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Mobile Development: The process, stages, and costs

Mobile Development: The process, stages, and costs

With more than 3 billion smartphone users and 1.4 billion tablet users worldwide, it is not surprising that mobile development is booming. Application use and mobile device penetration are still growing at a steady rate, with no signs of a slowdown shortly. If you take a second to look away from your mobile device during the day, I’m sure you will notice that many people around you are staring at their gadgets. Studies show that on average people check their phones every 12 minutes. And 10% of users doing this every four minutes.

Mobile development is the set of acts or processes and procedures involved in writing software for small wireless computing devices. These applications can be pre-installed on phones during platform manufacturing or delivered as web applications using server-side or client-side processing to provide “similar application” interaction in a web browser.

Application software developers must also consider a wide range of screen sizes, hardware specifications, and configurations due to intense competition in mobile software and changes on each platform. There are two main mobile platforms.

1. iOS Mobile Development

When it comes to major mobile development platforms iOS is big fish here, partially because this platform has finally brought mobile development into modern-day and age by completely transforming the idea of a mobile device and mobile software. Everybody knows that iOS was developed by Apple and it works only on Apple products. It runs on iPhones, iPods, iPads, Apple Watches, and Apple TV, but experts expected that there will be more devices that will run on the iOS platform in the future. iOS is essentially very similar to Unix; it is based on Darwin (BSD) and OS X. It shares some important infrastructures with OS X, and its user interface is based on the Apple’s Cocoa user interface, which is used in OS X applications, but was modified and redesigned for touch devices called Cocoa Touch. Apple provides iOS developers with a few tools and libraries of development, and although you don’t need to use Apple’s development tools to create your applications, you still need to have a Mac running OS X. IOS applications are usually created with Objective-C or currently, the more popular development language for this platform – Swift.

2. Android Mobile Development

Android is another dominant player in this area. Android enters the market a little bit later than iOS, the first Android release was in September 2008, almost a year later than iOS, but it still managed to gain a rather large share in the mobile market. Technically, Android is a mobile operating system with the largest and dominant market share, weighing about 80 percent compared to 18 percent in iOS. These numbers are a little misleading since Android is a fragmented market, consisting of many different devices from different manufacturers running different versions of the Android operating system. The main development platform for Android mobile applications is Java. 

The Process of Development a Mobile Applications 

Our century – the era of the heyday of mobile technology. It is difficult now to even imagine a person without a mobile device, and even more so a person-business. Mobile technologies are present in almost all areas of business. Mobile ecosystems are changing and developing daily based on ongoing experiments. Hundreds of applications are created daily for business, education, entertainment, etc. Each of these applications has a specific visual style and tone, depending on the direction and context of the application. But what does the process of developing mobile applications consist of?

1. Idea

First of all, it is, of course, an idea. At the very initial stage, it is necessary to carefully consider the meaning of the future mobile application and what it will be used for. Then you need to decide on which platform it will be used. As a rule, now applications are written right away for two iOS and Android platforms at the same time, but if it’s not needed, or not in a hurry, then the company’s specialists will help you to make a choice in favor of one of the platforms by first analyzing the market for supply/demand and competition.

2. Technical Task

Before starting the development, it is necessary to obtain a technical task from the customer. In case if you didn’t get it, then the customer should fill out a brief. Particular attention is paid to this stage since the technical task directly affects the technical features of the result. At this step must be agreed on the following points of work:

  • A functional description of the mobile application;
  • The terms of development;
  • Financial costs and a model of the settlement procedure;

3. Prototyping

To understand how the user will work with the mobile application, creating a graphic map of the interaction between the various screens of the program. At this stage must be completed the development of almost all the functionality of the mobile application. At the design stage of the UI, experts determine the principle of the application, the placement of functions and buttons on each of the screens. At this stage performed:

  • The application functionality;
  • Schemes of application screens;
  • The connection between the application screens and transitions through them;

In this step developing the design of all screens of the future application and various states are drawn for all use cases. After the approval of the design concept, internal buttons and icons must be created, as well as all other graphic elements. As a rule, rendering the design of a mobile application involves usability research to make sure that the developed design concept is as simple and convenient as possible and will help users to solve tasks very quickly.

5. Mobile Application Design

In this step developing the design of all screens of the future application and various states are drawn for all use cases. After the approval of the design concept, internal buttons and icons must be created, as well as all other graphic elements. As a rule, rendering the design of a mobile application involves usability research to make sure that the developed design concept is as simple and convenient as possible and will help users to solve tasks very quickly.

6. Development

Developers receiving technical task and application design mock-ups and they begin the development of the application. Programmers “transform” a static picture into an interactive working model. Afterward, they are releasing the initial version of the application. 

7. Testing 

The mobile application undergoes rigorous testing, consequently creating a check table where all errors are indicated and described in detail. In the process of designing the application, it is impossible to foresee all the errors of actual operation. At this stage is formed a list of errors, shortcomings, and shortcomings of the application and determined the terms for their elimination. Then the developers fix all the bugs and release a new version. This process continues again and again until the testers will not indicate any errors.

8. Placing the Application in Google Play and App Store

Next, the application is transferred to the Google Play and/or App Store for publication. Each application is reviewed by Google and Apple before publishing. Publishing to Google Play takes no more than a day, which of course significantly outperforms the App Store, were publishing the application takes at least 7 business days.

How Much Does Mobile Development Cost?

We give a rough answer to the question of how much it costs to develop a mobile application – a basic application will cost about $25,000. Medium-complexity apps will cost between $40,000 and $70,000. Complex applications typically cost over $70,000. Thousands of companies around the world saying that they are the best application developers and ensure that they will provide the best solution. Experienced or ambitious, reliable or newly established companies, foreign or local, large or small, expensive or cheap, so there are a lot of things to consider. It is not surprising that such a huge choice can confuse not only beginners but also experienced entrepreneurs. The biggest misunderstandings, such as a high price equals to good quality or young companies do not have enough experience to provide a high-quality product, can lead to failure or unnecessary costs. Keeping this in mind, let’s return to an objective analysis of the costs of building the application. Our first stop is to evaluate the cost of mobile development applications in terms of hourly pay. It is obvious that the average cost of mobile developing varies depending on the geographical location, so let’s take a quick look at the table:

CountryiOS($/hour)Android ($/hour)
  • Mobile developers in Europe charging from $35 to $175 per hour.
  • The most expensive specialists located in the USA, they are making from $20 to $250 per hour.
  • Mobile developers in CIS tend to have from $15 to $100 per hour.  
  • Australian experts usually charge from $35 to $150 per hour. 
  • Mobile developers from India quite satisfied to make from $10 to $75.

How much time does mobile development take?

To find an answer to this question, we need to understand that not all mobile applications are the same. And inequality lies not only in the platform for which it is designed. Reducing the development time of applications for Android, as well as for iOS, is considered the time necessary to implement certain functions of the application. Therefore, we have determined three classifications based on moderate needs over time.

  1. The basic application is an application with simple functionality, the development of which requires about 500-700 hours.
  2. An application of medium complexity takes from 700 to 1000 hours.
  3. A complex, time-consuming application in most cases exceeds 1200 hours for development.

What Affects to Mobile Development Cost?

When you establish the developing process of mobile application, you cannot expect your software company to immediately inform you of the estimated cost. There is no price list for mobile development, it all depends on various factors. Of course, before the invoice is sent to you, the development team will calculate how many hours it took to implement your specifications. However, the most significant factors affecting the average cost of application development are:

  • Functionality and features
  • Visual design customization
  • Platforms (iOS/Android or both)
  • Backend Infrastructure and application administration
  • Location and structure of the development team
  • Application maintenance costs

Functionality and features 

If you want to find an answer to the question of how much mobile development cost, you should estimate how complicated the application you are going to create is. Functionality, as well as the number and complexity of the implemented functions, are the main factors affecting the cost of application development. Buttons, screens, fields, the amount of logic required are very important. Well, it’s time to find out what features affect the complexity of the entire application. As we mentioned earlier, the implementation of some functions can be significantly longer, while others are relatively short and simple. Depending on the complexity of the implemented functions, developers have to use a third-party application programming interface or code from scratch. Therefore, easier solutions, in turn, require standard tools and use their features.

Feature Description Approx time Approx cost 
Login– Login with email
– Login with social media
– Forgot password option
– Log out
28 – 42 hours$1400 – $2100
– Upload photo
– Upload video
– Video playback
– Photo view
20 – 30 hours $1000 – $1500
– Set region
– Add info
– Add photo
23 – 29 hours $1150 – $1450

– Edit profile
– Change password
– Change email
– Add/remove
credit card
47 – 62 hours $2350 – $3100
Search – Basic search
with suggestions
13 – 18 hours $650 – $900
– Conversation details
– Online/offline status
– Typing status
– Read/sent status
– Send media files
and documents
160 – 170 hours $8000 – $8500
– Users can receive
push notifications
25 – 32 hours $1250 – $1600
– See a list of users
– Edit user
– Delete/block user
– Create user
66 – 90 hours $3300 – $4500
– See payments
– Refund payments
23 – 44 hours $1150 – $2200
– Send custom
push notifications
8 – 14 hours $400 – $800
Map – Detect user’s location
– Search on the map
– Set pickup point
on the map
75 – 111 hours 75 – 111 hours
Payments – See balance
– List of transactions
– Add card Add PayPal
60 – 78 hours $3000 – $3900
Streaming – Start/stop broadcast
– View broadcast
– Switch between
90 – 140 hours $4500 – $7000
Calls – Audio calls
– Video calls
– List of contacts
257 – 365
$12850 –

Besides, quite often you can make some unexpected changes during the development process. That’s why you need to consider these costs and plan a budget with an added line of expenses. So, how much does it cost to develop mobile applications with desired features? Check the table and count an approximate budget for your mobile application.

Customization of Visual Design

Creating a unique user interface design is a complex undertaking that demands additional costs for your mobile application. A cheaper option is to use the OS-supplied elements and screens from standard elements. The number of screens is also an important factor.


You are thinking of developing a mobile application on the Android base? Or maybe you want it to work on iOS as well? Therefore, you should know the cost of developing applications for Android and iOS. When deciding which platform to start with, application owners try to take into consideration such factors as market share, device fragmentation, and prevalence, however the most significant is that the development of mobile applications for these platforms is very different. They are using different programming languages, have different SDKs and use different development tools. There is a question is – any price difference in developing mobile applications for iOS or Android? Actually, no. If you are developing an application for one platform, there are no significant differences in the cost of creating applications for Android and iOS. But if you want your mobile application to run on two or more platforms, be prepared to pay more.

Backend Infrastructure and Application Administration

In the development of mobile applications, the backend part is usually an operating system that provides developers with APIs for exchanging data between the application and the database. To track user activity and evaluate the performance of your consumer application, it is equipped with analytics. The cost depends on the number of parameters that you are going to track, and on how detailed and specific the tracking will be. The administration panel, of course, is a very useful tool for managing application content, users and statistics. There are options for adapting existing admin panel templates to your needs, but finding the good is a problem. Therefore, it makes sense to create an adequate panel that meets your business requirements.

Location and Structure of a Development Team

As we have mentioned before, the location of your application development team is an important factor affecting the final price of a product. The cost of creating an application in the UK will differ from the cost of developing an application in the United States and other regions.

Title of EmployeeEuropeUSA CSIAustraliaIndia
Business Analyst$45 – $63$110 – $205$25-$35$90-$168$20-$30
Architect$54 – $81$198 – $292$34-$58$115-$220$33-$48
Project Manager$45 – $70$133 – $233$38-$50$100-$175$27-$40
Jr. Developer$25 – $42$105 – $111$15-$30$75-$100$14-$28
Mid-Level Developer$42 – $59$132 – $140$27-$33$98-$120$24 – $35
Sr. Developer$50-$72$154 – $163$29-$43$111-$134$22 – $34
Lead Developer$52 – $74$176 – $187$30-$54$140-$170$26 – $38
Junior QA$25 – $42$77 – $81$12-$28$50-$70$10 – $22
Mid-Level QA$32-$50$99 – $105$22-$35$85-$100$18 – $28
Senior QA$44 – $69$143 – $169$25-$40$123-$156$22 – $34
Graphic Designer$40 – $60$79 – $163$25-$38$73-$152$22 – $33

The Maintenance of the Mobile Application

The last but not least thing to keep in mind is how much it costs to support the application. In many cases, the cost of servicing the application can range from 15% to 20% of the initial development cost. Maintenance of the application is a mandatory service, even if you do not have plans to expand and add new features to the application. The maintenance of the mobile application includes the following:

  • Bug fixing;
  • Optimization of the stability and performance;
  • Code improving;
  • Adding support for latest OS versions;
  • Integrate new features;
  • Support the latest versions of other services; 

Develop Your Mobile Application with Dewzilla 

Want to create a mobile application but don’t know who to rely on?

We will take care of all the stages of application development. Our professional programmers will “transform” your idea into an interactive working model. We have strong experience with both Android and iOS platforms, so you shouldn’t worry about anything.

Contact us and we will provide you with all the details 


(447) 366-491-118 

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