Developing Phone Apps vs. Tablet Apps: What’s the Difference?

In today’s digital age, it’s hard to imagine life without our smartphones and tablets. These devices have become an integral part of our daily routine—allowing us to stay connected, communicate with others, and access information on the go.

As a result, it’s no surprise that more and more businesses are turning to mobile app development as a way to reach and engage with their customers. But when it comes to developing apps, there’s a crucial decision to be made—should you focus on developing phone apps or tablet apps?

In this article, we’ll explore the differences between developing phone apps and tablet apps and help you determine which option is the best fit for your business. We’ll also introduce BuildFire, a leading platform for building and managing mobile apps, and show you how it can streamline the app development process for your business.

Differences Between Phone Apps and Tablet Apps

First, let’s start with the key differences between phone apps and tablet apps. 

Display size and screen resolution

The most obvious difference is the size of their display screens. 

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Phones typically have a smaller display than tablets, often measuring between 4 to 6 inches on the diagonal compared to 7 inches or larger displays on tablets. This means that elements such as buttons, text, and images will appear larger on tablets than they would on phones. Some of those elements may need to be rearranged to fit the larger screen space.

The resolution of phone and tablet displays also differs greatly. 

Phones generally have a higher pixel density than tablets, meaning that images and text will appear sharper on phones than they would on tablets. This can make it difficult to design an app that looks great on both types of displays without sacrificing usability.

User interface and navigation

Another key difference between phone and tablet apps is the user interface and navigation. 

On phones, it’s generally accepted that users should be able to reach all of the app’s features within one or two taps, as these devices are designed for quick access to information. 

Tablets, on the other hand, are designed with a focus on larger screens and more detailed information. This means that features may be spread out across multiple screens or displayed in a sidebar, allowing for a richer user experience.

Hardware capabilities and performance

The hardware capabilities of phones and tablets can also vary greatly, as phones generally have less powerful processors than tablets. 

This can affect how quickly an app is able to perform tasks, as well as the types of features that can be included in an app. 

For example, a phone may not have enough processing power to support certain features such as augmented reality or advanced graphics.

Development considerations and cost

It’s also important to consider the cost associated with developing apps for phones and tablets. As phones generally require more coding and optimization than tablets, the cost of developing phone apps might be higher. 

Additionally, since phones have a wider range of screen sizes and resolutions, developers may need to create separate versions of an app for specific devices in order to ensure its usability.

Fortunately, with the right platform, app development can be streamlined and made more efficient. BuildFire is a leading platform for building and managing mobile apps that allows developers to create high-quality apps for both phones and tablets quickly and cost-effectively. With its powerful tools, developers can build engaging experiences on any device without sacrificing performance or user experience.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Phone Apps

Phone apps offer a wide range of advantages compared to other types of software. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is the convenience and portability of phones, as they can be used almost anywhere and anytime. 

This makes them ideal for those who are always on the go or need access to information quickly. Additionally, there’s a larger market for phone apps, making them a great tool for reaching potential customers.

However, there are some drawbacks to consider when developing phone apps. The most significant limitation is the small screen size, which can make it difficult to design an app with a rich user experience and display all of the features that users may expect from larger devices. 

Furthermore, phones tend to have limited hardware capabilities compared to tablets and computers, which may limit the types of features that can be included in an app. Due to the wide range of phone models available, developers may need to create separate versions of an app for specific devices in order to ensure its usability.


  • Convenience
  • Portability
  • Larger market share


  • Smaller screen size
  • Limited hardware capabilities

Advantages and Disadvantages of Tablet Apps

One major benefit of tablet apps is the larger screen size. This allows developers to create more immersive and interactive user experiences. 

Tablets often have superior hardware capabilities compared to phones—meaning they can support more complex features and functionality in an app.

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With that said, there are some drawbacks to consider when developing tablet apps. Perhaps the most significant limitation is the smaller market for apps, as tablets are not as popular as phones. 

More than 83% of the global population has a smartphone. 

But just 2.4% of people own tablets globally. Furthermore, the global market share of tablets dropped by 50% worldwide between 2017 and 2022. 

This means that there are fewer potential customers for a tablet app, it can take longer to gain traction in the app store. 

Additionally, due to their larger screen size and increased hardware capabilities, developing a tablet app can often be more expensive and time-consuming than developing a phone app.


  • Larger screen size
  • Ability to support complex features
  • Better user experience


  • Not portable
  • Small tablet market share

Factors to Consider When Deciding Between Phone Apps and Tablet Apps

When deciding between developing phone apps and tablet apps, there are a few key factors to consider. 

Target audience and usage habits

First, it is important to understand the target audience and their usage habits when determining which platform is best suited for the desired user experience. 

For example, if most users will be accessing the app on their phones while they are on the go, then a phone app may be the best option. But a recent survey suggests that 86% of tablet owners use their devices when they’re at home.

So if you’re targeting people who are more likely to consume content at home, then developing a tablet app may make sense.

Business goals and desired user experience

It is also important to consider goals and desired user experience when making this decision. 

Each platform has its own design considerations that should be taken into account to ensure that the user experience is tailored for specific devices. 

For example, a tablet app may require more features and functionality due to its larger screen size, while a phone app may need to focus on usability and speed.

Available resources and budget

You must also consider the available resources and budget when deciding between developing phone apps and tablet apps. 

Developing an app for a new platform can be costly and time-consuming, and it is important to ensure that the necessary resources are available before starting the project. Additionally, developing a tablet app may require additional hardware capabilities and design considerations that could increase development costs. 

Using BuildFire For Developing Phone Apps and Tablet Apps

BuildFire makes it possible for you to develop a phone app and a tablet app at the same time—helping to keep your costs low and launch faster on both platforms. 

This is the best way to save time, reduce costs, and ensure a high-quality experience across all devices. The platform offers an array of features that simplify the development process and provide developers with powerful customization options. 

One of the key benefits of using BuildFire is its simplified app development process. BuildFire is an all-in-one platform that offers a variety of tools and services to help anyone create powerful mobile apps quickly and easily. 

With intuitive drag-and-drop features, automated version management, and comprehensive analytics tools, developing apps with BuildFire is simple and straightforward.

BuildFire also provides complete customization options to help businesses create tailored experiences for each device. 

With specific design considerations for both phone apps and tablet apps, you can rest easy knowing that your app is optimized for all users—regardless of the device they are using. 

BuildFire also offers powerful analytics tools to track user engagement and make informed decisions about how to best optimize the app experience for maximum impact. This is a surefire way to maximize user engagement and make the most of your investment. 

You don’t have to choose between developing phone apps or tablet apps. With BuildFire, you’ll get both from a single build. 

Final Thoughts

Developing phone apps and tablet apps can be a great way to reach a wider audience and maximize engagement. With the right platform and development approach, developers can create high-quality experiences quickly and cost-effectively that are tailored for different devices.

BuildFire is an excellent choice for developers looking to create powerful mobile apps with minimal effort. With its simplified development process, comprehensive analytics tools, and powerful customization options, BuildFire provides an all-in-one platform for developing phone apps and tablet apps that is sure to maximize user engagement. With BuildFire, you can ensure that your app is ready to launch in no time, and each app is tailored for its respective platform. 

Thanks for reading! I hope this article has helped you learn more about the differences between developing phone apps and tablet apps. 

Daniel Hindi, CTO

Daniel is the CTO, COO, and Co-Founder of BuildFire. Throughout his career, he successfully launched and scaled five companies in the tech space. Daniel is an operations and systems specialist with 20+ years of experience managing and scaling lean startups.