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Custom Android App Development: How to choose an agency and how much does it cost?

Android App Development

Just imagine you’ve come up with the next million-dollar app idea, can you develop it?
If the answer is no, then you’ll need to find an android app development agency straight away. In this article, we will look at android app agency services and the types of custom android app development they can produce for you. You’ll understand why an Android app is right for you and be able to select the perfect agency for your project.

Why Pick Android Over iOS For Your Mobile App?

Regardless of the idea you have, you’ll need to decide if you can afford to develop your app on Android and iOS or if you need to select just one of these options. If you decide you can only build on one platform, then here are 4 reasons to choose Android over iOS

1. Great ability to experiment
Android app development is more flexible than iOS. The reason for this is that innovation has been built into Android by Google. This encourages experiment in development, precisely what you want.

2. A larger customer base
Not only is Android on more devices than iOS, but it can be downloaded from more than the Google Play Store. For example, you can download it directly from a website. All this means that Android apps are available to a much larger base of customers than iOS.

3. The approval process is much easier
If you register as an iOS app developer, you’ll know the multiple hurdles and red tape you have to go through. This doesn’t exist with Android. You register yourself, create your APK (application package kit) and submit it to the application platform.

4. Lower development costs
For many reasons, developing on Android is cheaper for an android mobile app development company. For a start, the subscription to Google Play Store is a one-time fee of $25, compared to $99 per year on Apple’s App Store. Then you have the fact that Android is open source, making the barrier to entry lower for developers, reducing cost.

Validating Your New App Idea - Is It Worth Developing?

Most people can come up with an idea for an application, but will it get consistently downloaded from the Google Play Store? Let us look at the best ways of checking the worth of your application?

  • Look at the potential market size. You need to have a large enough audience to make money
  • Will a customer actually pay for the app? Does it provide enough value for them to spend money?
  • What competition do you have? If 50 versions of your app already exist, how will ours be different?
  • Create an MVP (minimum viable product) and get user feedback. If you can afford to do this, you can get users onto the app and providing vital data on the viability of the app
  • Soft launch to see how many people are interested. Create a campaign and ask people to sign up to hear more or get the beta version. This is a great way to discover if you have a good product

What Is An Android App Development Agency and What Do They Do?

An Android app development agency builds applications that will sit on mobile devices running on the Android operating system. The system was first acquired by Google in 2005.

They will take the ideas of a client and help them turn that into a finished application. The goal is to sell the application on the many stores for Android apps, like Google Play Store, Amazon App Store and Samsung Galaxy Apps.

You can expect the Android app development agency to work on your idea from concept through to release. They will help define the goals of the app, understand the business needs, as well as how you expect it to be released.

They will then take the brief and start producing the code required, doing rigorous testing along the way. This will ensure the final application will perform effectively on Android platforms and give the client the greatest chance of success. This will involve following app development best practices and ensuring the responsiveness of the application.

Once an app has been released, one of the Android app agency services you might utilise is post-release support. This is where the agency will ensure your app continues to work on new versions of Android as they are released and through the various SDK updates.

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

How Do Apps Get Created By Android App Development Agencies?

Each agency will have a slightly different way of working, but all will follow a similar step by step process. 

  1. Build a brief for the application, which will be signed off by the client
  2. Create wireframes and mock-ups to bring the idea to life
  3. The coding will now begin, using the brief and wireframe as the basis. Some of the more popular types of software to use for this are Android Studio, IntelliJ Idea and Unity 3D.
  4. It is now time to start testing the application, typically an Android app development agency will use phone simulators to see how it performs and identify bugs. Once these are fixed, they will go through a cycle of testing, fixing and releasing until all bugs are fixed and performance has been optimised
  5. Now the app is ready to be released onto the Google Play Store for the first time
  6. Depending on the agreement you have with your agency, they will then continue to update the application as the Android operating system is upgraded

How Much Does It Cost To Develop An Android App?

There is no one size fits all costing for Android app development services because development can be so varied. The choices you make will determine the end cost. Let us have a look at the different options that will increase the cost of your development.

  • Integrations. If you choose to get some of the content from a 3rd party, you will need to pay for these integrations and they often come with an ongoing license fee. A great example would be integrating with social media apps like Facebook
  • The hardware features you utilise. A smartphone has a lot of features that you might try and tap into, but each will come with a development cost. Good examples would be GPS navigation, Augmented Reality and NFC technology
  • Maintenance costs. If you employ the agency to continue supporting the app post-delivery, then this will again increase your overall app development costs
  • You might need storage or database hosting. These will have ongoing fees associated with them
  • You may also want to incorporate in-app purchasing into the platform, which will make the initial development more expensive

Whilst it’s impossible to put a figure on the exact cost of Android app development, research exists to give estimates of cost. One report states that the low-end cost of a simple application is around $40,000, whilst a medium difficulty app may cost $100,000. You should be budgeting over $120,000 for a custom and very complex application. 

Why Do Companies Develop Free Android Apps?

Considering these high costs, it raises the question of why anyone would develop a free Android app. It’s reported that 96.7% of all apps on the Google Play Store are free, so it’s a deliberate decision by most app creators. There are two key reasons for offering a free app.

1. In-app purchases
Incredibly popular in modern apps, the ability to purchase extra items within the application started in 2011. This has now grown into a billion-dollar industry, with spending on in-app purchases outstripping app purchases by 2017. It is estimated that over half of all apps downloaded on the Google Play Store have some form of in-app purchase capability.

2. Advertising/Sponsorship
This comes in different guises. It could be sponsoring some element of the app or advertising a product within the app via a banner ad. The most popular approach is showing a video of someone else’s app before allowing them to move to the next level.

If you are concerned about the high costs involved in application development, one alternative could be looking at the NoCode route, have a read about how this approach has helped other startups kick start their development.

Key Reasons You Should Invest In Android Application Services?

Not all businesses have an Android app. For those that do, they might look to build them in-house. There are several reasons why you need to invest in Android and why choosing an Android mobile app development company is the better path to go.

Reach the biggest audience

As we have pointed out, Android is more popular than iOS, so by choosing this option you are reaching a much larger audience. Android represents over 70% of the market, with iOS only just breaking through the 25% mark, so in terms of total reach globally, it is the best choice.

Stay up to date

Growth in app development has been exponential for years and shows no signs of slowing down. If you hope to keep up with the pace of change in the sector, you will need to select an Android app development agency that has the best developers and stay on top of these changes.
The introduction of trends like The Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence has meant that you need specialists that are immersed in the sector.

Ensure the best security for sensitive data

Security is a big topic for most businesses and employing a good agency is important to ensure any data going through the app is secure. The better agencies will be employing tactics like incorporating SSL traffic and applying signature-based permissions.

How To Choose The Best Android Mobile App Development Company

Having decided that getting an Android app development agency is the right route for your business, what are the key factors you should be considering when selecting the agency for you? 

You need to start by making sure you have a good brief, detailing exactly what you are looking to achieve. This will allow the agency to give you a proper proposal and prevent surprises later. With that in place, use this checklist to ensure you pick the right agency for you.

Check references

Always look at the previous work by an agency. Focus on the type of apps they have built and ensure they are the style you need. For example, if you are looking for an app that allows people to place an order, then a great agency that develops gaming apps is not right. 

You should also speak to a couple of their clients to understand how they work and if they feel they got a good service.

Understand their working practices

The development process of your agency is important because it has to fit your internal working practices and resources. For example, if they expect you to do a lot of end-user testing, you need to be prepared with the resource for this.

You also need to understand how they will manage the project and what communication will be like. It is important you get regular and clear updates throughout the project. Never select an agency that will say very little and just deliver a project at the very end.

Post-build support

Building the initial app is just the beginning, you need it maintained and upgraded to stay aligned to the latest code versions and trends, otherwise, it will quickly become outdated. Therefore you need an agency that provides high-quality maintenance - you are looking for a long-term partner, not a short-term agency.

Understand who will work on the project

An agency will always put their best people in front of you during the pitch, but then you never see them again. They leave it to the junior and less skilled team members to complete the project. Ask to see who will actually be working on the project, your key contacts and the actual developers who will build your application.

Get clear and detailed pricing

Never sign a contract with open pricing because you’ll never be able to budget properly. Fixed pricing encourages the agency to work efficiently. Look at the pricing and spot any elements of the project that take the longest and decide if they are worth the cost involved. Sometimes you add ‘nice to have’ items to a brief and they end up costing you far too much and do not justify their inclusion in the app.

So there you go, a definitive guide on why you should be choosing to develop an Android app and how to pick the right agency for you. Good luck with your project, let us know how it goes and if we can help with our network of NoCode developers, then go to our marketplace and find a developer that can help you today.

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