Savvy tech consumers are slowly adapting to a world where smartphones and tablet PCs are commonplace. With these new devices comes a revolution of mobile software which we have never seen before. Mobile dev studios are popping up everywhere to showcase and market their latest app ideas.
In this article I’d like to go over the concepts behind working in a creative studio. How will projects differ when we’re planning for app development? Mobile labs and studios are like any small business with big aspirations. And the most exciting part is that anybody can start! Many studios run with only 2-4 employees working full time.
Why Design for Mobile?
The mobile marketplace has been thrown together in just a few short years. The original iPhone began development going back as early as 2005 and still commands a large share of the mobile OS devices. Android was originally released later in 2007 and is trailing behind as a close second, followed up by Windows Mobile and Blackberry phones.
You should take mobile development into consideration only if you have a personal interest in the area. If you have ideas for apps you should take it upon yourself to build them. Websites are cheaper now and easier to setup with open source CMS solutions such as WordPress. But mobile apps are still fresh and the market has barely been touched.
This is why mobile studios are currently growing so rapidly. If you can release one or two good ideas then it’s very easy turning a profit through Apple or Google.
Unless you are an expert in Objective-C and Java programming it’s unlikely you can publish for both Android and iOS together. Mobile studios who are just getting started should pick an app store based on their own preferences.
If you have a team of knowledgeable developers you can get together and build apps much more quickly for all devices. This can include tablet PCs as well. Not every situation will be so lenient, but if you can pull it off I recommend submitting to both of the App Stores for a larger audience. The popular task management software Wunderlist immediately comes to mind.
From what I can gather the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad App Store has a much higher demand for developers. There are simply more devices to build for and users are more willing to spend money for apps. But you can’t go wrong sticking to either marketplace. Pick an idea and just start building!
Speedy App Distribution
Another facet of developing mobile apps is the speed at which you can churn out new ideas. Programming is definitely extensive and requires a lot of dedication for newcomers. However once you’ve completed your first idea you’ll be edgy to jump onto the next one.
Many app studios will choose between one of two paths for development. They’ll either focus on a single idea and expand it onto many devices, or alternatively they’ll launch a slew of many smaller apps with less maintenance. If you consider a studio like Cultured Code they have done an excellent job with the former dev environment crafting Things for all iOS devices.
When you plan your studio’s creative schedule make sure you consider all of these ideas. Will you and your team be working on many smaller apps or focusing to sell one solid brand? It’s a smart idea to split up tasks based on design and development skills. You’ll find product development to move tenfold when everybody is working on the same page.
Mobile apps may be some of the most in-demand software from consumers going into 2012. Almost anybody can setup their own web host and it takes a lot more work to build for mobile devices. As such these smaller studios are getting a ton of attention and reaping the benefits.
When you have a consumer base who is frequently shelling out cash for new apps it’s the perfect time to capitalize. Even many of the free applications for iOS and Android are still making money through advertisements and upgrades. You’ll find much less work in the realm of freelance app development. But some higher-end studios are offering freelance services and this trend may pickup when more wealthy companies grow interested in a mobile presence.
The Future for Mobile Labs
The outlook on the horizon is bright for mobile app studios. Developers can earn a small living off just a couple of catchy ideas. And mobile apps are so quick to produce that you can work part-time on a project while still holding down your day job.
Compared to the number of design agencies there is still room for growth in the mobile arena. The App Stores are just heating up and already boast quite a considerable number of competitors. If you are dedicated and have ambition then mobile apps are easily the best opportunity for a young developer. If possible try putting together a small team of developers and designer(s) to expedite the workload.
Conclusion + Showcase
In addition to the examples above I want to share some more wonderful mobile lab studios. Developers are hard at work all over the world churning out these apps for your smartphone device. Creative studios have always been popular and now we’re seeing a shift from print & web work into mobile. Let us know your thoughts and if you run a mobile studio please share your link with us in the comments below.