One of the questions we at Segue are often asked by our customers is, “Which platform should I build for first, Android or iOS?” There are many different aspects to consider when answering this question. To answer it fully, we’ve brought together two of our mobile application developers: Geoff Bender, our lead iOS developer, and Mark R. Andrachek, Jr., our lead Android Developer.
Round Three: Cost and Time
Bender: Development time should be roughly equal. I guess it all depends on the team and how well they know their platform. As far as distribution goes, it all depends on whether you want to submit it to the Apple App Store, or if you plan to distribute it internally and develop software within your own organization- sort of like an enterprise distribution model. They also have a business-to-business distribution model that puts apps on a private App Store, independent of the public App Store.
As far as time goes, Apple requires a code review before posting the App on the store. This could take anywhere from one to two weeks, roughly, depending on a holiday schedule. App updates have to go through the same review process, but that usually happens a little bit faster. Another cost factor is if you plan to sell your app, or content within your app. Apple is going to take a 30% cut of that. Google does the same thing as far as I know.
Andrachek, Jr.: Android, with its open source nature and Java base has also resulted in a plethora of libraries that help developers rapidly implement features, in some cases shortening the amount of development time in comparison to iOS (although this tends to wind up fairly even when the greater testing and support burdens are factored in).
It’s also important to note some major differences in app distribution. While the Apple App Store and Google Play are both similar in terms of the cut of sales they each take, Apple is far more restrictive in what’s permitted in the store. Google is much more open, and they even make it fairly easy to distribute applications outside of the app store allowing for direct sales of apps and content that they do not permit in the app store, as well as making private in-house distribution less burdensome.