As mobile internet usage continues to rise across the world, a significant portion of it goes into mobile apps. In fact, studies show that as much as 90% of mobile internet time gets spent on mobile apps (eMarketer). There are currently over 2.9 million apps on the Google Play Store, with around 70,000 new ones being released every month. The Apple App Store holds about 4.75 million apps (MindSea). All of these figures go to show us that businesses are recognizing the potential of mobile apps. They understand the importance of giving their customers this channel to connect with them. However, mobile app development companies run into various kinds of challenges when creating these apps, due to the rapidly growing and changing ecosystems of mobile devices. Let us discuss some of them.
There is a wide variety of issues that can arise throughout the development cycle of an app. This can range from the correct approach in creating the app, to implementing security measures, to creating an app that can stand out in today’s saturated market.
When you start off an app development project, you will have to consider what app development technology you wish to go for. The real challenge here lies in identifying the requirements and behaviors of your customers, and then choosing the approach that will provide them the best possible experience. There are 3 development approaches you may choose from:
Native apps are created using tools that are specific to a mobile Operating System (OS). These apps are secure, reliable, fast, and highly intuitive. There is significantly minimal scope of bugs. However, in this approach, you have to develop a separate app for each of the platforms, Android and iOS. Tools like Java, Android Studio, Kotlin, and IntelliJ IDEA are popular for Android development, while tools like Swift, XCode, Objective C and AppCode are popular for iOS development.
Hybrid apps come with a combination of web applications and native solutions. They are essentially web applications put into a native shell. They are easy and quick to develop, easy to maintain, and prove significantly good UI/UX. However, a number of features may be inconsistent across the different operating systems. This is because hybrid apps have a single code deployed in them, and so some features that work better on Android might not work as well for iOS. Ionic, PhoneGap, and Apache Cordova are popular hybrid development frameworks.
Cross-platform apps are slightly different from hybrid apps. These apps are built using code that can be reused for different OS. These apps are robust, and quick and affordable to develop. However, they do not perform as great as the other two kinds of apps, and do not offer a high degree of customization. React Native, Xamarin, and Flutter are popular cross-platform development frameworks.
A key challenge in mobile app development in ensuring your app works well across a variety of mobile devices. This means it must cater to multiple screen sizes of popular devices, be they mobiles or tablets. Ensuring your app is compatible with the many different devices and screen sizes can be difficult. If your app doesn’t fit well, it can significantly worsen the user experience. With Samsung announcing the development of a new foldable OLED screen, a brand new challenge has arisen in app creating – foldable apps. Samsung claims that many popular apps are adapting to its foldable handsets.
Wearable technology is becoming increasingly popular all over the world. The number of connected wearable gadgets around the world numbered around 929 million last year (Statista). As technology advances, we can assume that such wearable tech is going to slowly but surely become a much more significant part of our lives. Ever since Apple launched the WatchOS in 2015, Apple watches have had their own app store as well. The Google Play Store too features a number of apps that are available for Android-based smart watches. All of this definitely points to the emergence of wearable tech. This is a modern app development challenge that developers need to overcome if they are to create successful apps in 2022.
Similarly, there are IoT-connected external devices as well. Mobile operated smart devices such as Fitbit, Nest security cameras, Ring home-security devices show that IoT technologies are fast being embraced. Therefore, mobile applications that will work in tandem with such devices need to address the associated challenges that are bound to arise.
Security is a genuinely top concern among both mobile app developers as well as their users. Back in 2016, Uber was hacked, and the attackers managed to steal the personal data of 57 million customers and drivers. A simple Google search can provide you with many more such stories. As new threats keep presenting themselves through the use of apps, a great deal of attention is being paid by companies to keep the security strong. Data leaks and malware attacks can significantly hamper a company’s trust among its customers.
Security walls need to keep being rigorously tested and continuously maintained. As new threats arise, the security measures must adapt to be able to deal with them. Keeping all data encrypted, having back-up systems in place, and implementing different access levels for confidential information are measures many companies are taking in order to keep their mobile security up to the mark.
One of the major challenges in mobile app development is rising costs, and keeping the project within budget. The longer it takes to develop the app, the more likely it is to go out of budget. If more designers, testers, and other professionals have to be brought into the project for extra hours, the budget can slide out of control very quickly.
How much the project is going to cost eventually depends on the client and their requirements. It also depends on the expertise of the mobile app development service providers involved, and their acquaintance with the various frameworks involved. The cost of developing an app usually ranges between $3000 to upto $150,000, but it is impossible to exactly pinpoint the price.
Businesses that actively notice ways to address problems within their mobile app will ensure the right outcome and will benefit greatly. We have highlighted some major challenges you can run across during your app development project. Once you have these issues figured out before embarking on such a project, you should have no issues creating a robust and user-friendly app well within your time scope and budget.
Rajdip Dutta is a project manager & an avid purveyor of the latest trends in mobile app development. His blogs provide a deep insight into the field.