Businesses cannot deny the role of mobile apps in establishing a strong digital presence. There are billions of potential customers out there who are busy using their smartphones into oblivion. The question no longer is if you’ll build an app – it is what type of app you need to build to reach its intended users.
Business owners prefer the native approach when it comes to mobile app development. Native vs cross platform development has always been a hot debate topic among experts. However, through the native app development approach, businesses can make apps for a particular platform, iOS or Android.
In today’s competitive scenario, if you (as a business) aim to target only one OS, you will be left behind. Android and iOS are the leading mobile OS worldwide, with 70.8% and 28.4% market shares, respectively. At the same time, businesses can’t afford to hire different developers for different platforms, especially startups.
To target both OS, they need to hire an iOS app development agency for iOS application development and Android app services for developing Android apps. It can cost them a lot of bucks because the native approach needs different codes for different platforms.
The cost of developing a separate app for each platform can be concerning for those with time or budget-related restrictions. Startups, for instance, often have limited resources initially. This creates a hindrance in their plan to reach their multi-platform audience.
Cross-platform apps come to the rescue in such scenarios. Leveraging this approach with the help of a cross platform app development company lets you target Android and iOS and multiple platforms by using a single codebase.
What Is Cross-Platform App Development?
As the name suggests, cross-platform apps are developed to function for multiple mobile platforms. These apps are compatible with multiple OS, like iOS and Android.
In other words, cross-platform app development is about developing a single app that can run on various operating systems instead of developing app versions for each platform.
This approach uses a single CSS, HTML, and JS codebase to build apps. These apps have a native look and feel due to the mix of native and independent code, fit for multiple platforms.
So, why not invest in an app that takes half the resources to build and works on multiple platforms?
Top Cross-Platform App Development Languages
There are many programming languages developers use to build native-like apps for multiple platforms, the most popular of which are mentioned below:
This modern programming language was designed by JetBrains primarily for Android app development. However, Kotlin also provides excellent support for cross-platform development through streamlined integration with Java. Additionally, it offers concise syntax and enhanced safety features for quick compilation.
C# is a versatile language developed by Microsoft. It powers Xamarin, a robust cross-platform framework for building native apps. C# offers a powerful development environment and access to platform-specific APIs, enabling developers to create high-performance applications.
Swift is known among developers as a safe, fast, and expressive programming language. This general-purpose language offers consistent speed and performance that’s comparable to C-based languages for most tasks. Swift has source compatibility across all platforms, with somewhat different implementation mechanisms.
Dart is the programming language that forms the foundation for Flutter, Google’s popular cross-platform framework. It has a rich set of core libraries and functionality that support tasks like formatting and testing. Its performance and hot-reload capability make it ideal for building high-quality, visually appealing apps.
Tools and Frameworks for Cross-Platform Development
Mobile app developers are most likely to choose from the most well-known and widely used tools and frameworks if you hire them for cross-platform app development. Here’s an overview of the ones popular today:
This tool enables developers to share most of the code across different platforms. It uses only C# and is natively compiled, making it a top choice for creating high-performance applications with native-like user experiences.
In addition, it provides full hardware support, eliminating compatibility issues to provide common device functionality across each platform. Top Xamarin-based apps include UPS, Alaska Airlines, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Flutter is an open-source UI software development kit (SDK) introduced by Google for developers to build features once and deploy to iOS, Android, desktop, and the web. It uses the Dart programming language alongside a robust graphics engine and offers a rich set of customizable UI components. Using Flutter app development, eBay, Google Pay, and Alibaba have been made.
This open-source UI toolkit enables developers to combine native and web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JS to build cross-platform mobile applications. As such, it provides several UI components designed specifically for mobile OS.
The framework uses plugins to enable access to in-built device features during the app development process, such as GPS, flashlight, and camera. It also integrates well with Angular, React, and Vue frameworks. Apps like T-Mobile, EA Games, and BBC are excellent examples of Ionic-based apps.
Why Should You Develop Cross-Platform Apps?
Cross-platform is a no-brainer if you (as a business) wish to build your app for multiple platforms and earn more money by doing so. Here are some reasons that will convince and encourage you to invest in cross-platform app development services right away:
- Wider Audience and Market Reach – It’s simple – the more platforms your app supports, the large audience and market you can reach. You can maximize your market and audience reach with a cross platform app development approach. As a result, you can drive more installs and earn better revenue.
- Faster Time-To-Market – Using a single codebase helps you reduce around 60-70% of development time and effort. Cross-platform development frameworks like Flutter, React Native, Xamarin, and others accelerate the development process and develop the app in less time. Hence, the cross-platform approach embraces faster time-to-market.
- Cost-Effective Development – Using a single codebase lessens time and effort and lowers the overall cross-platform app cost. You need to pay only one developer to build cross-platform apps. That’s why startups choose cross-platform over native development.
- Seamless Cloud Integration – Another great aspect of cross-platform apps is their ability to leverage various plugins integrated with the cloud settings. Besides, businesses can leverage all the money-saving benefits that cloud hosting has to offer you.
- Code Reusability – This is one of the biggest benefits of cross-platform app development. One can use a single codebase again and again. A single codebase can be used for multiple platforms and minimize the efforts of creating codes repeatedly.
Top 5 (Crucial) Factors Affecting Cross-Platform App Development Cost
Building an app for business growth is undoubtedly essential. Still, you need to consider how much it will cost, particularly if budget- or time-related constraints exist. The main factors influencing the mobile app development cost include the following:
To begin with, the type of app you want to develop decides the overall cross-platform development cost. Depending on the categories, such as standalone apps, m-commerce apps, social networking apps, enterprise apps, on-demand apps, and others require different functionalities, features, designs, and integrations. Hence, the cost varies. However, with a cross-platform approach, you will always have a win over in terms of price.
Number of Operating Systems (OS)
The cross-platform development cost depends on the choice of platform you choose to launch your app. However, there are two leading platforms — iOS and Android.
If you choose the native app development approach, the cost varies from $40000 to $100,000, depending on the features and functionalities. On the other hand, opting for a cross-platform development approach is cost-effective, where apps cost you somewhere between $20000 to $50,000 or more.
Design can make or break your app. Your app’s interface will attract users or push them away, depending on how amazing or awful it is. That’s why you need to pay much attention to designing an app with simpler, easier, and more engaging UI, as it results in better UX.
If you want to take your app design game to a whole new level, consider hiring a creative app design firm that can design a perfect UI with amazing UX within your budget. The UX/UI design usually costs $5,000 to $20,000 or more, depending on your app’s needs (and wants).
The cost of making cross-platform apps ultimately depends on the functionality and features you want in your app. The higher the functionalities, the more money you need to spend. If you want to develop a basic app with plain features, it will cost you less. However, building an advanced app with complex features will cost you more.
Development Options: DIY vs. Freelancer vs. Agency
Who you choose for mobile app designing and development also decides the cross-platform development cost. If you decide to do it all by yourself, it will (for obvious reasons) not cost you more. But if you hire a freelance app creator, it may cost you less as you only need to pay one person for your work to be done.
However, hiring a well-versed cross-platform app development company that can develop your cross-platform app seamlessly is highly advisable as it comes with various perks. By opting for this, you can see what you pay for, such as project estimation, hourly rates, etc.
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Cross-platform App?
The cost of any app development depends on the features, functionalities, integrations, designs, and various considerable things your app needs to operate. As said earlier, the more advanced the app is, the higher the cost will be.
- Simple Apps (With Basic Features) – A basic app (usually an MVP) consists of standard UI and basic features such as login, user profile, in-app purchases, search, etc. These apps usually start from $15,000 and go to $30,000 or more, depending on your requirement.
- Moderate Apps (With Average Features) – These apps fall in the middle in terms of features and functionalities. They have basic features along with some additional features like social login, geo-tracking, and more. These apps typically range from $25,000 to $45,000 or more.
- Advanced Apps (With Complex Features) – These apps have all the complex features you can think of. Moreover, these apps cannot be made via a DIY approach; you need to hire professionals for this. These apps cost you somewhere between $40,000 to $100,000 or more.
This was it! We hope now you know the estimation of cross-platform app development cost, and there’s no more confusion over it. Depending on your app’s type, size, design, features, functionalities, and other needs, it can go from $20,000 to $100,000 or more.
However, if you want to know the exact cross-platform app cost, we suggest you fix a meeting with a mobile app consultant that will thoroughly gauge your app needs and tell you the exact pricing. Good luck!
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- Are Cross-Platform Apps Cheaper Than Native Apps?
Yes! Cross-platform apps generally take fewer development hours than native apps. It is because developers can leverage a single codebase to build an app that works on multiple platforms.
- Is it Worth Investing in Cross-Platform App Development?
Cross-platform apps offer faster time-to-market, easier maintenance, and broader market coverage. Therefore, investing in cross-platform app development can be a smart choice for businesses that want to reach a wider audience and minimize development costs.
- Can I Update my Cross-Platform App in the Future?
A cross-platform app can be easily updated because of its single codebase. Developers only have to make updates and enhancements to it, and they will reflect on all platforms simultaneously, saving time and effort.
- How Long Does It Take to Develop a Cross-Platform App?
The development timeline for a cross-platform app depends on various factors, including complexity, features, and design requirements. Typically, it can take anywhere from three to nine months to develop a cross-platform app.
- Can I Hire Freelancers for Cross-Platform App Development?
Yes, you can hire freelancers for cross-platform app development. However, it is crucial to ensure they have the necessary skills and experience to deliver a high-quality app. However, working with a professional app development agency can provide you with a dedicated team of experts to handle all aspects of the project.