You are launching a new business (great for you!), but in a common dilemma situation: Android or iOS app? We’ve heard this question many times, and for a good reason: mobile apps are changing the business landscape throughout all industries.

With one-quarter of the global population that will use smartphones in 2015, you are about to face some of the biggest questions in a startup life.

Having worked with many great startups, we decided to answer those questions for you, share some advice and help you make a decision and consider all pros and cons of both platforms.

First things first,

Should you build an app for both platforms?

The reality is that until you test it and get your app in a marketplace, you wouldn’t know everything you need to know, however, in most cases, it’s better to build for one platform first. For a small business, one platform approach is the better solution especially if they don’t have the money to make it work on both. Secondly, once you build an app for one platform, you get feedbacks and testing, so you can improve it before you start building for the other platform.

So, if you can’t afford to build on both platforms, you need to consider these questions:

  • What is your target group (current users) using?

What is the difference between Android and iOS users? Do a research on the number of your mobile visitors that are coming from Android and iOS. A higher engagement rate from one of the platforms can point you in the right direction. You go where your users are, and both, Android and iOS users,  are engaging and interacting differently.

Furthermore, security and privacy are two major concerns for every user today, and both operating systems are likely to be in the focus of attacks. The fact is that both platforms are vulnerable, but you need to consider the best solution for protecting user’s private information.

  • Do you want to charge for the app?

If you do, for an initial launch, you should consider where you can accept the payments (Google launches Android Pay) and the size of the app store. Next, which mobile platform users are willing to pay more (though, there is no rule for it if you have an excellent product). It appears iOS users are willing to spend more money on apps, however, you shouldn’t undervalue Android users given Android market has exploded worldwide.

  • Do you have tablet plans?

Although IDC report doesn’t break down tablet shipments by OS, but by the manufacturer, they did release an estimate based on the data, expecting Android to be the first with 67.7 percent of the year’s tablet shipments.

Why should you build on both platforms?

iOS and Android design languages are both great, though very different, and the entire application should be coded for the respective platform. For those who are non-technical, this means you won’t save any money by going with both platforms at the same time, although this might not be an issue for some of you.

Apart from having to invest more money into two applications, you will also have two ecosystems to understand and adjust for your user base which you will have to master. When launching your first app, the first impressions and feedbacks are everything and launching on both platforms, you will need more time and capacity to make it both work and benefit from them.

It’s easy to delete an app, or not to download it again.

If you are building an enterprise software or an app that employs a network of users, you should, however, consider cross-platform to ensure you are not missing out on a user base, or revenue, for that matter.

What about market size and geography?

Which geographical market do you wish to target? The popularity of the two platforms differ from one country to another, and from one region to the next. Google’s Android One project was very successful in the developing world, bringing inexpensive mobile computing to emerging markets, for instance. In the US, however, iOS is the most popular mobile platform. Moreover, the iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the enterprise.

In Europe, Android’s share declined by 3.8 percentage while iOS rose by 6.2 percentage points. Italy is, according to this report, currently a very fruitful market for Android, while in the UK, iOS grew its share by 13.1 percentage. Furthermore, device fragmentation exists on both platforms, although both iOS and Android are doing a pretty good job of keeping the fragmentation to a minimum.

The latest research, according to ICD, found that 81.5 percent of all smartphones shipped worldwide last year run Android OS. Is this the information you need? What about iOS? Research the market size before you start developing.

What’s the final decision? Which platform should you choose?

There is no simple Android or iOS answer unless you have the answers to these questions. We have worked with many startups and built successful Android and iOS apps. Many of our clients started with one platform and proceeded to another, growing their business successfully.

For every startup, the most important thing to consider is for your product to be created for the native experiences that users of both platforms expect.

If you want to take advantage of the platform, users are what counts the most. A beautifully designed app that targets the wrong market is of no use for your business or the users.

The fact is also that both markets tend to grow,  thus, marketing and distribution is the second most important thing to consider.

Once you decide, all you need is a good development team, and that’s where we come in.  If you have any questions, or just need to consult regarding your product, feel free to contact us, and we’ll do our best.