As user demands for mobile apps' appearance, UX design and overall robustness grow, application development becomes more complex and time consuming. Now when you know how much it may cost you to build a fully-featured functional app for iOS and Android this year, you may want to know the average time to market (TTM) you should expect for your native mobile application development. Let's estimate it roughly stage by stage:
1. Vision and planning - 2-4 weeks.
This stage envisions ideas and goal setting for your future app. All design concepts, features, system requirements and development tools are finalized, and mockup designs and wireframes are created at this stage.
2. Development and design - 8-10 weeks per one mobile platform.
This phase includes prototyping and the actual app development and UI/UX design, real-time analysis and problem solving. If you choose to build your app for, say, iOS first, and then decide to develop its Android version, you should double your TTM, as developing app for a different platform is almost like developing it from scratch. So, expect your app development to span to 16 - 20 weeks if you want to target your app at two platforms. Note that complex mobile games and solutions can take over 6 months in development alone!
3. QA and testing - 1-2 weeks.
In case of Android development, sometimes it's just a matter of finding different Android devices to test your app on. With a huge market segmentation and around 20,000 distinct Android running devices, it may not be that easy to find at least hundred gadgets to see how your app is working and looking like on them. So, as you see, a lot of factors influence the timeframe of your app's testing and quality assurance.
4. Final release and app store launch - 3-4 weeks.
This stage includes creation of the app's landing page, icon, description, meta tags and relevant marketing collateral that can take up to 2 weeks. Additionally, there's a waiting time for getting app store's approval to publish your app. For instance, Apple takes up to 2 weeks to complete its app approval procedure.
So, as we can see, TTM for an average native mobile app or game is 14-20 weeks. Some of the ways to shorten it are:
- Distribute your app development across 2 and/or more development centers (e.g., develop your iOS version in-house while simultaneously outsourcing development of an Android app to a 3rd party onshore or offshore);
- Set up your entire mobile development team in a locale with lower costs of software development, and hire more developers (thus do more work) for the same budget.
What other ways of reducing TTM in native app development do you know?