Mobile Application Development

Johnny Walker
Chief Editor
1 August 2020 Updated on  Обновлено   3 June 2023

Mobile app development is the process of creating software that runs on a mobile device. This is a challenging task which requires time, skills, and a sufficient budget. Even with an experienced team, there is no guarantee that the end product will be worthwhile. There are millions of applications available for any kind of mobile device today, and standing out from them is no easy feat. Every day they are released by hundreds; some become popular and profitable, while many never reach beyond a narrow circle of users.

Today, a person spends an average of 5 hours daily on their smartphone. The established habit of people can be profitably monetised by building a business around it. A mobile app is able to advertise products, study the target audience, analyse consumer behaviour, and improve the image of the company.

What a mobile application is

What a mobile app is

In 2023, the number of smartphone users approached 7 billion. Every year they spend over $400 billion on new devices. For each, applications are installed that simplify life by helping to calculate, communicate, order a taxi or food.

A mobile app is an application software that is developed for smartphones and tablets with various operating systems: iOS, Android, Tizen, KaiOS, Harmony OS, etc. It often requires access to the internet if it is connected to remote resources.

Mobile operating systems

A mobile operating system (OS) is a software package that allows smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and fitness trackers to manage the resources of the device and organise direct interaction with the user. Most mobile operating systems run only on certain hardware. For example, iOS is designed for iPhones, while Android is fit for almost all other smartphones. In 2023, they continue to hold their positions:

Global mobile OS market in 2023

As a rule, Samsung installs the latest versions of Android onto its smartphones. However, the company has its own OS, Tizen. It’s the successor to the discontinued projects LiMo, Bada, MeeGo. For a while, low-cost smartphones and tablets for markets in developing countries were released with Tizen. Later it was adapted for smartwatches and TVs as well.

Few people know about KaiOS, despite the fact that it has already become a second-tier leader. It’s a fork of Firefox OS based on Linux and designed specifically for low-cost devices. Even though Google released Android Go (an optimised version of Android) for entry-level devices, KaiOS remains the preferred OS in this area.

Categories of useful applications

Given the current diversity in the market, it is difficult to make an accurate classification. However, we can conditionally highlight applications that are needed as helpful tools. Although, with proper promotion, any of these can become a standalone business project.

Useful mobile applications

For business

Depending on their function, there is a wide range of specific and multipurpose applications created with businesses in mind. Businessmen tend to value all-inclusive tools that help them easily manage their business on the go and optimise their work process. For example, they choose applications that can:

  • Manage files and documents
  • Sort, store, and transfer data
  • Provide information on taxes and laws
  • Help with schedule planning and task management
  • Manage personnel and accounting processes
  • Aggregate business news and events.

For marketing

Every company needs feedback from its clients and partners. Uncover the interests of your target audience by turning them into users of your company’s mobile app. Even simple promotional applications can advertise new products attractively. Equip your marketing team with tools that help them do the following:

  • Fill blogs and online communities with content
  • Promote posts on social media
  • Edit images and videos
  • Collect statistics and conduct analytics
  • Monitor brand mentions
  • Send newsletters via different communication channels.

For personal use

The popularity of such applications is achieved by having features that are useful to people. Your company can promote its brand through a non-commercial product, using it for marketing purposes. By giving the world something it needs, you will gain universal recognition. For example, these applications will make your company a personal assistant:

  • Educational apps, apps for mastering skills or learning languages
  • Personality and psychological tests
  • Converters, meters, counters, trackers
  • Motivation, dietary, and fitness apps
  • Personal finance management and home accounting systems
  • Task and shopping planners.

Applications are created around specific needs. When looking to create an application for professional or advertising activities, the resulting product will depend on the specifics of your business. However, in recent years, it is less often the case that an application is created to supplement a business. Rather, the business is built around the application itself.

We are very interested in projects like this, especially if they are large-scale and intended for the international market. Contact us on Telegram to discuss commissioning a mobile app that will take over the world.

How to make a mobile application popular

Each application is aimed at a specific audience and monetised appropriately. To make your application popular and profitable, you first need to find out the following:

  1. What kind of users may be interested in the app and what country they are from. What purchases users will make or what kind of advertising they will respond to. What they will get in return for the time and money they spend.
  2. What features need to be realised. Any product can generate revenue in the long run, but initially the number of features and the complexity of implementing them will affect the cost of the mobile app development.
  3. What advantages will make your product stand out in the market. When working on your model, think of killer features that competitors don’t have.

The benefit depends on the activities of the company and what they intend to achieve. Startups will be able to conveniently notify investors about current achievements, while existing companies will use applications to consolidate their brand image. Entertainment and commercial projects will be able to sell ads or products.

Mobile app development technology

A well-chosen architecture will save effort, time, and money for development. Previously, there were two approaches to developing a mobile app: native and cross-platform. Today, another one has been added: progressive.

Native and cross-platform mobile apps

Native development is the creation of separate applications for each platform. That is, one is being developed for iOS and another one for Android. Then they are uploaded to different stores — Apple App Store and Google Play, respectively. The advantages of native apps are:

  • Advanced design options
  • Support for all smartphone features, such as access to a camera or geodata, push notifications, priority updates
  • A fast and responsive interface.

Illustrative examples: Hive, Mint, Pokémon Go, Tesla, Twitter, Waze.

Read more about iOS development and Android development on their respective pages.

Cross-platform development of mobile apps is the creation of a common code base for two platforms, with further translation of the code on each OS via an intermediate layer. The advantages of cross-platform apps are:

  • A single code base, correct operation on all platforms.
  • Simplifying logic, reducing the probability of errors.
  • Reduced development costs if no separate customisation for each platform is required. At the same time, the logic will be simple, and the user interface will be minimalistic.

A progressive web application (PWA) is a hybrid that combines the best qualities of a mobile website and a native app. The advantages of a PWA are:

  • No need for intermediaries such as stores
  • Development costs are lower than those of native and cross-platform.

Development trends

Before you start developing an application for mobile devices, clarify for yourself for what purpose you are creating it, for what audience, what functions you will implement. If the choice is difficult, look at what trends are prevailing in the development market. In 2023, the following applications are in demand:

  • Apps based on blockchain technology
  • Apps based on artificial intelligence
  • Apps with chatbots
  • Instant apps
  • Apps with augmented/virtual reality
  • Apps for the internet of things
  • Apps facilitating mobile payments, transfers, and money storage.

The functional side may be influenced by new trends in user interface design:

  • Buttonless design
  • Flat design
  • Fluent design
  • Material design
  • Neumorphism.

After that, you can already write or order the terms of reference for the app development. From there, your project will begin to be built in the form you have indicated.

Mobile app stores

According to Statista, revenues of all mobile apps reached $476 billion in 2022. This amount was made up of:

  • $265.8 billion from in-app advertising
  • $204.9 billion from in-app purchases
  • $5.3 billion from app sales.

Such indicators are achieved thanks to stores, or digital distribution platforms. They play an essential role in any application’s promotional campaign. With this in mind, let’s have a closer look at them.

Mobile application stores

Apple App Store

Apple was the first company to create a store. At the time of its release in July 2008, it was still part of the iTunes Store. Since then, it has become the principal place for iOS users to find applications.

The App Store offers over 2.2 million apps for iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, Apple TVs. By listing on the App Store, you will definitely satisfy your audience and attract new users.

Google Play

Google created its own store under the name of Android Market in October 2008. After rebranding in March 2012, it became Google Play, although it is still aimed at the entire Android device market.

Google Play offers over 3.5 million apps. Despite the built-in search engine, brands sometimes find that their products disappear from search results or appear for irrelevant queries. Anyway, by listing on Google Play, you can count on your Android audience or customers to be satisfied.


Many manufacturers of mobile devices have found that their own stores with smartphone apps can help them reach their audiences more closely. Famous giants from South Korea were amongst the first.

Samsung Galaxy Store

In September 2009, Samsung Electronics launched the Samsung Apps service, which was renamed the Galaxy Store in March 2019. The company pre-installs the mobile version of its store on all manufactured Android devices. The web version of the store contains products not only for Android OS but also for Bada, Tizen, Windows Mobile.

LG SmartWorld

In October 2011, LG Electronics launched the SmartWorld store. This company also pre-installs its store on its own smartphones. The manufacturer also created a separate version for LG TVs called Content Store.

Huawei AppGallery

Huawei Technologies launched its store in 2011. It first focused on the Chinese market, and in April 2018, it opened to the whole world. While the landing page and dashboard are localised in 9 languages, the name and description of most applications are only in Chinese.

Amazon Appstore

E-commerce giant Amazon is keeping up with its competitors. In 2011, the company created its own store as an application for Android and Fire OS, and in 2014, it became available for BlackBerry 10. This solution saved loyal clients from searching for digital products in third-party stores.

App Store and Google Play rankings

The App Store and Google Play are the two largest app distribution channels for iOS and Android that can enable your company to reach a global audience. However, as competition grows inside the stores, it becomes increasingly difficult for developers to ensure the visibility of products hosted there.

Launching a product with these major digital distribution platforms may be an effective market entry strategy if you want to reach a specific audience. Knowing the target audience of the store will allow you to promote the created new product with confidence that there will be interested users.

Analysts from compiled rankings of the most downloaded, most profitable, and most widely used applications for Q1 2023. We would like to highlight the top 5 of each. Statistics for both stores are taken into account here.

Rank By downloads By consumer spend By monthly active users
1 TikTok TikTok Facebook
2 Instagram YouTube WhatsApp
3 Facebook Disney+ Instagram
4 WhatsApp Tinder Facebook Messenger
5 CapCut Google One TikTok

Where to order a mobile application

If you can’t write the code on your own, find a professional who specialises in creating applications for mobile phones. At this stage, you may have a lot of questions. Which specialist should you choose? Do you need to hire staff? Is it better to hire individual freelancers who work remotely? Or is it better to entrust this task to a turnkey mobile app development studio?

Forming a full-time dev department on your own may be impractical. Searching for qualified freelancers on marketplaces, checking their competencies, and then constantly monitoring their work is also a tedious process. When you need a serious approach, quality shouldn’t be neglected and the work shouldn’t be stretched for months. Then it is better to contact Polygant, a mobile app development company.

Cost of developing a mobile application

Only a qualified dev team can tackle the complex app development process and complete tasks without breaking deadlines. As experienced professionals, we will create a custom business model and friendly user interface for your new application. We will also help with placing the application in stores and sourcing customers according to a unique marketing strategy.

Developing a mobile app from scratch consists of the following stages:

  1. Writing terms of reference (if you don’t already have them) — from 18 hours.
  2. Business analysis and specification — from 20 hours.
  3. UI + UX design — about 35 hours.
  4. Back-end development — over 40 hours, depending on the required functionality of the application and the number of platforms.
  5. Front-end development — over 30 hours.
  6. Testing — about 20 hours, depending on the number of platforms and functionality.

Based on these estimates, the approximate cost of an MVP starts at $20,000. Further expense will depend on the complicating factor. Please note that after the development is completed, the application must be maintained, and this service isn’t included in the initial development cost.

Further support after release

It’s impossible to create the perfect mobile app in one go. Therefore, programmers use feature-driven development to quickly provide core functionality. Agile methodology dramatically speeds up the release, helping companies adapt to a changing market.

After the launch, if the product is successful, you need to track reviews, collect information about errors, and analyse problems. Based on them, it is necessary to improve the existing features and introduce new ones. After the official launch, maintenance and support are all your application needs.

If you got your initial results with Agile, maintenance costs may be higher than the cost of prototyping. Specialists prefer this methodology when it is necessary to deliver a product, proving or refuting the marketing hypothesis, and start turning profit immediately.

If you choose the traditional Waterfall methodology, you can calculate the estimated annual maintenance costs as a fixed percentage, which is approximately 15–20% of the cost of developing a mobile app. Large companies tend to prefer Waterfall because their business processes are documented and their management team can develop marketing, management, and production plans.

We are experienced developers

Here at Polygant, we have been professionally creating mobile apps for 10 years. We can develop a mobile app that will help customers find you.

We also know how to develop mobile games and secure messaging apps. And if you already have an application, our information security specialists can test it for penetration.

No matter the circumstances of your project, we always try our best. Make a request via the contact form, and we will give you a quote for your mobile app development project.

Service Testimonials

I recently worked with the Polygant team to develop a mobile wallet for our cryptocurrency and I am very pleased with the result. The team was extremely knowledgeable and efficient in their approach and they were able to deliver a high quality product in a very short time frame. The wallet is a huge hit with our users and we’ve received a lot of positive feedback about its functionality and ease of use. I highly recommend Polygant for any mobile wallet development.

Dan Noxville


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