Be Platform-Agnostic or risk the wrath of angry customers

Beautiful girlSo we are in 2013, and despite the iPhone making huge tractions since 2007 to be the standard in mobile smart phone usage, it never was going to end up being that way forever. Android like it or not, makes up at least half, if not more in many markets, but yet we still see companies and businesses opting to firstly create an iPhone app, then an Android app. Take a look at my health fund provider, nib who just recently came out with their iPhone app to make claims easily, or Foxtel GO, which is my cable television carrier’s attempt to get mobile TV, opting for the iPhone first, and still to this day, haven’t released an Android app (there is a beta version but its limited to specific devices and will be rolling out one-by-one to other devices).
There are just as many Android developers (or JAVA developers) as iOS developers these days, so resourcing isn’t an excuse. But from a business perspective, companies aren’t realising that it is more offensive to have an iPhone app released without an equivalent for Android, than to not have a mobile app altogether. It’s a tease, so to speak, and more so, it shows a lack of foresight and anticipation from the start of the project, by choosing one over the other.

So the result of this, we see customers get annoyed and frustrated, and it leaves a sour taste in their mouths, because some CEO has an iPhone, everyone else should have. And yes I know, I’m an iOS developer myself, but I consider myself now to be more device-agnostic, and would prefer to develop for multiple platforms. If we can’t support having two projects run concurrently to work on multiple platforms, then choose a language that can cater to multiple languages.

You have the choice of multiple languages that can work cross-platform

These days we are spoiled for choice when it comes to create device-agnostic apps, apps that work with one-code base across Android, iPhone and Windows phonegapPhones. We can either go down the HTML5 route and create a pure web-based app that works perfectly across devices, using JQuery, or use it with a wrapper to create a native-feel and installed app. Some fine examples include Corona, PhoneGap and Titanium. These works fine and look amazing, with great community support. We also have Apache Flex, Adobe’s baby that was later adopted by the open-source community, which I personally enjoy using.

Apache Flex uses Actionscript 3 and MXML to create native code that works across iPhone and Android and Windows Mobile, through Adobe Air, and from the apps I have created, it works a treat. So the point being, with the number of Java developers, as well as HTML5 an Flex developers out there, there is a big enough resource pool out there to develop for both platforms. So together with the number of Android users outnumbering Apple, it doesn’t make sense to prefer one over the other.

I would never prefer Android over iOS even if the marketshare is 80/20, which is my point. Be device-agnostic, you wouldn’t do a website that works on Internet Explorer and not Chrome, which is why we need to have an acceptable standard across phones, the same way we have with websites and browsers.

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