When mapping out a mobile app, choosing an OS is one of the first decisions the development team needs to make. At first glance, it seems like building products for both iOS and Android platforms is a solid way out; however, launching a product on two operating systems simultaneously prolongs development time and might be too risky if budgets are tight.
That’s why a lot of startups follow a one-platform paradigm, starting with one operating system and scaling to another after ensuring users like a product. In this post, we will help you understand the differences between Android and iOS and find out which operating system might be a better fit for your project.
Android & iOS Market Overview
Choosing between iOS and Android is a polarizing topic — there are a lot of fans of both platforms. To make an informed choice on a platform, let’s take a look at market share, revenue, popularity, and trends for both operating systems.
According to statistics, Android dominates the mobile OS market by huge numbers, claiming 73.3% of all smartphone users. iOS comes in second with 25.8% of the total user base. To understand how both operating systems penetrate the market, let’s take a look at user breakdown by region:
- North America: 52.62% — iOS, 47.09% — Android
- Europe: 27.55% — iOS, 71.89% — Android
- Asia: 15.03% — iOS, 83.9% — Android
- South America: 9.8% — iOS, 89.5% — Android
- Oceania — 51.4% — iOS, 48.2% — Android
- Africa — 12.11% — iOS, 85.25% — Android
As you see, iOS is a dominant operating system in North America and Oceania, while the rest of the world predominantly uses Android-based devices.
Another statistic to consider is the market share breakdown by average user age. 18-24-year-old users mainly select iOS devices while the distribution of operating systems for 55-65 year-olds is almost even: 49% choose Android, while 47% select iOS and 4% don’t select either of these.
As you develop a mobile app, it’s helpful to understand which financial opportunities each operating system offers. According to a report released in 2019, Apple’s App Store generated $25.5 billion as of the first half of 2019 — an increase of 13.2% compared to the first half of 2018.
Android’s Google Play Store, on the other hand, can’t boast such impressive numbers — the marketplace’s revenue only reached $14.2 billion in the first half of 2019.
Number of apps and devices
To understand which operating system is more straightforward in terms of app hosting and approvals, let’s compare the number of products released both for iOS and Android. Here’s what statistics say:
- Android: 2.7 million apps
- iOS: 2.2 million apps
As for device fragmentation, Android takes the lead by huge numbers. There are over 24,000 smartphone and tablet modifications, with screen sizes ranging from 5-inch to 18.4-inch tablets compared to a couple dozen iOS devices.
Releasing an app is a decision with long-term implications, which is why you should consider the future of operating systems as you decide which one to choose. Here’s a brief review of the latest trends in Android and iOS development:
- Further development and support of instant apps
- Kotlin grows its market share and is on the road to become a primary Android app development technology
- The proliferation of location-based apps and development of beacon integration tools
- Improved application security — ASWebAuthentication Sessions and other user data management tools
- Further development of Swift — the 5.0 version of the language introduced raw strings, checking for integer multipliers and other convenient tools
- Integrating cloud in iOS apps
What Benefits Each Platform Brings to the Table
As you can tell by now, there’s no set-in-stone answer when it comes to deciding whether Android or iOS is a better first-choice platform. Most iOS or Android mobile app development teams agree on the fact that choosing between the two depends on the audience you are targeting. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits that Android and iOS offer business owners:
Opt for Android developer services if you are looking for:
- A global audience. The platform has a higher overall market share and a growing presence in developing regions — Asia, Africa, and South America.
- Tech-savvy users. Android leads the way with a higher number of technically proficient users and niche apps (fintech, IT, and others).
- Quicker app approval. Getting an app approved by Google Play typically takes no more than two days.
Choose an iOS system if you are looking for:
- The ability to penetrate into developed regions — North America, Western Europe, or Oceania. By releasing an iOS app, you primarily target first-world countries and their populations, thus increasing monetization opportunities.
- A more financially lucrative market. According to statistics, iOS users spend nearly twice as much as those who prefer Android — you will have a higher chance of launching a successful e-commerce app on Apple’s OS.
- Entertainment or creative tools. iOS is a leading platform for games, social media, and creativity tools.
- High security. iOS offers developers and business owners a robust system for protecting user data and ensuring app security.
Android vs iOS App Development Comparison
If you are still not sure which platform is a better fit for your project, here’s a side by side comparison between the two based on predefined criteria:
|Programming languages||Java, Kotlin, C/C++||Swift, Objective-C, С/C++|
|Tools — IDEs, libraries||Android Studio (official), IntelliJ IDEA, Eclipse||XCode, AppCode|
|Design peculiarities||Device fragmentation challenges — statistically, there are over 24,000 Android device types||User acceptance challenges — iOS users are more demanding in terms of UI/UX design features|
|Development speed||Relatively slow||Relatively fast|
|App launch and associated fees||Google Play Store fee — $25, one-time
Developer commission — 70% of the full app price
|App Store Fee — $99, yearly
Developer commission — 70% of the full app price.
When you choose between custom Android app development or development for iOS, keep in mind that there’s no definite answer as to which is better. Business owners need to understand what both platforms offer — for Android, it’s flexibility and a wide audience; for iOS, high development speed and return on investment.
Whichever OS you choose for your mobile app development, make sure to hire a reliable iOS or Android development company. At Nerdzlab, we build solutions for both platforms in e-commerce, healthcare, fintech, and other fields.
Take a look at our portfolio to see the skills of our developers. To discuss a project, leave us a message — we are looking forward to bringing your innovative ideas and concepts to life!