Last week we talked about which mobile platform you should develop on first, iPhone, Android, or BlackBerry? What about those that want to develop on all three simultaneously?
“How difficult is it to launch an app simultaneously on iPhone, Android and BlackBerry?”
It’s not difficult from a timing and work perspective as much as it can be challenging from a budget perspective. We normally start with the design and wire framing process for the iPhone first, then delve right into the same process for Android and BlackBerry. Once the client has approved the wire frames and designs we have our programming teams start in on functional implementation of the code. This is done concurrently with an overall project manager overseeing the development efforts.
iPhone, Android and BlackBerry are all developed on completely different code bases. So for native application development on each platform you have to budget in the proper amount to duplicate each effort. Typically coding the same app for Android and Blackberry (after the iPhone app has been developed) runs about 85% of what the original iPhone app cost. That 15% savings occurs because much of the design used for the iPhone can be translated over to Android and BlackBerry. You obviously want to keep that consistent branding experience through all of the apps in the same family.
Mobile Websites have their place
One way to get around this duplication of effort is to program the app as a mobile website that is optimized for all three platform’s browsers. This would be recommended in cases where a company wants to offer it’s app to a specific niche of users such as employees, vendors and customers. The mobile web would not be recommended if you are trying to brand and sell a commercial, retail or utility app that has to appeal to a large cross section of users. Having that app icon consistently on the screen of any platform is a constant reminder to the user of your brand experience.