Roman Dereka Head of Sales Department
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10 Major Differences Between Android and iOS App Development

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android vs ios app development

Developing an app is a challenging and tall task. It is increasing fast due to the mobile phones penetration, popularity among end-users and evolving business needs. According to Statista survey, the smartphone users number is predicted to reach more than 2.53 billion in 2018. The number of mobile phone users in the world is expected to pass the five billion mark by 2019.

mobile phone users

In this article, we compare the difference between Android and iOS app development in 10 categories to understand the basic changes and determine more appropriate OS platform to build an app for your business. So let’s dive in:

1. Development language

Java applies to Android-based apps when building. It requires a lot of code to be written. A brand-new language Swift was designed to develop iOS-based apps. The coding on Swift is much faster as compared to Java. It is required much more time for Java engineers to code as compared to Swift ones. Swift first appeared in 2014 and apps are built faster due to writing less code.

There is a potential alternative to Java - Kotlin coding language that is completely interoperable with Java. It was designed as Java language enhancement: intuitive, easy to read. Moreover, now Kotlin is considered to be the main language to build an Android-powered application.

2. Integrated development environment availability (IDE)

Originally engineers applied Eclipse tool as an environment for Google-backed application development. Then Google released Studio, and all engineers started to use it due to its excellent possibilities: cross-platform, simple packaging, a huge amount of functionality and great debugging.

iOS developers use XCode when developing Apple-backed iOS apps. It is an incredibly productive environment for building amazing apps for Mac/iPhone/iPad devices. It also has a possibility to find out the mistakes/errors in both syntax and logic and even get the code fixed.

3. Design philosophy

Below you can read about design principles that should be considered when designing an app:

  • Screen sizes and resolutions. Apple-backed iOS devices have two screen sizes (iPhone/iPad) with more than three possible resolutions for iPhone and a few for iPad. iPhone 4 resolution is also used for iPad. Meanwhile, Google-backed equipment, which runs on Android, has a great number of screen sizes that respectively lead to a wide range of screen resolutions.
  • Navigation. Android-powered devices navigation bar is placed left while iOS one shifted to the top. Android-based prefers colorful icons while iOS keeps its navigation icons blue or gray by default.
  • Menu. Google-backed devices prefer having a drawer menu or a side/hamburger menu, which usually places on the left after the tap-and-pull gesture, whereas iOS prioritizes its tab bar which is typically placed at the bottom with a comparatively easier access to the hidden menu icons. Hamburger menu is also widely used for iOS-based devices, but should be customized.
  • Alerts and pop-ups. These tabs suddenly appear and require prompt actions. Therefore, there are some minor distinctions in alerts and pop-ups. Android users should submit an action to avoid the alerts by clicking “Agree/Disagree” or “Don’t allow/Okay” for Apple-backed users. There are two types of alerts for iOS-powered devices - alert and actionsheet. They look alike and their functionality is the same, but if it is required more than two actions (including Cancel), actionsheet is applied.
  • ‘Back’ button. The Apple-backed platform does not have a real ‘Back’-button whereas Google-backed in order users can return to the previous page earlier opened. But iPhone users can use the top left button to go back to the previous screens in the hierarchical order without navigating through the entire app.

4. The audience

Demographic statistics can give more useful information about users that use Android/iOS-powered gears. It is the true north where the investigation should be started. The Google-backed platform currently holds the largest global platform share.

demographic statistics

Apple users tend to be female, 35+ years old who work in media/marketing/business industry, their average annual income $200K. Android users are male, 18-34 years old, work in IT/Energy&Utilities, their average annual income $50K $100K.

5. Monetization Strategy

Let’s consider the next factor the majority of your audience as the critical factor when selecting an OS platform to create an app. Apple users mainly focus on purchases while Android users rely predominantly on ad-supported apps.

Worldwide downloads by Store Q3 2017

worldwide downloads by Store Q3 2017

Downloads across the two major stores, Apple’s Store and Google Play, reached nearly 26 billion worldwide. App revenue reached a record of more than $16 billion. According to Statista research, in Q3 of 2017, Google Play has a leading position, its downloads increase 10% as compared to 2016. Meanwhile, download growth from iOS-based devices was up 8% from last quarter.

Worldwide Gross consumer spend by Store Q3 2017

worldwide gross consumer spend by store q3 2017

Worldwide consumer spend is also still growing. In Q3 of 2016, revenue from Android-powered apps and those on Apple Store combined reached more than $16 billion, up 28 percent over the year prior. In Q3 of 2017, the consumer spends on iOS was almost double that of Google Play. But both stores reached record levels of consumer spends, thanks to year over year growth rates over 25 percent.

6. Development complexity

The difference between iOS and Android in coding languages is not so complex in comparison with OS fragmentation. Apple has the limited number of devices (iPhone/iPod/iPad), which run iOS, whereas Android-powered devices have a wide range of systems that operate on devices.

As a result, the Android-based gears creation is more complex, goes slower due to a wide range of operating systems as compared to the iOS-powered gears with a narrow range of OSs.

The Android gears also have a wide range of different screen sizes. This should be taken into account when developing. The same thing is about the systems that operate on devices that should be considered while the mobile app creation.

7. Speed of development

According to the paragraph above, Android-based platform creation is more time-consuming and slow in terms of OS fragmentation. It takes 30-40% longer for engineers to build an Android-powered mobile app in contrast to the app that runs iOS. And it is even despite not very complex Java/Kotlin languages.

8. Cost of development

To define how much it costs to make an app based on the business requirements and needs, firstly, you need to make a decision on the platform, choose the dev team and ask for a rough estimate. You should also keep in mind that app development cost depends on the time taken to build it.

The truth is the more time the app needs, the higher it costs. We recommend you to read how much it costs to create an app like Uber or SnapChat. These articles will help you understand how it is usually done.

9. Deployment speed

The acceptance process or review process for Android-powered apps to be released on Google Play takes less time as compared to an iOS-based app to get on Apple Store. The reason is that Android-based apps are checked with automated tests while iOS apps require personal experts verification (7 days on average).

Google allows developers to handle some errors, multiple versions to be submitted during a day. Android engineers should be careful in order not to publish an app with errors while there is a risk for iOS app to be rejected after waiting response from experts so much time.

10. Market share

Operating systems used on different devices such as smartphones, PDAs, tablets, etc. They allow these devices to run apps and programs, therefore, bringing advanced functions to mobile devices. Google-backed Android, Apple-backed iOS are the widespread operating systems (OSs) in the smartphone industry. In 2016 alone, nearly 1.5 billion phones with either Android-based or iOS-based system were sold to end users worldwide.

market share

The statistic shows the worldwide market share held by the leading smartphone OSs, in terms of sales to end users. In the first quarter of 2017, 86.1% of the phones sold to end users were Android-powered.

Choosing the platform for development: Android&iOS

Let’s delve into the key takeaways of difference between iOS and Android:

To start developing iOS-based apps is more simple in terms of fast getting to the market and gaining more revenue thanks to the lower cost of development for iOS-based gears.

  • Another important reason to use iOS platform at first is a significant learning curve.
  • Android-powered app development is potentially less profitable and more challenging according to the OS fragmentation.
  • If your audience is mostly located in emerging markets, then it makes sense to start with the Android-powered app since they tend to visit app stores more often.
  • If your company is a start-up and, then iOS is the best place to begin: iOS brings more influencers and PR, much more clicks for your app.

You also can convert iOS to Android app to reach a new market segment. Below you can see the table that shows the difference between Android and iOS app development:

Key aspects iOS-based platform Android-based platform

Development language

Swift

Java, Kotlin

Integrated development environment

Xcode

Android Studio

The target audience

More valuable

Less valuable

Design philosophy

Flexible

Specified requirement

Monetization Strategies

Paid or freemium apps

Paid or freemium apps

Development complexity

Middle

High

Development time

Depends on complexity

Depends on complexity

Development cost

Affordable

2-3x the development cost

App Store Acceptance/ Deployment speed

Long app review (7 days on average)

Short app reviews process

Market share

Strong

Strong

Final word

When selecting a platform to build a mobile app, there are some aspects you should direct attention. We have reviewed the key aspects to outline the difference between Android and iOS platforms. The most crucial part is to analyze the components that differentiate these two platforms and keep them in mind when thinking of the app for your business.

DDI Development team has a solid technical experience in creating efficient and successful applications that have been released on app stores. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach our company for more details on the topic or for help with turning your ideas into real mobile apps.

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