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The number of mobile apps available for download on different app stores is growing at an extremely high rate.
But not all of these apps are created equally.
Historically, mobile apps have been native. This means that users have to download these apps to their devices in order for them to work. Native apps are also made for specific platforms, such as iOS or Android devices.
But with that said, cloud apps are starting to become more popular, and for good reasons.
Cloud apps live on servers and get accessed through web browsers.
For those of you who are getting ready to build a mobile app, starting a cloud development process may seem appealing. However, it could be intimidating or confusing if you’ve never done it before.
Even some of you out there may have built some native apps in the past, but now you’re considering cloud development.
If you’re on the fence about building a cloud app and you’re not sure what to do, I’ll explain why everybody loves using them. Use this guide as a reference to help you make an informed decision.
Unlike native apps that need to be developed specifically for iOS or Android devices, cloud apps work on both of these operating systems.
This makes your job much easier because it exposes your app to a wider audience. You no longer have to decide what to build for first, Apple or Android.
Android controls the global market share of device users.
But just because more people have Android devices, it doesn’t always mean that’s the obvious choice for your development strategy. There are plenty of reasons why you should be targeting iOS users as well.
If you’ve built a native app in the past, you know how difficult this dilemma can be. But fortunately, deciding to build a cloud app makes this decision irrelevant.
You don’t have to determine which types of devices your target audience has before you start building because it’s irrelevant for your development decisions.
Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still need to understand your target audience and how they behave to effectively market your app. But the operating systems of their devices just isn’t as important.
Launching on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store simultaneously will have huge benefits for your app. You’ll be able to get more downloads right away and more people using your app, which will ultimately lead to more money.
You also won’t have to worry about neglecting part of the market.
For example, if you’re promoting your app via social media (which you should be), it would be a tough marketing campaign to say that your app is only going to be available to iOS users on launch day.
Now anyone with an Android device has no reason to follow your brand or be interested in your app because they can’t access it.
You won’t have this dilemma if you build a cloud app.
If you’ve built a native app in the past or you’ve researched native development, you know that it’s not necessarily the most inexpensive investment that you’ll make in your life.
How much does it cost to build a mobile app? Well, it depends.
For starters, we just talked about deciding between Apple and Android development. Building a native app for Android devices typically takes two to three times longer than iOS apps.
Refer back to our last point about launching on both platforms simultaneously.
Anyone who wants to build a native app for the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store at the same time has to be ready to spend more than double their costs on development.
Cloud apps are more appealing because the development costs are lower. Plus, you only have to build the app once and it will work on both platforms.
This is perfect for startups or other businesses that don’t have unlimited funds to spend on a native app.
You’ve also got to look toward the future. Even if you have enough money saved up to build a native app, do you have the funds to pay for app maintenance after it launches?
As you can see from these numbers, the average cost to maintain a native app after just one year isn’t cheap. In fact, nearly 20% of apps cost over $25,000 in maintenance after a year.
If you’ve got a native app on two platforms, be prepared for that number to double. I see way too many people dive head first into native development without taking this into consideration.
Then they become so deeply invested into a project that they weren’t expecting to be so costly. Don’t get me wrong, cloud development isn’t free. But it will definitely save you a significant amount of money before, during, and after your app launches.
How long does it take to build an app? Again, it depends.
You’ve got to come up with a realistic development timeline based on what type of app you’re building. Native development can be a lengthy process.
If you’re set on adding specific features that are more complex, this development process can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months to build. Some apps even take more than a year to develop before they can be launched.
I hate to sound like a broken record here, but again, refer back to our first point. That could mean a year to build for each platform if you’re going the native route.
Fortunately, cloud apps don’t take as long to develop and you won’t have to go through this process twice. Establishing a presence on both stores with just one development version is extremely time efficient.
Getting your app to market faster means that you’ll also be able to see a return on your investment faster. Speed is also important from a competitive perspective as well.
Let’s be realistic here for a minute. While your app idea might be great, it’s not completely unique. There are other apps on the market that have similar functionality and other apps being built as well that you’ll be competing with.
If you can beat your competitors to the punch, consumers will be familiar with your brand and be more likely to use your app instead of going with the competition. But if you’re too slow, it could be a challenge for you to compete.
So how long will it take to develop your app?
If you want to make sure that your timeline falls toward the lower end of this spectrum, going with cloud development will probably be your best bet.
Cloud apps don’t need to be downloaded and installed to the user’s mobile device to work.
Users can see the interface and just use it on a mobile browser.
That’s not the case with a native app. The only way for a native app to work is if it’s installed on the user’s device. Also, users who download native apps will have different versions and updates based on the type of device that they’re using.
But cloud apps behave like a web-based application. Here’s how they work.
These apps interact directly with the cloud to fetch data. As a result, the app runs smoothly and provides an excellent user experience.
Native apps store data locally on the users’ devices.
This method can have lots of problems. That’s because data can easily be lost or have errors and malfunctions with this system.
With data stored in the cloud, there’s less of a chance of information getting lost.
As a result, cloud apps are not as high of a security risk.
Here’s something else to take into consideration. Think about what type of information your app is storing.
Depending on what type of app you have, you may be collecting and storing sensitive information about your users. If you’re collecting payments through the app, you’ll also have customer billing information on file.
It’s your responsibility to your customers to protect their information.
When it comes to mobile payments, safety is the biggest concern for consumers from every generation.
As you can see from this data, 70% of adults in the United States say that they are concerned about losing money or getting their identity stolen from a payment not being secure.
If your brand gets the reputation for allowing information breaches that compromise consumer information, it could be nearly impossible for you to recover.
Storing data on the cloud is a safe method to protect yourself as well as your customers.
For businesses, in order for their mobile apps to run smoothly, they have to be integrated with databases.
This can be a long, confusing, and complicated procedure if you’re trying to integrate this information with a native app.
Refer back to our earlier points about saving time when you’re going through the development process. Well, importing all of your database information to be connected with your app is definitely going to take up a large chunk of that time.
Cloud apps make this data integration much easier. That’s because all of the information can be synced through the cloud server, hence the name.
So you don’t have to worry about writing complex code to integrate your databases if you’re developing a cloud app.
Your app isn’t done after it’s been launched. You need to constantly update it and make improvements.
As we saw earlier, this regular maintenance isn’t cheap. But with that said, it’s definitely necessary. Think about why you built your app in the first place.
I’m assuming that you wanted to grow your company and scale your app along the way.
Your app doesn’t need to have every single feature built for launch day. You may have a plan to implement new elements over the years. As a result, this will improve the overall user experience.
Take a look at what happens when users have a poor mobile app experience.
All of these responses are bad news for the success of your app and your company.
So scaling your app and coming up with new features, updates, and bug fixes needs to be a priority. Sure, you can obviously do this with a native app, but it’s more complicated and costly.
With cloud apps, scalability is easy.
Whenever you add features users won’t have to install a new update to their devices to benefit from the improved experience.
If everything is being stored on a local server like it is with native apps, what happens if the server gets damaged or destroyed?
Things happen. It may not be common and it’s something that you nobody wants to think about. But part of owning a business means that you need to be realistic.
There are freak accidents like fires, floods from a pipe breaking, or some kind of other natural disasters that could destroy a local server.
Cloud hosting your app means that everything is stored on multiple servers and it’s backed up more efficiently.
While the chances of your local servers getting damaged may be slim, it’s better to have everything stored on the cloud just in case something goes wrong. That way you’ll be covered.
If you’re looking for a safe and cost-effective alternative to developing your app, considering going for a cloud app.
Cloud apps are great because you can launch your app for both iOS and Android platforms simultaneously.
Native app development is costly and takes a long time. But cloud apps are less expensive and can get brought to market much faster.
Keep the user in mind as well. Cloud apps don’t need to be installed on their devices to work. It’s also safe to store their info in the cloud, so they can feel better about providing you with sensitive information and process payments.
It’s also easier to integrate the databases from your business with your cloud app.
Cloud apps are easier to scale and you’ll be able to recover and access data in the event of an emergency.
What are your top reasons for wanting to develop a cloud mobile application?