Mobile app development is the process by which a mobile app is designed for mobile and tablet devices, such as Apple or Android.
These professinally developed apps can be pre-installed on phones through app stores.
App developers must consider a long array of mobile screen sizes, hardware specifications, and configurations because of intense competition in mobile software and changes within each of the platforms.
App development has been steadily growing, in revenues and jobs created. A 2013 analyst report estimates there are 529,000 direct app economy jobs within the EU, 70% of which are app developers.
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The Apple App Store is the best place to discover and download apps you'll love on your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
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There is a debate in the app world regarding whether app developers should develop their apps natively or use technologies that enable a single code base to be compiled into both an iOS app and an Android app. Android and iOS apps are different in their feel and usability; therefore, creating completely identical apps for both platforms might not make the most sense in many cases. A feature that might be inherently obvious for one platform might not work as seamlessly on the other and vice versa.
The downside is that it is obviously more expensive (in money, skilled labor, and time) to develop unique apps that are native to iOS and Android. If you develop natively, it will be easier to get to optimum usability and quality for each of the platforms on which you plan to distribute your app. Most companies that can afford it, develop their apps natively. Most of their app updates loosely mirror each other for iOS and Android, and they have flexibility to do what they want on each platform. Most companies also prefer being able to make each app look as close as possible to the look and feel of the native platform. On the other hand, there are a few technologies that enable developing for both iOS and Android simultaneously.
Some popular examples for these frameworks are Flutter, React Native, Appcelerator, and PhoneGap. If you’re OK with your apps looking 80-90% natural to the platforms they are on, using one of those frameworks may be a great way to go.
If you need to develop an app quickly or simply don't have the resources (time and money) to develop natively, then using a framework makes more sense, especially if you have to pay for development. Once your app starts growing, you can reprogram it for their native platforms. As a case study, my apps were developed natively. That meant creating a whole new app for iOS and a whole new app on Android. I had to learn and use different programming languages and different technologies. That was difficult and it took a substantial amount of time because despite having years of prior software development experience, there were many things I had to learn from scratch.
But developing natively gave me one advantage that was key. I didn't need to make identical app updates to both apps at the same time. As I explained earlier, I sped ahead on Android with constant experiments. Most of those experiments failed, but a few worked. The experiments that worked eventually made their way into my iOS apps. Despite having to do much more work, developing natively on each platform gave me flexibility in what I was able to do with the apps. Ultimately, you have to choose what makes most sense for your particular circumstances and your developing app.
App store comparison
There are many app stores to choose from and it is difficult to focus on all of them equally well. Let's go over the pros and cons of each app store so you can decide which ones are right for you. As mentioned earlier, the Android platform is a good choice if you want to quietly release your app and make many rapid improvements to it as suggested by Eric Ries’s Lean Startup methodology. If you are not familiar with the Lean Startup methodology, it is a widely adapted way to rapidly and iteratively improve a product by getting market feedback on incremental improvements.
Android also has the most global users, which is quite a nice advantage of releasing your app there. You can release your app on Google Play and easily port the app to other Android-based app stores like the Kindle app store, the NOOK app store, and many other Android-based app stores in other countries. This can create a bit of a management nightmare because you will have to make updates to all those
apps, but you will be tapping into many potential additional downloads. The Apple App Store, on the other hand, requires apps to be made only for it specifically. Once you make an iOS app, it can be sold only on the Apple platform for iPhones and iPads. You still get access to hundreds of millions of users, but the overall reach of Apple is now smaller than Android’s. Despite having a smaller reach, the amount of money spent per app user is far higher on iOS than on Android. The Kindle platform is a good option to reach US and European audiences with Android apps. The Kindle has a few interesting advantages.
People who own a Kindle expect to pay for content on this device more readily than Google Play users because Kindle users expect to buy books for the Kindle. That is different from other Android platforms where users go out of their way to avoid paying. Another option that is effective on the Kindle is that you can sell Amazon books from your app as an affiliate. Since the Kindle platform is a natural one for buying books, your conversion rate will be much higher when you sell books than on another Android platform like Google Play.
The challenge with the Kindle is that its volume of devices and users is orders of magnitude lower than Google Play. The NOOK devices from Barnes & Noble are similar to the Kindle. While I am personally a fan of the NOOK platform and have apps on it, it has been a beleaguered brand in the mobile app world with a very uncertain future. Despite me personally being a fan of the platform, my advice would be to only put your apps on it if you can port your apps very quickly. The volume of downloads and revenue
will be underwhelming for most apps. Plus, no one knows how long the NOOK platform will be around or what will eventually become of it. Lastly, platforms like the Windows phone and even the Blackberry are ones on which it is harder to port your app and in my opinion (and I could be wrong) they are both "too little and too late" to the game. Those platforms are tiny compared to iOS and Android. Developing apps for those platforms has extra barriers associated with their unique technological platforms. The extra development barriers, low potential for distribution, and the fact that they need to compete with some of the top companies in the world like Apple and Google, essentially spell doom for the Windows phone and the Blackberry. I recommend investing resources on those platforms only after your Android and iOS apps are successful. Android App stores based in other countries can be a good option in a few cases. Countries with very large populations like China and a few others have their own Android app stores.
The challenge with those countries is that even though there are many potential users for your apps, those users will be far less lucrative than users from economically strong countries like United States, Australia, Canada, UK, and the rest of Europe. Plus, many people in developing countries don't use mobile banking, which means that even if they wanted to buy your in-app purchases, logistically, they can't. That means that a large part of the decision of whether to put your app on app stores in those countries depends on how your app makes money. If you make money from ads, despite generating much less revenue in economically poor countries, ads will still generate a small trickle of revenue.
On the other hand, if you make money with in-app purchases, the drop in revenue will likely be far steeper. In conclusion, I recommend starting by focusing on iOS and Google Play. If you succeed there, that will be the time to consider adding additional app stores, the first of which would be the Kindle and the second possibly additional big Android platforms followed by the Windows phone. But in the beginning, focus intensely on ASO and user engagement on Android and iOS. It is better to focus on doing the best you can on only a few platforms rather than scattering your effort.
What kinds of apps get an investment
Almost all entrepreneurs at one point or another during the life-cycle of their business ask about raising money. For apps, the popular fundraising strategies have been crowdfunding, investors, and friends and family. For now, let's focus on investors and understand what kinds of apps have potential to get an investment. Typical things investors look for: Proven and experienced team Big market Existing traction Rapid growth Good engagement metrics It is difficult to get an investment for an app that has not launched. If you are early in the process of creating your app and you think you have a revolutionary idea, the thing to do is to apply to startup accelerator programs or raise money from friends and family. Professional investors typically invest in companies that have launched and are gaining traction in the market. Every investor is different and there are exceptions to every rule. They are usually very smart business people, but they are still people. They can be wrong.
There have been many cases where one investor told an entrepreneur that they have a terrible business and the business went on to succeed. It is also possible that the investor was not wrong. Perhaps the investor who declined didn't like the risk-reward ratio. Maybe the entrepreneur just overcame the odds. Success depends on the quality of the entrepreneur rather than the idea itself because the idea can undergo many alterations and evolve over time. Pound for pound, what investors prefer most is that your app targets a large (billion dollar plus) market. This ensures that your app can potentially grow into a business that can give them returns large enough to justify their risk. For this reason, investors invest in what often appear to be similar kinds of apps like those pertaining to photos, dating, health, social, fashion, commerce, games, and a few others. Game apps are a bit of a wildcard because some games are duds while some games become hits that are popular for a period of time and then lose much of the excitement around them.
The game industry is sometimes called a “hits industry," meaning that most money is made from games that become huge hits. But creating games that are hits is rare and not something that game developers can consistently achieve. That adds unpredictability and extra risk to game development companies in the eyes of investors. Plus, if you are a single developer, it is difficult to compete with big game development studios in marketing and app quality. That makes it difficult to get traction for games, and lack of traction makes it difficult to interest investors.
Investors also like to see fast growth. In the app world, fast growth means hundreds of thousands or millions of downloads and/or upward of 10% month over month growth on a consistent basis. If you just got disappointed because your app can't boast that kind of growth or has not been launched, I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news. But with enough hard work and correct implementation of the strategies in this book, I am sure you will get there. When thinking about luring an investor, it is important to understand that investors aren't in it for your sake. They are in it for themselves, to profit by capitalizing on good opportunities. It is business, not personal, and profitability is the bottom line. If you have not launched your app yet, there are many apps out there that have launched, are growing rapidly, and are more compelling to investors at the moment. But if you work hard and achieve growth, you increase chances of eventually getting an investment.
Just focus on growing your business without getting an investment if you don't immediately get funding. Most businesses never get an investment so it isn't something you can rely on or wait for. I never got an investment. I had to scratch and claw, and so do most entrepreneurs who eventually become successful. Lastly, another thing investors look for is a strong founding team. Many investors frown on one-person startups, which many app companies are. In fact, my own app company is a single person company, and whenever I talked to investors about my apps, they immediately asked why I don't have co-founders and why I am not growing my team. An ideal app founding team, or any startup team for that matter, is one in which the founders have successfully worked together in the past, have experience in the niche the business is in, and have a balanced skill set.