Developing Android apps is a whole different beast to iOS app development, and it is fraught with its own challenges and complexities. However, it also reaps many benefits, including all the advantages of the Android infrastructure.

But if you want to launch an iOS app on Android, do you really need to build the full app from the ground up? Is it not possible to simply replicate iOS to Android?

Sadly, the dev work simply doesn’t directly translate from Android to iOS and vice versa. When developing Android apps, what may seem to be a minor difference in the UI from the consumer’s perspective can mean hours and hours of development time.

Essentially, iOS and Android apps are built using different programming languages, and this means that the copy and paste approach to replication is not only impractical, in the majority of cases, but it is also impossible.

A further issue concerns the differences in markets. The types of apps that top the charts in the Apple store are often quite different to those that succeed in Google Play.

There is pretty much no escaping the fact that Android and iOS directly compete with each other… and that’s not set to change anytime soon.

Apple’s iPhones evolve on an incremental basis. They all pretty much contain the same set of features. This gives iOS developers a certain degree of confidence that the time they spend creating apps for the iPhone 7, for example, will also run on iPhone 8. Apple’s commitment to a core set of tenants has fostered sleek, touch-based interfaces.

Android phones have traditionally lacked this ubiquity. While smartphones have started to address this in recent years, Android app developers simply don’t have the same level of confidence in the interfaces as iOS developers. As such, when developing android apps, they have typically focused on improving navigation and interaction over developing a sleek interface.

Identifying Product-Market Fit

Unfortunately, there is no exact science that determines the best way to develop an app.

If you already have an iOS app and are set to develop an Android counterpart, the best approach is to simply get stuck in. And the ideal starting point is your market and the users of your current app

Start by determining the product-market fit. If your current iOS is serving a given market well, it makes perfect sense to perform an Android port. Bear in mind the fact that determining product-market fit could take numerous iterations of gathering user feedback. Continue to do so until you have identified a user base that both loves your product and actively uses it.

Some users will actively encourage members of their networks to download an app. If yours gains some traction, you will get access to a solid user base of people who like what you have to offer.

5 Benefits of Developing Android Apps

1) Developing Android Apps Lets You Tap Into a Wider Audience

Take a quick stroll around any city or town, and you’ll see iPhones wherever you go. In restaurants, on public transport, even in churches!

However, the impression you get in the physical world may not paint an entirely accurate picture of what the market is really doing.

Undoubtedly, Apple is the leader when it comes to hardware profit and App store revenue. However, it is Android phones that hold the biggest share. In fact, Android phones achieved a market share of 88% of the world market last November and steadily retain a share of 70-80%.

Android phones are particularly popular in Europe and Asia, where there are many bilingual users. What’s more, throughout the world, Android phones are consistently more affordable than their Apple counterparts. Of course, the Galaxy and Pixels buck this trend but, on the whole, there are plenty of affordable Android phones out there… even if it does mean missing out on the best camera in the world.

A further big advantage for Android users is that Android devices are compatible with Google’s myriad of services and applications, meaning that all the data you could possibly ever need is right there at your fingertips. This is not quite the case on iOS devices. While Google apps are available for the iPhone, the user experience can often feel rather disjointed because they were not specifically designed for iOS platforms.

As the above indicates, many avenues may be open to you that are not available through an iOS app alone if you’re developing android apps.

Another major advantage for users is Android’s Google integration. From Maps to Drive, all Google services data is readily available on your phone. This feels cohesive. On the contrary, on iOS, the Google apps are separated and disjointed because they are not native to the platform.

These are a few ways that an Android app can exponentially increase your user base, especially on an international scale.

It’s important to note that, while Android has secured a majority market share, this doesn’t mean you should rule out iOS apps. The App store can represent a strategic springboard from which you can launch your app and test it with a critical audience. However, if your final goal is to get your app into the hands of a global audience, Android is where it’s at.

2) Releasing an Android App Can Boost Your Website Rankings

Getting your app out there will depend as much on your search engine optimization as it will the user interface and underlying functionality.

It is imperative that your app can be found by the search engines. To achieve this, you can tap into a range of SEO strategies that are designed to ensure robots like Google perceive your app to have something of value for your target audience.

The App store exists in a closed ecosystem. It is hosted on a private Apple server and doesn’t give your main site any SEO benefits. However, by hosting an Android app on Google Play, you have the added benefit of being listed in Google’s app indexing library. This has a fantastic SEO benefit because the app views translate into site page views. Essentially, every click on your app becomes a click on your homepage or the corresponding landing page. The more clicks you get, the better your rank in Google.

3) Android Gives You Access to a Vast Open Source Network

A further benefit associated with Android app development is that you have access to the open-source elements of the network.

Open source is a great platform through which developers share and customize source code. This fosters a collaborative environment that app developers can tap into and subsequently develop apps more quickly and easily.

A prime example of how open source can help streamline programming activities is that of push notifications. It can take around half a day to develop integrated push notifications for Android apps, while it can take more than two days to deliver the same functionality on iOS.

For a comprehensive open-source repository for Android apps, check out GitHub.

4) Android App Development is Cheaper

There are also gains to be had on the financial front. Developers who are looking to become approved publishers on the app store will need to shell out $100 a year. That’s a huge sum in comparison to the $9.99 charged on the Play Store. In addition, Android developers can test their apps on their own devices without paying a cent. The same can’t be said for iOS apps. Apple’s closed-source system entails that you can only house iOS apps in the App store.

5) Android Apps Are Compatible With Each Other

There are also some major infrastructure differences that can be pretty persuasive when you’re deciding whether to roll out an iOS app on the Android platform. The way in which Android apps can freely interact with each other means that it is possible to integrate the functionality of one great app into your own offering.

Let’s take Pezo as an example. Pezo is essentially educational, parental control Android app for children that force children to perform educational-based tasks before they can play games or browse the web. For example, when the Pezo app is installed, if a teenager wants to launch SnapChat he or she may be first asked a series of math-based questions of the appropriate level before being granted access to the app. This type of setup simply isn’t possible with iOS due to Apple’s restriction on the extent to which apps can interact with each other.

Apple’s reputation is based on its great ability to refine a design. It is typically quite some time before cutting-edge tech makes it to Apple’s hardware. Unbeknownst to the majority of iPhone users, the features they associate so closely with their iPhones, including a predictive type and multitasking, were actually derived from Android technologies.

The decision of whether to invest in developing android apps ultimately depends on what you are hoping to achieve. However, there’s certainly due reason to make the move.