Is It a Good Time to Develop a Mobile App?

In a recent New York Times article, David Stretfield provides a rather bleak assessment of the present-day mobile app landscape.  The article opens with an anecdote enumerating the tribulations and sacrifices of a family who essentially bet everything they had on the success of their mobile app enterprise:  they quit their jobs, sold a car, rented out their home, moved into a 2-bedroom apartment, cashed in their 410k, and purchased a 24-inch iMac, a Mac Mini, a 24-inch cinema display screen, two 13-inch MacBook Airs, a 15-inch MacBook Pro, two iPad 2s, two Apple TVs, two iPhone 4s and an iPhone 3GS because they needed them to “test out the apps”.

There’s a myth in mobile app development that stubbornly suggests that all you need is one good idea in order to become an overnight millionaire.  This myth persists in spite of the data that demonstrates convincingly that the app economy is a pretty crowded place at the moment.  The truth, as usual, is somewhere in between; you still need a good idea, of course, and while it’s less and less likely to turn that good idea into a multi-million dollar miracle, it’s still possible to turn it into a living, as long as you’re smart about it.

First, don’t bet your future on the success of a mobile app.  That should go without saying for just about any venture, but when it comes to mobile apps there’s really no need to do so.  If you use a service like ours, for example, you get to know in advance how much your mobile app development project will cost.  And while you might have some late nights and early mornings while you’re working out the kinks, an occasional bout of sleeplessness is certainly preferable to giving up your retirement savings on what essentially amounts to a bet.

Secondly, make sure you do your research.  The family that spent tens of thousands of dollars on hardware in order to test their own apps could have saved themselves quite a lot of money if they’d just outsourced the beta testing.

In short, when it comes to mobile app development, there’s still plenty of money to be made…you just need to be smart about your preparation and methodical in your execution.

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