Building a mobile app is cheap and fast – A myth or reality?

As smart phones penetrate every aspect of our lives and mobile phones become a way of life, usage of mobile apps is also increasing significantly. Though millions of apps are being launched every day, it requires months of careful planning and effort to develop a great app.

Before we delve into the cost of building a mobile app and it’s ROI, let’s discuss what it takes to build a mobile app from scratch!
1. A great user experience design that meets the business requirements and passes the usability tests
2. A team of skilled developers with expertise on individual platform (iOS, Android, Windows Phone) to build a native app or hybrid app
3. Robust and scalable backend that is optimized for mobile consumption
4. A testing team to validate end-to-end user scenarios with performance metrics, non-functional metrics such as battery consumption, compatibility testing

Here, we are still talking about standalone apps and not the companion apps for media, BLE or IoT. Complexity levels in companion apps will be higher, and needless to say that time taken to develop and test them will also be more.

Smart phones are an important point of focus for many of the top companies in the world including Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft, and their success today is largely governed by the success of their products on the mobile platform. For Facebook, moving to the mobile platform was one of the biggest challenges and it took them longer than estimated. Now 70% of Facebook usage is said to be on the smartphone! Apple continues to dominate the market in terms of its app store which is said to make more money than the apps on other platforms. Microsoft rolled out business apps such as Office365, Bing, Skype on all the mobile platforms to ensure that it does not lose out on the user-base for these apps even if Windows phone adoption is low.

Now, coming to the most important topic that I want to address in this post - just because there are thousands of free apps available on download today, it does not mean that they can be built faster. There is a limited real-estate available on the phone and for an app to find space on it, it needs to be valuable to the user and enable repeated usage. There are a few apps that can be built-in short-time or in hackathons and are also successful but these can be considered as exceptions and not a trend.

It is also a known fact that when you go shopping for mobile app development, you get varied cost estimate ranging from 50,000 USD to 500,000 USD for the same set of requirements. One simple formula still applies here – what you pay for is what you get. The 50K app may get you 1000 downloads in a month, whereas 500K app may get you 0.5 million downloads in 6 months. You need to make a decision on the timeline, cost versus benefit ratios.

Also, the quantum of work changes based on the business scope and user-base. If it is a consumer app like an ecommerce app, then you need to have both mobile web as well as mobile app working equally well. If it’s a gaming app, then of course it will primarily be on mobile. Enterprise apps are easy to scope out as the user-base is limited and requirements are driven within the functional domains of the company.

Adding to this are the regular challenges associated with mobile app developing — device fragmentation, network latency, offline availability and accessibility requirements to name a few. All this adds-up to the effort and subsequently, to the cost.

To conclude, it is a fact that app development is not cheap and if it is done in haste, it can increase the cost exponentially, along with damaging your company’s brand image and your market reputation at stake.
Finding a partner that can provide a wide range of technologies and solutions can help mobile app manufacturers get the right products and services to market quickly. Plus, a reliable partner helps ensure that the manufacturers can control costs and ultimately, capitalize on the rapidly expanding mobile app market. Partnerships are a key tenet of Aricent's success, which is why we constantly connect and collaborate with other key organizations. Aricent offers mobile enabling software to help you develop - innovative and user-friendly enterprise as well as consumer mobile applications - rapidly and in a cost-effective manner. Click to contact us today and learn more.


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