Look around: pretty much everything is mobile nowadays. There are more people in the world that use text messages than email to communicate and more people own phones than credit cards. This means that for mobile app companies, business is booming and mobile app development is at an all-time high. With such ubiquity, everyone wants a piece of the mobile app development pie. Companies have come out with various devices and platforms that all require their own special kind of development and don’t necessarily transfer to other devices and platforms very well. So what are mobile app companies to do? Because there are so many options out there for consumers, it’s looking like cross-platform mobile app development is the way to go. Here are just a few reasons why this is the case:
• There’s no clear cut go-to platform: while there’s no single choice, there are two main choices: Android and iOS are the two most popular platforms in the world. Since both have been around, there’s been a seesaw battle for supremacy, but they pretty evenly share the global market share. According to a recent study released in February of 2015, iOS devices accounted for 47.7% of sales in the United States, whereas Android devices almost equaled them with 47.6% of sales; that’s pretty darn close! This is the strongest indicator that mobile app companies need to diversify their development with iOS and Android in order to reach the highest potential market share.
• One platform will emerge champion: building off the last point, there’s no single choice….yet. But what tends to happen is that one company will release a device based on a particular platform that will be so in-demand, it will steal large chunks of market share from the competitors. It happened when the iPhone first came out and will likely happen again. It’s best for mobile app companies to invest in cross-platform mobile app development because it will position them for the future.
• Top of mind for your market: There’s an intangible value in being the thing that your target market thinks about when they think about your industry. In a saturated industry like mobile app development, mobile app companies need every point of difference there is to stand out from everyone else. Being known as a company that is “available” is invaluable because you’re branded as “dependable”, and because switching platforms is so common in the mobile world, you can retain your customer base regardless of whether they switch or not.
There are certainly arguments to be made for going with only one platform, but they mainly stem from inability to invest. If you’ve got the money, the time and the expertise on your team, cross-platform development is the best decision you can make.