Why develop an Android application?
The past couple of years have taught developers one thing: mobile is king.
The power shift from laptops and PCs became apparent when smartphones and tablets took over as the number one way to access the Internet in 2016. Since then, mobile devices kept gaining more momentum, until it became clear that they have seeped into all aspects of our modern life. At the time of this article, smartphones and tablets have established themselves as irreplaceable parts of both our social and professional experiences.
They’ve come to be especially important during the 2020 coronavirus crisis.
Smartphones and tablets have turned into crucial tools for long-distance communication, letting us all stay in touch with our family, friends, and colleagues. They also offered instant access to hundreds of delivery services, the demand for which has skyrocketed during the lockdown. What’s more, tablets and smartphones have become a major (if not the primary) source of entertainment for millions of people, providing some much needed distraction for those who missed having fun at social outings.
With all these points in mind, we can safely conclude that mobile apps are more relevant than ever before.
The current number of smartphone users is over 3 billion people, and the number of connected mobile devices in the world is even bigger – almost 8 billion smartphones. The market is absolutely massive, and what makes it even more appealing to all kinds of businesses is its huge versatility: it’s so all-encompassing that almost any app is guaranteed to find an audience.
Now then, why should you choose Android for your application? The answer is quite simple: as of August 2020, Android devices accounted for 74% of all smartphones globally .
According to App Annie’s statistics, users spend around 200 billion hours on Android apps every month  – that’s almost 70 billion hours weekly.
Google Play absolutely dominates the mobile application landscape; Statista predicts that if its popularity continues to grow, Android’s market share will reach 87% by the year 2023 .
Average global Android app developer cost
There are plenty of factors that affect the android app development cost. The biggest one, however, is the development company’s location.
Android app developer costs vary significantly throughout the world as do the average hourly wages. As a general rule, Asian countries and Eastern Europe provide cheaper Android development services, while Western European and US-based Android app developers cost more. Mind you, this does not necessarily reflect the quality of their Android products.
Let’s have a closer look at different countries’ Android app developer cost.
Starting with the most expensive developers, the programmers from the USA and Australia charge $50-150 per hour. While there is no significant difference in quality between specialists from Eastern Europe and the abovementioned countries, the massive taxes and, consequently, massive hourly rates earn them the title of the priciest software engineers. The ease of communication and similar timezones may be worth it for Australian and US clients, but if you’re located in a different country and/or wish to spare your development budget, you’d better look elsewhere.
If you are about to hire Android developers from Western Europe, keep in mind that their prices will most likely be listed in Euros. The average cost of €60-70 per hour amounts to a $72-84 hourly rate, which puts them in a similar, albeit, slightly cheaper range. Converting average UK Android developer prices to USD results in an $80-100 cost per hour, essentially making them part of the same league.
The most affordable options for mobile app development are Eastern European and Indian companies. Despite the much lower $25-50 cost per hour, the quality of services Eastern Europeans provide compare quite well to their Western competitors. Unsurprisingly, it’s common for Western companies to outsource development to Belarus and Ukraine specifically because these software vendors enjoy tax benefits from their respective governments. This results in lower hourly rates for the same level of professionalism and end-product quality.
Indian programmers are the cheapest Android developers on the market, coming at $8-30 hourly pay on average. While the low cost may seem enticing, one should be extremely careful when choosing a development vendor from India. It’s advisable to have a technical lead on your team to be able to properly evaluate the quality of the developer’s work. Otherwise, it’s very easy to hire a company that is unreliable to the point of you needing to rewrite the project code from scratch.
Now that we have things like approximate hourly rates, taxes, and country-specific fees out of the way, we can start estimating the overall price of your Android project. To do that, we have to go through a list of other smaller (but no less important) factors.
What are the main Android app development cost factors?
1. Your App Vision
First, consider what you want to achieve with your Android application. Your goals will determine the app’s functionality, its size, and level of complexity. The larger the app, the more time developers need to complete it – naturally, more features will result in higher prices.
Think about the sort of audience you’re targeting, think whether the application will be better off as free or paid. Some apps heavily benefit from a subscription model, while others work best as freemium software. These factors may affect the development costs, but they rarely make a major difference.
For example, the price is unlikely to be increased if the end product is purchased on Google Play and that’s where its monetization ends. That said, if the monetization is carried out through the application itself, the relevant features may take over 2 weeks to develop. Integrations with various payment systems will also result in extra costs.
These are the very basics you should take into account from the beginning, but we’ll explore them in more detail a bit later in the article.
2. Application Complexity
The complexity of your mobile application majorly affects its development time. Depending on the type and intricacy of the app, the company might need to invest from 80 to over 700 hours into building it – that is, if we’re only talking about its basic code. An app with a complex backend that features many integrations can require over 1000 hours of development time, as well as a significantly larger team of specialists.
For example, a basic scheduling Android application will take about 80 hours to create, since it mostly consists of simple lists and menus, and can be constructed using templates.
But what if you want to make something more complex, like an e-commerce application? In this case, the development team will have to engage UI designers, and implement more sophisticated features, such as product listings, transactions, delivery, and shopping cart. A more resource-intensive app like this could require over 300 hours of development.
Now, for something as ambitious as a messenger or a social network application, the number of hours can easily rise above 600. Implementing cloud storage, various data formats, profile functionality, networking, newsfeeds, and other advanced features will require more than just copious amounts of time – it will require a team of extremely skilled professionals, as well. Of course, all this is reflected in the ultimate Android app development cost.
3. Payment model
Software developers tend to give customers a choice between two standard pricing methods: Fixed Price and Time and Material (T&M).
The name of the first one is self-explanatory: the full price is set before the development cycle begins, and will not change regardless of what happens during the project’s implementation. This model is less stressful for the client, but it includes all possible losses and risks into its initial estimates; because of that, Fixed Price usually ends up being far more expensive than the T&M approach.
T&M provides a rough estimate of what the full cost might amount to, but the actual price changes depending on how many resources are spent during development. This model is seen as riskier for the client, since they may need to cover some unforeseen costs. Nonetheless, given everything goes according to plan, Time and Material is the far more efficient option.
T&M is an especially advantageous model for complex development projects. Its nature requires utmost transparency from both parties, which prevents certain accidents from happening. Say, a team of developers takes on a seemingly simple Android project, only to find out that the price they have set initially does not cover the resources needed to complete it. This may lead to them either raising the cost of the project even further or totally breaking off the contract.
T&M is far more adaptable, so it’s a safer choice when you’re not 100% certain about every aspect of the solution. Plus, not having to account for purely hypothetical losses and risks often results in significantly cheaper prices.
4. Number of Integrations
Another aspect that needs mentioning is whether your mobile application will have integrations or be self-sufficient. The latter is able to use the full array of its functionality without needing to connect to any external devices or databases. In the majority of cases, this is a much cheaper option.
However, some applications may require server-side integration to be viable; some apps have to integrate with CRM, HRM, ERM systems, and so on. Naturally, more integrations result in higher Android app development cost.
Yet, integrations are anything but a disadvantage. In fact, you might want to consider adding integrations to your project as an efficient way to expand its reach and overall functionality.
5. Device Optimization
Being the most popular mobile operating system in the world, Android runs on a huge variety of devices. This means that the mobile application has to account for many different specs and screen sizes. Plus, unlike iOS, Android systems aren’t all updated simultaneously. There are numerous versions of the same OS being used by billions of users at a time. Of course, the app has to be compatible with numerous Android versions as well. The question is: how many, exactly?
In general, developers are well aware of the most common OS iterations and screen sizes currently in use. Still, if you want to make your Android application more accessible, optimizing it for more devices and Android versions may be a good, albeit costly idea.
6. Updates and Maintenance
When you hire Android developers, you can be fairly certain that they’ll keep the partnership long after delivering the end product. For one, Bamboo Agile provides regular updates, bugfixing, and maintenance services years after the app’s initial release, thus ensuring its lasting relevance. This approach is extremely efficient in terms of pay, as you won’t need to hire a new team of developers each time your app needs a little update. That said, the frequency and size of updates will inevitably affect the overall cost.
7. Data Security
One of the primary concerns for businesses that are new to outsourcing app development is data safety. Transferring valuable information is a risky process, but as long as the developers know how to handle confidential materials well, you are extremely unlikely to lose any of them.
Since high-quality development companies employ the latest, most reliable security protocols and methodologies, the cost of their development services is significantly higher. Cheap vendors, on the other hand, may not have the expertise or tech to completely alleviate the threat of valuable data leaks; this can result in massive losses for both you, the client, and the development company.
At the end of the day, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Still, whether investing some extra costs into security is worth it, it is entirely for you to decide.
8. Number of User Roles
While basic applications may only support one type of user, a large number of Android apps require two or more. A good example is a split between regular users and administrators, where the admins can edit the data displayed in the app, and the others can only view it. Furthermore, corporate applications can include admin-like manager accounts that may be able to assign different permissions to other users, and view otherwise inaccessible user data to generate reports based on it.
The number of roles greatly expands the potential functionality of the solution, but also increases its complexity. Naturally, since it will take more hours to develop, the cost will increase as you add more permissions and possible user categories.
9. Android Developers Team’s Size and Expertise
One thing a lot of client companies fail to consider when they hire Android developers is that the quality of the specialists involved is inevitably linked to the development cost.
A more proficient team will easily avoid common mistakes and deliver results much faster than its less experienced competitors. What’s more, an experienced software company will be able to provide reliable consultations and industry insights to those who are new to mobile app development. Their services are very thorough and dependable, and that high standard is reflected in the development cost.
No need to feel intimidated, though! Despite the higher price of services, veteran Android developers offer heaps of advantages in terms of budget. The faster delivery time means that your Android application will begin gaining revenue more quickly, and the stable performance will attract more users to your application. Moreover, experienced development teams can offer deeper customization and maintenance services due to having a multitude of reusable backend modules and frontend components in their arsenal.
Finally, the communication and workflow methodologies are much more advanced when it comes to sophisticated development companies. For instance, Bamboo Agile keeps close contact with the client at every stage of development, engaging with them through regular online meetings, Skype calls, progress reports, and other communication methods. This ensures that everyone is on the same page, thus guaranteeing that the end result will meet every requirement and expectation.
To sum it up, the marketability and quality of your application are largely dependent on the expertise of the team developing it. So, while it does make the initial cost a little more expensive, it’s better to hire Android developers who know exactly how to build a top-notch piece of software.
So let’s compile all of the aspects that affect Android app development cost.
- The qualities of the product, such as:
- number of integrations;
- user roles;
- device optimization;
- app monetization.
- The factors that influence what developer you should work with:
- your language;
- geographical location;
- budget limitations;
- service quality requirements.
Moreover, you need to remember that mobile app development involves more than just coding. Hiring one competent programmer is usually not enough – a complex application can require a backend developer, a UX/UI designer, a business analyst, a project manager, and even a QA engineer. Their rates will be completely different from those of mobile developers, and taking these nuances into account is crucial to making a realistic estimate.
So, how much does it cost to develop an Android application?
With all the above-mentioned factors in mind, you can finally calculate the Android app development cost. The formula here is simple: multiply each individual specialist’s hourly rate by the number of hours required to do their tasks, and combine the results. The minimum possible budget will be $5,000-$10,000, the maximum budget will likely be $150,000-$200,000.
Very straightforward. But then, another question arises: how do I figure out the number of hours needed to implement each feature? How do I know which kinds of specialists I require? No need to worry about having to figure it all out by yourself.
First, click here to fill out a short questionnaire, and get a reliable estimation of the resources your mobile application project will need.
If you still feel unsure about your Android app development cost, consider applying for a free consultation with experts from Bamboo Agile – we’ll be glad to help you!
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