What if I need to build apps to work on other platforms too?

One way is to simply ask whichever supplier you choose to build the app for other platforms as well (or if they don’t develop for other platforms, outsource the development of the other apps separately).

You will want to consider your target user and target countries (device penetration rates can differ enormously around the world), the usage of apps on those devices and the limitations each platform brings too.You then have the choice of completing the iPhone app first and getting other development teams to ‘copy’ it as well as they can or have them develop apps for each platform concurrently. Unless you have an extremely strong reason for not being able to wait, then I would finish the Apple one first (as desirable as it may be to have your app on several platforms all at once, the intensity of getting your first one right means it is best in most cases to restrict your focus to perfecting one first).

There is another way, where costs could be reduced and the app could be produced for many devices at the same time, though this route is usually seen as having trade-offs of its own.This is known as a ‘middleware’ solution.This is where one central app is produced by your app developer – and the core ‘code’ of the app is all kept there – then separate iPhone/Blackberry/Nokia etc apps are all produced out of this central code base and released.The idea being that:

  1. you have not invested time and money developing six separate applications, and
  2. it is easier and cheaper to update all apps in the future.

So what’s the trade-off? Many say with a middleware solution you will not necessarily truly exploit all the possibilities of each device.The other challenge is the potential distraction during the project of trying to close five different apps at once (despite the central code base) all of which will need to be tested separately.There is no ‘silver bullet’ at present despite what some developers may say. I wouldn’t rule out a middleware solution completely (for some it may be a great solution) but you need to go into it with your eyes open and discuss everything involved with your supplier before they get started (I would definitely ask for some apps they have produced on it that exist on several platforms that you can test and try).

Other platforms you may with to consider: