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What is mobile software development?

4 Minute Read

Mobile software development is the process of developing applications that are built specifically to run on mobile devices. Mobile software development shares a lot of common characteristics with general web development, but it differentiates itself by taking advantage of mobile platforms. The mobile software development process entails creating installable software bundles like code, integrating backend services like APIs and finally testing the application on the targeted mobile devices.


Approaches to building mobile applications:

There are 4 general approaches to developing mobile software: native mobile applications, hybrid mobile applications, progressive web applications and cross-platform native mobile applications.


  • Native Applications: Native applications are written in the frameworks and programming language provided by the owner and operator of the platform (i.e. iOS/Android). This makes native applications platform-specific and gives access to hardware devices. Some benefits of native applications include their direct access to APIs and their great runtime performance.
  • Cross-Platform Applications: Cross-platform applications can be written in different programming languages and frameworks. They use a single code for all platforms and are relatively easy to build and operate.
  • Hybrid-Web Applications: Hybrid-web applications are built with general technologies like JavaScript and CSS and are bundled as installation packages. With hybrid-web applications, there is a shared code between both the mobile and web applications
  • Progressive Web Applications: Progressive web applications differ from other mobile applications because they skip app store delivery and app installations. They are web-based applications that leverage browser capabilities.

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Platforms for mobile development:

There are two major platforms for mobile development on the market today: iOS and Android. iOS and Android have 97% of the global mobile market share.  Both of these platforms have their own app store in which there are billions of users who install applications daily; iOS has the Apple App Store and Android has the Google Play Store. It’s important for businesses to do thorough research on what platform they want to build their mobile software on because the audiences on each platform and app store are different.



Although Android has a larger market share and is more established internationally, the engagement levels for iOS are higher than Android. The audience for iOS allows developers to have higher margins for their apps. Many iOS users are young, educated and wealthy people in the western society. This correlates with their engagement being higher because they spend more time in apps and make more in-app purchases. iOS is also a generally safer platform for apps due to Apple’s closed app ecosystem.



Android has several advantages over iOS. First, Android has a larger global audience and market share; Android has over two thirds of the global market share and has more app downloads than iOS. Building your application on Android allows you to have more features and flexibility with customizing your app. Additionally, Android is very dominant in upcoming markets like Asia, Africa and Latin America.

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To learn more about selecting what platform to develop your application on, talk to an expert here.




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