How Much Does Android App Development Cost?

By Sudeep Srivastava
8. min read
Last update on: September 28, 2021

You may come across the name “Android” or even “Google” at least once a day, if not more. This is the extent of its popularity. 

What is more, Play Store statistics show that Google Play Store earned $38.6 billion in 2020. It has  witnessed a 167 percent increase in revenue over four years. This is evidence enough of the unprecedented growth of the Play Store, formerly known as the Android Market. To add to its crown, Play Store witnesses the daily app downloads of almost 250 million. 

If you need more solid reasons as to why Android apps are popular among businesses and developers alike, then let’s head towards the benefits of developing Android apps

Why Business Opt for Android App Development?

A Vast Customer Base

You are definitely not a stranger to the popularity of the Android platform among the users. This fame is justified by the fact that the app downloads of Android for 2020 reached 109 billion. As per Statista, it is projected that consumers will download 187 billion apps from the Google Play Store by 2025. This signifies that as a business, your app can enjoy the exposure to million users and will eventually attract higher ROI.

Android app downloads

Highly Cost-effective

It is a well-known fact that Android in comparison to Apple is more cost-efficient, so evidently, this quality also passes down to the cost to develop apps like Wayfair Android apps are cost-effective as there is only a one-time fee of $25 at the time of registration. After registration, developers can build and test the app on their devices, which lowers costs. In the case of Apple, the cost lies close to $99 a year. In addition, Android is open source. Android app developers do not have to concern themselves with licensing costs or royalty while using the software development kit (SDK). What’s  more, there is a wide range of tools and Android libraries available for app development, which further makes the whole development process less costly.  Also, the cost effectiveness depends on the region. The cost of Android app development company in USA differs from that of app development in other countries and regions. This may be due to several factors such as cost of labour, level of app complexity, maintenance cost of app and size of development team.

Easy Integration

The android platform grants inner app integration along with effective customization matching the requirements of the business by providing appropriate tools. These apps are easy to integrate with third-party APIs which helps in reducing the development time.

Compatibility with Devices

Another benefit of developing Android apps is that they are compatible with a myriad of devices available in the market. Because Android rules the market, there is a huge fraction of manufacturers (Samsung, One Plus, etc) developing devices for the Android platform. One of the core reasons behind this is the affordability of Android-powered devices in comparison to that of Apple.

Highly Customizable 

Android applications are highly customizable because Play Store guidelines give a lot of room for innovation.  The versatile apps can be integrated into the existing systems as add-on to increase the functionality and can be implemented as the stand-alone tool for streamlining the processes. Your application should reflect your business vision, and this precisely can be achieved with android mobile app development. Android renders high scalability as well which is a crucial point for any startup or even a fully-grown business as well.

Enhanced Security

It is really important that your mobile application is well protected and there is no possibility of security issues. Application development related to Android is based on Linux,  which guarantees security and trouble-free operation of any mobile app on Google MarketPlace. It also offers additional inbuilt features for protection against viruses and malware.

Now, if you are really impressed with the Android platform you would want more information before choosing it for your mobile app development needs. So naturally, the next thing you will think about is the inevitable question of  “How much does it cost to develop an app?” 

Though it is hard to assign a fixed number, we can work our way around some prominent elements that heavily contribute to determining the mobile app development cost. But before that, let’s see how the app development cost calculator formula looks like.

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Formula to Estimate Average App Development Cost for Android

To effectively calculate the cost of application development, a formula has been curated. It involves the amount of time (in hours) taken in the app development process, which is then multiplied with the billable hours of the resources spent in the whole development process

App Cost calculator

Factors Contributing to the Cost to Develop Android App

Process of App Discovery

This is the initial and also a crucial stage that will help determine how much does app development costs. App Discovery is the process of justifying and validating the app idea. There are several ways and methods used by the Android application builders to complete this task, and one of them is Design Sprint. This process can last upto 5 days, if not more.

Let’s have a look at the methods employed in the App Discovery process leading up to the final cost of Android app development.

  • Research and Analysis of the Market –There are numerous activities that make up this process, which significantly contribute to the cost to develop an Android app. The research of the market involves in-depth competitor analysis. In this, we focus primarily on areas such as devices used by customers, in-demand and appreciated features, and also the elements posing as a hurdle in impeccable user experience. By examining the applications similar to the app idea, here we establish our expectations regarding what features may get included in the application. A detailed analysis of the market will also give you valuable insights about your competitors – what are their strategy, strengths, and weaknesses. This would help you in not making the same mistakes and being more careful in your dealings.
  • Setting User Personas- Creating user personas is an important cog in the machinery of effective Android app development. By determining the reasons behind the actions and decisions of the users, it will become easy to establish factors such as app size, UI/UX of the application, must-have features and a lot more. Doing this incredibly helps in the app development cost breakdown.
  • Market Capitalization- It is at this stage we put an estimation on the app idea, in terms of its market value. Some of the major contributors in determining the market value of the cost are:
    • The potential of the app to attract users
    • Generate revenue and higher ROI
    • The amount of funding it can raise.

In short, the whole process of App Discovery is wrapped around the features and attributes any Android application must have to outshine its contenders.

Android Application Scoping and Analysis

Moving forward in the process of developing an Android app, this stage consists of all the solid decisions that are made about the application such as the important features to include in the app, its functionalities, choosing the right tech-stack, etc.

Level of App Complexity

Level of app complexity also determines how much does it cost to build an app. One of the qualities which contribute to an application being considered as “Efficient” and incredible is the diversity of the features it has. So, let’s have a look at some prominent features that add up to the Android app cost estimation.

  • Model of Deployment Architecture –Speaking of backend development, it consists of two types – BaaS and Custom. In the Baas development, you will be given a readymade backend architecture, allowing less room for change. On the other side of the table, Custom backend development provides an architecture that is made from scratch complementing a particular application.
  • Integration of Third-Party App – A lot of times, applications need to interact with other third-party applications to perform specific functions. These functions can be anything from using Google, Gmail, or Facebook to sign up to interact with a monetary application for in-app purchases. Functions such as these make integration of third-party apps a crucial feature.
  • Construction of Admin Panel – An Admin Panel is an integral part of any application as it allows the users to keep a record of the functions and activities performed in the app, analyze statistics related to the application, and also update the content on the application without involving the Android app builders.
  • In-app Purchase Functionality- Many apps nowadays allow users to perform monetary transactions from within the application with the help of in-app purchases, which eliminates the app’s dependency on other modes of payment. Netflix, Hulu, and Pandora are all examples of apps with in-app purchase functionality. So, adding this feature is going to add on to the development cost of making an app.
  • Using Device’s Hardware- Sometimes, applications require access to the hardware’s functionality. For instance, the applications may need to use some functions like GPS Bluetooth. In such a case, this is an important feature to include and will contribute to the increase in the price of Android application development.

App Complexity Level

Type and Category of App

It is a given that the cost of app development relies on what type of Android app is being developed. There are various categories we can divide the Android applications in and they all come with their own functionalities, demographics, security criteria, and more.

  • M-Commerce Apps: M-Commerce applications such as Amazon and eBay are at the peak of their popularity and continue to rank high in the market. These applications have diminished the need for brick and mortar stores and websites to a great extent. Now, all this was possible because these applications are loaded with tons of features that enable the applications to perform effectively in real-time, handle millions of users at once, and have robust security. It is understandable that due to such features the cost for m-Commerce is a little steep.
  • Stand-Alone Apps: Stand-alone applications are the ones that do not need third-party integration, meaning they are not dependent on any device’s functions and features. To state an example, apps like Clock, Calendar, Calculator, and more come under this category. These applications are very simple in nature so by default the average cost of app development is low.
  • Enterprise Apps: Enterprise applications are more specific in nature. It is because they cater to a specific user demographic, i.e., employees of any organization to act out certain functions. These applications highly require scalability and scope for changes and have to be in coordination with the changes in the organizations. Due to this, the cost to develop an app for enterprise tends to be on the pricier side.
  • Social Networking Apps: There’s no denying that social media networking apps are growing in popularity each day. These apps come with several interesting features that compel users to download them. They are developed with third-party integrations and have the ability to access hardware functions such as cameras, audio recorders, etc. Social networking apps are also highly scalable in nature for they have to support millions of users at a time. As a result, their cost tends to be higher than the cost of less complex Android apps.
  • Hardware-dependent Apps: All the IoT-based applications tend to be highly dependent on hardware devices for performing actions like extracting data or sending commands for a particular action. This function is enabled by implementing special ROMs, hence affecting the final Android mobile application development cost.
  • On-demand Apps: Even the simplest of on-demand applications has three versions- For users, for individuals offering services, and for the business. Some prominent features of on-demand apps include chat support, real-time tracking and data syncing, and  in-app payments. So, as a result, the cost to develop an Android app based on the on-demand model ranks high.

Android App Animation and Design

The animation and design of any Android app are again additional crucial factors affecting app development costs. There are various designs and animations out there, and the costs for implementing them can vary depending on the type and quality of these designs.

  • UI Design- Material Design is the type of design that is used for Android app development to add the spirit of creativity and simplistic boldness in the mobile app designs. Whereas, for iOS, Flat Design is more ideal. So evidently, the cost of Android app design is another notch in the belt that contributes to the final cost.
  • Wireframing- To create effective user experience features and maps, Wireframing is employed by the developers. Special tools like MARVEL, Balsamiq, and Photoshop are used. What is more, wireframes are always client-approved to create an application screen flow.  
  • Animation- Animation has become a popular method to make certain aspects of any application interesting and intuitive. More often than not, gaming and social media applications employ animations to a great degree. However, the coding and designing in animations is a really complex process, marking a hike in the cost of to develop an app. App deployment on Play Store

App deployment on Play Store

Everything leads up to this prominent point. Successfully submitting an app on the Play Store plays an integral part in the successful completion of the development process. However, there are certain prerequisites that must be considered. To get any app selected, there are some Play Store guidelines that need to be followed. 

Additionally, there is a one-time fee of $25 that Google charges for publishing applications.

Android App Maintenance

The process for app development does not end with the application successfully getting published on the Play Store, there is much more ahead to do, i.e., App maintenance. However necessary this step is, the maintenance cost of Android apps’ frontend and backend eventually adds up to the final amount of total cost.

  • Version Updates –Updating the application with latest versions will ensure that it is compatible with the latest changes in the OS and is performing well.
  • Improvising App Design- There is a high need for improving the app design in order to meet users’ demands and deliver the impeccable user experience.
  • Squashing Bugs- It is important to constantly check for issues in the application that are becoming an impediment in smooth user experience and fix them as soon as spotted.

Size of Development Team

The total mobile application development cost heavily depends on who you choose for the app development. There are two choices at hand – a proficient Android app development company or a freelance Android developer.

If you choose a startup development company or even a group of freelance Android app developers, the cost of the developed app will amount to be low. The reason behind it is they will entirely focus on enhancing their portfolio and monetary gains will come second in the priority list.

Opposed to this, an app development company in California with a bigger team size will focus on clients who can pay more as it has a lot of mouths to feed. However, the quality of the end product will definitely be worth it and will be superior to that of freelance developers. It is because an organization has access to the latest tech-stack and professionals who work diligently in making the applications the best it can be.

However, there are some remarkable Android development companies delivering impeccable mobility solutions at a low application making cost, posing as a perfect fit for startups.

This is how a team size flow of large capital Android development organizations looks like.

app development team size

Android Application Development Location

Location-wise android app development cost

The location factor also plays a pivotal role in determining the overall cost of app development. The same services can vary vastly in cost and quality around the world such as the cost of an android app development company in California can be different from app development company in other regions like Texas, Florida, etc., because of certain factors governing each region.

The change is inevitable to notice between the west and the east, as shown in the map below. Speaking of which, it is noticed that the Android development cost in India is way less if compared to the USA or any other western country. This is due to several reasons such as the abundant availability of technologically skilled human capital and lower prices of services.

Now that we know what factors determine how much does it cost to build an app, let’s do a comparison of Android vs iOS app development costs.

A Comparison of Android vs iOS App Development Cost

Cost of App Development

Well, the cost of app development depends on how long it took to build a mobile app and also the technology used in the process. Now, Android apps are developed using the Java programming language, whereas iOS applications are based on Swift and Objective-C. It is observed that the developers of the latter languages can charge from 10% to 15% more in comparison to Java developers. This shows that Android apps are less costly than iOS in this regard.

App Designing

The difference between the time spent on developing engaging and intuitive UI Design for both Android and iOS apps is minimal. What is more, there is a lot of room for experimentation and innovation in Android application development due to the flexible guidelines of Google.

Testing Process

When it comes to the testing of Android apps, it can be a challenging task for the developers. As opposed to the iOS app development, an Android application needs to be tested across numerous screen displays and resolutions to get more unified and better user experience.

App Launch

Due to the strict Apple Guidelines, it becomes arduous for developers to get the application cleared. Whereas Google does not have restricted entry. However, the updated Google policy may suggest some strictness in the process of app selection. This publishing criteria that both Apple and Google demands adds on to the cost to build an app.

After witnessing all the factors majorly contributing to the final Android app development charges, we can see that it is not possible to have a one-word answer to the question “How much does it cost to develop an app?’’. However, these factors are sufficient to some extent in explaining how the Android development cost is determined.

How to Cut Android App Development Costs?

Here are some ways in which you can cut down on your Android app development charges:

  1. Create Product Requirement Document: Planning is key when it comes to kick-starting your Android app development process. For this, you should create a product requirement document that provides information regarding your app features and the projected tech stack you would use for developing your Android app. Your document should include information such as company background, app features, timeline, thought behind developing app, budget estimates and platform requirements.
  2. Prioritize features: In the planning stage of building an Android app, sit with your team and discuss the features your app needs. Filter down on the ones that are most important and logical for your app. Run this test app in the field and get feedback to know how to improve and move further with your Android app building process.
  3. Build an MVP: If you want to save money on app development, then build a minimum viable product (MVP) with limited features that general users and app developers can test in the early stages of app development. In case there is any issue, it could be solved immediately.
  4. Choosing the right app development company: A company with experience in Android application development can only help you if it matches your budget and preferences. So choose the best app development company to get the best ROI on your investment.

[Also Read: Factors Contributing Towards the Android App Development Cost]

FAQs Around Android App Cost Estimate

Q. How much does it cost to  publish an Android app on the Play Store?

Google charges a one-time fee of $25 to publish an app on the Play Store. 

Q. What is the average cost to develop an app?

The average cost to develop an app can be anywhere between $50,000 and $1,000,000.

Q. What is the average time to develop an app?

If you are planning to build an app, it can take from half a year to upward of a year to be completed.

Q. Should I patent my Android app?

It depends. If your application is one that is truly unique – targets a complete new group of users, use a never used before technology – you can think of patenting your Android app. But, to be double sure, you can refer to the USPTO website or Google patents for inquiring purposes.

Q. How to estimate the development cost of an Android app?

There is a simple formula that is used to calculate the average cost of app development – Hours spent in development multiplied by the billable hours of resources spent.

Q. Why should startups go with Android Application Development?

We could present a plethora of benefits that app development for Android offers to startups. Some of the major points from the benefits are:

  • Exposure to a huge user base
  • Easy Integration
  • Cost-effective in many respects
  • Scalable and supports customization
  • Compatibility with a myriad of devices

Q. Can I make my own app?

You can make your own app, but it’s advisable to work with an experienced app development company, so you can save money in the process while getting a better end result.

Final Note

So this was all about application development and how much does it cost to develop an app. Make use of this app development cost guide to make a perfect Android app for your business and determine mobile app development cost estimate. Choosing Android for your  mobile app development comes with several exceptional benefits, and you can get the most out of this platform when you know the various factors affecting your app development costs. In case you still have any doubt, contact us.

Sudeep Srivastava
Sudeep Srivastava
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