How Many Flutter Apps Are There?
With every major release, the number of Flutter apps increases. When Flutter 2 was released in March 2021, there were over 150,000 Flutter-based apps on Play Store alone. At the time of Flutter 3 launch in May 2022, we had 500,000 Flutter apps already out there. That's a 455% jump in usage over two years.
By comparison, in August 2020, there were “only” 90,000 Flutter-made apps.
Here’s Flutter’s evolution with key improvements to the framework:
What’s New in Flutter 3?
The release of Flutter 3 cements the framework’s goal of pursuing a true cross-platform UI development experience. Currently, Flutter can be used to develop applications for smartphones, desktop, and web and create a whole ecosystem with exchangeable components.
Here's what's new in Flutter 3:
- Stable support for macOS and Linux desktop apps
- Six different platforms from one codebase
- Foldable phones support
- iOS variable refresh rate support
- Performance improvements
- Material Design 3 introduced
What Popular Apps Are Made with Flutter?
Xianyu by Alibaba
Xianyu by Alibaba is an ecommerce app for buying and selling second-hand goods. The app is built in Flutter and is available on both iOS and Android.
In 2017, the team at Xianyu conducted an in-depth comparison between available cross-platform development platforms. The analysis favored Flutter, which offered a better development experience and faster testing capabilities compared to, for example, React Native.
At the time, Xianyou was struggling with hiring challenges and the shortage of talented iOS engineers, which hindered the company’s app development efforts. Flutter helped the team solve their recruitment problems. With Flutter, the company could adopt a flexible team structure. Also, apps built with Flutter performed better according to Xianyu’s internal test results.
Easy implementation, minimal learning curve, and hot reload feature helped Xianyu launch new product pages quickly. After initial success, Flutter became a standard part of Xianyu’s tech stack, speeding up development and improving the cross-platform experience for end-users.
The Xianyu app now has more than 50 million downloads and 10 million active daily users.
Google Stadia is a cloud-based video game streaming service that lets you stream games on a smartphone, PC, laptop, or tablet. What made this app so popular among gamers?
In 2019, John McDole, the leading UI engineer at Google Stadia, said they used Flutter to build the Stadia mobile app. According to their blog post, the Stadia controller setup was one of the most complicated parts of the mobile app. But Flutter made writing and maintaining Stadia's controller setup a more manageable task.
According to the official blog, Flutter was instrumental in speeding up the development of the controller setup flow. Writing code in Flutter was faster and almost doubled the team’s productivity. Flutter also helped maintain cross-platform consistency for Google Stadia.
Google Stadia used the available custom Bluetooth plugin logic, which reduced the quantity of code to be written. The team was able to deploy features quickly across iOS and Android versions. Flutter’s shared codebase and hot reload capabilities increased the speed of development. Also, automated testing using Flutter was fast and reliable.
eBay’s automobile portal eBay Motors, is one of the most popular apps built with Flutter. The app lets you buy and sell vehicles and accessories, discover new listings, and connect with car buyers and sellers.
Hot reload and automated testing allowed them to test functional prototypes quickly. The development experience was seamless, and apps delivered a consistent user experience.
Flutter’s code-sharing capabilities sped up the platform-specific integration deployment process. The team used available Flutter plugins to integrate device APIs quickly.
According to the team, Flutter’s capabilities (shared code, hot reload, and “write-once use forever” philosophy) let the team deliver new features in record time.
Google Ads is one of Google’s flagship products, and its mobile app is a great extension of the desktop version. Google Ads mobile lets ad managers track and control their campaigns on the go.
As the creator of Flutter, Google actively uses the framework to build its own products. Google Ads mobile has just the right ratio of desktop features to satisfy the needs of millions of users across the world. The app is fast and responsive, rendering graphics quickly for an optimal user experience.
Google also chose Flutter to tap into convenient scaling options and reduce the need to maintain two codebases for iOS and Android.
New York Times
The New York Times used Flutter to create a cross-platform app for their readers. Read by millions every day, NYT was looking for new ways to engage their readers and improve the user experience.
Flutter’s cross-platform capabilities helped NYT launch a platform-independent app — the popular KenKen puzzle.
Offering a seamless experience across platforms is always a challenge for developers. Flutter’s single codebase allowed the team to launch KenKen Puzzles for iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and the web, simultaneously.
Flutter facilitated real-time iteration and saved time on building and running multiple betas. This let the NYT team launch a seamless version of KenKen puzzles across platforms quickly.
The app became the first commercial Flutter web prototype to debut at Google I/O 2019.
The Hamilton app is great for all fans of the musical. By giving users additional ways to interact with favorite characters, Hamilton keeps engagement at a high level, ensuring fans stay active long after shows.
The Hamilton team built the app in three months with Flutter. Flutter made it possible to release the app for iOS and Flutter with eye-pleasing designs and fast performance. The team considered other frameworks such as React Native or Xamarin but both lacked the tools available in Flutter.
My BMW App
MyBMW app lets BMW owners interact with the car — lock, unlock, locate, monitor, and navigate using their mobile device. The app serves as a single-point solution for managing car ownership with good user experience.
My BMW app was primarily built for iOS for different vehicle models and variants. Though it had an Android version, feature discrepancy was a major challenge for BMW. BMW ownership experience was inconsistent for iOS and Android users affecting the brand image.
The company had two fundamental goals to tackle the “platform disparity” problem:
- Launch a seamless app with the same functionalities across platforms without increasing costs.
- Build a development platform for consistently releasing features without reducing development speed.
Flutter helped them tackle both challenges. BMW had several car models and brands under its umbrella, each requiring a dedicated app.
With Flutter, the BMW team launched the new MyBMW app to deliver a cohesive and seamless ownership experience. An internal platform powered automated builds and testing of unique app versions for different platforms, markets, and sub-brands. This saved BMW thousands of hours every month.
Thanks to Flutter, BMW deployed more than 10000 versions of 96 different variants of the My BMW app in record time. Plus, the problem of managing multiple code bases was resolved after migrating to Flutter
MyBMW App offered a consistent user experience across iOS and Android for all models. This improved app reliability and preserved the brand’s image in the eyes of the customers.
Topline Abbey Road Studios
Topline is a music production app for artists to save their music ideas. Artists can record tracks, add lyrics, compose creations, anywhere, anytime. The app saves everything on the cloud, so artists are never worried about losing their record-breaking beat.
The app was launched by Abbey Road Studios for iOS, originally. The ideas' novelty and utility made the app an instant hit. Though an Android version was not planned initially, persistent demand made the developers look for options.
Building a music production app on Android is trickier than iOS due to audio latency issues. Limited resources and a small team added to their problems.
Choosing Flutter for cross-platform development made sense to the Topline team as they could launch both Android and iOS versions with a single codebase.
According to the Topline dev team, Flutter helped them quickly build, launch, and deploy without much hassle. The team added a neat swipe menu and launched Android and iOS versions in just 10 weeks — a seemingly impossible ordeal if they’d developed natively. The app became immensely popular and was officially featured on Google I/O 2018 and Flutter Live 2018. In 2018, Topline also won the Top UK App Award.
Reflectly supports mental health by encouraging users to write daily entries as a vent to nagging feelings or thoughts. The app uses AI to give personalized insights and ask users specific questions to help them dig deeper into the entries. Reflectly is more than a journal app and mood tracker — overtime it creates graphs with feelings analysis and sends personalized quotes to inspire users.
Reflectly was built in 2017 using React Native. The team had big expectations, which React Native didn’t meet. The animations were sluggish and the cross-platform development experience was subpar. In 2018, the team decided to try Flutter. Initial experiments delighted the team and Reflectly migrated to Flutter.
Based in Santa Clara, California, Realtor.com is a popular real estate company and the second most visited real estate listings website in 2021. Until mid-2019, their organizational model had two separate Android and iOS development teams and codebases, which became an overhead later. After recognizing the benefits of having a single codebase, the company started implementing new features using Flutter’s Add to App feature.
Adding Flutter to the existing mobile apps brought many benefits. For example, it freed their web developers from having to learn two new languages and frameworks. Moreover, the ability to develop features for both iOS and Android at once increased their productivity. Feature release and code changes now require only half developers than earlier.
Sonos lets you listen to music from popular streaming services like Spotify, Gaana, or Apple Music on any speaker. People use the free Sonos app on their mobile, tablet, PC, or laptop to connect their home speakers to streaming services.
Sonos started using Flutter in 2020 for their app development endeavors. Their existing app had several issues, including a confusing (and buggy) speaker setup wizard.
Flutter increased the development capabilities of the Sonos team. The framework saved hundreds of hours and helped launch a refreshed and intuitive cross-platform app quickly.
They solved all existing issues and developed additional features that improved the user experience. Sonos revamped the UI and offered assistive features for end-users across all platforms. Integration of sound, animations, transitions, and walkthroughs was easy with Flutter.
The new features and UX solved the problems and delighted the app’s existing and growing user base.
Catering to 48+ million people around the globe, Nubank is one of the largest independent digital banks on the planet. The app improves access to banking by reducing complexity in underserved markets.
As the company grew, it couldn’t find enough native mobile developers to roll out new features. The lack of quality talent led to disparities between features on different platforms.
After carefully evaluating options for seamless development across platforms, they chose Flutter. Flutter outperformed all platforms in terms of development experience, documentation, or stability.
Choosing Flutter, Nubank hired local talent easily and onboarded them into the dev team within days instead of weeks. With Flutter, the team could launch new features simultaneously across platforms.
The hot reload feature and an internal developer tool built using Flutter helped speed up testing capabilities. According to Reinaldo Moreira, Nubank’s mobile engineer, Flutter enabled them to launch life insurance solutions within just three months which would have taken at least a year.
Flutter brought consistency to their product development efforts. It also improved their build time (from overall 70.45 minutes to just 9.9 minutes) and increased the team’s performance. Also, a single codebase made it easier to manage bugs, monitor the app, and correlate app metrics with other systems.
Beike — Real Estate
Beike supports people in finding their dream home and enjoying a great virtual house hunting experience in China. Beike lists 187 million properties in China and offers virtual property tours via a mobile app.
The company wanted a seamless app experience for its diverse user base. They aimed for a beautiful design with near-native performance on iOS and Android.
With Flutter, the company increased developer efficiency by up to 100%. Thanks to a single codebase, they could build essential features for iOS and Android simultaneously. Fast development shortened launch to a month.
According to the Beike dev team, Flutter let them scale without hiring a large team. Relying on the Flutter community, the team saved a lot of time thanks to several plugins, widgets, and solutions that sped up the development.
Today, the company has more than a dozen apps operating under the Beike umbrella. Together, the apps have helped 300 million families find and visualize their dream home.
Betterment is an online investing company that provides investment and financial advice. The Betterment team needed a solution that would help them better manage their mobile codebase. With Flutter’s add-to-app feature, Betterment connected the new code to its native codebase without impacting the customer experience.
Today Betterment has over 500,000 user accounts and 26 billion assets under management.
Google Pay — Digital Payments
Google Pay is one of the world’s most popular digital payments apps with more than 100 million users across the globe. The app allows users to pay for goods and services and adopt digital payments in some of the remotest corners of the world.
Every region or country expansion required its own set of unique features. An increasing user base on iOS and Android led to a wastage of development resources due to the duplication of efforts for every feature. Also, finding and hiring more engineers was a constant challenge, too. Choosing Flutter for development made natural sense.
Flutter helped Google Pay consolidate engineering resources and save on building dedicated teams. With a team of 150 engineers, the team could rewrite and test the existing app with 300+ features. Google Pay, built on Flutter, was launched to 100 million monthly active users in the US and Indian markets.
Thanks to Flutter, Google launched a slick, beautiful, and efficient app, with a 35% smaller codebase. According to Google, they were able to save 60-70% on development time due to a single codebase.
Flutter: Good Choice for Cross-Platform App Development
The article features only a handful of apps built with Flutter. Check out Flutter’s official showcase for more. Flutter is a great choice for building visually attractive iOS and Android apps from a single codebase. And if you want your product to be available for other platforms, you can also use the same codebase for websites or Windows, Mac, and Linux apps.
Can’t decide between Flutter development or React Native? Read our in-depth comparison of the two technologies. Or head to our blog post about apps built with React Native if you're curious about React Native.
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