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Xamarin - The real cost

2016-04-10

So Xamarin is now free and we can all create mobile apps using .NET, but when ready we need to distribute them. Distributing apps isn’t free and the requirements and costs are different for each platform. Before I got too far into developing my first app I wanted to make sure I could distribute it so researched what I had to do get my app out there on the three platforms iOS, Android and Windows Phone. In this post I detail those requirements and costs.

Once you create the next killer mobile app you need to distribute it to at least one of the app stores to get it out there where users can find it. With Xamarin it is so easy to make your app work cross platform it is almost silly not to target all three platforms. However that means publishing it to three “app stores”.

All three require you to sign up for a Developer Account and all three charge you for doing so. Google and Microsoft charge you a one off fee, while Apple charge you an annual subscription to maintain your account. Prices quoted are subject to taxes dependent on where you are registering from.

Provider Individual Company Frequency Info
Apple $99 $99 Annual Apple Developer
Google $25 $25 One Off Google Play
Microsoft $19 $99 One Off Windows Developer

NB: Apple have an Enterprise Program for organisations that want to create and distribute apps for internal use only, which costs $299 per year.

So not prohibitively expensive, it seems Apple want more than their pound of flesh, but then every thing Apple is expensive. Generally I accept this as a case of “you get what you pay for” as I believe Apple hardware is so much better than the rest. Perhaps strange coming from someone who worked for and makes thier living in the Microsoft world, but it is my experience.

I signed up for the accounts I didn’t already have and I am good to go for a total of $144.34 (including taxes), actually being in the UK I of course paid in Sterling so £102.19.

One important thing to note. You can put off the cost of the Google and Microsoft accounts until your app is actually ready, but to develop apps for iOS in Visual Studio you will need a Mac with XCode and a Code Signing Certificate installed, which you can only get with a valid Apple Developer Account.


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