy away from spending a few dollars. Although Android has a larger market share than iOS, most Android users are unwilling to pay for most applications.

The second thing you should consider is the popularity of application categories on both platforms. Knowing your customers’ behavior can help determine which platform to develop for first. Find out whether your customers are heavy users of iTunes or are into Google services such as Google Maps and Gmail.

According to a recent Flurry survey of iOS consumers between 25 and 35 years old, the most popular App Store categories are:

  • Sports, health, and fitness
  • Music, media, and games
  • Lifestyle and shopping

On the other hand, AppBrain survey found the most popular Google Play categories to be:

  • Personalization
  • Entertainment
  • Books and references

Your business model

Another factor in choosing your app’s platform is your business model—the way you want to monetize your app. While Android and iOS are neck-and-neck in terms of market share based on revenue (45.8% and 45.4% respectively), using different strategies on each platform can help maximize revenue.

If you plan to monetize your app through in-app purchases, start with iOS. As discussed above, iOS users are usually more willing to spend money on mobile applications. Android users tend to belong to a lower purchasing class and are thus less willing to pay for apps. This is why most OEMs make that make high-end, low-cost smartphones (like Asus’ Zenfone or Amazon’s Fire Phone) use Android as the operating system.

If you plan to go with an ad-based monetization model, then opt for android app development. Just know that earning money on Android ads takes patience, though. The upside is that Android devices reach more new users (around 1.5 million per day) than Apple devices do, so the probability of a mobile application going viral is high.

To see how one app can be positioned differently on each platform, consider WhatsApp, the most popular messaging app. It’s priced $0.99 on the App Store, while it’s free for the first year on Google in order to gain massive traction through advertisements.


Do you need visibility?

There a saying: the more visibility an app gets, the greater its chances of monetization are. According to the latest survey conducted by Opera Mediaworks, Android’s market offers more visibility based on absolute market share in terms of traffic. It accounted for 65.2 percent of the market in the first quarter of 2015, whereas iOS accounted for only 22.3 percent.

Though Android comes out as a clear winner here, it’s important to craft a strategy that balances your app’s visibility and revenue.

Take advantage of device fragmentation

While most developers look at mobile device fragmentation as a disadvantage, you can make it an asset by leveraging your application’s features. Since there are around 400 different Android-based devices, it’s difficult to customize your app for all of them. This is where you can use device fragmentation to help you by weeding out phones that don’t support the features you want to use.

For example, Android introduced its voice recognition feature in Jellybean. So if your application requires voice recognition, you don’t need to customize it for Android devices running on Android versions lower than Jellybean.

The same goes for iOS. Since the launch of iOS7, fragmentation has entered Apple devices. For example, Airdrop for iOS7 doesn’t work for iOS5 users.

The success of your mobile application is dependent on many things, but choosing the right platform is one of the most important factors. By considering these five things, you’ll make sure your new venture into custom mobile application development is a success.