Decisions, Decisions… Android, iOS, Windows 8 or HTML5?
The last month has introduced much new food for thought if you are trying to decide which mobile platform to build on first:
- Thirty days ago, you were probably thinking to start with iOS, not just because of the launch of the iPad Mini but also the preponderance of Apps in iTunes
- Then Microsoft launched Windows 8 (and the Surface), driving a full-court press to get developers to build apps for the Windows Store
- A few days later, IDC came out with the latest numbers, showing Android was crushing everyone, with a 75% market share of new phones sold in Q3.
- As a result, some declared that iOS was going the way of the Dodo–until last week, when iOS (especially the iPad) crushed the competition in online purposes purchases on Black Friday.
It has definitely been an eventful pre-Holiday Season in mobile.
Which Platform To Build On First?
If you are Fortune-500 company with a big mobile budget the decision is easy: build on several. If you are smaller, you probably can only build one or two at most (or at least one to start on first). Which one do pick? The answer is actually simple—if you ask two key questions about your intended user base.
Question 1: What is the (Intended) Usage Pattern of Your Customers?
Notice that this question does not ask, “What is the Intended Usage Pattern for Your App?” Why? Because sometimes building an app is the wrong thing to do.
Apps are really fun to build. However, they require a lot from your customers. First they have to find the app. Then they have download and install it. Then remember to open up and use it. That’s a long chain of dependencies required for success.
If your customers use your product regularly—and this use is transactional or highly interactive in nature—then build an app. Open Table is a great example: I book dinner reservations several times a month, on the spur of the moment. It is much easier to do from an app, especially one that needs to interact with other Apps on my device (i.e., calendar, telephone, maps).Continued on the next page