What Cars and Mobile Apps Have in Common: Figuring the Right Functionality, Design and Cost.

Putting the right amount of functionality in your app is similar to buying the right car.

Chances are, if most of your driving is done going from A to B during your daily commute and you stay more or less local, you would choose to own a smaller, fuel-efficient vehicle rather than, for instance, a van. Likewise if you are traveling great distances visiting many towns, cities, or even countries, you would probably want a larger, more capable and full-featured luxury-type automobile.

And in a way, so it goes with apps, and below – drawing upon this comparison with cars – we aim to illustrate four general levels of app-development sophistication available, in order to help you decide what’s enough and not too much when it comes to including features in a particular mobile app:

Economy Class: The low-budget “Ford Focus” of Apps 

With no frills and great “petrol mileage” to get you the most app for your money, Economy-Level Development includes native app design for a single platform and device. It’s the entry-level of app design services and includes up to 5 screens offering basic functionality - as in apps such as a simple calculator, one with only static text or graphic content or any lightweight app such as a QR code reader, etc.

This lower-budget option supports only the latest OS version on your chosen platform and does not include the many hours of testing older devices on previous OS versions. Not designed for heavy usage, its affordable price tag does not include server-side functionality or web panel administration. Project work time generally takes from between 100 to 150 hours; and a total cost roughly runs from $3000 to $4500.

Compact Class: The all-around “Toyota Camry” of Apps 

A little roomier and able to take you further, our Camry-like Next-Level Development also includes native design for just one platform, one device, and only the most recent OS - but it includes from 6 to 10 screens.

Examples of this type of app can be found here:



This app class does provide server-side functionality. However it does not include web panel administration. Development time on this level of app design generally requires from 250 to 500 hours, at a total cost between $7500 and $15,000.

Full-Size Class: The rock-solid “Chevy Impala” of Apps 

Comfort over the long haul is provided with a full-size automobile, and an app of the same category can attract the attention of a wide audience and deliver a feature-rich user experience. With Full-Size Development we work up a native design for all devices on one platform (iPhone + iPad or Android phone+tablets) running only the latest OS version. And here, the number of screens offered increases to between 11 and 20.

To see an app of this class designed for North Korea Travel, click here:


Full-Size Development includes server-side functions as well as a basic administration panel that can require between approximately 600 to 1000 hours of build time. Although the price for this level of app development is not inexpensive – at somewhere around $18000 to $30,000 – nonetheless it is indeed extremely cost-effective and can result in a very satisfying ROI.

Luxury Class: The feature-rich “Mercedes-Benz” of Apps 

When cutting-edge design and outstanding performance are combined in an automobile, you end up with a Mercedes or similar-class model. When these attributes are combined in a native app, it has a shot at the top 100 in the App Store or on Google Play – and more importantly your customers are treated to an experience of the ultimate in mobile app ease of use, functionality and style.

Luxury-Class Development forges a native design on each platform (iOS and Android) for all device screen sizes (tablet and smartphone). Twenty-one or more screen designs are provided and the overall app functionality is quite vast including customization; social networking; multi-party and even complex custom abilities such as video broadcasting.

A top-level design service includes app builds to run on older iOS and Android system versions, plus additional testing on a large number of Android devices that may be a few years old, but are still quite capable and in use in large numbers. Server-side  is advanced. A full-featured administrator web panel is also provided.

Like in a car, craftsmanship, design and attention to detail create outstanding results - but naturally they take a lot of time. Hour estimates for “uber class” development can easily exceed 1000 hours – with a sticker price beyond the $30,000 mark. Whether it be a BMW, Range Rover or Lincoln in the auto world, or an online investing or e-commerce app in the digital arena – luxury has never come cheap. But ask around and see how many regret they made the investment in it.

Take a look at the infographics:


Pavel S.
May 15, 2014
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