Data from the IDC indicates that 78% of mobile devices worldwide run Android and almost 20% on IOS. That leaves out the other OSs, such as Windows Phone, who are currently holding 3% of the market share. So, which OS users should you target?
You may want to aim for a single platform and opting for native development may seem like an easy task. But, what happens when you need your product to cover a wider audience without homogeneous preferences? Given the fact that 2.5 billion people have mobile devices, are you really willing to write off those users? Can you make your app available to the masses without sacrificing quality? These kinds of situations are precisely when cross-platform development makes the most sense.
The market for cross-development software has taken off over the last two years, though the concept has been used in the field of software development for decades. Its premise is very simple: writing code that is able to run across multiple platforms. Ultimately, this practice enables mobile app developers to target a wider range of platforms (moving beyond iOS and Android) without having to write multiple versions of code. This can be accomplished with widely used tools like Xamarin or Appcelerator’s Titanium software development kit, which allow developers to optimize the application development process for efficient results.
Whether your app development is enterprise or consumer focused, there are advantages that come with the cross-platform development approach. Firstly, there’s the benefit of having a single piece of code, helping you optimize the project in more ways than one. You can increase development speed while simultaneously reducing the costs of both development and maintenance down the road. Secondly, maximizing your market share transforms into an easier task when your app is ready to reach a wide variety of devices. This translates into a greater opportunity to form a substantial user base in a shorter amount of time with reduced marketing efforts.
Keep in mind that while the advantages are many, they can only hold true if the user experience and value proposition are top notch. While the reasoning behind cross-platform development and its implications are easy to grasp, always remember to look back at the main goal of developing mobile apps - high-level engagement. You want to acquire as many users as possible (within a target market) and provide a high-quality experience, which will translate into high engagement in turn.
Delivering your app can be taken a step further when combining it with outsourcing software development to enhance both speed and cost-efficiency; now you don’t need a workforce with multiple skill sets but people with a standardized skill set. This hybrid could end up being a great match for you and your business; the key is a thorough analysis of what these practices bring to the table. Review the key players in the mobile enterprise cross-platform development market and create a balance between these and your app’s specific goals and features.
“Write once and run anywhere” is the original mantra for Java, developed by Sun Microsystems. Now you can do just that: ensure mobile user engagement with access to apps that run on every platform. Taking a cross-platform approach has many challenges, but if successfully addressed, you will be rewarded with valuable and tangible benefits.
If you have more questions about this topic or if you are looking for a cross-platform development solution, contact us to learn more.