In a home-office based somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, an enterprising young person with a great idea for a startup sits lost in thought as he plots strategies for getting his company off the ground. He’ll need a smartphone app, of course, to take advantage of the mobile economy. But where to start? Should he invest in an iOS app or something for Android? Or maybe he should go all-in and invest in both.
The biggest tech conundrum of the modern era is deciding whether to develop for iOS or Android. Both platforms have their obvious fan bases whose minds are never likely to change. But for every advantage the iOS developer can cite in favor if his chosen platform, the Android developer can easily counter.
iTexico, a Texas-based software development firm with more than 100 designers and developers on staff, enthusiastically develops for both iOS and Android. From their perspective, it is not a question of either/or; it’s not even about whether you should develop for both. It is about understanding the target audience and how each platform supports them.
Buyer Habits Make a Difference
It is true that there are tons of mobile apps out there that don’t make any money. That’s fine if developers are happy with that outcome. But anyone who intends to make money, either directly or indirectly, needs to understand the buying habits of customers.
For example, TECH.CO contributor and digital marketing expert Yevhenia Dzyuba explained in a recent post that the average mobile device has a consumer life expectancy of 12 to 18 months. Furthermore, most of the apps a mobile user will acquire during the life cycle of any one device will be acquired within the first six months of ownership. After that, interest in apps dramatically declines.
If that enterprising startup owner in the Pacific Northwest hopes to make money on his new venture, and the success of his business relies heavily on his mobile app, he and his development team must come up with something that will command attention quickly and effectively. If his app doesn’t catch the attention of users within the first six months of device ownership, it may never capture them at all.
Understanding the Target Audience
Dzyuba went on in her piece to explain some of the more interesting nuances of both iOS and Android users. For example, iOS users tend to be younger people who earn more and are willing to spend on both apps and in-app purchases. Android users tend to be older, more willing to tolerate in-app advertisements, and tend to be more engaged with their apps and the companies that produce them.
The iOS developer can rightly claim, according to raw numbers, that iOS apps tend to generate more revenue independent from advertising. But the Android developer can lean on the fact that nearly 70% of all mobile users use a device powered by Android or one of its derivatives.
The question for the entrepreneur is, therefore, this: what is my target audience and how do I want them to use my app? How that question is answered will dictate whether he or she goes with iOS, Android, or invests in developing for both. Indeed, none of this is rocket science. The biggest tech conundrum of our day is actually no different than similar dilemmas of the past. For example, DVD or Blu-ray? VHS or Beta? CP/M or DOS?
It is not an either/or question anymore. It is a question of how the entrepreneur can best use the mobile economy to succeed in business.