Mobile Application Development: Android vs. iOS vs. Windows Developer View

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Mobile Application Development

The world of technology has transitioned into a post-PC era and more people are choosing mobile platforms to perform most of the tasks in personal and professional life. Currently there are an estimated 1.5 billion SmartPhones on the planet allowing users to manage and perform activities like Mobile Banking, Social Media, Entertainment, Gaming, among other things.

When it comes to which Mobile Platform/OS is the best, there has been a lot of hype as experts from around the globe share their views over the internet leaving the developers in a dilemma. It is well known that Apple initiated the Smartphone revolution, truly opening gates for complete migration away from the PCs. In recent years, however, Apple has been hit by a storm as the popularity of the Android OS has grown to capture a significant part of the Mobile market. So, how do these platforms/OS differ from each other from a developer’s point of view?

Development in iOS

Applications for iOS platform are developed using Objective-C programming language. Despite fierce competition from Google, iOS has been the go-to platform for most developers and service providers for their apps. iOS being a restricted platform provides more security and on the other hand, reserves User privacy by implementing stringent protocols for development of Applications. One major benefit of iOS is that a single application works on all Apple devices perfectly without a need to adjust the app for different screen sizes.

As iOS users are more willing to spend money purchasing new applications and content, iOS remains the most attractive platform for most mobile app developers. Solid security protocols ensure that your application will never be corrupted or copied by malicious developers. However, the main issue faced by developers is that their Application needs to be updated each time a new version of iOS is launched.

Until a few years ago, a Mac computer was required to develop applications for iOS which has now been removed and there are a variety of software programs available that can run on different operating systems.

Development in Android

Google launched this Open Source Platform for developers to create all types of application using its strong development environment. Android apps are made available for users to purchase and download within hours of App store submission whereas iOS submission to the Apple App Store can take 4-6 weeks (or longer) for approval before it is made available to users. In such a highly-competitive marketplace, the time-to-market factor creates a huge difference for developers and App owners.

All modern Operating Systems like Windows, Mac and Linux allow development of Android applications with unlimited possibilities. The Android programming language is basically a set of Java APIs and although Android is completely based on Java, there are some differences which even highly experienced Java developers may not be familiar with. Android programming is broken up into four components that combine together to create functional applications. And though all four components are required to develop a functional Android App, they are totally different processes which decreases the development time and provides better stability.

  1. Activities
  2. Services
  3. Content Provider
  4. Broadcast Receiver

The greatest drawback of Android is that being an Open Source platform, is less secure and chances of intellectual property theft are higher. Malicious developers can easily create copies of high selling apps and upload on Google App Store without any restrictions, discouraging the developers to choose this platform for high-end Apps.

Development in Windows

Development of Windows 8 Applications requires a software tools from Microsoft like Visual Studio Express is needed for developing conventional desktop apps for Windows 8 x86-based machines and Windows Phone Apps.

Since the launch of iOS & Android platforms, there just aren’t enough users on Windows to create a demand for development of User oriented Applications. For the most part, Windows Phone is an afterthought for most developers but that shouldn’t prevent anyone from developing Windows Apps. Microsoft has improved the OS significantly to encourage developers to use the platform for developing better Apps.

Windows does provide an extremely secure solution for corporate individuals using company assets where Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies have created a huge buzz all over corporate sector and Microsoft has tried to capitalize on the increased need for security with Windows Phone 8. This mobile OS will become more important in the coming years as security threats continue to increase in the world of internet.

The primary intention of this comparison is to demonstrate that each platform offers a slightly different experience to users and each OS has its own benefits & limitations so choosing the correct platform for your app depends on the features of the App to be developed.

By,
Parth Dalal
Technology Consultant, Business Analyst & Project Manager

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