In today’s busy world, people are wondering what really is mobile app development, and what is involved in producing a mobile app for their business. Mobile application development is the process of making or creating a computer application to run on one or more mobile platforms. A mobile platform is the operating system used on a mobile device.
Apple’s mobile operating system is called iOS, Google’s mobile platform is Android, RIM is Blackberry OS, and Windows is Windows Mobile. Each platform has its own rules and requirements to make and deploy a mobile application. This is very important to understand because when making an application for mobile app development on the various mobile platforms you cannot just make one app and port it over to the next platform. You must recreate the application for each mobile platform.
When deciding which mobile application development is right for you, first consider what your overall goal is. Are you making a game, informational, utility or e-commerce product? Once you know what you’re making, then decide what platform(s) would be best for your mobile application and your targeted user community. Android has a very high market penetration. However due to the various operating system variations, Android development can be more challenging. Apple has a high number users and people are willing to pay for them. However development is more challenging to meet Apple’s requirements on being published.
When thinking about how and why to build a mobile application and begin development, it is important to think about how you plan to proceed. Consider the following:
- Set Your Expectation for Success: Is success x number of downloads, x amount of money earned, or x active users. Be realistic.
- What is Your budget? The average cost of an application can range from a few thousand dollars to over a million dollars, depending on the complexity of the programming and number of mobile platforms to accommodate. It is important to define your budget.
- What Platforms are You Going to be on? It is important to decide where your market is, what the best way to reach them is, and what gives you the biggest opportunity. Android is used on 46.9% of mobile devices*, Apple iOS on 42.6% of mobile devices, Windows is on 2.7% of mobile devices, and Blackberry and others comprise the remainder of the mobile device market.
- What are Your Needed Features? Apps are not websites, you need to create good features that people want to use and have a good user interface.
- Does the Application Need Internet Access? While internet (or WiFi) access is needed to download the mobile application, consider if the mobile application needs internet access in order to be actively used (e.g. upload or download data). If it does, you need to plan for if/how it can be used when users do not have internet access.
Looking forward, it is expected that a large percentage of mobile application development will focus on creating browser-based applications that are device-agnostic (e.g. responsive web design). Browser-based applications are simply websites that are built to effectively work on mobile internet browsers.
* Netmarketshare, February 2015
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