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How to Make the Decision: iOS or Android? (Part 1.) 

iOS or Android? That is really a very contentious question that bothers everyone thinking about building a mobile app. But you’ve come to the right place as today NybleCraft will try to answer what to choose. Some people wrongly believe that there is one clear winner and it’s iOS. However, the answer depends on your company’s needs, reach (niche app, local focused, national or international scope), time to market, customer base and long-term mobile strategy. While most evidence points to iOS being the winner of the battle, the main aim of this article is to clearly expound the major considerations when developing a mobile app on a specific platform.

So if you are thinking about building a mobile app on iOS or Android, there are ten factors you should take into consideration:

  • What country are your visitors from?
  • What are the target demographics of your app?
  • Are you interested in reaching out to the mobile user base most likely to spend money on an app or rather the largest number of mobile users?
  • Is your app going to be a paid app or a monetized one in the future?
  • How much time will it take to build an app? What is your expected time to market? Key differences regarding the integrated development environments for the two platforms impact your timeline!
  • What are the key differences between developing for Android and iOS? 
  • Android’s operating system has more than 7 versions; iOS only 3. What’s the impact on your business as a result of this discrepancy?
  • How important are the publishing policies between the two platforms – do you anticipate regular updates or not? 
  • Does your business model require staggered releases across devices?
  • Do you have to build your app on both iOS and Android at the same time?      

This is a list of prioritized questions you must go through before choosing the necessary platform. And now let’s have a look at each of them in detail so you can make an informed decision on what works best for your company.

1. What country are your visitors from?

There is no better indicator of the platform you should build on than the current visitors to your site. You should be able to use your web analytics tools to see a breakdown of your website traffic and to find out from which platforms users are visiting your website. Ultimately you’re trying to reach the highest segment of your current or potential customers through the implementation of your app.

Another way to think about it is as follows: by multiply the number of iOS/Android users with their spending on your app, you estimate the potential revenue from these two specific user bases. That will give you the best answer to the question what platform you should choose. 

#2. What are the target demographics of your app?

There can’t be any debate over who makes more money and spends more money on apps and in-apps purchases. From the very beginning, Apple won the war on this particular point. Average iOS users make $85,000 per year in the US while the average Android user makes 40% less or $61,000 per year. According to the 2015 third quarter report, iOS users spend 80% more on in-app purchases than Android users despite having a much smaller segment at the global level. 

#3. Are you interested in reaching out to the mobile user base most likely to spend money on an app or rather the largest number of mobile users?

iOS users spend more on in-app purchases but the majority of American smartphone users are on Android. That is why Google Play continues to widen the gap when it comes to monthly downloads of apps. Of course, this trend is to be expected considering Android owns an all-encompassing 80% of the global Smartphone market. In the USA, Apple smartphones still have 42% of the smartphone market share. But globally Android controls upwards 80-99% of foreign markets. 

In short, if you are interested in pursuing both high income in the US market and those customers who are more likely to spend big money on in-app purchases, then iOS is the right choice for you.

#4. Is your app going to be a paid app or a monetized one in the future?

iOS revenue numbers generated in-app and from purchasing in the App Store are impressive. However, there are two more remarks to the above-mentioned purchase data: freemium models (are widely used across Android platform) and non in-app revenue generating models which have no impact on the data shown above. Let’s clear up.

As we know why Android has become the most widely-spread platform in the world and Google Play is the app store with the greatest number of downloads. And there are specific reasons to such a phenomenon. Android is a win-win for its users as they get both cheaper smartphones and low cost or no cost apps in the Play Store. And developers can reach a wider market on Google Play by listing their app for free but then get revenue through the freemium model.

When speaking about Apple, the situation is different. The customer finds an app and purchases it for a small fee. Apple gets 30% of the money spent by the user but the rest goes to the developer. The great thing about this model is that the revenue per download is higher. The problem with this is multi-fold. If there are no strong recommendations or a chance to get a demo of an app, most customers are unlikely to pay for the app. And this is where the Android model fundamentally differs. Users can download the app for free and use it as much as they want. However, either various functionalities of that app need a paid upgrade or the app has ads which help you get revenue per view/click. So if the user wants to avoid disturbing ads or they’re really interested in the functionalities which are not available, they can buy a full version of the app. This model has become incredibly popular, especially in the gaming mobile world. 

And the bottom line is simple: the iOS model is predicated on upfront profits – users download the app and pay for it; in the Android world –users get the app for free and you get your profits back after users either end up purchasing the app or are exposed to enough ads to allow you to recover your ROI over time. 

In short, if you really pursue the goal to get in front of the largest possible number of users in America and the entire world, the Android platform is for you because Android controls 85% of the world smartphone market and 52% of the US smartphone market. And if you’re worried that your app won’t make money, freemium and ads-driven app monetization strategies have proven incredibly effective modes of generating revenue which are not always tracked in the overall financial assessment of the iOS vs Android financial reports.

How to Make the Decision: iOS or Android? (Part 2.)