Based on a survey of the leading sites in the U.S., an average 55.67 percent of traffic in the fourth quarter 2015 came from mobile devices. We can expect this figure to grow steadily over the coming years.
From a strictly business perspective, mobility is also a major lever for productivity for companies, increasing the ubiquity of the workplace (work anywhere). All these factors make development of top-quality mobile applications a matter of absolute necessity – even a Holy Grail. But unlike the mythical cup sought by the Knights of the Round Table, this grail can be discovered if two conditions are present: We have to decide which operating system will take priority, and we must have the insight to review the development scenario for mobile applications.
Is Android (News - Alert) the Right Choice?
There is no shortage of operating systems today. So developers have to look at the facts when making a choice. There are three main criteria: popularity, user loyalty, and the range available from the Store. On every point, Android is the clear winner.
With an 83 percent market share, Android is the most widely used OS in the world, with the most loyal users – 82 percent of people who use it stay with it – and with 1.43 million applications (as of January 2015), Google (News - Alert) Play has the largest offering. Based on the comScore report on U.S. Smartphone Subscriber Market Share dated January 2016, Android leads the pack with 52.8 percnet of market share, leaving iOS behind at 43.6 percent. Clearly, Android is capturing the market share at the expense of iOS.
The Dictatorship of Quality
When app stores were created for smartphones, visibility was the main challenge for most brands. This was often achieved by developing apps at every turn on the largest possible number of OSs.
But things have changed: Quality has become more important than quantity.
So now if an app causes problems the first time it is used, 80 percent will only try their luck again once, and 34 percent will go to a competitor. The quality of an application must therefore be impeccable.
Most of the major economic players now understand that. Facebook (News - Alert) is one example. Despite a somewhat problematic start on mobile, some 40 percent of users now access the social network on their phones. But it’s not just the big boys that can do that; design of applications that meet the end user’s desired quality level is possible for all developers. How? By starting with a clean slate, free of past (bad) habits.
More than 55 percent of users uninstalled business (productivity) apps either because the app offered a poor end user experience, or they found better quality apps, or both. Nearly 34 percent of mobile app users uninstalled apps because these apps kept freezing on them.
Rethinking the Mobile Apps Development Scenario
Many companies still have a silo and self-sufficient mentality when it comes to applications development. The new competitive landscape demands development of applications that work successfully as soon as they are downloaded, so this way of working needs rethinking. A company therefore has to focus on a new development method, encouraging collaboration among all those involved: sales staff, after-sales, marketing, and quality assurance teams, as well as developers. Obviously, this needs the resources of the right technology, of which the cloud is the cornerstone. Only the cloud – or, more specifically, an emulator designed for the cloud – meets the conditions necessary for collaborative working.
In other words, with an emulator designed for the cloud, developers can share the latest version of the applications instantly with all the departments concerned. The quality assurance department can detect and repair the smallest bits of faulty code with real-time quality tests.
The team responsible for customer experience will make use of it to inform developers of areas for improvement during the development process. Even departments that seem furthest from the development process may benefit from the emulation association and the cloud.
The marketing and sales teams could use this technology to develop tools and ad hoc demos to support their sales pitch, without waiting for the final version of the application. And the after-sales service would benefit from much greater detail in giving advice and more efficient repair work, since the emulator would precisely repeat the experience of each user with their own applications.
Little will change over the next few months. User requirements will not decline, nor will the number of applications available in the stores. But change may come with the capacity of companies to adapt to these demanding requirements and the competition thanks to a thorough process of self-examination.
Arnaud Dupuis is CEO of Genymobile.
Edited by Alicia Young