Is Android the Best Option for Mobile App Developers?

Boasting a market share globally of 72.23%, Android seems unstoppable. It’s hardly surprising that it’s such a hit. The software is open source and user-friendly. If you’re a developer starting out on a shoestring budget, this can be extremely useful. 

There are also challenges, though. In this post, we’ll look at these challenges, and whether or not Android OS is right for your app. Ready to get stuck in?

   

Users Don’t Spend Quite as Much as Apple Users

Infographic: Apple Users More Willing to Pay for Apps | Statista

Source: Statista

You’ll notice in the charts above that there’s a huge difference between Apple and Android users when it comes to overall spending. Apple only netted 30% of the overall downloads in 2017. Despite this, the spending at the App Store accounted for 66% of the overall spending in the same year for both platforms.

There are a few influencing factors here. For starters, you can find Android devices in each price category. Apple, on the other hand, is something of a luxury brand. Apple devices are pricier, so it’s not a leap to say that Apple users might have more disposable income.

Another contributing factor is that the Google Play Store is not available in China. Considering that Chinese users accounted for 69% of the total apps downloaded in 2017, this is a huge factor to consider. 

Chinese users seem to love using apps. In 2017, the country saw almost 80 billion apps being downloaded. Projections are that this number will increase substantially over the next few years. There’s no question that the app market in China is a booming industry.

Getting the app downloaded is only the first part. From there, we also have to factor in the value of in-app purchases.

This bodes badly for Android developers aiming for a bite out of the Chinese market. With the tech war between China and the United States having heated up over recent years, this is not set to change anytime soon.

The United States fired the latest salvo. They instituted a ban in May that would prevent the Chinese company, Huawei from working with American companies such as Google. Though the company has since been granted a temporary license, there’s no question that this move would have rankled a good few feathers.

 

Security Issues

Google is pretty good at releasing security patches for Android users. The problem is that it issues updates with such regularity that it’s hard for developers to keep up. It’s also difficult for consumers to keep up with the updates. 

This can pose a difficulty for developers. Users running older versions of the operating system are more vulnerable to cyber attacks. As a result, developers have to include better security when developing apps. They’ll possibly have to consider higher-level encryption. 

This is good for users but makes the development process more complicated. With the more complex issues to deal with, app development is bound to take longer and become more expensive overall.

 Another issue to consider is that Android allows users more freedom to make changes to the operating system. This can also be a security risk because users may inadvertently make mods that leave loopholes for hackers to exploit.

 

Apple is Easier to Plan For

Let’s be completely honest here – the limited number of devices available through Apple is a definite plus for developers. One iPhone is quite similar to another, and this makes it a lot simpler to create apps.

In this area, Android becomes more complicated. You’ve got thousands of different makes and models to design around. It’s going to be far from simple to create one app to rule them all. 

You’ll have to plan for different screen sizes, performance levels, and so on.

Creating a generic, all-purpose app when having to consider such a large range of variables can be challenging.

It’s not all bad news, though. Because there are so many different devices that can use Android software, you have access to a far wider range of consumers. Not everyone can afford to buy an iPhone or iPad, but most people can afford the cheaper models of smartphone out there.

 

Testing Becomes Harder

Apple prompts users to update their software on a regular basis. It’s not left up to the user as it is with Android devices. These two issues make it more difficult to test your app properly.

 

Google’s Application Process is Much Simpler

At first glance, this is a good thing. It’s easier to get an app into the Google Play Store than it is with the App Store. When you’re a new developer, this can be quite attractive. It means that you get your app onto the market faster. 

The rub is that Google performs fewer checks. While Apple is pretty strict when it comes to checking copyright, Google is not. Now, while you’re not going to copy someone else’s app, there’s no guarantee that others will afford you the same courtesy.

You could well see a copied version of your app popping up in the Play Store. And while you might not consciously be aware of it, your app could have similar features to others that are already available on the market. 

That’s why it’s essential to do your homework properly beforehand. Check for apps in the same niche as yours. What are you offering that they don’t? Is there any conceivable way that your app might be deemed a copyright violation?  

 

Final Notes

Overall, Android offers developers a lot of benefits. The operating system is free to use and can be modified as you require. It’s also quite simple system to use. Android offers you access to a far larger base of users outside of China. Finally, getting your app on the market is simpler with Android.

That said, there are some definite issues to plan around. But forewarned is forearmed. As long as you know and understand the challenges, you can come up with workarounds. 

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