Why Today's Small Businesses Prefer Cross-Platform Mobile App Development

August 17, 2021

By:  John Tomblin, Senior Solutions Architect
Los Angeles Bizz, a division of Sofvue, LLC

When it comes to mobile app development in Los Angeles, the two most critical components that must be weighed are a) time available to invest and b) development cost, but before you even begin to understand the solution, you must first answer a few questions.

Are you building an Apple only or Android mobile app, or both? Be careful to assume that both are always needed because they are not. For retail and start-up’s, the answer is typically yes, that both platforms must be supported, but for small businesses who are sharing an enterprise solution exclusively "in-house", with the company dictating which mobile platform the company supports, a single choice of either Xcode or Java is likely the better path since developing a single platform solution using native code is, in most cases, less expensive than building a cross-platform solution that supports both. For this article, we are going to assume you are either a start-up or a retailer, or that you are a retail or service-centric business and you don't know which platform your customers are using, therefore, you must provide an available solution for download on both the Apple Store and Google Play.

In case you are not familiar with the concept, cross-platform mobile app development allows you to build a mobile app on a framework that is supported by both Google and Apple, and most importantly, simultaneously. With a cross-platform solution such as Microsoft's Xamarin, or Facebook's "React Native" or Google's own "Flutter", programmers can create a cross-platform mobile app for about 20% less than what it would costs to build each of the programs using the individual codebase for Apple or Google. To illustrate, say you needed to write a paper, but the end result had to be consumable in both French and Italian. Now imagine you could write one document, in English, and with the click of a button, the paper would automatically output to both French and Italian -- problem solved. Cross-platform mobile solutions do something similar, except instead of the paper being in French or Italian, it's viewable in Xcode (French) or Java (Italian). So, the first big reason that companies and start-ups choose cross-platform is the initial savings it produces.

Now let's look at the other reasons why small businesses choose cross-platform solutions.

Faster Deployment

With cross-platform development, the time required to code both platforms are lowered because only one set of code is created. This lowers the development hours needed to complete the codebase, which in turn allows the code to be submitted to both platforms for approval, and yes, the "Big 3" frameworks, "Xamarin", "Flutter" and "React Native" are all authorized frameworks approved by both Apple and Google.

Greater Market Reach

As mentioned earlier, if you don't know which platform your customers are using, you really don't have a choice but to develop a cross-platform solution. Using cross-platform development tools, you can reach a much broader marketplace and users on both platforms. As an aside, it's worth noting that according to Statica.com, in a post from the Statista Research Department, dated July 13, 2021, the Google Play Store now has 3.48 million apps available for download. Conversely, the Apple Store has 2.22 million apps. When you consider that the Windows Store has 669,000 apps and Amazon Appstore has 460,000, that the total availability of apps in the marketplace are hovering somewhere around 6.4 million. With Google and Apple controlling 54% and 38% of the market, respectively, it's easy to see why cross-platform is a viable option when trying to reach a wider audience.

Large Development Community

The number of coders who write cross-platform code has grown exponentially over the past six years, from only about 5,000 back in 2017 to over 200,000 today. This makes finding a coder less difficult than in past years. The larger community of coders also helps with demand and keeps development costs down. This is important when you consider that back in 2004, I used to pay up to a $25,000 bonus to entice .NET programmers to join our company.

Cross-Platform Functionality for Multiple OS's

A little-known fact is that cross-platform systems can support multiple OS's. Consider the fact that Xamarin, as a single framework, can be used to develop Android, iOS and UWP (for Windows 10 devices). Source code developed using React Native can be used on Android, macOS, tvOS, Windows and UWP, Android TV, iOS, and Android, and lastly, Flutter, which can be used for macOS, Windows, Ubuntu, Android, and of course, iOS.

In conclusion, when considering the development of mobile apps here in Los Angeles, time and cost drive all decisions. Additionally, using cross-platform development tools allow for faster deployment, greater market reach and you will have access to a large developer community. Lastly, using one of these popular frameworks gives you expanded flexibility to ensure your app can run across multiple OS's, including the growing popularity of both Mac Apple TV 4K and Android TV.

To learn more, contact John Tomblin at 623-845-2747.

STATISTA: https://www.statista.com/statistics/266210/number-of-available-applications-in-the-google-play-store/

STATISTA: https://www.statista.com/statistics/276623/number-of-apps-available-in-leading-app-stores/

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