- Native app vs cross-platform: market demand
- Make your application accessible to everybody
- Native vs cross platform: cost comparison
- Best cross-platform technologies
- Understanding your audience and business needs
- Breakdown of mobile app development process components
- Discovery Phase and planning
- Where to get expertise in mobile app development?
In the article, we are going to assess the benefits and challenges of both native and cross-platform development.
Native app vs cross-platform: market demand
According to Clutch.co research, 42% of small businesses have a mobile app and 30% plan to develop a mobile app in the future. Mobile app development offers valuable opportunities for a business: going digital and competitive, showing the presence on the market, attracting more customers and so on. Choosing a mobile app development approach turns out to be challenging. If you are a business in need of building Android and iOS apps, what approach – native or cross-platform application development – should you choose and why?
A survey on mobile operating systems’ by Statista says that Android is a leading mobile OS holding 74.6% of the market share, while iOS takes 24.82%. The most popular cross-platform mobile frameworks used by developers across the world in 2020 are React Native and Flutter.
Make your application accessible to everybody
What is cross-platform meant for? Firstly, for building iOS and Android mobile apps simultaneously with a significant reduction in costs and development time. Secondly, cross-platform app development pushes your application to iOS and Android app markets which increases the chances to obtain more users, thus more customers. Native applications are developed for a particular operating system or device. Thus, software development differentiates Native Android from Native iOS approaches as both take different technologies to build mobile solutions. Native Android developers will use Java and Kotlin as the core of their app. iOS engineers will use Swift and Objective-C. So, outlining key benefits of cross-platform vs native development:
- Cross-platform apps have better time to market capabilities
- Cross-platform apps are usually cheaper to develop because of hiring one developer instead of two engineers – one for iOS, one for Android
- Cross-platform takes less time for development and testing
- Native app development offers higher performance
- Native applications have access to 100% of Android and iOS hardware
- Engineers face fewer challenges in developing android or ios custom functional features
HD games, complex animation apps are better to be native as they will get access to local files and hardware and will perform faster and smoother. It takes more time to build a native app but you’ll never have to worry about the quality and user experience though.
Native vs cross platform: cost comparison
The cost of mobile app development depends on the complexity of the project features. The budget will depend on what team you hire, whether or not you’ll have QA engineers or Business Analysts. A simple app that is MVP with a minimum list of features and compatibility with only 1 platform can be built in about 2-4 months. Medium apps will be implemented for 1-2 platforms having more complex designs and more features. Large-scale apps will include custom functionality, support for different platforms, perfectly executed design, scalable architecture and more.
- Simple social media application can cost from $10 – 20 000
- Medium complexity social media app starts with $35 000 and the cost for a cross-platform one starts with $30 000
The minimum price for developing native Android or iOS applications of simple complexity is approximately $35k. The price can go as high as many features you need to develop. That’s why building native apps can be pretty expensive, especially if you want to develop iOS and Android mobile solutions at the same time. If you can not predict costs at the beginning of the project, it’s always better to talk with a digital expert who can estimate costs and help you be aware of the final price of the product.
The starting price for a medium cross-platform app would be about $30k. Price also depends on the software provider’s location. Hiring the US engineers will be more expensive as an hourly rate there is higher than in Western Europe or Eastern Europe. Ukraine provides technology expertise that is very competitive with American’s. Being the biggest country in Europe, the Ukrainian talent pool is enormous. Lviv, Kyiv and Kharkiv software companies provide high quality cross-platform and native application development for the US clients as well as for clients all across the world.
Best cross-platform technologies
Flutter is a cross-platform Software Development Kit that was powered by Google to create beautiful UI. The technology is killing React Native as it offers fast and easy development. Flutter apps feel native, but cost less to develop and maintain. Some of the defining features of Flutter are:
- Engineers develop iOS and Android apps from a single code base
- Flutter is based on Dart known for fast compilation of code (just-in-time compilation) and V8 engine
- Flutter is primarily created for building mesmerizing and smooth complex animations. Flutter documentation provides clear and finely explained instruction on implementing a variety of animations as well as delivering custom ones.
React Native is an older cross-platform technology than Flutter, but offers reliable code, building functional features of any complexity at a high-quality and fast performance. In comparison to Flutter, React Native engineers will have to develop, maintain and update separate code bases for different platforms. There is an ongoing battle between Flutter and React Native for the position of top cross-platform technology. Engineers already name Flutter to be a cross-platform app development trend in 2020 and the Flutter team does its best to support the community and often presents updates on Flutter SDK. Discover more insights about Flutter vs React Native and what’s to choose in 2020 for your business.
Understanding your audience and business needs
Depending on what business needs are put into focus, the technology for your mobile app can differ. If it is performance and speed that you consider critical for your application, then you should think about building a native application development.
If you want to get a market-ready application quickly and there are not too many custom functional features difficult to implement, then you should better choose cross-platform application development with Flutter or React Native. They both offer optimal performance, excellent UI, and fast development time.
Breakdown of mobile app development process components
Discovery Phase and planning
Research & Discovery time estimates are approximately 8 to 40 hours (small and medium projects) and 200 hours (large projects). Scope definition takes from 9 to 27 hours on average (small and medium projects) and 160 hours (large projects).
The software development projects typically start with a discovery phase which is a research of end-users and market trends that result in refined requirements, clarified business needs, risk evaluation, estimation of costs, and time for development. Factors that influence how much time a team and a client spend on research are the industry specifics, client’s understanding of software development and awareness of the end-clients pain-points. If the team is presented with the only idea, they will need to search for specific details and conduct a lot of investigation with a client to meet up with all business needs and expectations. The Discovery phase is at cost service that proves to be highly beneficial for product owners as it helps avoid the risks of building the wrong solution.
The scope of the project is the next stage after research. The team can plan the project activities based on the data they’ve collected and analyzed. Project plans will be documented together with all requirements, design wireframes, timeframes, and costs. It’s important to ensure both parties are on the same page to avoid misunderstandings in the future over the product functionality and project budget.
1.Wireframing. Wireframes are the skeleton of the application. These simplest design screens show layout and application structure. The average time spent on software wireframing ranges from 14 to 56 hours for small and medium-size projects and 140 hours for large-scale projects. To note, the price also depends on the number of screens.
2. Visual design can take from 14 to 80 hours. At large projects, designers can spend up to 210 hours. Visual design is for implementing colors, images, fonts to reflect the brand identity and add visual attractiveness.
3. UI/UX mockups are the final stage of design development that can take from 7 to 28 hours of developer’s time for a small-medium app, and up to 200 for large applications. Mock-ups which are clickable design screens and a final version of the app structure are transferred to software engineers and testers during development.
Functional features, complexity, and number vary from project to project. Native app development involves simpler solutions as there is the direct interaction of the app with the device’s hardware. Features of the highest cost are usually:
- Wireframing, visual and UI/UX design
- Integrations with enterprise data
- CMS development
- Back-end development for platform’s scalability
Solutions like social media integrations, chatting, push notifications, emails often need third-party integrations and more time to develop, thus more costs to spend. The same is with user login functionality. API-driven login systems are costlier than device-based login not backed by the server. Which design screen should show login details and how it will look like, should there be login via Google account, should there be two-step authentication, and many other questions that finally influence the cost of the mobile application.
Data storage solutions are easier to develop for only device storage. Offline and online access to data, dataset complexity can significantly influence the price of the application. Data encryption and access to enterprise data depend on the different scenarios, like the amount of data, how data is accessed, how big is data storage, and so on.
Analytics and performance monitoring are critical for understanding user’s interaction with the app, monitoring ROI, customer engagement, etc. A Content Management System allows to control and manage content and often needs to be implemented on the web in a customized way that suits an organization’s structure and goals. Web platform helps businesses manage users’ accounts, import and export data, and manage permissions for different user roles. The realization of custom user interfaces and specific modules that interact with each other can increase the cost of both native and cross-platform mobile applications.
Quality assurance services upgrade the reliability of the solutions and eliminate all doubts concerning code stability, performance, UI/UX bugs, etc. The more time required on development, the more time will be spent on testing the mobile app respectively. Different levels of feature complexity will influence the time needed for the testing.
Deployment of cross-platform apps can go easier than with native applications. Native iOS and Android engineers have to be aware of all regulations established by Apple and Google to successfully deploy to the market. Time of deployment depends on the configuration of the application but as a rule, it does not require a lot of time. Besides, cross-platform application development allows easier and faster updating of the codebase simultaneously for different platforms. Such an advantage is offered by Flutter.
Where to get expertise in mobile app development?
Interested in multiplatform mobile app development cost? If you want to know the average price for your native iOS, Android, or cross-platform application, you can use the App Cost Calculator which shows you a price depending on the operating system, architecture, and features you want to have. Talk with our digital experts and receive in-depth business analysis at a cost to estimate precise native or cross-platform mobile app development costs.