Mobile App FAQs for Startups October 5, 2015 RICCentre By: Amandeep Patti, Professor, Faculty of Applied Science & Technology, School of Applied Computing at Sheridan College What is a mobile application? A mobile application is a program which has been specifically developed for use on mobile devices i.e. on smart phones, tablets etc. What is mobile application development? Mobile application development is a standardized procedure for writing software for smart devices. Developers may write native mobile applications which can use various device specific features but can only run on specific devices. Alternatively, developers may write web-based mobile applications which can run on various devices using the latest web-browsers, but may not access device specific features. Hybrid mobile applications may further help developing single application which may be supported by various platforms. Do we really need a mobile application as we already have a functional website? A website can be accessed regardless of device in use, and for this reason we still need websites, but mobile applications offer a more engaging and rich experience to users. Features like using a mobile application without internet / offline mode and interacting with device resources are unique to mobile applications. A lot of mobile applications are already available, then why would we need to consider developing a new application for my business? Today, a lot of mobile applications are available on various app stores which can serve various requirements. However, developing tailor-made mobile applications allow your users to access business specific functionality relevant to them and to have a better user experience with the application. What platforms are available for mobile application development? Mobile applications can be developed for various platforms like Android, iPhone, Windows, Blackberry and Symbian. How much do we have to pay to develop a mobile application? Based on your requirements, the price will vary. Discuss with your developer(s) your requirements and gain a better understanding of their needs and the project scope. This will help in finding out what the development and maintenance costs will be. What about using the mobile application without internet connection or in offline mode? This depends on the application type. Applications requiring real-time data like stock watch would require continuous access for internet, but other applications like book reader, media player, etc. may cache content and may work offline. How much time will it take to build and launch my mobile application? It depends on many factors like amount of content, use of ready-to-use frameworks or the need for custom programming. How can we distribute our mobile application to our users? Generally a mobile application can be made available to various device users through the Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store. Should we bother with the Service Level Agreement (SLA) thing? Of course, you should, as this would help you ensure high level of service and quality from your developers and hosting providers. How about supporting users requiring a different language? A mobile application may support various languages and this can be done automatically.