The Hidden Costs of Developing a Mobile Application

More and more companies are realizing just how valuable a mobile application can be for their businesses. However, they also tend to make a very common mistake: they begin development without considering all of the costs associated with the process.

Depending on the specifications and requirements, software development companies pricing for mobile app development and deployment can range from $2,000 to $250,000. This price may sound a bit staggering for those just getting started with the process, but a lot more goes into the process of building an application than just design and development.

Types of Mobile Applications

Before diving into the unexpected costs associated with application development, it is important to note that there are three distinct types of mobile apps:

  1. Native Application: A native application is installed on a device itself and distributed through the platform’’s app store.
  2. Mobile Web Application: A newer application version, a mobile web app or “HTML 5 app” is a cross-platform application that uses the mobile device’s web browser to access the app.
  3. Hybrid Application: Wrapped in a native shell but built with web technologies, hybrid apps are a combination of native and mobile web apps. They are actually considered web apps with the look and feel of a native one.

It is important to understand the differences between these kinds of apps as hidden costs associated with application development does not necessarily apply to each individual type.

The Hidden Costs of App Development

The Hidden Costs of Developing a Mobile Application

Below are just a few of the lesser-known or thought about costs that come along with the process of building and releasing a mobile application.


Many first-timers believe that the mobile developer will also take care of the design of the application. While they may be able to, it can prevent users from using the app long-term or keeping it on their mobile device. User experience is the most important aspect of an application. Some may argue that functionality is the biggest concern, but end-users will not use the app long enough to experience any functionality if the user experience is not up to par.

Not satisfying the user’s expectations is one of the top reasons users report for uninstalling an application. If a business wants a good app, they are going to have to hire an experienced designer to design it – probably for an extra cost. The cost of design applies to all three types of mobile applications.

App Store

No matter the platform, getting an application into the app store is relatively inexpensive, but it is definitely not free. Google charges a one-time fee of $25 while Apple charges $99 per year to offer the app. These fees may seem minimal, but they can have an impact when an application is just getting started and may not have a huge amount of sales.

The rules of each app store also frequently change, which means that an app that may have been initially approved now violates a new rule. The need to constantly update an app to keep it in the store is one cost that companies may not consider when finding funding. This hidden cost applies to native and hybrid apps as mobile web apps are not distributed through a store.

Cross-Platform Development

Companies and brands are typically unaware that mobile apps are more complex than typical business applications. This means that one app does not necessarily work across different platforms and a separate application will need to be built for each one, mostly in the case of native apps. Some hybrid apps might also be impacted. The single development project that a company thought they were signing up for quickly turns into multiple development projects for cross-platform compatibility, thus upping costs.

Data Storage

Building a data-driven application that requires data storage space means another cost to factor into development. This price varies depending on the provider, the amount of data, the type of application, and the location of the storage. Data storage is something that affects all application types.


Mobile application development is not a one-and-done kind of project. It involves a constant process of updates, bug fixes, security patches, and many other changes that require addressing on a regular basis. Although this applies to all types of mobile apps, native applications require more constant compatibility updates for devices and operating systems.


The cost of testing across devices is one that businesses frequently underestimate or forget about entirely. Mobile testing is a very involved and complicated process due to the wide array of mobile devices on the market today.

In addition to operating systems, apps require testing across different screen sizes, device types, network speeds, and other factors to guarantee that it is usable on any device. The sheer amount of testing makes this a rather large cost in the development process. Hybrid and native apps must go through the most testing, although all apps go through some.

Developing with Software and Application Development Companies

An experienced software and application development company, such as BairesDev, will ensure that a business looking to develop a mobile app fully understands the required processes, procedures, and costs required to build a successful product. Although this may mean more time or money than initially anticipated, a high-quality, functional, and enjoyable application is worth it.

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