iOS and Android – Does Your Startup Need 2 Developers?

Entrepreneurship
Mar 22 2019

If you’re a startup aiming to develop an app, you’re going to need to think about the types of device your consumers are likely to use.  Generally, they are split into two camps. Apple devices run on iOS, while many devices such as those built by Sony, Samsung and Nokia run on Android.  But when considering iOS development for a startup, or Android development for that matter, is it a good idea to have both bases covered?

The fact of the matter is, apps work very differently on either operating system.  It may seem efficient and reasonable to produce one app to fit all. However, you’re more likely to alienate your audience by doing so. Android devices work on an ‘open source’ basis, while iOS works in a closed eco-system. Therefore, there are two very different types of coding and standards to adhere to.

If you’re about to hire iPhone developer support, surely it should be worth considering Android, too? Recent statistics show that Android users exist in the vast majority.  But that doesn’t mean you should throw your weight completely behind them, too.

 

iOs and Android market share

 

Do you need a mobile app developer for Android and a separate expert for iOS?  Let’s consider the basics, and try to get to the bottom of this quandary.

The Complexity of Developing Mobile Apps

Developing a mobile app isn’t easy.  While you can find an expert or two, who can tackle an entire project on their own, plenty of startups prefer to hire agency teams, or to outsource.  There’s a good reason for this, and it’s because they’re paying for years of experience and genuine talent. There are pros and cons for agency hires, of course, but we’ll not go into too much detail on that here.

When considering developing an app for Android or iOS, you have to think about what your developer or team is going to need.  Not only are they going to need to understand the platform they’re building for, but they’re also going to need the right tools.

  • Android is famously easy to develop for.  You only need to take a good look at the Google Play store to find thousands of third-party apps.
  • This is because almost any PC and other computer systems can be used to build an Android app.  Android is open-source, too, which makes it much easier to code and adapt for.
  • If you wish to build an app for iOS, you’re going to need a developer with a very specific set of skills.  For one thing, they will need to be able to work via Mac. It’s handy if they have their own, too.

On the face of it, therefore, it seems easier and more likely that you’ll want to produce an app for Android over iOS.  Right? Not necessarily. While Android devices appear to be dominating the market, you shouldn’t count Apple out of the race just yet.

  • There are only a set number of iPhone and iPad models.  These number around 30 at most at the time of writing.
  • In terms of Android, it’s virtually impossible to come up with a flat figure.  There are hundreds of manufacturers and potentially hundreds of more devices which can run the operating system.
  • Therefore, an app developer is going to need to think carefully when producing an app for Android.  You can’t possibly cater to every single phone or tablet on the planet. So which do you pick? How many devices do you develop for?
  • The more devices you choose to develop an app for, the more complex the project becomes.  The more complex a project becomes, the more expensive it gets.
  • With iOS, you at least have a set number of devices to reach year on year.  What’s more, Apple makes a big point of revealing their hardware on an annual basis.

So we’re now back at square one.  It now seems as though it may be worth appealing more to the small cut of users based on iOS.  However, it’s safe to say that you should be developing for both markets. After all, various demographics will cross over.  You can’t assume that all professionals will be using iPhones, just as you can’t assume all teenagers will be using Android.

Let’s also take into account that – as more people use Android – that means more potential downloads and revenue for you.  You need to find that balance. But you can’t just ignore Apple outright!

Hiring an App Developer for iOS and Android

There are plenty of things you need to consider when designing an app for either operating system.  The above discussion is really only scratching the surface. When hiring a specialist developer for your app, you’re going to need to consider whether or not you’ll need one for iOS, and one for Android.

Choosing Separate Developers

Choosing one developer for one platform and one for the other makes sense in many ways.

  • You’ll get tailored expertise.
  • You’ll get maximum efficiency.  A hybrid developer won’t have to juggle two operating systems and separate projects at once.
  • You’ll be able to tackle complex issues and complex requests.
  • You’ll be able to develop specific tools and features for certain users.  This, on the whole, will drive a more positive user experience.

If you genuinely care about your consumers getting the best out of your app, you’ll think about splitting Apple and Android.  You can do this either by hiring separate professionals or by going the team route. We’ll take a look at that in a short while.

Separate developers in-house, however, may be restricted to working on their own projects.  For some startups, splitting the platforms may also be inefficient. Surely it’s easier to have one developer or one team working on a catch-all program?  Not necessarily.

Developing a Catch-All App

Plenty of startups choose to build one app for all.  This is mainly because, on paper, it’s quicker and easier to cover all bases with one app.

  • It means less development time and money spent.
  • Crucially, everyone is working from the same blueprints.
  • You won’t have to juggle two app projects at once.
  • However, you’ll lose your edge when it comes to complex features.  Specific features and facilities native to Android, for example, won’t translate well to iOS.
  • This means you run the risk of the app working poorly on some devices.  Is it worth alienating even some of your audience?

Many startups, therefore, prefer to hire developers who can develop code for specific platforms.  Plenty, in fact, choose to mix teams up.

The Hybrid Approach

This is probably the most desirable option.  Why hire separate developers, or push for a catch-all app, when you could have a team to work together on two models?

  • Hybrid teams, whether in-house or based at an agency, comprised of Android and iOS experts.
  • This means you have two apps in development.
  • It also means that you have access to two sets of specialized experts.  
  • These experts can also work together, comparing notes and ensuring your apps are on-brand.

This approach may not be popular with some startups as it may work out a little more expensive.  However, when it comes to consumer satisfaction, the choice is fairly clear. You need to make sure you have a great app for as many people to use as possible.

Building the Apps

As mentioned, it’s hard to put all Android users and all Apple users into two baskets.  You’re therefore going to have to think carefully, before you set your developers to task, about what features your chosen audience is going to need.

For example – if your startup runs an e-commerce business, you may wish to take advantage of either Android or Apple Pay systems.  You’ll need to approach your developers with a plan or a brainstorm as to what you need from your final apps. Your plans don’t have to be completely clear.  However, the perfect app does not pop up overnight.

Working with a hybrid team or separate specialists will allow you to draw up one set of plans which can be translated.  A talented app developer will be able to understand your needs. They will then be able to convert your requirements into features that your users can enjoy from use to use.  It’s tempting just to get one developer or one team to offer a catch-all approach. However, this isn’t ever going to be the best approach for your customers.

Conclusion

Do you need two separate developers for your app?  For the best results, you probably should. Even better, you should consider working with a hybrid team.  You can build one with help from several experts, or you can go the agency route. Whichever you choose, it should be the best one for your budget and for your audience.  There’s no need to separate the two platforms too much – but when it comes to building the perfect app approach, you’re going to need to give both sides of the coin your equal attention.

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