I am working on an idea as a hobby project, and I have almost finished it in android and about to finish in Java ME platform, and we are also planning it on other smartphones including blackberry, iOS and symbian phones. But coding on these platform is not started yet.

Here are my questions regarding to that

Is it a wise step to release this application for a non iOS device first and wait for good reviews before I start for iPhone and other platform?

I choose this because what android[read a non iOS] version needs is good packaging and some finishing work. But I fear that it will not be that much popularize and even there may be less downloads than expected only because this application will not get attention between too many applications.

Or It's better to develop iOS release first and than release a non iOS version?

I may get better attention because of popularity of apple among developers and users, but I don't feel it good to market an original android [non iOS] application as porting of iPhone one while the reality is reversed.

What are advantage to release a non iOS version first and than port it to iOS?


4 Answers 4


Is it a wise step to release this application for a non iOS device first and wait for good reviews before I start for iPhone and other platform?

Yes it is. It's quite normal to start with one platform. Works other way around too, it'd be ok to release initially only for iOS. Really depends on your target audience.

It's better to develop iOS release first and than release a non iOS version?

YMMV. There is lot of discussion about that and there is no clear answer. But the facts are that Android market is currently growing very dynamically. Also depends on the market you're targeting. There are some stats that iPhone users spend more on apps, but then there are more apps in App Store than in Android Market. These stats vary tremendously depending on who and where is studying the market.

What are advantage to release a non iOS version first and than port it to iOS?

On Android it's easier to develop, and thanks to the fact that you don't have the infamous App Store review process, you can release updates frequently. So you can iteratively improve your product, until you get it right. Then port to other platforms.

  • FWIW, the initial iOS App Store review process does take 5-7 business days, which isn't very long. Update reviews usually only take 1-2 days, making frequent updates plenty easy. Commented May 27, 2011 at 10:20
  • @Matt: 2 days for update review might have been OK in 20th century. Now we're in 21st century and ppl expect errors to be patched within minutes. BTW. where did you get that 1-2 days figure? From what I've seen, it takes a lot longer.
    – vartec
    Commented May 27, 2011 at 10:24
  • As to length, we can agree to disagree about how much of an issue 1-2 days is. On the timing, it comes from my experience and that of the many developers I know, as well as those in my user group. Though Apple doesn't publicize it, the more apps or updates you submit over time, the shorter the update approval process becomes for all of your app updates, and to a lesser extent even new apps (generally, though certain things can push that back out to the normal average). A built-up trust thing, I suppose. Commented May 27, 2011 at 11:16

There's two things I'd think about

  1. It's better to be a big fish in a little pond than vice versa There's millions of iPhone apps so its easy to get "lost in the sea" unless your app really stands out. Lots of applications were early successes in the app store that nowadays wouldn't have had as much sales.

  2. Don't let anyone get there first with your idea If you have a really concept and release for android and have some success there's always the risk that someone will copy it for iPhone and you will want to capture that market first because it's big. So prepare to be quick about the iPhone version in that case


More and more there exist cross-development tools and libraries that seek to make this a non-issue.

For example:

Airplay SDK (C++, general purpose)

Moai SDK (Lua, Game focused)

Unity 3D (Your choice of C#, UnityScript, or Boo, 3D Game focused)

Corona (Lua, Game focused. Heard bad things about performance, though)

Flash (Yes, you can make native apps for iOS or Android using it, but performance will lag. At this moment, best suited for productivity apps.)

So instead of pondering whether to release for one instead of the other, why not instead ponder how you can develop for both simultaneously?


iOS devices arguably have a larger numbeer of customers who are more likely to pay for your app. Google's Marketplace has problems with people buying apps in non-native currencies, which they don't seem to be resolving (I still can't play Game Dev Story, dammit!)

Ideally, you would want to release on both platforms at the same time. This way if someone sees a good review, then can go buy your product for their device of choice. If you release only on one, and it becomes popular on that one, the success won't generally carry over.

"Apps" are impulse purchases. People aren't going to read a review of your product, say "I want that, but it's not out yet for x platform, I'll get it when it's out". They'll forget about it, or buy a competing product that does what they want.

Whatever you do, don't advertise one as a port of the other. They're different versions, that's all. They should be as feature-equivalent as is possible.

TL;DR version: it's only really going to an issue if your app is massively successful, in which case you might miss out on some sales.

  • But if it's a hobby project, releasing both at same time would mean delaying Android version until he's done with iOS one.
    – vartec
    Commented May 27, 2011 at 9:24
  • If it's a hobby project, I assume it's non-commercial? In which case you don't really lose anything either way.
    – TZHX
    Commented May 27, 2011 at 9:31
  • why non-commercial? Side projects very often are commercial. That doesn't meant they are profitable enough to be sole source of income.
    – vartec
    Commented May 27, 2011 at 9:40
  • You said "hobby" project... so I took it to mean non-commercial. CBA arguing semantics though.
    – TZHX
    Commented May 27, 2011 at 9:50

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