AndroidAdam Tinworth, in his oft-cited personal blog “of the transition of journalism, publishing and content in general into the online world,” One Man and His Blog, made a post a short time ago about the comparative costs of developing apps for Android platform and for Apple’s iOS.

In his post, “Android: Triple the development costs of iOS?,” he states exactly that, citing a recent BBC blog post by David Berlin, senior product manager with the BBC, about developing the BBC iPlayer App on Android. Tinworth took exception to the BBC blogger’s statement that their Android development team was triple the size of their iOS team.

“Android might have a numerical advantage in devices out there—but is that advantage enough to justify the additional cost base? Not a decision the BBC has to face in the way that many companies do, but that kind of ratio, couple with evidence that content doesn’t sell as well on Android suggests that companies should think very carefully before investing in the platform.”

Well, is it really so?

AndroidFor one thing, the BBC’s Berlin states quite clearly why the Android team had to be so big. A month ago, he says, the BBC “delivered the BBC iPlayer app to all Android phone, tablet and phablet device sizes (more than 3,000 different models).”

That’s 3,000 different devices against the small handful of Apple machines. “Today we have an Android development team that is almost 3 times the size of the iOS team,” Berlin does say. “We appreciate the frustration the Android community has been experiencing in the time it is taking to deliver this desired feature, but I hope this provides a little more context around the complexities involved.”

Naturally, 3,000 different device sizes and capabilities are going to be harder and more expensive to develop for than around a thousand times fewer formats. But that diversity is in itself evidence of Android’s great strength: Proliferation into markets, niches, and formats that Apple has never been able to capture. Anyone giving up on Android development on cost grounds is giving up on those as well.

AndroidAlso, unless you’re one of the few companies that does all its development work in-house, you’re likely going to be outsourcing your development. And it turns out that for many vendors, the cost of outsourcing for Android or iOS development is exactly the same.

Take Waracle, based in Dundee in northeast Scotland. Their cost structure for Android and iOS is exactly the same. Although their site states that “the development environment for Android is harder to work in and thus takes longer to develop for,” they also point out that:  “’How much does it cost to develop an app for Google Android?’ Well the answer is simple. It’ll cost you the same as developing an app for iPhone.”

So allowing for some variations in timing, a company is likely almost always going to be able to find a developer who can give it an Android app for the same cost as a comparable iOS app. Combine that with all the extra market reach, and the case for iOS exclusivity starts to look a lot less convincing.

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Paul St John Mackintosh is a British poet, writer of dark fiction, and media pro with a love of e-reading. His gadgets range from a $50 Kindle Fire to his trusty Vodafone Smart Grand 6. Paul was educated at public school and Trinity College, Cambridge, but modern technology saved him from the Hugh Grant trap. His acclaimed first poetry collection, The Golden Age, was published in 1997, and reissued on Kindle in 2013, and his second poetry collection, The Musical Box of Wonders, was published in 2011.


  1. I really like your post!! iOS app development is really expensive than android apps development because to get started with iOS development ,you need to buy a mac or expensive hardware like mac. But in case of android use any operating system.

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