Should you develop an Android or iOS app?
This is perhaps one of the most pressing questions many companies have. And, admittedly, it’s a hard question to answer.
That’s because Android and iOS both have their strengths, weaknesses, and use cases. So what you pick will depend on your project’s requirements.
Still, it’s useful to look at the unique advantages that Android has over other mobile operating systems.
We’ll look at 7 of them in this article.
Expanded market reach
Android is, hands down, the most popular mobile operating system on the market.
As of Q1 of 2023, it has a global market share of 71.44%. iOS doesn’t even come close to this figure, claiming only 27.89% of total mobile phone users.
Take a look:
Thus, Android is the way to go if you want your app to reach as many global users as possible.
This is especially true in developing markets, where the higher price of iOS devices is out of reach for a lot of the population.
For example, Android has a near-monopoly in India, with a dominating 93.67% market share as of May 2023. iOS only has a negligible 4.93% presence.
But even in higher-income countries, Android still has a significant presence.
For instance, iOS may be the dominant player in the UK, but it only has a 55.98% market share. That’s just a slight edge over Android’s 43.48% share of the pie.
One of the few markets where
iOS significantly outclasses Android is the US, where it has a commanding 62%.
But even then, the US still has enough of an Android market that makes launching apps there worthwhile.
The bottom line is that Android gives your app significant market reach and exposure, giving it a better chance to succeed.
Reduced time to market
Android is the operating system to opt for if you want to launch your project as quickly as possible. There are several reasons for this.
One is that the Google Play Store is a highly efficient app marketplace.
Compared to the Apple App Store, requirements are less demanding, and the approval process is typically quicker. It also facilitates releasing of updates and bug fixes.
But what sets Android apart is that the Google Play Store is just one of
several marketplaces where you can publish your app.
You can also deploy it in the Amazon Appstore, Samsung Apps, and NOOK Apps.
This diversity means you have more chances to get your app onto people’s devices and, thus, build faster momentum for your app.
Android also provides several tools that speed up the app development process.
One example is Gradle, Android’s native build system. It allows you to compile your code into an APK package for easy deployment.
It also allows you to configure the APK based on the target device without having to do it manually.
The Android Studio IDE (integrated development environment) also has productivity features that speed up coding dramatically.
For example, the Instant Run feature allows you to change the classes and functions in your code
while it’s running.
That means you can see changes live without having to re-compile, thus saving you countless hours during debugging.
Many other tools like emulators, code templates, and integration with platforms like Firebase make development faster, thus helping you launch your app as soon as possible.
High return on investment
Android is also the preferred OS if you want a faster and higher return on your investment.
Again, this ties back to Android’s superior market reach. This translates to more users and, therefore, higher revenue potential for your app.
This is especially vital for free apps that rely on in-app purchases.
Consider that experts predict that only
4% of users will be spending money on in-app purchases by 2026, which is a significant drop from a high of 35.2% in 2020.
Digital Information World
In these cases, the number of users matters.
After all, 4% of 1 million users is only 40,000. But if you have 10 million users, your pool of in-app spenders becomes 400,000 – a potential 10X increase in your returns.
And this is where Android provides an edge, thanks to its huge market reach that can provide critical mass.
Furthermore, Android apps tend to be cheaper to develop. And lower development costs mean more revenue can be turned into profit.
That’s because there are generally more Android developers than iOS developers (
5.9 million for the former and 2.8 million for the latter as of 2020), which tends to lower costs.
You can see this in the breakdown of iOS and Android developer salaries worldwide:
Also, registering to become an Android developer only costs a one-time fee of $25. Contrast this with the Apple Developer Program, which requires you to pay $99
These costs might seem trivial. But when you have dozens of developers across multiple projects, the expenses add up.
Access to multiple devices
One of the advantages of Android app development is the range of devices you can deploy on.
There are currently over 1,300 brands that use the Android OS, spread across 24,000 devices.
And these range from high-end smartphones to affordable units that cost as little as $50. The sheer variety of devices gives your app more potential exposure.
Apart from mobile devices, Android apps can also be used on other platforms. For instance, Android TV can run certain apps on a smart TV.
You can even run Android apps directly on Microsoft Windows without third-party emulators, potentially exposing your app to
1.4 billion Windows users worldwide.
This multi-platform ecosystem provides many interesting use cases that make Android apps more compelling.
And the good thing is that Android provides the tools to facilitate these interactions.
For instance, Android developers can use the Cross device SDK to seamlessly transfer sessions from one device to another.
For instance, you can use the Spotify app on your phone to play something remotely on your Spotify desktop app.
The bottom line is that Android’s huge market reach and device diversity are more than just for exposure. It also allows you to offer powerful new experiences to users.
One of the biggest qualms developers have with Apple is its closed ecosystem. While this leads to a more stable development environment, it limits what your app can do and its tools.
This is where Android has a huge leg up on iOS.
That’s because Android itself is open source. Manufacturers can use it in their devices relatively freely without licensing and royalties. Thus, it’s much more tolerant of open-source tools.
Android’s open-source nature also creates a developer-friendly environment.
Developers can access extensive tools, documentation, and resources when building apps, including the Software Development Kit (SDK) and open APIs.
Furthermore, Android promotes transparency. Anyone can review and audit the OS code, thereby helping identify and fix vulnerabilities.
Allowing independent evaluations helps foster trust among developers and contributes to a more stable platform.
Ease of customization
Android is the better choice if your app requires extensive customization, as it gives you more options to do so. For instance, it has wider support for third-party tools and plugins.
One good example of this is accessing the device’s file system.
iOS generally doesn’t allow this. It operates in sandbox mode, restricting the files an app can access. It certainly doesn’t allow one app to interact with the files of another.
Android generally doesn’t have this restriction. In fact, most underlying hardware, such as the camera and CPU, are directly accessible to Android apps.
While this could be potentially dangerous, it also opens up new possibilities when done right.
Android users can have apps for managing and cleaning their files as freely as desktop users.
Because of this customization potential, Android apps are also easier to integrate into other platforms.
This is useful when developing enterprise solutions, such as an Android app that could connect seamlessly with an ERP (enterprise resource planning) system.
Superior app security
There’s this misconception that iOS apps are safer than Android. But just because Android is open source doesn’t mean it’s less safe.
In fact, the Android OS is built with security in mind.
For instance, it uses
Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux), a way for the OS to enforce access control. By default, SELinux denies any process or operation without explicit permissions.
This helps prevent unauthorized access by outsiders or malware.
Developers also have access to a wide variety of security tools.
One example is
app signing, a feature allowing the developer to digitally sign the APK before publishing it to the Google Play Store.
This ensures that only the developer can update the app installed on a device, eliminating the chance of a hack.
Android also provides native libraries for user authentication, biometrics, and encryption to help protect apps from hacks and data breaches.
The bottom line is that an Android app can be as safe as any iOS app because developers have all the tools to do so. It just depends on how well you can use these tools.
How to bring out these advantages
It’s one thing to know the powerful advantages of Android app development.
It’s an entirely different matter to actually
leverage them in your next project.
Because it doesn’t matter whether you have the right
tools and advantages – if you don’t know how to use them properly, you could still fail.
And that’s why having a reliable, experienced Android development team like DECODE comes in.
With our extensive track record in developing successful Android apps, we have what it takes to give your next project that edge.
Interested? Schedule a free consultation with us today, and let’s talk!