Nowadays, thanks to technological progress, cross-platform development has become an excellent alternative to native mobile apps. The reason is that the advantages of developing mobile apps for each target platform in most cases don’t outweigh the effort invested. Cross-platform mobile app development, on the other hand, is an approach that allows significantly reducing costs since developers can use once written source code among multiple platforms. In this article, we’ll consider the main advantages of cross-platform development for startups and take a look at technologies that allow achieving excellent results with relatively little investment.
Pros and Cons of Cross-platform Mobile Application Development
When we talk about cross-platform mobile development, we mean that developers build an application that will run on various platforms with no significant differences. It allows cutting expenses on the development and delivering your application to a broader audience. Native application development is an alternative implying that developers use different technologies and a separated code base for each target operating system. As you can imagine, such an approach requires more working hours to complete the project and, as a result, increases the overall cost of mobile app development.
At this point, you may ask yourself if there’s any point in native development at all. Indeed, a cross-platform approach looks like a more attractive and cheap option. But, unfortunately, it has its limitations that don’t allow calling it a one-size-fits-all solution. To understand if a cross-platform mobile app development suits the needs of your startup, let’s take a look at its main advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of Cross-platform Mobile App Development
Cross-platform development allows you to reduce development time and cost. When you use React Native or Flutter (we’ll discuss these technologies later), you write a single code for versions of your app that will run both on Android and iOS devices. Since the amount of time to create an app is approximately cut down in half, the attached billable hours will also be lower, as well as the cost of project development. This factor is pretty crucial for startups. First of all, you can deliver the app faster and get ahead of your competitors in the fight for users’ hearts. Secondly, you’ll save the money required for post-launch activities such as gaining and analyzing feedback from the first users, marketing, and advertising.
The second advantage of cross-platform development directly follows from the fact that you only need one code version to cover all target platforms. The reason is that the less code you write, the more straightforward further support and maintenance will be. For the QA team, it’ll be easier to test the app and find bugs. For developers, it will simplify the process of fixing these bugs. The ease of maintenance not only cuts costs on testing but also allows you faster implementing new features. This feature will help you expand the functionality of your app and quickly add new features that the users of a MVP or Minimum Viable Product lack the most.
Read Also Why Starting With Minimum Is Not Always a Bad Idea. How MVP Can Help You Startup
The ability to reach your target audience via both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store helps to achieve greater user base exposure. With a cross-platform mobile app, you can show what your company offers to a broader audience, no matter what devices they use. Also, you’ll receive more extensive feedback allowing you to make informed decisions on your next steps.
Cross-platform application development requires fewer resources since you have to develop a single design, write and test code once. You don’t need to hire separate development teams for Android and iOS, which simplifies project management and allows you to receive first results faster.
Cross-platform Development Limitations and Weak Sides
Cost and time efficiency that cross-platform development promises don’t come free of some shortcomings. Most probably, these disadvantages won’t affect your final choice, but knowing them will definitely help you to make a more informed decision.
Cross-platform apps, for example, show worse performance compared to native ones. The limitations of smartphones’ computing power don’t allow reaching the performance comparable with modern desktops. Also, keep in mind that many people use outdated smartphone models, which doesn’t make things any better. As a result, rendering HTML5 or CSS user interface elements requires significant CPU and GPU resources, leading to worse response time.
Another issue is lesser access to mobile device’s features. Google and Apple constantly implement new features. If you choose React Native development, you should keep in mind that it takes some time before React developers will bring new functionality to the platform. Besides, React Native supports only Android 4.1+ and iOS 8.0+, so if you plan to support old devices, you have to find another solution.
When Cross-Platform Mobile App Development is Good For a Startup
Cross-platform application development can be a decent choice for startup companies to deliver an app with a simple or medium difficulty architecture. For example, you most probably won’t face any issues if your area is business automation or e-Commerce.
If you’re on a tight budget, one of your priorities is faster time to market, and you want to focus on marketing and advertising, building a cross-platform app will be the right choice for your business.
If your target audience is not restricted to any part of the world or a specific platform, launching a cross-platform solution can be an excellent opportunity to present your idea to the world with lower costs in terms of time and money.
Read Also How Much Does MVP Development Cost
XB Software’s Approach to Cross-platform Development
At XB Software, we create cross-platform mobile apps that deliver the same look-and-feel as native mobile apps. We have real-life, proven experience in creating efficient cross-platform applications to engage your potential users on any platform and device. To provide our customers with the best possible experience, we constantly learn new tricks and adopt new development technologies. For example, for cross-platform mobile app development, among other tools, we use Flutter and React Native.
Flutter is one of the best frameworks for developing high-performance applications. It was created by Google in 2018. This advanced open-source software development kit (SDK) is constantly updated, and its community is growing day-by-day. The use of Flutter allows us to choose between a wide range of UI elements and widgets, which makes cross-platform app development faster without sacrificing the overall quality of the final product. A high-performance rendering engine enables fast animation customization.
The digital market has many solid players, and each startup business faces many barriers to success. Cross-platform mobile apps provide startups with an opportunity to overcome some of these challenges. If you’re on a tight budget, don’t have enough time for app development, or want to launch MVP as fast as possible, cross-platform development can be an excellent choice for you.
If you want to learn more about cross-platform development and its benefits for your startup business, please contact us.