Android is an OS (Operating System) developed by Google for smart mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. It was launched in 2007, and is the most popular smartphone OS around the world today; this IDC report sheds light on this claim. According to the report, as of the second quarter of 2015, Android had captured nearly 83% of the global market share for smartphone operating systems worldwide. The second closest was Apple’s iOS, with a global market share of just 13.9%, and Windows Phone came in third at 2.6%.
And if you thought it is third-world markets that are skewing this number due to the lack of accessibility and the greater cost of iPhones and iPads, this is not the case either. According to this article on the iXtentia blog, even a market that was traditionally considered a strong base for Apple, in the form of the US, has gone the way of Android. The article states that Android led the US market space with 66.9% market share, while iOS had less than half that figure at 28.4% as of August 2015.
So, there is obviously a growing demand for Android, and there are a lot of reasons for this. Here is a look at some of these reasons, and how they can be exploited the most in terms of Android app development.
Making the most of Android apps
Cost of development - Android is an open source software. This means anyone can acquire the software development kit (or SDK) for free. This is a great boon for developers because it causes a huge reduction in development costs. That is the first step, licensing fees, completely taken care of. Then, there is the cost associated with testing. The only investment here is a device to test the app on. Lastly, there is the cost associated with publishing the app. Unlike Apple, which charges a yearly $99 subscription fee, all you need to pay to publish apps on Android is a one-time $25 registration fee for a developer account. You do not even need to use Google Play to publish your app; you can use third-party marketplaces or even dispense the app yourself without falling afoul of any rules. This means, whether you are developing the app yourself or approaching an app developer to do it for you, costs will definitely remain low.
Ease of development - Android is based on Java, the popular programming language first developed by Sun Microsystems 20 years ago in 1996. To say it has been around for a while would be an understatement. Because of Java’s longevity in the programming space, it has become a popular language among programmers, and has built a reputation for being a simple one to learn as well. Easy development usually equates to quick development. It has become so important to grab the initiative in app development these days. Whether you have a clever idea that you want to put out there, or want to get ahead of your rivals with an app to supplement your business, moving quickly is always beneficial, and with Android apps, you can do just that.
Reach - Android’s massive global penetration figures were qualified by Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently. As TechCrunch reports, he confirmed that globally, there are a massive 1.4 billion active Android users. Users who use their devices at least once every day for 30 days consecutively is Google’s barometer for ‘active’ users. With a user base that wide - and continuous growth, especially in emerging economies - the potential audience for an Android app is staggering. With Android app development, you can tap into all of that reach and get your app out to a bigger audience than on any other single mobile platform. Even for business owners who employ a Bring Your Own Device or BYOD practice, with the popularity of the OS, developing an Android app is an absolute must.
Customizability - Android’s strong point has always been how customizable the OS is, and this has been carried forward to apps, too. The sheer range of possibilities in terms of what the app can do, and the various ways it can function, is astounding. Because of its open source nature, and minimal interference from Google regarding what you can or cannot do, the possibilities for powerful and different apps is that much greater when you are developing for Android.
Versatility of platforms - Android is not just an OS for smartphones and tablets; it has also expanded its reach to wearable devices with a version of the OS available for smart-watches and the like. This results in more possibilities in terms of what your app can achieve, a completely different platform to explore, and even more capabilities and potential for creative and useful apps.
There is a huge bundle of benefits offered by Android that developers can really exploit and take advantage of. Hope this post has helped you find your way to getting the best out of your Android app development efforts!