The eternal question: Android or iOS? The one question we always ask our customers right off the bat. In some ways, it is the most important question we ask. Android and iOS are different platforms with different technical requirement. More importantly, they require different post-launch market strategies.
At the end of the day, we always recommend to our clients that they develop on both platforms, but we understand budgets may not account for a dual launch. Launching on a single platform is a more cost-effective option and leaves some room for growth. So, we find ourselves back at our opening question: Android app development or ios?
The truth is that both have distinct advantages and largely which platform you choose is dependent upon the app that you have. That being said, there is absolutely no denying that Android is the dominant app platform. The numbers speak for themselves: Android has a whopping 79% control of the Smartphone OS market to iOS’ 14.2% share (a noticeable drop from Q1, by the way).
Android’s popularity is the result of some good decisions on the part of Google coupled with the fact that Apple and Google simply approach the market in different ways. As Android and iOS app makers, we’ve analyzed the tech market from every angle we could – after all, this is our business, and we know our business well.
Android App Development
Part of the reason there are so many Android apps is thanks to the proliferation of devices that utilize Android. When we talk about different market strategies between Apple and Google (and between Google and Microsoft, and between Microsoft and Apple and down the rabbit hole we go), this is what we mean.
iOS works only on Apple. This means that Apple has to only worry about their own device when designing an OS; the same goes for developers – we only have to worry about apps that function on one device and one device only. Additionally, this has resulted in Apple being able to create a really high-quality product that functions extraordinarily well.
That being said, it also severely limits their market. The iPhone is extremely popular but it’s still a niche product, although, admittedly, a very large niche. Android, on the other hand, works on pretty much any device that’s not an iPhone, Windows, or Blackberry – the other 80% of the global market mentioned above.
While this means the Android OS development team has to consider many more devices than their counterparts at Apple, it also means that they get to consider more devices. Yes, it can get hairy, but what company doesn’t want to utterly dominate an entire market? And, let’s be honest, Android does a fantastic job of working across multiple devices.
A quick note on Microsoft: they currently only have a 4.2% share of the market, but look for that to climb within the next few years. Originally the Windows development team approached the market in the same manner as Apple, but they did too little much too late to be successful. But they are making some changes that could result in a spike in their share of the market.
1. They just recently released a set of tools that will allow Android app makers to easily convert their Android app APK into a functioning Windows app. While this doesn’t fix the extreme lack of functioning, quality apps, it will open the door for increased development;
2. A bigger change is the recent news that the new Windows 10 soon to be released will have an Android app store emulator, so Window’s lovers get the durability, high functionality, and great product they love, minus the lack of good apps they detest.
Returning to the subject at hand, there are more reasons there are millions of Android users, plus the big news: Marshmallow. No, not the delicious puffy treat that goes in between chocolate and graham crackers (you’re killin’ me, Smalls!). Marshmallow is Google’s new update to the Android system, replacing Android 5.0, or Lollipop. Perhaps not surprisingly, both candy shops and dentists adjacent to Google’s campus are doing quite well.
Android 6.0: Marshmallow
So every time a new announcement from Android or iOS is announced you see the tech world go ape….well ape something I’m not supposed to type. We’ve done it ourselves. It’s kind of our World Series – the big event that we all look forward too. And it is kind of a big deal for those of us in the app making biz; these updates change how we do business. What we develop, how we develop and how we talk about development change.
Marshmallow is no different – but possibly more justified. I say this because, similar to iOS recent updates with the iPhone 6, introduces some big changes to the way Android operates.
Doze is one of the coolest new features. It basically is a battery saver, but contrary to older attempts that limit functionality based upon available battery life, Doze simply turns off higher functioning when your app isn’t being actively used. Even better, the Doze Settings Editor is very in-depth and users can easily customize this feature to better suit their needs.
Voice commands is a big stand out with Marshmallow. They replaced the dialer shortcut found on the lock screen with one to Google’s Voice Search. With the recent improvement to Google’s Digital Personal Assistant, this trend is likely to continue. Google made a strategically wise decision on making it a priority and will likely see dividends from the move.
App Drawer is a feature we saw with Lollipop, but the Android development team tweaked and improved some of its core functionality. The changes are aimed at making it easier to search through your Android apps quickly and on ease of access. The change from a horizontal list to a vertical one is the most obvious change and will make it easier to rapidly scroll.
There’s also an improved search bar and the coolest feature: predictive apps. Marshmallow tracks your app usage and will offer commonly used apps at the top of your list. Even better, it’s tied to time, so it will offer different apps at different times, according to your usage patterns. Sweet.
Probably the biggest change is Google Now on Tap. This new feature lets users easily activate Google Now from a single button, in any app and any screen. Basically, it removes the need to go into an app, pull your needed info, go to Google, etc. It does it all for you. When you activate Google Now, it automatically will read the content you are viewing, pull out keywords (read more about the importance of keywords and SEO), and search for relevant information, which is then displayed back to the user. This is likely to fundamentally change the way we use our phones and is a pretty big step.
SDI has years of experience developing apps for Android. Our prices are designed to fit the budget of the average entrepreneur. We work on a schedule designed to get your product from concept to launch quickly and correctly so you get the downloads your app will deserve. Get in touch today and get the first 4 screens of your app designed for free.