A look at the top mobile apps in the Apple and Android stores shows that the major players are all owned by Big Tech. This begs the question, how can a startup or even an enterprise expect to break through? Is mobile app development dying in 2021?
The short answer is no.
The mobile app market is so large and smartphones are so tied with how users communicate and employees do business, the success of Google and Apple doesn’t take away from the opportunity for enterprise mobile app development. In fact, ability to land in the top 10 of the Apple Store is the worst metric for a mobile app’s success.
Businesses provide superior service to customers using a mobile app portal. Enterprises better engage their employees with an app accessing cloud-based corporate applications and data. In short, these and other use-cases mean mobile app development is not on a decline. In fact, the opportunity to fill a market or business need through a mobile app has never been greater.
Skewed Opinions on the Demise of Mobile App Development
Interestingly, some tech industry pundits seem to only look at the top app charts before opining on the future of mobile app development. When you see the same few companies entrenched at the top – Facebook, Google, etc. – it’s easy for analyses to become skewed. In fact, many companies build mobile apps on the iOS and Android platforms for internal use only. Chart positions remain irrelevant for these organizations.
However, not everyone feels that mobile app development is on its way out. For example, Mary Beth Laughton, senior vice president of e-commerce with Sephora, noted the importance of mobile apps driving brick and mortar sales in a roundtable for the industry analyst group, McKinsey:
“Mobile is one of the key assets that helps drive store growth. It allows our staff to better help our clients. It’s only going to strengthen the store experience, especially if you focus it and have the right mobile experiences to supplement the in-store experience.”
In the end, companies of all sizes can benefit from crafting compelling mobile apps for their customers. Notably, these types of apps rarely make an appearance at the top of mobile app charts.
So a significant number of opinions on mobile app development’s decline relate to chart performance analysis. Nevertheless, corporate software development remains critical for many companies. Early in the 21st Century these kinds of internal applications primarily targeted the desktop and the web. Given the large percentage of smartphone users noted earlier, it’s not surprising that enterprise mobile app development remains on the upswing, with companies now targeting their employees’ phones.
Native vs Cross-Platform Mobile App Development
Developers need to get “close to the iron” to build highly-responsive and graphic-intensive native apps. This approach requires using an IDE designed for either iOS or Android development.
Of course, apps for enterprises and startups typically don’t require top of the line animated graphics like a videogame. In this scenario, the cost of building separate native apps to access a corporate database or provide shopping coupons becomes prohibitive. It’s a major reason why these organizations typically turn to cross-platform mobile app development frameworks.
The top cross-platform mobile app development environments let companies easily target iOS, Android, a web browser, or other mobile platforms. Some even allow the targeting of desktops on the PC or Mac platforms. Most importantly, all these separate deployments happen from a single codebase.
So when going cross-platform, programming teams don’t have to write, manage, and maintain separate codebases for each platform. Any platform differences are minimal, and typically are managed using specific functionality within the mobile app development framework. Ultimately, this approach saves companies significant time and resources when designing and building mobile apps.
Practical and Intriguing Use-Cases for Mobile Development
Of course, many relevant use-cases exist for mobile app development. Corporate internal apps are used for multiple reasons: mobile versions of desktop business software, HR portals, and more. NineTwoThree works with companies like Vineteq and Xeros to improve internal processes like crop maintenance and commercial laundry repair.
Other intriguing use-cases exist in the areas of healthcare, real estate, banking, restaurants, groceries, and library science. Notably, few of these apps ever boast any chance of hitting the top of the App Store or Google Play charts. Any analysis of the future of mobile apps that depends on chart analysis simply fails. No, mobile app development isn’t going away any time soon.
If your company has a great idea for a compelling mobile app, connect with the experienced team at NineTwoThree Digital Ventures. We boast high-end skills in mobile app development for all major platforms. Our experience with modern software development methodologies ensures a smooth project meeting your budgetary needs. Reach out to us to discuss a future partnership!