How much does it cost to develop Android app: crucial moments to consider
Developing an Android mobile app is a complex process, so to figure out the cost to build an app let’s go through the stages to see how the final numbers will look like.
Picking Android as a platform is a good choice in 2017 — did you know that iOS as a platform is disappearing from Asian market? Its share has fallen down from 72% of all devices to 50% in 2015 and the trend is seen to be continued.
Start of a journey made to develop an Android app starts with an idea — think of who would use your app, why would they, what problem your app will solve, and if it is unique or not? If not, what can you offer to make people choose it instead of ones that exist already?
When contacting an app development company with a request to build an Android app, your first question would be about costs. But first things first — developers can hardly tell the exact price without you specifying following major aspects:
- App category
- Complexity or size of the app
- Design features
Be sure that you wouldn’t hear the exact accurate price before the estimation is done — chosen company’s project manager will necessarily provide you with all of the details about every step of development process, its length and out of that, its cost.
As you may already know, the approximate price to develop an app comes out of the time spent by developers to make it — a Time & Material payment model. It is a flexible model, because it is easy to make improvements and changes all the way, optimizing the developer’s work and cutting the cost down for unneeded features and tasks.
Let’s take a look on what kinds of apps there are and what will they cost. It is common to divide apps into categories depending on their complexity and features available.
Table or list based apps
These apps are very limited in means of features, as well as their design is. In general, they show user the information and can also redirect him to another page. Their functionality can be compared to simple and mobile-optimized website. As a result, they are developed fast and easily and will cost you cheap enough.
Database based apps
Apps of this kind are more complex than table based, as they manipulate databases and allow you to sort, find and show data from large data sets. Database apps usually connect a website or other online service or database to retrieve the information, which makes them more time-consuming and complex to develop.
These are similar to database ones but they co-operate with other platforms and software via APIs instead of just connecting to an online source. As an example, a third party Twitter app would require integration with Twitter API so it would import tweets, news feed, notifications and other data. Some of the API are harder to implement, as they vary in complexity and quality, which in result increases the amounts of development time, from relatively small app to a massive and expensive one.
Games are most complex kind of Android apps — while simple games can contend with dynamic apps in means of complexity and price, more serious ones that feature advanced engines with custom physics and 3D environments could take big six-digit numbers.
When things come to designing a future Android app, it can matter as much as the app’s functionality, or even more — you have to make the customers buy with their eyes. First thing someone sees when browsing an app store is an icon, and it’s in your interest to make it as nice and catchy as possible — it can force him to open the app page, making him check screenshots, description and sometimes a gameplay video. As a result, beautiful Android app design can force the user to deliberately open the app again and again.
To make an app look beautiful, it will need an icon, a welcome screen, comfortable and practical interface elements like tabs, buttons and other miscellaneous interface elements that would force the user to engage with app.
But a good design will accordingly cost you a good amount — there’s a huge difference between a $500 icon and its $2000 equivalent. If you want some gorgeous and user-engaging design for your Android app, be sure to expect high numbers, sometimes even comparable to those of the coding part of the development.
But at this point, it’s a question of budget and priorities — if you expect your audience to be very design-sensitive, it might be better to consider cutting the functionality down a bit to profit the design.
It is much easier to figure out the total costs by tracking every part of the development process. Android apps tend to cost a bit more than the iOS ones — Java languages in which majority of them are built are bulkier and time-consuming than the one used in iOS development – Swift and Objective-C.
Out of that, it is better to start calculating for each part of the process:
A disclaimer: numbers stated are average and can vary depending on developer’s rates — everything is calculated at average East Europe rates.
A usual expense on paperwork, but a vital detail to a developer’s workflow — they can’t start developing the app without a set of guidelines and rules to follow, as they help to track all aspects of the application. This is done by the team after you’ve contacted them, so don’t worry, you won’t have to sort and order big amounts of data.
Average expenses for this part are pretty much low, compared to other stages, and will cost you from $100 to around $500
That’s where big numbers start — depending on your app’s needs, developers will have to implement different features for app. Some are easier to get working, while some APIs are much more complex:
- Native device features: $300 – $3.500
(Camera, flashlight, geolocation data, gyroscope)
- User engagement features: $500 – $4.000
(Push notifications, social sharing, etc.)
- Account features: $300 – $2.500
(Login, account restore, email verification)
- Payments integration and e-Commerce features: $300 – $4.000
- Multi-device sync: $400 – $2.500
As mentioned above, good design might be vital, as you won’t make customers fall in love with your app without beautiful UI, icon and overall look.
Average cost of Android app design goes from $2.000 to around $15.000; Surely, for games situation is bit different — $15 grand is just a starting point sometimes, just think of all of the work artists and designers have to get done.
- Admin features
To track users’ actions and performance, most of the modern apps use analytical tools. This is made in order to help the owner enhance user experience by bringing better updates in the future.
Most of big apps require a CMS and even a web app to simplify the management.
Set aside from $1.000 to $7.000 for administration features.
Usually, from 10% up to 30% of all of the development time is reserved for testing, to ensure that everything works well and as supposed, without any bugs or errors. It will usually require an additional $300 – $4.500 from project’s budget.
Bio: Alex Volski – blogger, writer and analyst at ThinkMobiles with experience in web and app fields, VR/AR enthusiast.