Android App Development – The Process And The Costs?
There’s no denying the popularity of Android as an operating system, whether it be on a smartphone, a tablet, a netbook, or even an Android TV box. Part of what makes Android so popular as an operating system is the massive range of apps that are available, but have you ever wondered how much it costs to create an app, and what’s involved?
So, what DOES it cost to create an Android app?
Well – the short answer is “how long is a piece of string?” and the long answer is, well.. long!
Basically depending on exactly what you want your application to do, whether it’s for an internal business use only, or will be released to the masses, how much development time the application will take, what skill-level of developer you use, and where the developer is based are all contributing factors to the price, so the answer could be anything from €100 to €100,000 – quite a price range, eh?!
So it can be VERY expensive, or quite cheap – what’s involved?
The process of creating an Android app has many stages, all of which should be carefully planned an executed to ensure you get it right first time.
If you’re looking to make, or have made, an Android app, chances are you already have a concept, but have you thought about the practicalities, and whether your idea is even possible?
You don’t need to know exactly how the concept will be achieved if you’re paying someone to create an app, but you do need to make sure it’s achievable, if you ask someone to create an app which gives you unlimited money, it’s just not going to happen, but if you have a quirky game idea, then chances are a developer will be able to do it if you give them enough details, enough time (and probably enough money too!)
The concept is all on you, so shouldn’t cost you anything (apart from your own time!).
The next part of the process is to get a design on paper (and on computer) to lay out the UI (user interface) and check how user friendly it will be, making adjustments along the way, and ensuring all features are easy to find and use.
This part of the process is where you’ll brand your app, you’ll need an eye catching icon, colour scheme and matching layout that people will find simple and intuitive to use. Try to think of this as the completed app and see if it has everything you need easily accessed, if not then it’s important to sort this out before carrying on further.
The design process can cost a little, or lots depending on how big your app is – a game with hundreds or thousands of different graphics is going to cost significantly more to design than a simple app to open your website for a user.
This is where things start to come together, the programming of the app takes your concept, and your design and makes everything work – this is one of the final stages in creating an Android app.
This can also be the most expensive step – if you can use photoshop, or have a creative flair then you can likely handle the concept and perhaps a large portion of the design (even if it is first draft designs) yourself, but you’ll need to be a skilled Java developer with a strong understanding of Androids framework if you wish to create an app from scratch.
The cost of the programming is likely to be a not insignificant portion of your overall budget, just how complex it is will depend on the concept, it’s hard to set a price on this, for smaller projects you may be better paying per hour for a developer, whilst larger more involved apps might work out cheaper if you agree a fee for the full project.
You can of course test your shiny new app by yourself, but people are strange creatures, and if there’s a way of performing some obscure action which will break things, you can almost guarantee that someone will manage to do it, and they’ll complain – if you’re lucky, or they’ll release the bug onto the internet and everyone will be abusing the bug in your app.
We’d recommend that you allow your developer to run your app through their own quality assurance process if they have one, this way it’s on them to fix it if there’s a major issue.
That’s roughly the process involved, in a very simplified manner. Depending on the complexity of your project it could take anything from a day, to months or even years, and that’s just the creation of the app. Once your app is working, the distribution, marketing and advertising, the support, customer acquisition, billing etc are all things to consider, but that’s for another day – get the app ready to roll first and foremost, and then build the hype!