Android or iPhone – iPhone or Android … which (should come) first – the chicken or the egg? A Nielsen report at the end of 2015 reported that a majority of subscribers used Android (53%) and iOS (43%) devices to access their apps, and less than three percent operated Windows or BlackBerry phones, and, while there were 200,000 more Google Play apps than Apple App Store offerings at the end of June 2016 (according to Statista), still – according to Semaphore Mobile’s CEO, Eric Silverthorn – it’s more often the App Store that gets his client’s first run.
“It’s as simple as the fact that it’s less expensive to build an iPhone app, than one for Android, because with Android there are so many more formats. With iPhone – that’s it and it’s one build and done,” said Silverthorn, whose Dallas-based Semaphore Mobile, which has successfully developed almost 400 iPhone and nearly 300 Android apps since the company’s founding in 2008. “When building for Android you have to create for many manufacturers and so the time for design, build, and all has to be considered.”
The answer to which format to produce first, if you are set on creating native applications to both platforms, lies within the purpose. “There are different requirements based on the intent for the app and some will be met by iPhone – others have no choice but to hit the Android market, first, if not solely.”
Two for the price of one is not inherent as, while some of the development may be provided by a multi-platform allowance – the base, the operating system requirements, and the service provisions just don’t “talk to each other.”
In Semaphore Mobile’s experience, more clients come in first with requests for iPhone, strictly because most developers – are iPhone users, and they want to build for what they are accustomed to. About 75 percent of Semaphore’s clientele returns for an Android build and nearly 50 percent return for upgrades and/or additional professional services to be performed.
Mobile application development isn’t an all-or-nothing industry and, while one might think being all-in might mean a faster reward, throwing the “app”cart before the horse, just isn’t the way to go.