Summary: As mobile apps take off in the business world, companies face a problem: Misconceptions still surround mobile app development. Many businesses venture into mobile app development with false beliefs…that could cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars. In this article, we learn about 5 more common misconceptions and how to avoid them.
In a previous article, we explored a common problem: Mobile is uncharted territory for most businesses. As they venture into the world of mobile apps for the first time, they don’t understand exactly what they’re getting into. They head into the project with misconceptions about enterprise mobile apps.
Why is this such a problem? These misconceptions often lead to wasted resources and failed projects.
What are these misconceptions? In part 1 of this two-part article, we covered these five misconceptions:
- Any mobile app is better than none
- More features = better app
- Development is a one-time cost
- Integration is easy
- Native vs. Mobile web is either/or choice
Today, let’s take it a step further. Here are 5 more common misconceptions businesses have about mobile apps:
6. Converting an app to a different platform is easy
If you do decide to take the native approach, you must make a choice: iOS, Android, or both? Of course, there are other platforms out there–like Windows and Blackberry. But, they don’t hold a significant market share. These days, iOS and Android are the big players.
Here’s where we see a big misconception. Businesses falsely believe that migrating an app to a different platform is simple. For instance, if they build for iOS, converting that app to Android should be easy.
The reality: It’s not. As explained below, building for both platforms requires completely separate applications. It’s not a matter of converting one to the other. If you’re building native apps for both platforms, it will require twice the work.
“Some people think that it’s the same thing,” explains Victor Chernogorov, CDO at MobileUp LLC. “But they are two completely different platforms in terms of design. They are developed in different programming languages. iOS apps are developed in the Objective-C, or Swift, Android applications are developed in Java.”
7. If you submit an app to the app store, it will get approved
The app store is one often-overlooked aspect of native mobile app development. Many assume that if they submit their app to the app store, it will get approved. The submission/review process is more of a formality…right?
However, as many find out the hard way, it’s not that easy. In fact, the app store can add a major roadblock to your company’s mobile app.
How? When placed in an app store, a native application is completely controlled by the app store’s owner (like Apple or Google).
For instance, if Apple rejects or bans a company’s app from their app store, the company has no recourse. If Apple decides an app doesn’t meet their terms of service, the app is removed. If another company claims copyright over an element in the app, the app is removed. Or, as explained below, if Apple decides the app competes with their apps, the app is blocked.
“We have had several blocks from Apple in the review process where a certain function might be deemed to “compete” with Apple,” says Chris Herbert, CEO and Co-Founder of TrackR. “We saw this when attempting to develop apps on the iWatch platform to help users find lost items and the Apple review team rejected the app because it was seen to compete with the basic phone finder function on the watch.”
In short, the app store model puts companies at the mercy of a third party. All of the resources put into their application are wasted if that app store’s owner decides the app isn’t right for their store.
8. If you’re in the app store, you’ll get found
Back in 2008, when the app store was first introduced, competition was light. If you released an app into the app store, there was a great chance it would get found.
These days, that’s not the case. According to Apple, the App Store now offers over 2 million apps…and that number is growing every day.
The problem is, many businesses still assume the App Store works like it did in 2008. They take a “if we build it, they will come” approach to development. However, as explained below, getting an application published in the App Store does not guarantee its success.
“Probably the most common misconception that business owners/managers/marketers have is that app discovery somehow takes care of itself,” says Kim Stuart, COO of Atlas Rewards. “As with anything else, there is a HUGE investment of time, effort and dollars in order to promote a successful app. (My definition of a successful app is one that at least breaks even on the initial and ongoing dev costs to support it. )There are more than 2 million apps in the App Store and roughly the same in Google Play, so the odds of anyone finding an app randomly are up there with winning the lottery. It’s very expensive to market an app, so most business owners should really think about WHY they believe they should build an app.”
What should you do? If you are taking the app store route, you must devote just as much budget into marketing your app as you did in developing your app. Otherwise, all of that hard work goes to waste.
9. Offshoring development will save money
If you take the native approach, creating a mobile app can be quite expensive. How much? This article cites that “inexpensive” development is roughly $50k. Now, I’ve heard other companies spending between $5 – $25k for very basic apps.
For some businesses, these prices are enough to scare them away. What can they do? Some opt for mobile development tools, which let them build hybrid apps without coding. Others seek out offshore development companies to create their apps.
It’s a tempting proposition: A quality app at a fraction of the cost. But, be careful. Offshore development comes with a number of challenges that can derail your mobile app entirely. I’ve heard many horror stories from companies who decided to “save money” through offshore development, only to regret it. The fact is, offshoring your mobile development efforts can actually be far more expensive in the long run.
“Many early-stage startups believe that it is more than feasible to offshore mobile app development with relative ease however the reality is that offshoring often ends in disaster which it did for us,” says Bryan Clayton CEO of GreenPal. “After it’s all said and done when you factor wasted time and a decreasing in quality , the costs to offshore are the same if not more than domestic development. This is a lesson that most entrepreneurs have to learn the hard way.”
10. Mobile web apps cannot function like native apps
Now, let’s be clear: As of now, a native app can still offer more capabilities than a mobile web app. In fact, we have a comparison chart here, if you want to know all of the differences between the options.
That being said, mobile web apps offer more features than more businesses realize…and they’re only growing stronger. One driving force behind this trend: Progressive Web Apps.
What are Progressive Web Apps? As defined by Google, “Progressive Web Applications take advantage of new technologies to bring the best of mobile sites and native applications to users. They’re reliable, fast, and engaging.”
In short, it’s a push to bring native power to the mobile web…and it’s moving forward by leaps and bounds. Before you assume that the mobile web is too limited for your needs, do your research. You’ll find that the mobile web offers most of the capabilities found in native apps, and it’s only improving.
“Progressive Web App technology has been in development since 2013 but is finally coming to maturation in the marketplace.” explains Karolyn Hart, COO of InspireHUB Technologies. “There was a time where you had to install software and run it off your computer. As the internet became stable and browsers matured we came to a place where the majority of our applications on our computers are browser-based. We are in the midst of the same transition with mobile phones except the game changer is the PWA Technology as it outlines the app to be accessed offline even when there is no internet access. The PWA Technology costs a fraction to build of native apps, uses significantly less data and less memory and is quickly becoming the preferred app technology. We will look back one day on mobile “stores” for apps the same way we look at CD’s.”
While the list could certainly be longer, these are just 5 misconceptions businesses commonly believe about mobile apps. Would you add anything to this list? If you would like to add anything to this list, I’d love to hear it. Feel free to share in the comments.
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