Google and Apple’s app stores, the two largest in use, are home to over 4.8 billion apps. If you want to stand out among the fierce competition, you have to make sure you hire one of the top-notch app development companies. To help you along the way, we devised a methodology that evaluates multiple angles of the companies, from the services they offer to customer satisfaction.
Every company included on our list is the result of comprehensive research. We engaged in a thorough step-by-step process that helped us remove the chaff and deliver the best options to you. The following sections will feature everything we considered while evaluating the finest outfits and some relevant technical information. All this together should help you identify the decisions you’ll make as you choose the right company for your needs.
Our first step is to discover how long a company has been on the market. This reveals the company’s experience as well as showing how likely it is to stay in business, given the competitiveness of the industry. Top mobile app development companies typically have been around for about a decade, so they’re doing something right if they can thrive in this harsh, challenging environment.
An in-depth look at a company’s past projects and case studies is another crucial aspect of our evaluation. By analyzing the company’s previous projects and clients, we get practical examples of their work and how they handled each unique task. How well did they communicate with their clients? Did they deliver the product on time? Is the value of the delivered project proportional to the project cost?
When looking for app development firms, we aim to pin down the types of apps they specialize in. Depending on the expected app performance, you can choose between native, cross-platform, and web apps. Additionally, you can opt for products compatible with Android, iOS, or both operating systems. We strive to provide you with companies specializing in different app types, so your choices aren’t limited.
To find the top mobile app development companies, we also explore the programming languages and frameworks they can work with. As for development frameworks, most companies from this vertical use Xamarin, Facebook’s React Native, Flutter, AngularJS, and Node.js.
We evaluate outfits’ competency in both front-end and back-end languages. The former are client-oriented, as developers use them to create what users see in their browsers, while the latter focus on servers. Both are significant for an ideal user experience.
Knowing front-end or back-end languages is, though, just a starting point. To better evaluate the aptitude of the agencies, we also identify and seek the skills a good developer should maintain. Producing the best apps requires a combination of know-how and creativity, so we check if the development team thinks outside the box and implements innovative solutions.
Good communication skills are essential both within the teams of mobile app development agencies and with clients. Lastly, we check how transparent these companies are: whether they present clients with strategies they plan on implementing, whether the deadlines are clear, and what the project will cost.
Before recommending a mobile app development company, we always check if the company has a team of in-house app design specialists. Having an app with an attractive and intuitive design is nearly as important as having a fully functional app. Ideally, you want your app to be designed and developed by the same team. If the same team adds a specific design to your app, the app’s chances of encountering technical problems are nearly impossible.
To narrow down our list of the best mobile app development companies, we take the following aspects into account:
The two main approaches regarding app development are Waterfall and Agile—with the former considered the traditional one. The Waterfall approach divides the development process into several phases in sequential order. If you’re considering an app development agency that goes this way, you should know that it doesn’t support working on multiple projects simultaneously.
Concerning the client, the Waterfall approach offers project estimates in terms of cost and deadlines. However, it doesn’t allow you to return to previous project phases until the entire project is finished. Additionally, the testing is the last stage, so if technical problems of sorts arise in the middle of the task, it’s impossible to spot them early on. Finally, any change to the project restarts the entire thing.
App development services that rely on the Agile approach follow an entirely different logic. After developing a particular functionality, they immediately test it, which reduces the chances of technical issues in the future. Unlike the previous approach, where creating a product is one of the last phases, the Agile approach offers a demo product after integrating several functions. Then, based on clients’ feedback, developers make changes and test them right after that. The primary drawback of this approach is that it’s difficult to determine a project’s deadline.
The unwritten rule is that app development companies using the Agile approach deliver better results than Waterfall-oriented companies.
It’s important for us to identify whether an outfit relies on traditional or low-code development platforms—with the option of using both is on the table. The question is, how do these two methods affect app development projects?
A mobile app development company with a traditional approach uses different programming languages across various operating systems and device formats. The goal is to find neutral languages that will function in different environments. Additionally, special functionalities require writing separate code. With the traditional method, there’s a lot of repetition and manual coding.
In contrast, low-code development platforms have pre-made modules designed to work in different environments. They simplify the entire process. However, low-code development has its limitations, which is why it’s best to supplement the traditional approach with low-code programming. This way, low-code development can be used to streamline some processes, while mobile app development companies can use their expertise in writing code that requires unique app functionalities.
We then determine the type of mobile apps companies specialize in. The three main types of apps are native, web-based, and hybrid. How do you know which of these three is best for you? First, let’s see the differences between them.
Native apps are designed to work on a specific mobile operating system. Windows phones run on Windows OS, while Samsung combines two operating systems: Bada and Android. Nokia devices have changed three operating systems throughout the years, starting with Symbian OS, then changing to Windows OS, and now they run on Android One OS. However, most app development companies are actually specialized Android development professionals or iOS-focused outfits since Android and iOS-powered devices hold 97.7% of the mobile OS market share.
Next, we have web-based apps. These apps run within a mobile web browser and require an internet connection. They can’t be classified as real apps, as they’re actually websites that act like native apps. Additionally, unlike native apps that use native programming languages, web-based apps use web app frameworks such as CSS3 and HTML5.
Lastly, some app development companies specialize in developing hybrid apps. These apps are a combination of native and web-based apps. They have access to a device’s APIs, but unlike web-based apps, they don’t require a mobile web browser.
Additionally, some sources put hybrid and cross-platform apps in the same category, as these two types are quite similar. However, the difference between the two is that cross-platform apps run directly on a smartphone’s hardware, while hybrids require a web view.
Each type of development has its benefits, so we took that into consideration for our ranking of app development companies.
Native apps use all the capabilities of a mobile platform, providing a superb user experience. Additionally, since they are written for a specific OS, the performance is unparalleled. Fairly easy to install from app stores; they don’t require an internet connection.
They are, though, quite expensive to develop. It is also important to work with both Android and iOS developers as you’d like your app to have both versions for a larger user base.
Hybrid app development uses a single codebase, and the app can be used on different operating systems—it is much simpler to build than the native ones. App development firms tend to charge less for hybrid apps, but they take longer to develop in comparison.
On the other hand, hybrid apps use plugins to provide all the functionalities on a user’s mobile device; that’s why they can’t offer native features. Plus, they require an internet connection.
Apps that run within a web browser will offer limited functionalities, much like hybrid apps. The advantage of building a web-based app is that they’re easy to build and maintain, and they’re budget-friendly.
Next, we pay attention to the database and hosting solutions they use. Most companies rely on back-end cloud solutions and the Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) model. The most popular choices include Google App Engine, Microsoft Azure, Heroku, and Amazon AWS.
When looking for the top app development companies, how each company secures its products is also an essential part of our evaluation process. We employ the criteria designed specifically for finding the best cybersecurity firms, to consider each company’s security services.
This type of app uses an intermediate language that isn’t native to a particular mobile platform’s operating system. This allows cross-platform apps to work with different operating systems, while native Android apps, for instance, can only use Android as their operating system. Still, cross-platform apps cannot perform as fast as native apps. Additionally, they don’t offer all the same features a native operating system can.
The coding process behind cross-platform apps is much simpler than with native apps. Cross-platform mobile app development companies can utilize parts of the code from multiple devices during the development process. This means that this type of app development is usually less expensive. It also takes less time.
However, cross-platform apps can never perform as well as native apps. They rely on frameworks and plugins to offer the features available with different mobile platforms. Cross-platform apps are therefore more limited in what they can do. Still, having a cross-platform app is always desirable, so we also look into cross-platform options as well. We also check out the methods they use.
A company has a greater chance of being placed on our mobile app development companies list if it also offers app marketing services.
Customer reviews and testimonials represent two of the main ranking factors in our methodology. A neat portfolio doesn’t tell us all that much, which is why we focus on these additional elements when compiling our list. Whether customers were satisfied with the final product or not tells us about the quality of service a company offers.
Keep in mind, a company’s website isn’t our only source of customer reviews. To find the top mobile app development companies, we look for customer reviews and testimonials on multiple platforms to get the whole picture. After all, there are few companies that will put negative reviews on their main website.
One of the crucial factors for choosing an app development company is pricing. These services aren’t exactly cheap. However, this type of service shouldn’t be overly inexpensive, as building an app takes a lot of time and effort. When looking at different rates of mobile app development agencies, we cross-tabulate the prices based on market price and the quality of the services these developers provide.
Once you narrow down your top choices among the mobile app building companies, here are some of the key points you should go through:
If they do, they probably already have insights into that market’s demands and preferences. Additionally, you can check the portfolios these mobile app development companies provide for a glimpse into what an app from your vertical should look like.
Your next step is to check how the agency goes about UX/UI design. An app can have brilliant features, but users might not recognize its potential if it’s not intuitive, clean, and flexible.. With that in mind, be sure to check if the same mobile app development agency can both build and design your app.
The top app development companies usually follow coding standards. These standards aren’t created only to make a developer’s life difficult—just the opposite. Imagine having your app developed by an outfit that writes its own code and then choosing another design firm that follows coding standards. The second team of developers would probably have trouble deciphering the code written by the first one.
The answer to this question should be yes. The app documentation contains app features, maintenance, and development instructions. It is vital to find a company that will provide you with detailed documentation about your app.
A team that offers app development services should be able to explain to their clients the process of adding in its monetization features. Let’s say you wanted to add paid ads to your app. The app development company should let you know how they plan on implementing this monetization technique.
The testing process is an inevitable part of app development. Testing an app doesn’t leave any room for bugs or any other technical issues. There are various tools and platforms for testing used by mobile app development companies, so one of the things you should look into before you hire one is how they test their products.
Once your app is finished and you’re satisfied with the results, it should be submitted to app stores and marketplaces. The question is, who is responsible for app distribution? Should you or the company that built your app do it? Don’t forget to ask your app developer this.
When we talk about the best mobile app development companies, we talk about organized teams of developers, designers, etc. A web development company should be transparent about the responsibilities of each of its teams. You, as a client, should know who to contact to get a project estimate, who you should talk to about making changes to your app, and so on. Apart from this, companies from this vertical should be responsive and not allow their clients to wait too long for answers.
Let’s say you’ve built an iOS app with one of the iOS app development companies. Do you know who owns the app’s code, you or the company? It’s best to find a company that allows you to own the app code. Otherwise, you’ll be tied to a team of developers that built your app, and whenever you want to update or upgrade the app, you’ll have to contact that same team.
Because of the fierce competition in the app development market, the outfits are obliged to push forward to gain an advantage—providing post-launch monitoring and support is one way to do that. Many companies include this in their services, and we recommend working with those that do.
Before looking into the top app development companies, you should research your market to see if there’s a demand for your app. As we’ve already mentioned, app development isn’t cheap, so test your market to determine if your app is a good business move. Additionally, make sure to define your target audience. This way, you’ll know what group to focus on once it launches.
The next step is to choose the type of app you want to have built. Will it be a native, hybrid, or web app? There are advantages and disadvantages to each type, and you should identify which is most suitable for your business—app development companies would help you make the decision.
There are many ways to monetize your app. Advertising, paid or freemium apps, subscriptions, etc.—these are all ways to earn money through it. Take the time to research each of these options, and choose the one you like the most.
With custom app development, it’s essential to know how to optimize your product for higher visibility in app stores and boosting organic app downloads. So, before contacting app development companies, do your own keyword research, and once you find the right keywords for your app, add them to your app title and its description. You can also add user reviews, app videos, screenshots, and images to your app page.
Building an app is often pricey, so before contacting an agency, make sure to set your budget.
The price of building an app varies depending on the type of app you want to build. On average, the cost is in the $100,000 to $500,000 range. However, if you want a basic app with just a few features, this will cost you much less ($10,000 to $50,000). Additionally, the cost of an app depends on the company you choose and its approach to development.
Most app development companies need about one and a half months to build an app. However, this is just one of the app development stages. Researching and generating ideas usually takes 2–3 weeks. An app also needs to be tested, and any technical issues will make this process longer. Generally, developers can finish an app in 4–6 months, while about one-fourth of apps are launched in 1–3 months. The percentage of apps that take more than ten months to build is low.
Whether you decide to work with Android, iOS, hybrid, or web apps, testing is essential for developing an app. If the app doesn’t go through the testing phase, it’s impossible to spot bugs or other technical issues. So the answer is yes.
Ideally, you want to have an app for both iOS and Android devices. However, it all comes down to your target audience, the devices they’re using, and your budget. Additionally, you can’t predict if users will like your app, so you might start with either one and see how it goes from there.
To find some of the best app development companies out there, you should know several things about these companies. Do they have an app development strategy? Are they easy to contact and communicate with? Do they stick to code standards or write their own code? Do they provide app documentation? What about their experience in your niche? Are they experienced in building cross-platform apps?
Outsourcing app development is one of the rising trends in the market. Some companies choose to hand in their projects to app development companies due to, among other reasons, a lack of time and resources. While one of the biggest advantages of outsourcing is lowering your costs, a third party in the development process can jeopardize your data’s confidentiality. The choice is, however, yours.