If you or your business is considering having a mobile app developed, the timing has never been better. While competition in the app stores is at an all-time high, it also creates greater opportunities to succeed for app developers like us who are always keeping up with the latest technology trends and requirements. Below are some of the things Winnona Partners are excited about in 2019.
New and emerging app stores
As if developing quality software that people love isn’t challenging enough, Apple and Google’s 30% cut of developers’ revenue is an extra hurdle that all business owners and entrepreneurs must take into consideration when pricing their apps or services. In 2018, we saw an influx of articles and debates highlighting companies’ frustration with this heavy tax. Most notably Netflix, whose app sales have topped $1.4 billion, has given up hundreds of millions of dollars to accommodate Apple and Google’s tax. As of December 2018, Netflix has removed the ability for users to renew their subscription through the app entirely. This outrage, paired with a Supreme Court case to determine if Apple is operating as illegal monopoly, has inspired other companies to challenge the App Store and Google Play.
The new and emerging app stores grabbing our attention lately include the Amazon Appstore (Alexa), Shopify, Facebook Instant Games, and even Fortnite creator Epic Games. While each of these platforms and services deserves their own detailed article, they’re all attempting the same thing: offer developers a more competitive proceeds rate than Apple and Google. These less-saturated app store alternatives should also be attractive to developers and businesses as it may present an opportunity to rank higher in their stores faster than iOS or Android, ultimately leading to more sales. However, developing successful technology for these platforms will completely depend on how well you (and the app firm you work with) understand their unique audiences, development requirements, and UI/UX preferences.
Increased preference for cross-platform development
Gone are the days where you must have separate developers for iOS, Android, and web! In the early 2010s there was a prevailing reluctance, and some strong rejection in the development community regarding cross-platform development (meaning one coding framework to develop apps for both iOS and Android). This is not the case in 2019. The development tools, libraries, and documentation has significantly improved over the course of just a couple years, offering developers clean and effective tech solutions and saving clients a ton of money in development cost. Plus, the ability to quickly push out app changes to both iOS and Android simultaneously saves everyone a lot of time and worry about if and when a feature will work equally as well on Android as it does on iOS (a common concern among developers).
We’re thankful that our development team began using React, React Native and Redux in 2017, and we’re thrilled to see the wider acceptance and demand for React capabilities. The ease of use for coders and app users alike paired with the abundance of libraries and resources makes 2019 an excellent year to streamline your new software project quickly from scratch, with the assurance that most features will work intuitively on every major device type.
Return of the lean startup mentality
We’ve referenced Eric Ries’s The Lean Startup countless times in our blog posts–and for good reason! The principles and tactics that Ries lays out provide an excellent framework for entrepreneurs and business owners at any stage of their career. While we do still hear in the news about major seed funding rounds for emerging technology (primarily with Ai, VR, or fintech), investors don’t seem too eager to fund any old app idea anymore.
In fact most clients we speak to are self-funding their app (you can see our post on Bootstrapping your mobile app idea here). For this reason, and for the fact that there is usually a lot of uncertainty as to whether or not an app might reach mass appeal, we always encourage clients to start by developing a minimum viable product (MVP) to test out their concept with their intended audience.
An MVP can be a lot of things, including a simplified functional service, a frontend prototype with mock data, or even just a mobile-friendly website to start. Just as with full-production app development, there is no one size fits all approach to developing an MVP. However, over the past year we have refined and expedited the MVP branch of our business, getting technology in the hands of entrepreneurs and businesses as fast as possible (typically 1-2 months) so they can hit the ground running to find out what their customers like and don’t like about their idea, product, or service.
As Ries emphasizes, the sooner you can build and learn what your audience wants, the sooner you can scale your business at a rapid rate. At Winnona Partners we understand this process intimately, and look forward to continue helping our clients succeed in 2019.