The moment has come – your company decided to go for mobile app development. You know the project’s primary goals, but there are still many questions to answer. What technology should you choose? What features could you offer?
Look for the solutions in various sources. One of them can be competitor analysis. But not just a typical one. Don’t limit yourself merely to mobile apps from your backyard. Sometimes, products that serve a purpose you don’t share are a real inspiration trove.
And if you focus on apps that use the same technology you’re considering, you may also see how it works in practice.
Native vs. cross-platform app development. iOS, Android, or Flutter?
Native apps often give you more control and better interact with the device. On the other hand, such solutions are always dedicated to just one platform. So, you need to build iOS and Android apps separately. The thing is that building native apps often means higher costs. After all, you need to create and maintain two products.
But there is one more option worth considering. Cross-platform app development based on the Flutter framework. One product that works on multiple platforms – both Android and iOS – and offers a native-like experience.
What is Flutter?
Flutter is an open-source technology created by Google. It is based on the Dart programming language. You can also use it to develop desktop, mobile apps, and web applications. Currently, it’s the most often used solution of its kind. 42% of software developers declared using Flutter to build cross-platform apps in a 2021 survey (data from Statista).
Some big tech enterprises in the e-commerce industry and beyond see the potential of Flutter apps. Brands such as Baidu, eBay, and Groupon have successfully adopted it in their products. Why?
One of the key reasons might be its powerful widget system. In Flutter, almost everything is a widget – from buttons and text to entire layout structures. Flutter widgets are customizable, reusable, and easy to implement. It simplifies the development process and saves time. This, alongside the ability to create a beautiful user interface and smooth animations, is one of the most significant advantages behind Flutter. One Flutter project already contains an Android and iOS app inside. But there are even more benefits that come with this technology.
Benefits of using Flutter apps
- There are big opportunities when it comes to app development. With every new version, Flutter supports new platforms. What does it mean in practice? Now, you have a mobile app, but in the future, you might want to create apps for desktops. It will be simpler and cheaper when your code will only have to be adjusted to a new platform. There will be no need to hire a new team to code the product from scratch.
- An extensive library of components and integration with API that give access to payment systems (e.g., Stripe, Qonvesion) allows developers to work faster because they can choose ready-to-use solutions. Flutter community helps to provide packages not yet created but needed.
- Reaching a higher number of new users with less budget. Flutter allows you to get new users without creating two products in two different technologies for each platform. It’s a good way of cutting costs on programming.
- Making changes faster (for example, implementing new functionalities). Features should be ready on two platforms before the launch. So, with Flutter, you can add changes in less time compared to native solutions.
Are you wondering whether Flutter is a good solution for your company? To make this decision easier for you, I’ve described six Flutter app examples so you could see what features are available in this technology.
I hope that they will inspire you during preparations for your mobile app project.
Inspiring Flutter app examples
#1 eBay Motors app – eBay
One of the most prominent players in the online bidding industry uses Flutter on its platform. eBay Motors is an app for buying cars, parts, and accessories, with over 1 million downloads. It’s available in the US and fully integrates the popular payment system called Escrow. Hence, you can assume that implementing other systems of this kind (PayPo, Blik, etc.) is possible with Flutter.
Feature inspiration: Chat that allows users to comment on the classifieds. It increases their engagement, which may lead to a higher number of successful auctions. In many cases, chat streamlines the information flow and may have a direct impact on the increasing cart value.
You can find more info about eBay Motors chat and other features on YouTube.
#2 Google Pay app – Google
Many Android users are familiar with this app. But not everyone knows the story behind it. A few years ago, Google asked a team of people who had previously worked on native apps to build their new project with Flutter. That’s how the first app was made in Google’s cross-platform technology.
Using Flutter with this app reduced the number of code lines by 35%. In a big project like that one, it was about 600,000 lines! In the long run, it also reduced developers’ working time by 60% because Flutter is easier to maintain.
Feature inspiration: One of the features Google has created displays statistics based on user’s expenses. It doesn’t overwhelm them with loads of information, instead, it gives people a sense of control. For the purpose of e-commerce, for example, you may use this feature in a different way. For example, presenting the categories that the user browses most often.
#3 Reflectly app – Reflectly
What about apps that should coexist with the company’s web or mobile product? Then Flutter is a perfect fit – its code can be reused to build a new solution.
Reflectly is a mobile app that helps to decrease the stress induced by technology and social media. At some point, though, the team decided that the mobile solution was not enough anymore.
Currently, the web app is on its way. The team relies on the codebase created for its mobile counterpart. This way they spend less time and resources on the development.
Feature inspiration: The app enables dictating notes. Users can record voice messages while performing other actions at the same time. Similar solutions are often associated with voice searching (Google Assistant, Siri).
#4 LeggUP app – LeggUP
It’s a platform for personal development with therapy and coaching sessions. LeggUP used to rely solely on its website. However, it turned out that a mobile app was needed to streamline communication between users and coaches. The goal was also to facilitate access to educational materials and notes. Now, users can take part in sessions anytime and anywhere they want without using laptops and browsers.
Feature inspiration: LeggUP offers a real-time live chat. Users can also talk to their coaches during video calls (created with Zoom SDK). The latter feature requires native code – this solution isn’t available directly in Flutter. Luckily, adding native features to this kind of app is possible. So, there’s no need to resign from Flutter just because it doesn’t support one feature.
#5 Xianyu app – Alibaba
It’s an e-commerce platform owned by one of this industry’s key players – the Asian Alibaba group. Xianyu enables selling and buying products. Over 50 million people use this app. From the very beginning, the goal was to quickly build a mobile solution that facilitates running the business and searching for interesting items.
Feature inspiration: This Flutter app example allows users to edit photos of the products they add. Sellers can add animated stickers and filters. This way, they can emphasize the elements of special value for the buyers.
#6 Nubank app – Nubank
It’s a digital banking app. The Nubank team wanted to frequently add new features. But it used to take a lot of time and caused delays. The solution to this problem was Flutter – a technology that enables making quick updates.
Feature inspiration: This time, I’d like to focus on one of Flutter’s properties, not a feature. The possibility to implement quick updates comes in handy not only when you want to add new elements. If a bug is detected in the app, this means that the clock is ticking. The sooner you find what causes this defect, the better.
In case of native solutions, the implementation of certain features can be different for every platform. Sometimes, it means that solving the problem will take more time than expected. In Flutter, codebase for both platforms is the same, so detecting the bug and fixing it usually takes less time.
When should you choose Flutter?
Flutter apps can be the right choice if your company wants to build software as fast as possible. Working on one cross-platform product is not as time-consuming as creating two separate iOS and Android apps. Hence, the cost needed to complete the project is also lower.
This technology is also worth considering because it is simple to implement certain tools, such as Firebase with Google Analytics.
If you like, you can see more mobile apps made with Flutter to check if their possibilities satisfy you.
Keep in mind that every case is different. Your idea might deeply interfere with specific aspects of the platform. So, if you have any doubts about choosing the technology for the development of your mobile apps, contact us. We will help you find the best options.