G is for Google Play Store

Or just Apple?

Independent app developers often focus on the Apple ecosystem. Apple product users spend more money on apps and it’s easier to maintain an app that runs on Apple hardware alone, as opposed to the many different Android phone manufacturers.

I started making apps by learning iOS development and didn’t consider making an Android app until TextingStory started taking off in the Apple app store. It quickly felt like I was missing an opportunity and I felt compelled to look into it.

Launching an Android version of TextingStory resulted in the app’s revenue doubling because 1) it turned out Android users spend less but are more numerous, and 2) revenue also increased on iOS as the general virality of the app benefited from being on both platforms. It might not work out the same for every app but it’s worth looking into, especially if your app relies on virality for user acquisition.

When I started working on an Android version, the app was already successful on iOS but I still couldn’t afford to have a fully-fledged port made by a contractor. I didn’t feel like learning Android app development from scratch either so I asked a freelancer to create a minimalist version with only the app’s basic features. I worked hand in hand with the freelancer, helping him with testing and debugging as much as I could to speed up delivery, minimize cost and learn a bit about Android development.

It turns out this minimalist version was enough for the app to be successful on Android too. I worked incrementally from there to bring every feature from the iOS version to the Android version, collaborating closely with freelancers again. I spread this over a couple years because, well, freelance software engineers are expensive!

On a side note, working with experienced Android programmers was also interesting because I’d never done any professional app development before becoming an indie app developer. It ended up teaching me a number of good practices that I was able to transfer to my own iOS work.

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