Our Thinking

Mobile Apps 101

Posted by Andy Oliver on Sep 3, 2012 3:00:08 AM

Online Business Systems spends a lot of time discussing emerging technologies with clients. When the topic of mobile development arises, it’s not uncommon to find even the most tech savvy individual sheepishly asking the most basic questions. This article aims to answer all of the introductory mobile app questions that you have, but were afraid to ask.

What's an app?

Quite simply, app is short for “application.” An app is software that can be installed on a mobile device.

What’s an app store?

An app store is a repository of mobile apps available for download and installation on a mobile device. Each platform will have its own app store which contains native apps only available for that device. Apps within the store can be downloaded for free or for purchase, a choice that is left up to the publisher. Each platform’s app store will have a membership fee associated with it which gives the developer access to sell and distribute apps. A typical registration fee is between $25 and $200 per year, and entitles you to submit unlimited free or pay to download applications. The typical app store commission on an app is 30%, with the other 70% of generated revenue paid out to the developer.

What's a native app?

A native app is an app written in the native programming language for the mobile device. A native app is platform specific, meaning that an app written for the iPhone, for example, cannot be installed on an Android device. Native apps can be submitted to and then downloaded and installed from the chosen platform’s App Store.

What's a mobile web app?

A mobile web app is usually written using HTML rather than the native programming language for the mobile device. A mobile web app isn't installed per say, or downloaded via an App Store, but rather is made available using the mobile device's browser. A mobile web app requires a data connection for access, where a native app doesn’t necessarily need this.

What's a cross-platform mobile app?

A cross platform app is built with a framework that allows the same application to be installed on multiple mobile platforms, such as iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. Typically, the core functionality of the app is developed once using HTML5, CSS and JavaScript, and then built into separate native applications. Since cross-platform mobile apps are inherently native, they can be uploaded to, and then downloaded from the chosen platform’s App Store.

How much does an app cost to develop?

Like all custom software, the cost of a mobile application is a product of a number of factors, including the complexity of the business requirements, integration into existing systems, security constraints, and many others.

What about security?

Given the context in which mobile devices are used, information security is critical. Numerous security mechanisms are available on each platform to ensure that your mobile app meets all of your security requirements.

These basic questions are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mobile app development. If you have additional questions, or are interested in pursuing an app of your own, don’t hesitate to reach out to me by email (aoliver@obsglobal.com) or phone (204.982.0200). Online Business Systems would love the opportunity to mobilize your business and position you as an expert in mobile technologies, capable of answering the questions rather than asking them.

Topics: Mobility

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