Whenever I have a feeling that something good is being underutilised, I always like to raise the question and then introduce some hypothesis. The Android and Apple app stores have been around for years. A lot of developers have built apps for either or both platforms and have reaped bountiful benefits for their endeavours. And this has caused the number of apps on these stores to balloon into millions, which is good and bad, especially when you consider discoverability issues.
But that concern is not the issue here. The concern of this article is to probe why not many Nigerian made apps exist on the Android and Apple app stores. This is a problem, and it’s even more noticeable with the fact that these app stores now localise contents. And this has revealed that in some locations, developers have created a lot of apps (USA, UK, India). While in other locations, developers haven’t done much. Nigeria belongs to the latter group. I attempt to explain why this is so.
So if everybody is doing web development, who’s going to learn Java and Objective-C for Android and iOS development respectively? Because of this, a lot of Nigerian developers lack the technical know-how to build native apps for these platforms.
But should consider building hybrid and cross platform apps
Yes, some developers have tried to build WebView apps to respond or offset this problem, but they build these apps still relying completely on the web. And hardly would you see these apps use even a single native functionality, as basic as even a camera function!
Nigerian developers should leverage tools like Cordova and React Native and frameworks like Ionic to get their disruptive ideas out there. We seriously need you to do this.
A second problem, and people would want my head for this, is that most Nigerian developers who are highly skilled, are not creative enough. Every Java expert I’ve heard of or met, hardly makes an Android app for the general public. A lot of them would rather argue about abstract topics than release a feature they think would be helpful to people (I don’t mean GitHub projects), even if it is as basic as an “Alarm clock”.
Or, most likely, they work in companies where they don’t just have the time to design non-proprietary stuffs. If you don’t know, Java is a pretty important technology among Nigerian companies, so having good knowledge of Java kinda makes you a hot cake. So I don’t blame these developers too much.
But trends reveal that the the future is mobile, so expect platforms like Android, Windows Phone and IPhone to remain trendy for a long time. Yet as a developer, you need to learn to keep up changes in technology and tooling. Since most Nigerian developers are web developers,I recommend jumping into the cross-platform boat either through Xamarin (if you know ASP.NET), React Native (if you know React) or through Cordova (since you know HTML, CSS & JS).