Although the App Store still makes 90% money than Google Play, Android is now prioritized by 47% of mobile app developers and dominates the emerging markets. The Asian-Pacific mobile app market, for example, is expected to grow by $ 29.2 billion by 2020. It’s no wonder Android-first is finally getting real! How much does it cost to develop an Android app? Read on to find out!
Top 3 factors behind Android app development cost
It’s a well-known fact that Android app development is 30% more expensive than iOS — due to the larger amount of code, emulators’ slower performance and fragmentation.
· More coding. Judging from our experience, a typical Android app has 77% more lines of code on average (excluding comments and blank lines). Although a great share of this code is generated automatically, developers still have to review, debug and maintain it, which definitely impacts the cost of Android app development;
· More dev hours. Programmers’ work is evaluated in man-hours. Android app development companies charge anything between $ 165 (US) and $ 35 (Eastern Europe) per hour. Also, you should take into account such factors as the complexity and novelty of a software development project, the choice of a pricing model and the size of a company you’re going to outsource Android apps development to;
· More devices to test your app on. The “fragmentation” term can refer to many things including the proliferation of smartphones and tablets powered by the operating system, different manufacturer skins and slow adoption of latest Android OS. In fact, Nougat is currently used by less than 2% of Android mobile devices. Once your vendor builds an Android app, he’s got to make sure it runs seamlessly on any gadget powered by 7 (!) Android versions (from the 2010 Gingerbread to the latest version of Nougat). And don’t forget about screen sizes and browsers: unlike the App Store, Google Play does accept mobile web apps.
How much does it cost to develop an Android mobile app?
The complexity and size of a software project are the key factors behind the Android app development cost.
We’re going to divide Android app projects into three groups (small, medium and large) and tell you what factors impact application development cost using the examples from the R-Style Lab portfolio (available on our company web site).
· Small. Our customer (the state agencies of the Republic of Kazakhstan) wanted to develop Android/iOS applications to promote the upcoming Astana Economic Forum. The app we’ve built has all the features found in event management solutions, including the general and personal schedule sections, text blocks (data on sponsors and speakers), maps, feedback forms and notifications. Although the entire project lasted for 8 weeks, the Android part took about 60% of the time. Thus, simple Android apps cost anything between $ 10–15 thousand;
· Medium. We’ve also built an Android application for the international division of Japan Tabaco. The company wanted to facilitate communication between cashiers and sales managers who work in the field. Besides the mobile app, the solution features a web-based application. The program enables JT employees to timely update POS data and rewards them with bonus points. The project was carried out by a 5-person team composed of a team lead, senior Android developer, middle PHP developer, QA engineer and a project manager and lasted for 7 weeks. Similar app would cost you up to $ 20 thousand;
· Large. US law enforcement officers use custom devices that detect the level of radioactive contamination at crime scenes. They needed iOS/Android mobile apps to visualize sensor data and generate reports. When it comes to building IoT apps (or applications that support integration with new APIs or use machine learning algorithms), there can be no out-of-the-box solutions. Our team has developed applications that connect to the custom device via Bluetooth, generate multiple types of reports specifying data on radioactive isotopes and location and transfer the reports to the server. The entire project took 20 weeks to complete, driving the cost of a complex Android application up to $ 35 thousand.
Wait, what about games? After all, 90% of Google Play’s revenue is generated by gaming apps.
Although the cost of Android game app development is largely determined by the type of a mobile game (casual, social, cross-platform or PC-level games with elaborate graphics), you can’t build a game app for less than $ 50 thousand (no matter what country you outsource software development to).
Through 2017 and beyond, the demand for enterprise mobile apps will outpace the available dev capacity by 500%. If you consider building an Android application, you’d better look for a reliable vendor ASAP. And yes, don’t forget to conduct proper marketing research to determine the initial demand for your app and build an MVP to decide on its feature set. Also, choose an appropriate monetization strategy early on: there are almost 5 million apps on the App Store and Google Play, but less than 0.1% of mobile applications do achieve commercial success.