June 21, 2023

Best Mobile App Options: How Much are They?

Statistsa reported that between 2016 and 2021, the number of app downloads increased from 140 billion to 230 billion. The same source also indicated that mobile app revenue is expected to almost double between 2020 and 2025, going from $318 billion to more than $600 billion.

The mobile app market is booming even beyond B2C. InfluencerMarketingHub.com indicated that businesses have increased their app usage by as much as 90% since 2020. Therefore, whether you’re planning to develop an app for customers or internal business personnel, it’s never been a better time to do so.

But what type of mobile app should you develop, and how much will it cost?

In today’s market, there are multiple types of mobile apps available, each with pros and cons related to ease of development, ease of use, and price. Let’s look at the most common types of apps out there, discuss the benefits and disadvantages, and determine the cost difference you can expect.

Five Different Types of Mobile Apps

For this article, we’re going to look at the five most common types of mobile apps available for development today:

  • Native App: A mobile app built specifically for one platform (Ex., Android, iOS)
  • Web App: An app that requires an Internet connection since it uses the web browser and connected pages as the user interface (UI).
  • Progressive Web App: Also known as PWA, these have the advantage of a web app (does not require any app download), and they possess the functionalities of a native app for better responsiveness and processing speed.
  • Hybrid App: A combination of a native app and a web app. The hybrid app allows the user to access a device’s hardware and the app can retrieve web-based content.
  • Cross-Platform App: A mobile app that can work on several operating systems or platforms.

Which Mobile App Type Is Best for Your Business?

Before you chose a mobile app type, you need to first define what a successful mobile app will look like for your business. In other words, what are you trying to achieve via a mobile app?

(You can get more information on developing your mobile app idea by reviewing this article).

Depending on what you want to achieve with your mobile app may also determine what type of mobile app would work best for your business. 

For instance, if you just need something that lets people scan a QR code and pay for their order, building an in-depth native app wouldn’t necessarily make sense. Likewise, if you need a mobile app that can process a significant amount of data and retrieve information from multiple sources, a web app may not have enough power to cover it.

Picking a mobile app type that fits your needs and can achieve your goals is always the best bet. To do that successfully, you’ll need to understand some of the pros and cons of each of the five app types.

Pros and cons listing of native apps, web apps, PWAs, hybrid apps, and cross-platform apps

After you understand the pros and cons of these five mobile app types, you’ll need to take a look at your company’s situation to determine which type of mobile app works best for your needs and constraints.

For example, if you have a limited budget, you may not be able to afford the longer and more complex development cycle of a native app. In that case, developing a web app or even a hybrid app might be more feasible.

If you want a mobile app that delivers the best user experience, then you should probably go with a native app that offers far more stability and faster processing speeds. You can review this case study to see how a native mobile app helped modernize National Hose Testing's business.

If you need a mobile app that can reach a wider audience, then either a cross-platform app or a web app could be your best option. The cross-platform does take a little bit longer to develop, but it’s still cheaper than developing native apps for multiple platforms. A web app can be spun up quickly and works in the cloud for customers or employees. You can go here to see how a web app improved Nelson Trucking’s management of their national fleet of drivers.

What Impacts the Cost of Mobile App Development?

When it comes to the cost of mobile app development, the three key factors include:

  • Complexity
  • Timeline
  • Technical Resources

Since complexity is subjective, you may want to think in terms of effort and project size. How much effort will it take app developers to put the project together? How big will the project be? The more effort a project takes and the bigger the build, the more expensive the mobile app will cost.

Timeline refers to when you need a project completed. If you need a project rushed to get your mobile app to market, you can expect to pay more for that. Of course, if you’re fine with an MVP version (i.e., a workable version of the app with fewer bells and whistles), you can better control the cost now and make plans to roll out more advanced versions of the mobile app over time.

Technical resources refer to the number of software developers and other team members that will be needed to complete your mobile app build. The more complex the build, the more resources it will take, and the more money it will cost. Again, there are ways to mitigate these expenses, and that’s something to discuss with your mobile app development partner.

(To learn more about the cost of software development, you should read this article.)

How Much Does It Cost to Develop Mobile Apps?

Resources from across the Internet show that the price for a web or mobile app development project ranges greatly between $30,000 and more than $350,000.

As each mobile app development project has a different level of complexity and needs, it’s near impossible to provide exact prices. Nevertheless, we can at least give you a better concept of which mobile app types will cost more money upfront, and which ones will take the most and least amount of time to build.

Highest to lowest expected upfront costs for mobile app development:

  1. Native app
  2. Cross-platform app
  3. Hybrid app
  4. PWA
  5. Web app

Fastest to slowest expected development times for mobile apps:

  1. Web app
  2. Hybrid app
  3. PWA
  4. Cross-platform app
  5. Native app

While cost and speed are something to consider, remember that in software development there are a lot of trade-offs. Yes, you can create a web app quickly and at a minimal expense, but if your web app doesn’t deliver the best user experience, will it achieve the goals of your business?

On the other hand, you could invest a significant amount of money into a native app or a cross-platform app that both deliver amazing user experiences, but if the user’s experience is not a key factor in the success of your mobile app, is the added expense and time to develop the app worth it to your business?

At AltSource, we like to sit with our prospects and clients to map out this information upfront to get a concrete definition of business goals and successful outcomes for your mobile app. It may require a bit more planning and discussion upfront, but it is worth the time if you get the mobile app that delivers the best value at a cost that’s right for your business.