Every decision has its cost. It doesn’t matter if you decide what car to buy or what girl to marry or what platform to choose for your brand new mobile app. There is always some kind of inner fight between the investments you are planning to make and the expected result. That is normal and predictable.
Let’s focus on the App development cost comparison.
Usually, the first real question that comes up is “What is cheaper?”. We always dream of the benefits and advantages, but when it comes to the real world we start to compare and look for the best possible ratio. Most people (not all of us) care much more about things they may lose over things they may gain. That’s actually why “What is cheaper?” usually has more engagement than “What will I get?”. Let’s start with “What is cheaper?” part and move to the “What will I get?” section.
What is Cheaper?
App development cost for both platforms is almost the same, sometimes it can be higher for IOS apps and sometimes for Android apps. What is hidden behind the app development cost? Let’s try to figure that out.
1. Hourly rates
Hourly rates for developers are different from region to region. The most expensive rates are in the US and the UK, the cheapest ones are probably in India. Here in Ukraine, we are trying to stick to the best quality/rates ratio, still those facts say nothing about the difference between IOS app development cost and Android app development cost. The difference is hidden in the programming languages used to develop those apps. Android apps are being written on Java and IOS apps can be written either using Swift or Objective-C. Swift and Objective-C developers cost from 10% to 15% more than their colleagues doing their job on Java in any part of our planet.
Winner : Android
2. Time spent
Time is mostly spent on :
Designing time for IOS app and Android app does not vary a lot from platform to platform (same as design price).
Java (due to its features) is a bit bulkier language. As a result you receive more lines of code compared to Swift and Objective-C. On the other side, that’s easier to find supportive documentation and community answers related to Java issues, so that’s a two-edged sword and we cannot be 100% sure what takes more time here.
We should not forget about fragmentation. While there are ~20 different types of Apple mobile devices, the device fragmentation for Android is much worse. There are hundreds of devices that use Android and most of those have different screen sizes and OS versions. Still, once you decide to put your Android app development in some frame by cutting supported OS versions and devices you will benefit in winning some time for development and testing.
Winner : both (if you cut a number of supported devices and OS versions for Android)
We should get back to fragmentation here once again. A huge variety of devices and OS versions used by Android users results in more time spent on testing.
Another factor here is that Android emulators are slower than IOS simulators, so testers spend more time on testing Android app compared to IOS app.
Winner : IOS
I could have called it App Store vs Google Play. App Store has its strict rules and restrictions when it comes to uploading your app to the store, while Google Play gives you more freedom. You may spend extra time on adjusting your app to fit the App Store standards.
Winner : Android
What will i get?
Let’s divide this section into two parts : IOS app and Android app
Dominates in the US and Western Europe
If you are interested in covering this market - IOS app would be a clear winner here.
Monetization is mostly based on direct charges, in-app purchases, retail forwarding
IOS device users statistically spend more money compared to Android holders. If you plan to create a paid app or monetize your app through the in-app purchases - IOS is a winner. App store’s revenue is much higher than Google Play’s despite the fact that Google Play wins twice in-app downloads amount.
Dominates in Asia, Africa and Australia
Android holders outnumber the IOS users worldwide, heavily dominating in these regions.
Monetization is mostly based on advertising
Android users have a lesser will to pay for applications (partly caused by the overall income level and payability). If you plan to create a free app and your goal is to cover a wider audience without making those people pay or you want to monetize your app by advertising - Android could be a winner here.
App development cost for both IOS and Android is almost the same, still it can vary depending on several aspects: hourly rates, time spent, adaptation. Analyse your project needs and choose the platform according to your final goal.
P.S. Never forget about your target audience. Those are people you are trying to solve problems for or send a message to. Try to put yourself in their place or ask them directly... and grab some statistics. We had a case when our customer (the biggest luxury boutique in Ukraine) simply declined the android version of the application because all of its customers were simply using iPhones.