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Why apps launch on one platform first

Recently we developed two iOS apps for Haymarket – Car Name Game and Car News Feed by Autocar. Browsing through Haymarket’s videos promoting the apps revealed a plethora of YouTube comments venting their frustration at the fact that the apps hadn’t been developed for both Android and iOS. One of Mubaloo’s project managers, Tom Barbour, explores why to launch on one platform.

Recently we developed two iOS apps for Haymarket – Car Name Game and Car News Feed by Autocar. Browsing through Haymarket’s videos promoting the apps revealed a plethora of YouTube comments venting their frustration at the fact that the apps hadn’t been developed for both Android and iOS.

One of Mubaloo’s project managers, Tom Barbour, explores why to launch on one platform:

Car name game comments

Car Name Game comments

The fiercely loyal Android users
It’s a fair point, but one in which I’ll discuss below and illustrate as to why it’s sometimes better to develop on one platform first, and then develop for others at a later date.
From a commercial perspective, Autocar was facing the challenge of further growing their digital audience and boosting its appeal with a younger audience.
In the strategy sessions run with Haymarket, we were able to see that the majority of mobile traffic coming to the Autocar website was from the iPhone. Knowing this, and by taking a lean approach to product development, it was decided that the first apps to be developed would be for the iOS platform.
The thinking behind this was to create a minimum viable product that could be deployed quickly and learnt from as fast as possible. By developing the apps for a single platform (which had the largest portion of users from a single device), we were able to move through the development and QA cycle faster than if we were building the apps for use on multiple operating systems and devices (or in the case of Android, versions of the operating system and device configurations).
By integrating Flurry into the apps from day one, we were able to start learning about how users were interacting with the apps.
Instead of focusing on vanity metrics like the number of downloads, we were looking to track the retention rates and stats such as the number of games played or articles read per user and the number of completed games in comparison to the number of games started. From these learnings, Haymarket has been able to test their original hypothesis in the marketplace and think about future phases that includes developing for additional platforms.
So why does the phase approached work better in this instance? Well, if you’re trying to prove a commercial concept it makes sense to first build a minimum viable product and release it to market as quickly as possible. By doing this you’re able to learn more, quicker, in a cost effective way than by building for multiple devices and multiple operating systems.
Now when we look to build future applications for Haymarket, we’ll have a greater understanding of the user base and thus can improve the overall user experience and drive up retention rates. This is still common for app development, where apps will be  created for iOS first as it is where users are generally more engaged than on Android.
iOS remains a good testing ground to make improvements that can be carried forward to create greater apps on Android and other platforms.
By Tom Barbour, Project Manager

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