In the previous article on developing mobile apps, we talked about the characteristics that distinguish users of each popular mobile operating system – iOS, Android and Windows Phone. This time we’re tackling the development phase. How much does it cost to develop a mobile app for each platform and what technologies it involves?

I have a mobile app idea… how much money do I need?
The cost of mobile app development obviously tops the list of frequently asked questions by both startup people and enterprises. As much as it depends on a lot of factors, such as the level difficulty, operating system of choice and the experience of developers, some universal rules of thumb can be found. Some of the most basic apps that don’t require back-end and databases, devoid of extras such as social media integration or the use of APIs, are priced between $2.000 and $10.000. Those may include single-purpose apps such as various calculators, or note-taking software as well as small business apps that contain static information. Usually 1-2 developers are enough and the development time is 8-10 weeks. Moderate and complex app that use dynamic data, databases and social integration may cost anywhere between $10.000-100.000. The development process may take a few to several months and is often iterative, which means that apps are published in stripped versions (so called minimum viable product – MVP) and the initial response is used to polish it and come up with new features. It’s important to note that developers often work per hour and aside of them, different sorts of specialists participate in the development process – those include designers, UX specialists and project managers. On average, the costs of an Android app and an iOS app are comparable. While iOS developers tend to charge more, the overall price is compensated by the need to test and debug an Android app for a longer time. That is due to the huge variety of Android devices and operating system versions in circulation.

The nitty-gritty of mobile development
Depending on the platform, different programming languages are used to develop mobile apps. Android developers usually code in Java, iOS developers make use of Objective-C and Swift, while Windows Phone developers utilize various programming languages as part of Microsoft’s .NET framework – C++, C#, Visual Basic. The technologies above allow for developing native apps, that is apps that feel right at home on their respective operating systems, working fast and most efficiently. It’s also possible to develop mobile apps using standard web technologies such as HTML5, CSS and JavaScript. This way you can create one app that works across all system. The disadvantages of this approach include poorer performance. Read more about HTML5/JavaScript apps in our previous post.

In the next article, we’re going to take a closer look at hardware – the differences between devices that run various mobile operating systems and the implications it carries. Stay tuned.