If you have an Android or iOS device and you've been downloading stuff from the relevant app stores, you may have stopped to wonder whether developing your own app is possible and how much it costs to get started.
As it happens, there are lots of products around which let you develop apps for Android, iPhone and iPad (and the Windows app store if you really want to). Some require download and installation on your PC, while some even work entirely online in your browser. Some are free, some cost a few hundred dollars or so, and some require merely a monthly subscription of around $20.
If you want to get started and you don't want to pay, then your best option is a product called Unity 3d. Don't let the name fool you, as it's just as good for creating 2D apps and games too. It's a complete software development environment which you download and install on your PC, and from which you can then develop and publish apps to the leading app stores.
As well as being one of the most well known app development environments, Unity 3d also has the added bonus of being completely free to download and use, so long as your game doesn't make more than $100,000 per year. At that point, you need to buy a pro licence, which will cost you $1500 up-front or $75 a month. But until your game is making serious money, the whole experience won't cost you anything.
To get started, head to http://unity3d.com and download the product. Be aware that it's a 1,200 MB download (1.2 GB), which might take a while (and use up all your monthly allowance) if you don't have a suitable internet package. The installer is way too large to scan with VirusTotal, but the default scanner on my PC reckons it's clean, and Web of Trust has no complaints either. So if you think you can come up with the next Angry Flappy Birds, now you have everything you need to get started.
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