Thursday, March 17, 2011
The burgeoning mobile market in Singapore is highlighted by the exponential growth in mobile apps being developed, being downloaded, and to a large extent, being discarded after first use.

As we take our hats off to inspired developers who explore the possibilities of various smart phone platforms, intelligently incorporate user demand and user experience in their development, and deliver useful and fun apps to a huge market of users, we at ShowNearby are especially concerned about app development for the sake of app development.

The Mobile App Bandwagon
Businesses whose core competencies have come to define their success, are now by the dozens jumping on the mobile app bandwagon.


The logic here is simple.

High mobile penetration, or rather, over-penetration. Check.
High usage of smart phones by Singaporeans. Check.
Good mobile infrastructure. Check.
Everyone else is doing it. Check.

Simply Taken for Granted
It is precisely this simplicity which blinkers business owners. They base their decision to invest in an application on some of the many factors:

1. Not knowing the recurring costs of developing, testing, updating, marketing and making the app available across different mobile operating systems.

Based on our estimates, it costs about $50,000 to $75,000 to start developing your own app. Want to make a really good app? Get a consultant! Throw in a few more thousands to feel better.

Maintenance comes at a monthly high of $2,000. Not cheap, but necessary.

We have to consider operating system fragmentation, ranging from $5000 to $7000 per OS update, and depending on the platforms, the number of updates per year range from 3 to 10. You have to update your app to be compatible with the latest operating system - and that means more dollars!

Moreover, when you create an app, you begin with 0 downloads/users. Other than creating a Facebook and Twitter page, you may consider an email blast to your existing customer base.

However, do the mere informing and educating of your existing customer base to download your app justify the abovementioned expenditure? Not everyone in that database may own a smart phone, or worse, may be receptive to the email blast and end up unsubscribing from you. Talk about rage quitting!

Casting your net wide, you aim to get recruit more users, get more downloads of the app. You spent a conservative estimate of $10,000 every quarter promoting your app.

Hey, don't forget to upgrade your Communications and Public Relations staff too. They need to understand how new media and mobile media are to be effectively communicate to different stakeholders. Throw in $1000 to $5000 of courses per person. Sharpen those skills, guys!

What about the updating of content? Perhaps that could be left to Corp Comms or IT. Let's hire some techie for $3000 to $4000 to design a panel, that is easy for content to be added, removed or edited.

And before you know it, your app has a rating of 1 or 2 stars upon 5, because of the following factor.


2. Assuming loyal adoption of the app.
You thought since your brand will sell itself, its mobile application will do the same.

A utility app is not good enough. You have to access the dimensions of its utility.

Imagine creating an app which features a catalogue of your products and services. Users download and access this app as regularly as they would normally demand your products and services.

If you're a restaurant, users may access your app 2 or 3 times a week. Then again, they may develop a familiarity with the restaurant that do not warrant opening that app.

If you're a fashion apparel shop, users may access your app once or twice a month.

3. Assuming that maintenance of the app is similar to maintaining a website.
One factor of success for an app is its stickiness and relevance to the user.

If you load the app with content that is infrequently updated, people will decided against using the app again.

Additional manpower will be required to ensure it remains relevant. When users begin saying unpleasant things about the application in the reviews or in forums, you may have to spend time to address their concerns and act on them.

Considerations to be taken into account
We hope this post has shed some light on the considerations to be taken into account when developing a mobile application that will be available on multiple platforms.

We wish to share these as we are developers ourselves. After all, ShowNearby has invested over $2 million to build a reliable app that is compatible of multiple platforms.

ShowNearby offers the abovementioned services - and at affordable rates too! Just drop us a line when if you're interested!

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