This is Part 3 of a five part series. To receive the entire series be email click here.

Consider Your Operating System

“iPhone only? Do we still need to make windows mobile apps? Why can’t we just make a mobile optimized website? Do we need a tablet strategy? How often will I need to update my application?”

There are a lot of questions your organization will need to consider when making a decision regarding platforms and devices. We are not going to answer everything today, but hopefully, we can provide some useful information from our years of experience.

First off, let’s settle the native versus web-app debate. Hybrid, period. This means native navigation and plugins layered with web views. Instagram’s timeline is a web view, but you better believe they went native for many of the camera and other device specific functions that require a close integration with the device’s hardware.

Use a native mobile app if you want device specific functions that require a close integration with the device’s hardware. Click To Tweet

The next consideration might be around OS. Today’s smartphone environment has firmly settled into a two OS universe, with iPhone & Android absolutely dominating the US market. In the US, these two make up a combined 99.6% of smartphones used today.

Your organization doesn’t have to choose if you want to support one or the other.

iPhone, Android, or both?

Each system has its own advantages and set backs.

iPhone

Pro: Steve Jobs’ closed-system mentality means it is extremely consistency and therefore easier both to develop your app initially and maintain it long-term
Con: iPhones are the top price range of smartphones and therefore only accessible to your users with higher disposable incomes.

Android

Pro: With many different headset makers supporting Android, it is available on hundreds of devices, with varying price points. As result, it has a larger market share than Apple’s iPhone.
Con: Android is open source software and is very fragmented. As result, it is more difficult to develop on and maintain your app across such a diverse ecosystem.

If the boss and the boss’s boss are all using an iPhone, your decision may be an easy one. Start by completing an informal survey internally, by asking your colleagues which type of device they use. Or find out if your organization has an official device policy.

Ideally, you’ll support both operating systems out of the gate. However, if that’s not an option for you, then pick the one that works best for you organization. Deploy the app, measure the users’ download and engagement for 6 months, and then reassess if it makes sense to branch out to support the other operating system.

Read Part 4 (Click Here)

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