On the three previous occasions, our iOS, Android or Windows Phone series tackled topics such as mobile target audience, mobile app development costs and the hardware mobile apps run on. This time, we’re going to discuss the publishing opportunities. We’re going to tell you where you can publish your app, what possibilities major platforms offer and what their pros and cons are.

Where and how to publish a mobile app?

Depending on which mobile platform you develop for, the app publishing process looks completely different and the potential opportunities and threats also vary. On the surface, Apple’s app store seems the most straightforward as iOS is a proprietary system, Apple has full control over the publishing process. The App Store is, aside of a few exceptions such as certificates for testing purposes or for employees, the only place where you can distribute your iOS app. Unfortunately, the process of submitting and iOS to App Store is fairly complicated. In order to do so, you have to set up a developer account on developer.apple.com and generate a certificate for your app. The developer license costs $99 or $299 for enterprises and allows you to publish as many apps as you wish for a year. You can find a few wonderful official and unofficial guides that will get you through the process such as this video by Paul Flahan (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRlOdp4uZoo).

Despite full dependency on Apple and the tedious app publishing process, putting your app on App Store has many benefits. As we mentioned in a previous entry, App Store visitors pay more for apps. Also, Apple is known for promoting exceptionally good apps on the home page and for putting apps in various bundles, educational apps in particular. A popular Polish iOS app Shapes (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/shapes-3d-geometry-learning/id501650786?mt=8) benefited from these venues.

Unlike App Store, Android is an open source platform and, as a result, there are many Android app stores besides the official Google Play store. If you wish to publish on the Play store, you have to register for a Google Play publisher account and get familiar with the Developer Console that contain publishing tools. You can learn details on developer.android.com. There are a lot of Android app stores. Some of the most popular Google Play alternatives include Yandex App Store (https://store.yandex.com/), the Amazon App (https://www.amazon.com/gp/mas/get/amazonapp) or GetJar (http://www.getjar.com/?d=-android-os).

As for Windows, you are also left with the official app store only (microsoft.com/store/apps). Luckily, the publishing process is simple and you will quickly get familiar with the app developer account (https://dev.windows.com/en-us/programs/join).

How many apps are there?

Have you ever wondered how many app there are online for each mobile platform? According to Statista, the numbers for the year 2015 are as follows:

Google Play (Android)5 1.6 million

Apple App Store (iOS) 1.5

Amazon Appstore (Android) 0,4

Windows Phone Store (Windows Phone) 0,34

Blackberry World (Blackberry) 0,13

So…what does it all mean?

Is the app publishing process significant enough to make a difference in your mobile development plans? Yes and no. It’s true that factors such as choosing the right target, figuring out costs and technology are overall more important. But app stores do offer certain perks and limitations worth considering. Apple app store’s guidelines regarding the content of the app are strict, but Apple knows how to reward great apps and have special bonuses for apps valuable for certain groups such as children. On the other hand, Android community is vast and many different stores have their own ways to promote the best apps. Before you make you decision, take a closer look at each of the many stores, how they expose the apps and how they are viewed by your target audience. And definitely do not get discouraged by formalities. They get easier with… another app.