Like most subscription-based software services these days, Xamarin offers their platform in a tiered structure. The more you’re willing to pay, the more access to the platform and appending tools you get. More specifically, Xamarin offers four different tiers: Starter, Indie, Business and Enterprise. Let’s take a closer look at these different packages and see exactly what you’re getting and how much you have to pay for each.
Starter The ‘Starter’ package is Xamarin’s free offering. Being the free offering, it is the most limited of all the tiers by a significant margin. With a Starter package you are only allowed to have one user account, immediately ruling this tier out for anyone but freelancers or small shops. But hey, it’s free. You also gain access to the ‘Deploy to Device’ and ‘Deploy to App Stores’ functionalities. Deploy to device allows you to debug as well as move your application onto a mobile device. The deploy to app store function allows you to move your application out of Xamarin and into any online application store. Lastly, you get access to Xamarin’s flagship product –Xamarin Studio. This is the development environment that allows you to write your app in C# while retaining native, cross-platform functionality.
Indie This first paid tier of Xamarin comes in at $25 per month, with the option to pay annually (sorry folks, no discount for annual payments). Aimed at more serious lone wolf developers, this package still restricts access to a single user account but also comes with two features not included in the ‘Starter’ package. The first of these features is a pretty huge one for anyone even remotely serious about application development – unlimited app size. In the ‘Starter’ version you are unable to pull from third-party libraries, which can quickly limit a project in many ways. Without this restriction, you can begin developing much more robust applications.
The next feature included in the Indie package is access to the Xamarin Forms API. This is a hugely useful feature for cross-platform development. Xamarin Forms allows a single piece of code to supply fully native forms for iOS, Android and Windows Phones – all built on shared C#. Changes can even be made at the platform-specific level without altering the other forms. Xamarin Forms features a wide range of layouts and controls.
Business As is implied in the name, this tier of service is tailored towards small-to-medium sized businesses. Payment runs at an annual rate of $999 a year, with no option to pay monthly. The first major difference that separates the Business tier from Starter and Indie is that you can register multiple developer accounts, allowing for your team to collaborate on projects. Business tier also includes Visual Studio support, allowing you to leverage the Microsoft ecosystem in order to build, deploy and debug iOS and Android applications. This includes access to plugins such as TFS and Resharper.
The next new feature is the somewhat ambiguously named ‘Business Features’. This new function provides support for in-house deployment, headless builds, WCF and System.Data.SqlClient.
Another new feature of the Business tier is access to Xamarin’s email support, although there is no guaranteed time window for when the Xamarin support engineers will respond to your ticket. While not really a feature and more of an upsell, you also gain access to specific reviews of your application’s source code from Xamarin mobile engineers, “At Extra Cost”. In summary, the majority of the features included with the Business tier of service revolve around various forms of support, or access to it.
Enterprise The highest tier offered by Xamarin will run you an annual payment of $1899. So, what else do you get at this price point – nearly twice as high as the ‘Business’ package? The first major feature comes in the form of ‘Prime Components’. These components include a deep library of pre-built application components designed to help you get your applications completed faster than ever before. Pre-fabricated UI controls and a variety of themes help make some of the more tedious aspects of development much easier.
The next feature is prioritization of your support tickets and requests, with a guarantee of no more than one business day in response time. In today’s increasingly agile business world, this alone is an invaluable asset. As an Enterprise level customer you will also have immediate access to patched builds of the current stable releases should any verified bugs be found where no reasonable workaround exists. As with many higher priced software service packages, this tier secures you a one-hour kick-off session with a Xamarin success engineer geared towards getting your project off the ground as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Finally, the Enterprise package includes a Technical Account Manager assigned directly to you, fully dedicated to helping you achieve success with your mobile application development projects. Troubleshooting of specific source code problems will still come, “At Extra Cost” for Enterprise customers.
While all of these different packages provide a certain level of tools and support, you might find yourself looking for a Xamarin Certified Partner to assist you with your project. Please click this link for more information, and we will be happy to provide you with a free consultation.
Best of luck with your Xamarin project!