The Best Mobile App Development Tools in 2022: A Detailed Comparison

Published July 10, 2022, updated September 27, 2022
by Jeffery Thompson
14 min read
Mobile App Development
Mobile App Development Tools

Current research shows that more than more than 6.2 billion people use smartphone. Data also show that there are over 1.1 billion tablet users. What does this information tell us? The mobile app market is growing.

The numbers are compelling. If you are an entrepreneur, the best thing to do is know the different mobile app development tools. You should take this step before launching your app in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

Below is a detailed comparison guide to help you out.

What is a Mobile App Development Tool?

Mobile application development tools are software that developers use to build mobile apps.

To help you choose, we have studied different tools and picked the very best from the mobile app market.

Best Mobile App Development Tools and Platforms of 2022 (Android | iOS)

Listed below is a list of the best tools for mobile app development that you can use. We have organized them according to their specific use, platform, and availability.

Mobile Application Development Tools

Cross-Platform App Development Tools

Who says mobile phone app development tools can’t be versatile?

Cross-platform app development tools offer the ultimate versatility to app builders. Mobile app developers use these tools to create apps that run on multiple platforms. Basically, we are referring to Android and iOS operating systems here.

Basic Image

Ionic

Ionic is an open-source mobile app framework. It works well if you build hybrid or cross-platform apps. Just make sure that these apps use programming languages like HTML5, CSS, and Sass.

Ionic Logo

Key Features

  • Library of pre-designed user interface (UI) components compatible with all platforms
  • It has the Adaptive Styling feature. This allows one code base to be used for multiple operating systems
  • Command-line interface (CLI) helps developers build, test, and deploy mobile apps 

Cost

  • The open-source version is free
  • Ionic Enterprise’s Basic Plan starts at $499 per month

Platform

Cross-platform functionality

Platform

MobiLoud offers a service called Canvas. The later converts an existing website or web app into iOS and Android apps.

MobiLoud Logo

Key Features

  • Performance monitoring
  • Push notifications
  • Monetization via ads/subscriptions
  • Automatic updates with your website
  • Analytics tool

Cost

MobiLoud’s basic plan is the Startup Plan at $200 per month

Platform

Cross-platform functionality

NativeScript

NativeScript is an open-source framework that uses JavaScript (JS) and CSS. If you will be developing the UI of native mobile apps, use NativeScript.

NativeScript Logo

Key Features

  • Choice of three web frameworks: JavaScript, Angular, and TypeScript
  • Full access (thanks to JS) to native APIs and third-party libraries
  • Full support on GitHub

Cost

The open-source version is free

Platform

Cross-platform functionality

React Native

React Native is an open-source framework used for building UIs for mobile applications. The technologies it utilizes are JavaScript and React.

React Native Logo

Key Features

  • Native modules that ensure platform-exclusive functionality
  • Support for hot and live reloading
  • Reusable parts between React Native and React

Cost

Open-source (free)

Platform

Cross-platform functionality

Xamarin

Xamarin is Microsoft’s open-source mobile app development tool. It use C# and .NET technologies. Xamarin is great for building applications that run on Android and iOS platforms.

Xamarin Logo

Key Features

  • Base framework to access native functionalities
  • Platform-specific libraries
  • XAML (Extensible Markup Language)
  • Editor extensions

Cost

  • The open-source version is free
  • Paid version’s starting price is $25 per month

Platform

Cross-platform functionality

AR (Augmented Reality) Tools

Augmented Reality (AR) takes mobile applications to another level. AR tools combine video, animation, and 3D modeling. With these features, it provides an enhanced, simulated version of the physical world.

AR Tools

ARCore

ARCore is Google’s software development kit (SDK). You can use this to build AR apps that run on Android and iOS devices.

ARCore Logo

Key Features

  • Motion tracking
  • Environmental understanding
  • Light estimation

Cost

Free 

Platforms

  • Android
  • iOS

ARKit

ARKit is Apple’s very own AR app builder exclusive for the iOS mobile ecosystem. Apart from apps, ARKit can also create AR or AR-enhanced games.

ARKit

Key Features

  • Motion capture
  • Face tracking
  • Location Anchors
  • Depth API
  • Scene geometry
  • People occlusion

Cost

Free 

Platform

iOS

VuForia

VuForia is widely used in various industries. These are marketing and sales, manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, and other sectors.

VuForia

Key Features

  • Cylinder Targets
  • Ground Plane
  • Image Targets
  • Multi-Targets
  • VuMarks

Cost

  • The Basic Plan is free
  • The paid plan’s pricing is not disclosed

Platforms

  • Android
  • iOS
  • Lumin OS
  • Windows

Rapid Mobile App Development Tool

Rapid Mobile App Development (RMAD) tools are a gift to non-developers. With these tools, they can deploy apps on Android and iOS. RMAD tools only require minimal coding (low code programming). Sometimes you do not even need to code (no-code programming).

rapid mobile app development tools

OutSystems

OutSystems is like Alpha Anywhere. It is also an RMAD Tool. Its cloud-native platform is AI-powered, model-driven, and visual-oriented.

outsystems

OutSystems

  • Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for building apps
  • Free online training
  • Community support
  • Single runtime environment for app development, testing, and production
  • Cloud hosting provided by OutSystems

Cost

  • It comes with a free version
  • OutSystems’ starting paid plan is the Standard Plan. It starts at $1,500 per month

Platforms

  • Android
  • iOS
  • Linux
  • Mac
  • Web browsers for desktop / mobile
  • Windows and Windows Phone

AI (Artificial Intelligence) Tools

AI (artificial intelligence) tools allow mobile app developers to incorporate AI technologies. The capabilities you can integrate are:

  • Machine learning
  • Speech recognition
  • Facial recognition
  • Expert systems
  • Machine vision
ai tools

IBM Watson

IBM Watson is an IBM solution that aims to utilize AI for business applications. The goal is to incorporate AI into productivity apps. Likewise, the tool aims to streamline business processes and improve business intelligence.

ibm watson logo

Key Features

  • Data analytics and interpretation
  • Use of machine learning (ML) for more efficiency
  • Natural language dialogue
  • Visual recognition and analysis
  • Speech to text
  • Automated predictive analytics
  • Smart data discover

Cost

  • It comes with a free version
  • IBM Watson’s starting paid plan is the Plus plan, which is priced at $500 per month

Platform

  • Android
  • iOS
  • Windows

TensorFlow

TensorFlow is an open-source platform that fully leverages AI and ML.

tensorflow logo

Key Features

  • Written in C++
  • Extensive library of APIs
  • Strong documentation and community support
  • TensorFlow Lite for performing inferences for mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) devices

Cost

Open-source (free)

Platforms

  • Android
  • iOS
  • Linux (64 bit)
  • Mac OS
  • Windows

Mobile Payment Tools

The popularity of mobile devices paved way for the rise of mobile development tools. Through these tools, integrating mobile payment processing features becomes possible.

mobile payment tools

Braintree

Braintree is an open-source mobile payment platform. Big tech brands like Dropbox, GitHub, and Uber used this.

braintree logo

Key Features

  • Payment methods
  • In-store payments
  • Payouts
  • Anti-fraud tools
  • Data security

Cost

  • Braintree uses a per-transaction pricing structure
  • Cards and digital wallets: 2.59 percent + $0.49 per transaction
  • Venmo: 3.49 percent + $0.49 per transaction
  • ACH Direct Debit: 0.75 percent per transaction

Platforms

  • Android
  • iOS

Card.io

Card.io allows developers to build credit card scanning programs.

card io logo

Key Features

  • Credit card scanning technology
  • Optional manual entry
  • Face recognition

Cost

Free

Platform

  • Android
  • iOS

Mobile App Design Tools

Mobile app design tools allow developers to create the look and feel of the mobile app’s UI. Many of these tools are considered by some as complete UI/UX design platforms.

mobile app design tools

Adobe XD

Adobe XD is a complete UI/UX tool that uses vector-based elements in building mobile app designs. Adobe XD can be also used to build websites, games, and brands.

adobe xd logo

Key Features

  • Layout and design tools
  • Prototyping and animation rendering
  • 3D transforms
  • Import from Photoshop, Illustrator, and Sketch
  • Responsive Resize
  • Adobe Fonts

Cost

The basic plan is priced at $9.99 per month, but it comes with a free 7-day trial

Platform

  • Android
  • iOS
  • Mac OS
  • Windows

Mockplus

Mockplus is definitely an easy-to-use prototyping tool for mobile apps.

mockplus  logo

Key Features

  • Drag-and-drop UI builder
  • Pre-designed UI components and icons
  • Free UI kits and templates

Cost

  • It comes with a free basic plan
  • Mockplus’ starting paid plan is the Pro Plan, which is priced at $5.95 per user per month

Platform

  • Android
  • iOS

Proto.io

Proto.io is a beginner-friendly prototyping tool for mobile apps. It utilizes a drag-and-drop interface for designing apps.

proto io logo

Key Features

  • Library of more than 250 UI components
  • Over 1,000 customizable templates
  • 6,000-plus animated icons, stock images, and sound effects

Cost

Proto.io’s basic plan is the Freelance Plan, which is priced at $24 per month

Platform

  • Android
  • iOS

Push Notification Tools

Brands nowadays are leaning on push notifications to boost their sales.

push notification tools

AirShip

AirShip is a full-service platform that provide push notification services. Some of the services are automation, customization, and AI-powered delivery.

airship logo

Key Features

  • API integration
  • Automation
  • Deep Linking
  • Interactive notifications
  • Open-source SDK
  • Rich notifications
  • Segmentation
  • Speed Boost

Cost

Pricing available upon request

Platform

  • Android
  • iOS
  • Web browsers for mobile
  • Windows

Amazon SNS (Simple Notification Service)

Amazon SNS is more than a decade old and is still going strong. Mobile app owners can use this tool to distribute push notifications.

amazon sns logo

Key Features

  • Easy-to-use APIs
  • Quick integration
  • Pay-as-you-go pricing structure

Cost

Amazon offers a pay-as-you-go model based on specific criteria

Platform

  • Android
  • Fire OS
  • iOS
  • Windows

Game Engines

The popularity of Pokemon Go, PUBG, and Mobile Legends is proof that mobile games continue to be a hit among mobile users. So if you want to develop the next big thing in mobile games, you must know the best game engines existing today.

game engines

AppGameKit

AppGameKit is an example of a mobile game app development tool. Here’s the catch, this tool is perfect for beginners. It does not need advanced coding skills.

appgamekit logo

Key Features

  • IDE
  • Editing tools
  • Debugger

Cost

  • The AppGameKit Classic version is free for schools
  • The AppleGameKit Studio version is priced at $99

Platform

  • Android
  • HTML5
  • iOS
  • Linux
  • Max
  • Windows

Buildbox

Like AppGameKit, Buildbox does not require special coding skills. Its drag-and-drop interface allows developers to create 2D and 3D games quickly.

buildbox logo

Key Features

  • Library of templates
  • Smart Assets library
  • Redbox monetization

Cost

  • It comes with a free version
  • Buildbox’s starting paid plan is the Plus Plan, which is priced at $19.99

Platform

  • Android
  • iOS

Solar2D (aka Corona SDK)

Formerly known as Corona SDK, Solar2D is an open-source 2D mobile game builder. It is based on the scripting language Lua.

solar2d logo

Key Features

  • Cross-platform compatibility
  • Wide range of plugins

Cost

Open-source (free)

Platform

  • Android
  • iOS
  • Kindle
  • Linux
  • Mac OS
  • Windows

Unity

Unity is perhaps the most popular game engine existing today. It can create cross-platform games for both mobile devices and desktop computers.

unity logo

Key Features

  • Visual scripting
  • Virtual texturing
  • Editor tools
  • Instant assets
  • IDE

Cost

Pricing available upon request

Platform

  • Android
  • Console platforms
  • iOS
  • Linux
  • Mac OS
  • Virtual Reality (VR) platforms
  • WebGL
  • Windows

Unreal Engine

Unreal Engine is a prominent game engine used for building 3D games. Apart from mobile games, it also supports desktop and other gaming platforms.

unreal engine logo

Key Features

  • Animation
  • Simulation and effects
  • Rendering/lighting/materials
  • World building

Cost

  • It comes with a free version
  • A five percent royalty takes effect when your mobile game reaches more than $1 million in revenues

Platform

  • Android
  • iOS
  • Linux
  • Mac OS
  • Windows

Native Mobile App Development Tools

If you want to create mobile apps for Android or iOS, you need to use a native app development tool.

native mobile app development tools

Native App Development Tools for Android

Android Studio

native app development tools for android

Google created Android Studio for building mobile apps that run on Android devices.

android studio logo

Key Features

  • Visual layout editor
  • APK analyzer
  • Fast emulator
  • Intelligent code editor

Cost

Android Studio is free, even for commercial use

Platform

Android

IntelliJ IDEA

IntelliJ IDEA offers an integrated development environment. Its goal is to improve the productivity of app developers.

intellij idea logo

Key Features

  • Productivity boosters
  • Developer ergonomics

Cost

Intellij IDEA’s cheapest plan is the Ultimate Plan for individuals, which is priced at $14.9 per month

Platform

Android

Native App Development Tools for iOS

native app development tools for ios

Xcode

Xcode is Apple’s IDE for developing iOS mobile apps, as well as apps running on iPad OS, Mac OS, watch OS, and tv OS.

xcode logo

Key Features

  • Single window interface
  • Testing and debugging options
  • Complete documentation

Cost

Free

Platform

  • iOS
  • Mac OS
  • Tv OS
  • Watch OS

AppCode

AppCode is an IDE that leverages programming languages like C, C++, Objective-C, and Swift.

appcode logo

Key Features

  • Smart editor
  • Code analysis

Cost

$89 for individuals

Platform

  • iOS
  • Mac OS

Low-Code Mobile App Development Tool

These tools only require minimal coding skills.

low code mobile app development tools

Alpha Anywhere

Alpha Anywhere takes advantage of low-code mobile app development technology. Developers can use the tool to build and deploy cross-platform apps.

Alpha Anywhere is also perfect for building apps that can function offline.

alpha anywhere logo

Key Features

  • Data integration
  • Security features (authentication, authorization, encryption, and device management)
  • Hybrid app building tool
  • Analytics tools
  • Mobile forms
  • GPS / Mapping / GIS (Geographic Information System)
  • Calendar
  • Video/Image gallery

Cost

Free

Platform

  • Android
  • iOS
  • Windows
  • Web browsers for mobile devices

No-Code Mobile App Development Tool

No-code mobile app development is a process that requires no coding skills at all. No-code app builders are designed to be used even by those who do not know how to code.

AppSheet

AppSheet was originally conceived in 2014 by Praveen Seshadri and was later acquired by Google. It is one of the most popular no-code platforms in the world.

appsheet logo

Key Features

  • Data visualization
  • Data integration
  • Automated workflow

Cost

AppSheet’s basic plan is the Starter Plan, which is priced at $5 per user per month

Platform

  • Android
  • iOS
  • Chrome

Mobile App Development Tools to Download For Free

mobile app development tools to download for free

Appy Pie

Apart from being a well-known free mobile app development tool, Appy Pie is also a popular no-code option for beginners

appypie logo

Key Features

  • Drag-and-drop interface
  • Push notifications
  • Social media integration
  • Google Analytics integration

Cost

Free, although it also offers paid plans

Platform

  • Android
  • iOS

AppMySite

What AppMySite does is simply convert your existing website into a mobile app.

appmysite logo

Key Features

  • Cross-platform compatibility
  • Payment gateway support
  • Social media integration

Cost

AppMySite is a free mobile app development tool available online. But it also offers paid plans.

Platform

  • Android
  • iOS

Flutter

Flutter is another free product from Google. It is an open-source framework for building apps from a single codebase.

Flutter

Key Features

  • Foundation library
  • Library of widgets containing fonts, navigation, and icons

Cost

Open-source (free)

Platforms

  • Android
  • Google Fuchsia
  • iOS

Mobile App Development Tools For Android

Mobile App Development Tools For Android

Apache Cordova

Apache Cordova is another open-source framework for developing Android mobile apps. It is formerly called as PhoneGap.

Apache Cordova

Key Features

  • Unified JavaScript API
  • Offline capabilities

Cost

Open-source (free)

Platform

Android

Mobile App Development Tools For iPhone

Mobile App Development Tools For iPhone

Flawless

Flawless is another tool ideal for designing iOS apps. Because it is embedded with Xcode, it is a popular tool among iOS developers.

Flawless

Key Features

  • iOS simulator injection
  • Drag-and-drop interface
  • Split-screen tool for comparing your design with your current app

Cost

$30 per license

Platform

iOS

Mobile App Development Tools With No Coding Needed

Mobile App Development Tools With No Coding Needed

AppGyver

AppGyver prides itself as the “first” no-code development platform. AppGyver also help developers create apps for TV.

AppGyver

Key Features

  • Over 500 ready-made components
  • Theme engine

Cost

Free

Platforms

  • Android
  • iOS

Windows Mobile App Development Tools

Windows Mobile App Development Tools

Visual Studio

Another Microsoft mobile app development tool you can use is Visual Studio. It is an IDE that develops computer programs, websites, and mobile apps.

Visual Studio

Key Features

  • Visual Studio app center
  • Azure app service

Cost

The Community Edition is free.

Platform

Windows and cross-platform functionality

Mobile Advertising Tools

Mobile Advertising Tools

Unity Ads

Unity Ads allows developers to place video ads into mobile games.

unity logo

Key Features

  • Video ad placement
  • In-app purchases within video ads

Cost

Pricing not disclosed

Platform

  • Android
  • iOS

Things to Consider When Choosing a Mobile Development Tool

When choosing mobile web app development tools, there are factors to consider.

Features

It’s always wise to review the features of the tool and determine if those features align with your goals.

Platform

Most tools for mobile app development already offer cross-platform functionality. Still, you need to decide if you want to build a hybrid app or a native version.

Budget

Compute your budget. You might need tools that are not open-source. Do not rely on free mobile app development tools.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Mobile Development Tool

Conclusion

The amazing diversity of mobile apps existing today warrants the need for an equally diverse range of mobile app tools.

The trick then is to choose a tool, or combination of tools, that best fits your app project’s requirements. Of course, you will also have to think about scalability and technology updates somewhere down the road too.

Ready to Get Started?

Here at BIT Studios, we have a team with years of experience in mobile app development. We are always excited at the prospect of helping visionaries bring their app project to life. If you’re ready to jumpstart your project, we can help!

Discuss Your Project with Our Mobile App Developer Team

Our team has the experience to leverage the best tools for mobile app development. We have an innovative mindset and we love to think out-of-the box. If you want to know more about our approach to mobile app development, get in touch with us today!

FAQ About Mobile App Development Tools

What Is a Mobile Application?

A mobile application is a software that run on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

What Are the Benefits of Mobile Apps?

Mobile apps provide convenience for users because they are accessible. For businesses or employees, mobile apps can serve as productivity tools. For consumers, mobile apps can be used for entertainment, health, or educational purposes.

What Are the Best Mobile Application Development Tools?

The best mobile application development tools provide the right combination of features. They are also intuitive and cost-effective.

Top mobile app development tools are popular because they continue to evolve. Moreover, they align with the needs of mobile app users.

Which Is the Best Coding Language for Mobile Apps?

The best coding language for mobile app depends on the app’s purpose and platform and the end user’s device. But, we can say that the most used coding languages are Java, Kotlin, C/C++, Swift, and Objective-C.

Can I Build an App Without Coding?

Yes, you can build an app without coding. No-code tools require minimal coding skills, and even non-developers can use them. They help developers work quicker.

Why Use Mobile App Development Software to Build Mobile Applications?

Mobile app development software allows developers to use tools and frameworks for mobile UIs.

How Do I Select the Best Mobile App Development Tool?

When selecting the best mobile app development tool, review the features if they fit the requirements of your app project. Then decide if you’re going to develop a native or a cross-platform app. Lastly, calculate your budget ahead.

Which Tool Is the Best for Android App Development?

When it comes to building Android apps, you can certainly get better results if you use Google’s tools like Android Studio and Flutter. These technologies are pre-optimized for the Android environment. Moreover, the documentation and support for Google’s development tools are always top-notch.

Jeff eats and breathes technology. His undying passion for software development inspired him to establish BIT Studios, a reputable custom software development company that caters to SMEs and Fortune 5...
Originally published July 10, 2022, updated September 27, 2022

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