Today, smartphones and other mobile devices are commonplace in the UK. According to IDC, several million smartphones were delivered to the market in the second quarter of 2019 alone. Cell phones today are nothing without mobile applications. The mobile application market is growing at an alarming rate from year to year. No wonder there are more and more people who ask us about the costs of creating a phone application.
The cost of creating a mobile application depends on many factors:
platforms on which the application is to run (iOS, Android)
Will you need to connect to the server?
Should the application be able to create accounts?
How many screens will be in the application?
Should the application be integrated with social platforms?
Do we want to create a version of the application for web browsers / Does this version already exist?
Will the application support push notifications?
Should the application have a separate layout for tablets?
Do you want to have maps or navigation available in the application?
In what orientation should the application work (horizontal / vertical)?
Will the application support micropayments (Google Play, PayPal etc.)?
What functions of the phone does the application use (recording, accelerometer, camera, camera)?
Should the application support external devices via bluetooth?
Language versions prepared for the application.
The cost of creating a mobile application
At ImpiCode, we make mobile applications on behalf of clients for many years. On this basis, you can try to provide a rough estimate of the cost of creating a mobile application:
small application - PLN 10-60 thousand - probably without internet access,
an average application - 60-150 thousand zlotys - may have access to the Internet. Often, the basic version of MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is in this range,
large application - over 150 thousand zlotys.
The key decision that we must make when considering our mobile application is to choose the platforms on which the application is to operate. We can choose from iOS (iPhone) and Android. Today, Windows Phone applications are no longer being created. If we do not know yet exactly what the final shape of our application will be, it is best to decide for the moment to create a prototype of the application on one of the platforms, and only then transfer the ready solution to both platforms. When choosing a platform, you should also take into account the country of residence of our recipients. The application targeted at the Polish market is best created for Android smartphones. However, Android has even more decisions to make. Choose the minimum supported version. At the time of writing this article, it's best to spend the application on version 5.0+. For business applications, the ideal solution is to enumerate the specific phone models on which the application will be tested and supported. We can do this if we buy company phones for the entire company as part of the organization.
If our application will be intended for the needs of the organization in which we work, we will say that it is a business application. This will affect several things. We can then limit the requirements of the correct operation of the mobile application to several models of devices that we use in the company. It will significantly facilitate the design and implementation of a mobile application. We will still want our application to be useful and properly designed in terms of interface, but we can reduce costs by simplifying the graphic design and giving up unnecessary fountains. It will look different with the consumer application. We are forced to support many different device models because our potential users will use a wide range of devices. The usability of the application should come first, but you may want to invest in an eye-catching graphic design.
Graphic design of the application
Preparation of the graphic design of the application can estimate its cost and accelerate the process of creating a mobile application. It also allows you to organize your thoughts and clarify the design of the mobile application. We can do it in any graphics program (Paint, PhotoShop) or use a ready-made tool for creating mockups (e.g. https://www.fluidui.com).
Preparing a separate version of our app in the form of a website is a significant additional cost. If from the beginning we intend to create a WWW version, it is best to find an IT company that offers comprehensive service and will deal with the creation of both the mobile application and its WWW version.
Server and API connection
Server and API may be very incomprehensible concepts for a person without technical education. They are needed when we want to connect users of our application (e.g. when playing online), if we want to store various information (e.g. purchase / sale offers, photos) or have access to other information about our users.
Creating accounts in the application
If we want to save user data and store it on a server, we will probably need to create accounts in the application. Such a need arises, for example, when we want a potential user to be able to use our application on several devices / phones. Then it is good to consider integration with the accounts of other websites, e.g. login via Facebook or Google.
Maps and location
This is another great functionality, and often even the core of our dream application. These application groups include most apps related to shared economy, transport and courier applications, and maps for finding a specific type of service. Applications using maps are usually based on Google Maps API or Open Street API. Depending on the application and choice, the API libraries are free or paid. The price list for Google Map API is here: https://developers.google.com/maps/pricing-and-plans/. Open Street API is theoretically free, but more advanced functionalities based on them are usually no longer paid and created by external companies.
If you are creating an application for internal needs, it is not necessary to add it to the application store. However, they can be considered as the easiest way to distribute applications to employees and the easiest way to distribute updates. If we create an application for consumers or B2B, then we definitely want to put the app in the application store. This is the easiest way to download the application as well as an additional way of marketing. We have two main stores: Google Play for applications written on Android and the App Store for applications written on iOS. In addition, there are many niche stores. It is also worth considering them. They are less popular, but by placing applications there we have a chance to become the only application of this type in the store. It is much harder to be a unique app on Google Play or the App Store. Below is a more complete list of stores with mobile applications:
Apple App Store,
Samsung Galaxy Store,
Uptodown App Store,
Cydia App Store,
F-Droid - contains only Open Source applications,
The cost of placing the application in the store and its maintenance
Placing and maintaining the application in the store is also associated with costs. Placing the application on Google Play requires the creation of a developer account (https://play.google.com/apps/publish/signup/). Here the cost is one-off and amounts to: 25 USD. Having an account created, we can publish any number of free and paid applications.
If we want to publish the application in the App Store, we must create a developer account, for which a fee of USD 99 a year is charged. The Enterprise account allows, among others distributing the application only inside our organization and costs USD 299 per year (https://developer.apple.com/support/compare-memberships/).
Other living costs
The sum of fees for keeping our application in the store is a negligible expenditure, but we also have to take into account other costs. Apps that connect to the server need a server or cloud infrastructure. Here, the maintenance costs will depend on the traffic we generate on the server and the number of users of our application. In addition, many companies charge for SLA - keep the system ready and respond if the server stops working. It is also good to reserve a budget for minor corrections and improvements that may come to our minds after releasing the application or will be necessary for implementation after collecting feedback from users. Google or Apple can also increase our cost of living. Google Play or the App Store, from time to time they change the rules of placing applications in the store, e.g. the application's permission to use the camera etc. and force application developers to make changes. Otherwise, they remove applications from the store. Our application may also have problems with the release of new versions of Android or iOS. Changes in these systems may cause unstable operation of the app on the latest versions of phones. This is due to system changes that could not have been foreseen at the app creation stage. An example would be the shape of the screen in the iPhone X. After releasing this phone, many developers had to change the layout of their applications.
Research conducted by AnyPresence shows that 29.6% of business developers release updates at least once a month among business applications, and 52.8% plan to improve their applications every 6 months.
We can prepare applications in one or several language versions. It is worth trying to prepare more than one language version from the beginning, e.g. prepare the English version in addition to the Polish version. Even if you do not plan to run the English version immediately, it will allow you to test whether the programmers have properly designed the application and included language translation issues. The translation process is not so complicated anymore. We get from programmers files that contain a table with all the inscriptions in the application and add their translated equivalents to them.
Support for external Bluetooth devices
External devices can be operated via Bluetooth. You have to reckon with the fact that then the application can consume battery faster. The cost of creating such an application can increase significantly. We also need to specify the device models we want to connect via Bluetooth. It also involves the purchase of testing equipment. It is worth to check the manufacturer's website, whether there is already Bluetooth driver software, what support is there for him and what versions of the phones it supports (Android / iOS) and which versions.
Micropayment support is a great way to monetize our dream application. Google Play or App Store have built-in micropayment mechanisms that we can connect to our applications. It is a convenient solution because then the user does not have to provide the credit card number, because we use the fact that Google or Apple have already provided it. However, this involves paying quite a large commission to the operator. Cheaper but more troublesome may be using other operators, e.g. PayU or PayPal.
According to StatCounter, tablets represent less than 5% of mobile devices in the world and less than 2% in UK. Some applications due to their specificity may be designed more for tablets than smartphones, but it should be remembered that this will significantly reduce our target market. Adjusting the UI of our application specifically for tablets will involve additional costs.
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