Why Developing Cross-Platform Mobile Apps Doesn’t Have to Cost a Bundle
With mobile usage at an all-time high, it's clear consumers are changing the way they access content. In fact, according to Business Insider's 2013 Mobile Usage Report, consumers are now dedicating one-fifth of their media consumption time to mobile. That's five times greater than it was in 2009.
So what's this surge in mobile usage mean for businesses? Cross-platform mobile development is a must. Developing mobile websites and/or applications for just one platform is no longer acceptable as it will only limit your reach and cut down on potential revenue.
While many businesses have jumped on the mobile bandwagon, few have had the time and/or resources needed to develop cross-platform applications. However, this doesn't have to be the case. Developers now have a slew of new tools at their disposal that make cross-platform development much faster and more affordable. For example, at Adage Technologies we've found PhoneGap to be extremely helpful during the development process, as it allows our developers to code an application once and run it basically anywhere, all while still providing a flawless user experience across devices.
Here are a few reasons why solutions like PhoneGap can and should be used throughout the development process:
2. Expand your user base across platforms: Before starting any development project, typically the first decision that's made is choosing who to target and consequently which platform to develop on. In some cases this is very easy, as businesses will find that their target audience operates on one platform. However, this usually isn't the case. The majority of companies’ target audience will be spread across devices, forcing the development team to limit their reach simply because they don't have the resources needed to develop an application for multiple platforms.
The good news is that developers no longer have to worry about this. Developers can produce one app and have it work on iOS and Mac OSX, Android, Chrome OS, Windows Phone, and Windows 7 and 8 and meet the style requirements to be listed in Apple's App Store and the Android Market.
3. Access features of each device's native functions: One common concern when developing an app for multiple platforms is the inability to access each device's native functions such as geolocation, camera and push notifications. This might not be an issue when dealing with more basic apps, but when working on more user-intensive applications, you're going to want and need the app to have access to certain features on the phone like looking up a contact or location of the phone. Making these features available within a native app creates a more enriching and satisfying user experience. However, doing so without the help of a third-party solution is very costly and time consuming.
With any application, the primary goal is typically to acquire as many users within the target audience as possible. However, this often requires cross-platform development, and therefore a bigger budget and longer timeline — two things many organizations don't have. By integrating solutions like PhoneGap into the development process, however, developing for a wide audience is no longer a struggle. Developers can stop worrying so much about budget constraints and start focusing more on the actual development and user experience of the app.
Roy Chomko is the president of Adage Technologies, a web development and design firm.