5 Key Questions About Cross-Platform Tools

Written by Flavius Saracut
Published on Jul 24, 2014
Read time 5 min
Category App Development

App development is a very competitive market, so companies need to pay a lot of attention to reducing costs in order to stay alive. One tactic to save time and reduce costs is to use Cross Platform Tools. According to a study by research2guidance on 2,188 CPTools users, 30% of them said they have realized 50%+ time savings thanks to their CPTools.

There are over 150 solution providers for cross-platform app development tools and these include:

Web App Toolkits: they help companies build web apps and mobile web pages.

App Factories: allow “non-developers” to develop a mobile native or a web app in just a few hours or days using “Drag & drop”. Examples: AppShed, AppYourself, Como, GameBuilder Studio, GameSalad, iGenApps,Magmito, Microstrategy, MobAppCreator, MobiForms, Vizi Apps, Weever Apps.

Cross-Platform Integrated Development Environments (CP IDEs): Most of these facilitate the development of native apps and some also of web apps. Examples: Appcelerator, Embarcadero Appmethod, Marmalade, NeoMAD, Qt, Smartface App Studio, Titanium, Unity, V-Play, Xamarin.

Cross-Platform Integrated Development Environments for Enterprises (CP IDEs Enterprise): These tools support the workflow of app development and deployment in an enterprise environment. Examples: AnyPresence, AppConKit, Appear IQ, EachScape, FeedHenry, Genero, GeneXus, IBM Worklight , Magic XPA, Service2Media M2Active

Cross-Platform Compilers: Tools that concentrate on translating a single source code into native applications. Examples: Alchemo, PhoneGap Build, Cocoon (Games)

Cross-Platform services (CP Services): Are usually used to integrate in-app-purchases, push notifications and in-app advertisements (to name a few) into apps developed for multiple mobile platforms.

no of users CPTools

Who are the users of the tools?

The vast majority (59%) have a developer background with up to 3 years experience, but there are also a lot of companies (28%) that have nothing to do with app development. CPTools are mostly used by app developers that build more than 10 apps/years and 68% develop the majority of their apps using one tool.

What kind of apps are being developed with CPTools?

CPTools are mainly used for apps with a short development duration, 73% of app projects built using a CP Tool lasting up to three months, and 17% only few days or weeks. There are also longer projects built with CPTools, Marmalade (46%), KonyOne (43%) and Windows Visual Studio (38%) having the highest share of projects that last more than 6 months.

Most of the apps developed with a CP Tool are games (37%), followed by enterprise and business apps (25% and 23%). The majority (75% line) of all app projects developed with a CP Tool has a rather small app budget with up to about US $ 25,000 compared to the average of US $ 37,000 of all app projects.

budget app cptools

In the USA, among the top 2,000 paid and free apps, 11.8% iOS and 14.9% Google Play have been developed with a CP Tool. It is estimated that 200,000 out of 2.3 million apps published in the app stores, have been created with a CPTool. Developers that are already using CPTools strongly believe that in the coming 3 years there will be a lot more apps created using these tools.

What platforms are supported by CPTools?

The majority of CP Tools enable users to develop native apps that can be stored on devices and distributed in the public app stores. Please find below the most important CPTools and the platforms supported by them.


How costly is to use CPTools?

If you’re an indie developer you’ll probably pay between a few hundred USD to
up to US $ 12,000. For app development companies (10 developers, 10 projects/year) and enterprises (20 developers, 50 projects/year) the price range is getting wider. Costs shift from a few thousand USD to more than US $100,000 for app studios and US $ 200,000 for enterprises.

Coming back to the beginning of my post, please find below the top 10 tools ranked based on time saving.

time saving

How satisfied are developers with their CPTools?

Android developers prefer PhoneGap, Corona SDK and Unity, 9% of app developers choosing one of these tools for their Android app project. 77% of all CPT users have developed for the Android platform, making Android the most popular mobile platform among CPT users. iOS follows with 68%. The most used CPTools among iOS developers are Xamarin (10%), Corona SDK and Unity (both 9).

top 10 satisfaction

User satisfaction with CPTools is positive and even non-CPT users show a real interest in them, 68% planning to use CP Tools within the next two years. Back to you now, do you have any experience with cross platform tools? Please share with us in comments.

pdf app proposal
Written by Flavius Saracut
Flavius is the Marketing Manager and Co-founder of Mobiversal, a mobile app development company working with startups and established brands like Forbes to create unique mobile experiences. Mobiversal is also the maker of Appointfix and FieldVibe. Connect with him on Twitter @FlaviusSaracut.

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