#blog

Mobile apps - should I pick iOS or Android?

By Amy, Eastpoint Software on 29 Dec 14

Do I want my app for Android smartphones? Or iPhone and iPads? It's frequently asked, and rightly so.

As we’ve discussed before, mobile phone apps can be created for Android, iOS (iPhones etc), or both, as well as for other (less used) devices.

When building an app this is a fundamental question, and a decision you will likely make early on in the project. Should I build my app for iPhone or Android?

What are the statistics – which is most used?

As we’ve discussed before, mobile phone apps can be created for Android, iPhone, or both, as well as for other (less used) devices.

In the UK, both Android and iOS are popular, but slightly more people are on Android. It is understood to have overtaken iOS devices in 2012.

So pick Android then?

Maybe, although there are other factors to consider. Android is used over a huge variety of devices and brands. So in theory, that’s a huge amount of devices to test. In reality, just like with iPhone, you can chose which devices you want to make your app available to.

It doesn’t mean it can’t be used on other devices, it just means you are not marketing your app as supported/tested on all phone, just specific ones.

Obviously, if you already know your target market closely, or perhaps have a customer that has already explained that the app will be used on iPads, your decision is made for you.

Are iPhone apps or Android apps cheaper to develop?

Let assume you’re picking between either a purely iPhone or Android app (ie, you’re doing one or the other only). Is one cheaper to develop than the other?

You would probably expect the app development to be roughly the same. However, resources needing for testing can be different. There are a finite iPhones and iPads to test on within the Apple brand.

Android is used over a huge variety of devices and brands. So in theory, that’s a huge amount of devices to test. In reality, just like with iPhone, you chose which devices you want to make your app available to. It doesn’t mean it can’t be used on other devices, it just means you are not marketing your app as supported/tested on all phone, just specific ones.

Is there a way to build one app and adapt it to suit both Android and iOS?

Yes, there is. The benefits are clear – reach more people for less money. The downside is that, since the app needs to work across two platforms, there will most likely be some compromise involved.

There more about this in our previous article about hybrid apps, plus some more on Android and iOS.

Other types of app

While iOS and Android are the most popular systems that apps are built for, others include Blackberry and Microsoft.