Why Android projects are postponed in early stage startups

Why Android projects are postponed in early stage startups
Photo by Uncalno Tekno

A typical scenario we get to see is when a startup starts building their solution on all mobile platforms at once before figuring out what software design, user experience, or feature set meets the needs of their customers. A startup is working to solve a problem under extreme uncertainty. Building for all platforms at once before finding out what design approach works best will drain them of their resources at a much higher rate, and they get burned out very fast. Startups have no choice but to experiment and constantly test their product designs on their end users. Experimenting on a single platform costs less. On the other hand, development on multiple platforms at once can be very resource-consuming. It would be much more efficient if they started building for one platform until they reached a sizeable user base.

The first platform is often iOS. A lot of development, experiments, and Hackathons are happening on this platform. Apple customers also seem more interested in their devices and are more likely to pay for apps and services. As a result, there are many opportunities to keep iOS developers employed whether they decide to freelance or work with a company on a full-time or part-time basis. Many great tools are developed around the iOS platform, and that only fuels an existing thriving market.

Android can be used as the first platform of choice, but unfortunately, there aren’t enough jobs to keep freelance developers and contractors employed. Hence, they often work full-time for startups and enterprise companies in more mature states. These companies have enough resources to keep Android developers employed. So basically, there aren’t enough Android developers available to the early-stage startups because the early-stage startups don’t offer enough Android development jobs.

In the enterprise space, things are different. They often have a more clear picture of what they want. The specs are known. The user base is known. One of our clients had exact numbers of Android users in their company, and their employees would use their app. As a result, the development of both platforms could happen at the same time. Enterprise companies have bigger budgets, too, and they can easily afford the cost of experimentation and iteration on multiple platforms. For them, other obstacles exist, such as integration with their existing infrastructure, compliance, and adoption within their company.

This seems to be the current state of the market. If you are an enterprise company, then you are fine. Still, we have seen many startups stretching themselves out thin trying to develop for all platforms, iterate, and, most challenging of all, recruit talented Android developers. So if you are a startup, let go of the Android ambition for a while and focus on building a successful iOS app first. Later you can employ an Android developer to replicate your design and use your existing API to help you reach a wider audience.