At first glance, developing applications for Android and for iOS seem to be very similar, but if we go into the details, it becomes clear that the particularities of each operating system have a significant impact on how developers must carry out the projects.
Differences exist not only technically, but also in terms of design and mobile marketing. In other words, the overall concept of the app will depend on the operating system chosen. Developers moving from one system to another, with a completely different programming language, will notice disparities.
Technical differences in application development
Let’s take a look at the differences usually seen by developers in the process of creating mobile apps for Android and iOS.
The programming language
The Android and iOS operating systems are each programmed in different programming languages. This is the biggest variation: iOS apps run on Objective-C / Swift, while Android apps run on Java.
The test phase of the application
The control of an application is an essential step in the process of developing a mobile application , just as for games and in general software. Ensuring that the developed application works perfectly is essential. The iOS simulator and the Android emulator are examples often used to perform these tests.
The first striking difference is the higher speed of the iOS simulator compared to its Android counterpart. The Android emulator has the advantage of being an efficient virtual machine with a CPU that makes it more realistic than its equivalent iOS. Moreover, iOS simulators often do not transmit accurate and realistic representations of Apple devices.
For this reason, it is essential to perform many tests on real mobile devices to observe the interactivity of the app and detect any bugs.
The graphical interface
Here are the visual differences when creating an app for an Android or iOS user. from a technical point of view, the developer will build XML files on Android interfaces . These files are very similar to iOS XIB files.
As far as animations are concerned, we are tempted to say that iOS is much better prepared than Android. Apple, with a particular focus on aesthetics and user experience, has always strived to offer flexible, complex and powerful animations. Google for its part was more concerned about the settings of its hardware, but still tried to improve the graphics performance of its devices.
The «Back» button
Another obvious difference is this “back” button, found in Android and does not exist in iOS. It is a small detail which, however, conditions the development of application.
This back button is also used for navigation in the Android environment. In the absence of this button, the developer of the iOS application must find another way to indicate on the screen how to go back or if there is another way to perform this action using another stream of ‘interaction.
Other technical differences
- Delegate vs. Adapt: iOS uses a delegate when using delegation templates. On Android, these models are represented by an adapter (adapt). Although they are intended for different platforms and expressed through words, they are very similar concepts.
- UIViewController vs Activity . These are the different windows that make up an application. They are called UIViewControllers on iOS and Activities on Android. They are similar in all respects, but an Activity can not hold a sub activity while a UIViewController can contain another UIViewController.
- Android devices unlock with a slide up and iOS to the right.
- Preferences and permissions. Under iOS, we find all the general settings of the device grouped in a single tab. Android, they are more dispersed, and you have to navigate the device to find them.
- The cards. For iOS app development, we can use Apple Maps or Google Maps, while for an Android app it’s always better to use Google Maps. Combine this with the use of geofencing and beacons , which are becoming increasingly popular.
Other differences when creating apps
At the time of creating these applications, differences exist not only technically, but also in terms of mobile design or marketing. Let’s see how to handle these differences.
The cost of a mobile application
We have already discussed the main differences between creating an application for Android or iOS in previous articles.
The development process on iOS costs slightly more, simply because there is less demand on iOS than Android. Add to that that the expected requirements on an iOS product are also much higher.
As already mentioned, the design of an application is closely related to its development process. That’s why it becomes visually different depending on the operating system for which it was designed: Android or iOS. Each of these OS has its own interaction and style, influenced by the two big companies that created them respectively. It is therefore advisable to have expert developers in one or both operating systems to guide us in the realization of our project. Then finally we will be able to create perfect native applications.
The App Store Optimization
As discussed previously, the “Best practices of the ASO” (App Store Optimization) are not the same for Android and iOS. This must be taken into account in order to optimize the position of the application on the blind , and pay particular attention to differences in title and description; all other variables are more or less the same in both cases.
Monetization and investment returns
In general, the return of investment is not the same for an Android app as for an iOS app. By focusing on the source of revenue, (the way to monetize the app itself), we can notice that iOS apps tend to charge users for downloads and embedded paid services, while apps Android are usually free and become profitable through advertisements.
The current situation of Android and iOS in the international smartphone market
It might be interesting to know the current situation of the smartphone market before deciding for which operating system you want to develop your new application. The numbers of the two dominant operating systems speaks volumes about their penetration of the smartphone market. It is obvious that today Android and Apple are the two most important exclusive suppliers in terms of operating system for smartphones. With a combined market share of Android and iOS of around 99%, these systems have become unstoppable, even though Android can count on a market share four to five times that of the Apple. In Germany for example, the market share of Android is 81.5%, against 17% for Apple. The situation is similar in the Spanish and French markets. In contrast, Apple achieved a better result with around 35% market share in the United States and Great Britain, while Android reached “only” 63.2%. Almost forgotten manufacturers of Windows Phone and Blackberryare no longer concerned as a supplier. Samsung and Apple should be aware of the competitors on the way already well established as Huawei, OPPO and Xiaomi. With a 20% market share, Samsung is a crucial supplier for the distribution of Android’s operating system. The three most formidable competitors of Samsung and Apple regularly increase their market share. We will see how everyone will defend themselves and compete with others.
Google Play Store vs. Apple App Store
At the same time, the number of applications is constantly growing and progressing more and more rapidly. Now 2.7 million apps are available on the Google Play Store and 2.2 million apps on the Apple App Store. Both platforms were launched in 2008. In just 5 years, we could estimate to count this figure at 1M. The forecasts look promising.
Unlike the Google Play Store, the biggest difference between providers is that all apps will be verified by Apple without exception. The application must meet specific Apple requirements and guidelines . As a result, apps can not include inappropriate or abusive content. Because of this procedure, it is recommended that developers take this information when developing on iOS. The process of verification of the application lasts approximately 3-4 weeks.
In contrast, Android does not have such strict verification procedures. Unfortunately, imitations of applications appear regularly on the Google Play Store, scammers trying to enjoy the great buzz by reproducing them. That’s why Google did not see and pay attention that a few days ago a fraudulent version of WhatsApp appeared on the official App Store, being in fact an ad spam application, which should encourage users to install more applications. If you are looking for an app on the Play Store and you feel the slightest doubt about its legitimacy, we recommend that you read its comments. In general, these fake apps are highlighted by the poor ratings added to these fraudulent apps.