When is an App not an App? Sounds like a strange question, however, in today's multi-device world the answer is; quite often. 'Apps' or Mobile Applications in the traditional sense of the word are software applications designed to run specifically on SmartPhones, Tablets and a whole host of other mobile devices. However, due to the amount of mobile devices available, developing an App for a particular device and operating system can be somewhat of a minefield. The following article describes some of the different options available when producing an 'App' and hopefully will help you to avoid those 'mines'.
1. An 'App App' - this is an App that has been developed from the ground up to run on a particular operating system (OS) and/or device eg. iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy S3, Nexus etc. There are 2 main players in the mobile OS arena; iOS & Android. These equate to 92%* of the market share on Smartphones (22% iOS, 70% Android*). There are other players; Windows Mobile, Blackberry etc. but you would have to have a pretty strong business case to develop an App for platforms that currently have less than 5% of the market.
To develop for iOS and Android you need to have a good understanding of the programming languages Objective C (iOS) and Java (Android). These are intense programming languages and are difficult to understand if you are not from a programming background. However the benefits of building an App in this way gives you the ability to really push the boundaries in terms of interactivity, send push notifications to customers and give exposure and generate a revenue stream through the App Store or Google Play. The downside is that you will need to develop the App at least twice (iOS & Android) to cover the majority of the SmartPhone market and there will also need to be development time for tablet devices as well as the different versions of the Android OS and screen sizes that Android supports. Thus this option can be expensive.
2. A 'Web App' - this is an App that is built, as the name suggests, to live on the web. The device must have an Internet connection to be able to access this type of App and is usually developed using HTML5.
The benefits of developing this type of App are that it can run across the different types of mobile operating systems and devices without the need to have to redevelop it. It is important with this type of App that the designers are given a thorough brief on which devices and operating systems you are targeting. This will ultimately save time and money.
The limitations are that you cannot exploit the interactivity of a device like an 'App App' can, or post your App to the App Store to generate exposure and revenue. In the majority of cases you will also need a web connection which isn't always possible.
3. An 'Interactive PDF' App - this is an App built using the Adobe Publishing Suite and has generally started life as a PDF, Illustrator or InDesign document that has been created for print. Developing an App in this way is one of the most cost effective ways of getting content onto a mobile device. Interactivity and video content can be added relatively easily and controlling the distribution of these Apps is simple using the Adobe Viewer App.
At Eon, our App development team are utilising all of the above methods (and more) to create Apps for our clients to suit a number of applications and budgets. We are approved suppliers to the iTunes App Store and Google Play, so if you are thinking of developing an App or would like more information on the options available when thinking about an App please give us a call on 01482 484850 or drop us an email firstname.lastname@example.org.