IOS · Minimum Viable Product

MVP: iOS only or iOS and Android?

Vivian Cromwell

March 29th, 2015

Hi I am building the initial MVP to validate the market fit.  One decision I need to make is that whether I invest to build iOS only to prove the traction or iOS and Android.  It is mobile only, real time and crowd sourced.     And I only care about SF for MVP. 

According to this article. http://www.iclarified.com/41242/study-finds-people-in-tech-cities-prefer-ios-over-android.  It seems to say 80% of the users in SF are iOS developers. 

Wondering if you have any experience to validate this.  Did you build for both android and iOS or iOS first.

EM

March 29th, 2015

Don't build iOS and Android. Don't don't don't even if you are using phonegap or some other x-platform solution. Pick one (iOS) and do it really well. If you've got a product worth porting to another platform, you'll have runaway success with users on the first platform.

Doing both in parallel will double your work, cost, risk and halve your sleep. Going for iOS and Android builds simultaneously is like running two distinct product builds at once - even the designs will most likely need to be tweaked for the other platform. Everything else will be separate and you will run into 2x as much testing, issues, tweaks. It's really difficult and won't improve your chances of success one iota -- it will significantly decrease your chances of success.

In case it's not clear, I've made this mistake when I thought it was essential. It wasn't.

Unless your app absolutely needs both platforms (i.e. it is an app that does something to specifically connect iOS users with Android users....), you don't want or need to build both.

Chris Carruth VP/Director. Strategy | Business Development | Operations | Product | Solutions

March 29th, 2015

I don't know what market your app is targeting or what sector your app resides in. I point that out because the reality is that you should develop on whatever platform your target market uses the most, with an eye to understanding where those users are heading in the future. 

Case in point, in the video gaming world, device usage differs between not only type of game but also demographics of of the user base and in some cases where they live. So an action game targeting males living in the US, ags 12-28 who are frequent gamers may use a different device as their primary platform versus a casual game targeting age 44+ females who live in AsiaPac versus...

Know your market, the how and what of use, and develop accordingly. There are exceptions where the product and market intersect but your chance of success will be higher if you start with the user versus the product. I've seen both and the "build a product figure out the market later" scenario, at least in my experience, has not worked..ever.

So before anyone objects...yes, there are exceptions despite the odds..but do you want to live by exception (high risk) or reasonable best effort (lower risk)?

Chris

Ezra Smyser Web Developer at Squire

March 29th, 2015

Exactly what Eoin said. Right now your focus is on adding value for users. Managing two codebases and bugs for two different systems is going to be a big distraction that will only slow you down. 

Jake Carlson Software Development Manager at Oracle

March 29th, 2015

Definitely iOS first if you pick only one. No matter how many people have Android phones, iOS users use apps on their mobile devices more frequently, so you're more likely to get more users on those devices even if more of the general population has Android.

Lane Campbell Lifelong Entrepreneur

March 29th, 2015

iOS first and android maybe never.  Those are the words I live by.  The best mobile shop in San Fran for a prototype is YMediaLabs if you have some seed money.  They did the PayPal app.

Shahab Layeghi Software Professional

March 29th, 2015

I agree about one platform first, but disagree slightly about the necessity for native iOS development.  Assuming your first platform of choice is iOS, if you can find good web developers, you might be able to use PhoneGap or a similar Cross Platform solution to create your MVP.  It's by definition a test vehicle for your final product, so the goal is to have it done as quickly as possible and good enough to enable you to get real feedback from your users.

Vivian Cromwell

March 29th, 2015

thanks everyone for the response!  Shahab,  yeah I agree PhoneGap might be a choice especially given my background from google has been around mobile web development so I have more connections to that community than iOS native.  However, the app uses pretty heavily on lots of native apis.

- v

Vivian Cromwell

March 29th, 2015

Hi Chris, thanks.  Yeah as I mentioned in the initial post,  the MVP will start with residents in SF and if the product grows traction, it will still mainly target residents in large cities.

thanks!

Chris Carruth VP/Director. Strategy | Business Development | Operations | Product | Solutions

March 29th, 2015

Vivian-

Forgive the marketing side of me but a target segment of "residents in SF" is not really a target at all. It doesn't provide enough specificity to be able to remotely understand your user. Hopefully you have a more defined idea of who the user is, how he learns about apps like  yours, who he depends on as a source of validation, what features values (versus which ones are nice), how your app stacks against competing solutions (which aren't necessarily just other apps), etc.

In my kindest and most helpful words - spend time KNOWING your potential user; don't rely on a shotgun grouping of people who "might" use your app with the hope that conversion rates are high enough and churn rates low enough then you will win.

OK, off the soapbox now :) 

Vivian Cromwell

March 29th, 2015

Hi Chris, thanks for your guidance.  I do have personas and user stories and have been doing user research and interviews for the past 3 weeks.    Laura Klein was also kind enough to give me some guidance on MVP to validate ideas.  Really appreciate your advice!