As a business owner, you would want to have a mobile application which is adaptable on various platforms so people can use it on the go, wherever they go, however they go. Two most popular mobile platforms today are iOS and Android. Also, you should always keep in mind that developing an application for BlackBerry and Windows mobile is also worth thinking.
In general, there are two goals of an mobile application: acquire as many customers as possible and deliver highest quality engagement within a target market.
When a majority of your target audience are using the same platform, the choice for platform becomes easy. But when you’re catering to a huge audience which may be using iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, or others, there’s a need to design for multiple platforms. That’s why, we’ll mention the benefits and disadvantages of cross-platform apps in this blog post.
Benefits of Developing for Multiple Platforms
The more platforms you cover, the more people you’ll be able to reach. Simple as that. With Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android competing for top positions worldwide, the number of smartphone users for these systems is increasing day by day. Developing an application that runs on both iPhone and Android gives you the added advantage of tapping into greater market potential.
When you have a bigger number of fans, marketing becomes easier in the sense that you don’t have to create niche messages to cater to a specific set of people. You have the liberty of marketing the application on various media and through generalized messages for the masses.
One Instead of Many – Cost effective
It is easier to maintain and deploy changes when your team is developing one application that runs across all platforms. Updates would immediately get synced across all devices and platforms. This will save you money.
Uniform Look and Feel
The overall design and feel of the app can be maintained across various platforms if there’s a single code running on all. When you’re designing different apps, it can be hard to sync two different development teams to make the same app.
Reduced Development Costs
All this means you have reduced development costs when making apps for multiple platforms. But before you make a decision, read on for the disadvantages…
Disadvantages of Developing for Multiple Platforms
Different Tools and Languages
If you need a custom design for your application, it can be hard to fight off the differences in tools and languages of each platform’s API.
It’s not just the UI that is different. When it comes to integrating the app with the local settings, preferences and notifications apps, you can be faced with serious trouble trying to juggle multiple platforms. Even storage options are diversified so you may be looking at cloud options and integration of third party cloud services with your app. That’s why is really important that your development team is really experienced.
Loss of Flexibility
Each platform provides its own flexibilities – that’s why they’re there on the market. When you’re designing a cross-platform app, you’re forced to look at the commonalities. This puts you at a disadvantage of losing the flexibility that each platform provides.
So, while applications are getting diverse and user bases are expanding, there is no one clear platform of choice. Depending on the goals and features of your app, you could either benefit or lose from cross-platform mobile apps.