Building a mobile application means winning more traction for your efforts: You can be with users all the time! But often, developers and execs might not quite "see" your great idea; instead, they see challenges and unplanned costs.

It's time to educate yourself about such obstacles, so your next app proposal is a killer. This infographic by Vision Mobile lends a sense of what launching a mobile app truly involves.

These are the most crucial factors of mobile development that Vision Mobile highlights, based on its Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond report:

  • Platform selection. The choice often falls to commercial, not technical, motivations (how many people you can target on each platform).
  • "Installed base" versus "available apps." Most old platforms—Symbian, Flash, Java, ME—already have a large installed base (lots of users) but fewer apps, versus their new rivals Android, iPhone, BlackBerry.
  • Learning curve. This has to do with how easy it is to learn how to develop an app for a given platform. The easiest (5 months average learning time) is Android, followed by iPhone; the toughest is Symbian (15 months).
  • Best platform aspects vs. top pain points. For quick coding and prototyping, you'll go with Android. For awesome usability? iPhone.
  • Go-to-market. The three most common channels are app stores, website downloads and commissioned apps. Your options vary by platform (76% of iPhone users download via its App Store; 53% of Android users do so).
  • Time-to-market vs. time-to-payment. For an app store, you're looking at 22 days time-to-market, and 36 days time-to-payment.

The Po!nt: Boost your app aptitude. A great mobile idea is even better when its inventor has the tech and market savvy to project costs, time allotments, and the benefits and setbacks of a given platform. Make like the Boy Scouts: Be prepared!

Looking for great mobile marketing data? MarketingProfs reviewed hundreds of research sources to create our most recent Mobile Marketing Factbook (May 2010). With 139 pages and 99 charts, it is full of relevant mobile marketing stats and trends. The Mobile Marketing Factbook is Part 4 of the complete Digital Marketing Factbook (our 296-page full report).

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