Flutter Apps: Showcase
Since its release in 2017 Flutter cross-platform framework gained widespread popularity among mobile app developers. Flutter runs on Dart programming language, which doesn’t require a ‘communication’ bridge between the framework and platform’s components and allows developers to create beautiful apps with nearly native performance. Apps on Flutter consist of widgets — the framework comes with a vast library of them, and every element can be tweaked and adjusted according to the developer’s needs. For more details check our article on the architecture of Flutter.
Many brands and businesses have their mobile apps built with Flutter. From mobile banking to food delivery and e-commerce, in this article, we will review 10 top apps built with Flutter.
Replacing the BMW Connected app from the summer of 2021, the My BMW app was developed on Flutter by the company’s in-house team. According to the official press release, the app serves as a ‘universal interface with the car’. My BMW allows the user to remotely check the vehicle’s status (amount of fuel in the tank or battery’s charge, for example) and location. The app notifies the vehicles’ owner if the car requires any technical service, such as oil change. Depending on the car’s model, Remote Services and the Remote 3D View allow the car owner to lock and unlock the doors via the app and view the area around the vehicle.
My BMW app integrates with Amazon Alexa and supports its voice services, so if a user sets a route in their smartphone, the details are automatically sent to the car’s navigation system. Cloudification of the My BMW app also brings several benefits. During the development, some stages of the process were automated by Microsoft’s cloud platform MS Azure; and the app’s architecture allows developers to eliminate potential errors or roll out new functions without requiring users to download a new version of the app.
It would be an overlook not to mention Google apps built with Flutter, which was also developed by the company. Google built many apps with the framework, including gaming app Stadia, Google Assistant and Google Ads app.
The Google Ads app is a complete digital marketing platform in a smartphone. The app allows the user to manage their campaigns on the go, sends prompt alerts and suggestions regarding possible campaign improvement and provides a comprehensive overview of the ad’s performance, such as conversions, clicks, impressions and such. It also includes real-time support from the Google Ads team.
Developed by: Surf
The Hole is a video-streaming app built by Surf for Medium Quality. The company is the largest YouTube publisher in Russia that produces a wide range of shows with an audience of 16.2 million users and 920 million views. The app allows users to comfortably watch video content on mobile devices (many shows were filmed vertically and horizontal videos should be cropped automatically) and goes beyond common video-streaming functionality with interactive quizzes and series where viewers can choose plot turns themselves.
Since smooth screen transitions and UI animations were crucial for a good user experience, it was decided to build the app on Flutter, which in turn enabled the client to save about 40% of the initial budget compared to the development of two native apps. It took Surf one month to design the app and three to build it (more on the development process). The app’s back-end is optimized for a load of 25 thousand requests per second and a web app on React + Ant Design is used for content management. To receive real-time analytics Surf deployed ClickHouse cloud database to store user events. During the beta testing of the app, many interesting ideas found their way into the project’s long-term roadmap and are to be implemented in the next versions of the app.
The Chinese mega-conglomerate has several of their apps built with Flutter. English AITeacher app uses artificial intelligence to tailor an online English teaching program specifically to the student’s needs and abilities. Now Live app is a video broadcasting and live-streaming app. Mr.Translator app provides not only a comprehensive foreign language dictionary but also simultaneous voice interpretation and language learning assistance. DingDang app is an AI voice assistant helping users with everyday tasks, such as weather reports, scheduling, news and music. Thanks to Flutter’s high-performance graphic engine Tencent developers were able to utilize multiple visual assets (such as SVG, icon fonts and Flare) in their apps while maintaining stable 60 frames per second.
Developed by: Surf
Rosbank app was the first banking app on Flutter in Russia and the second one worldwide. It was developed by Surf in close partnership with the Rosbank team, who provided the product vision and concept of a “smart bank”. The app helps the bank’s clients with every financial issue: reminds them to pay taxes, keeps payment details always at hand and notifies them about incoming bills. The easy-to-use interface allows users to make a payment from scratch in just three taps.
Due to security requirements, the first authorization into a banking app for corporate clients is a difficult process. To provide seamless migration to the new app Surf released its app as an update to the old one, so the clients didn’t have to go through tedious authorization once again. As well as other apps built by Surf, the Rosbank app was developed using standard SurfGear architecture, which made it easy to transfer a project to Rosbank’s in-house developer team after the app’s launch. Read more about the app’s development process in our case study.
The New York Times app
The NYT app currently ranks as the second most popular app in the App Store in the ‘Magazines & Newspapers’ category. The app allows users to shape news feed according to their interests and provides so-called ‘Morning and Evening Briefings’ with top stories shaping the world today along with daily podcasts. To increase user engagement the app experiments with innovative formats of storytelling using augmented reality and delivers news headlines to a connected smartwatch. Thanks to Flutter cross-platform technology, some features of the app, such as Ken Ken puzzle, had to be written only once and the single code base is used across a majority of platforms: iOS, Android, Mac, Windows and web.
Developed by: Surf
The corporate mobile app KFC DSR (Digital Successful Routine) was developed to transfer restaurants’ business processes from excessive paperwork to a convenient digital format. The app helps Shift Supervisors, Restaurant General Managers (RGMs) and Area Coaches with various tasks: controlling staff adherence to restaurant’s working standards; filling regular reports and checklists; monitoring key performance indicators. Choosing Flutter as an app’s framework saved KFC a lot of money — almost 95% of the app users have Android smartphones, while key personnel mainly use iOS; the framework allowed to build apps for both platforms from a single set of code and save budget on purchasing mobile devices for employees.
KFC DSR utilizes an extensive system of view permissions, so each employee can access only information necessary for their job, for example, an Area Coach can view performance dashboards of multiple restaurants and their activities calendars, while a Shift Supervisor has access only to statistics and daily tasks of their restaurant. To build the task and checklist section Surf used Backend-Driven UI, which is a JSON array sent by the server with a description of interface components to be displayed. Special attention was paid to the security measures: the app is integrated with the single sign-on service and had to pass a security code audit prior to release, which it did successfully with as few claims as possible. Also, check our KFC DSR case study on KFC DSR for more details.
Reflectly is a journaling app made to help people counteract stress from social media and technology. The app asks user personalized questions, tracks mood changes and how it correlates with the lifestyle and offers daily insights to help with motivation and stress relief.
The app was made by a small team of Danish entrepreneurs, which had only two engineers in the beginning. The first version of the app was made on React Native, but soon the developers realized the framework did not deliver in terms of smooth user experience — problems with disappearing shadows and sluggish animations devalued the beautiful UI and graphics. In just three months the team rewrote the app on Flutter. In less than 3 years after the platform switch, the app’s user base grew steadily, reaching 10 million users in the summer of 2020.
Developed by: Surf
Rigla is a Russian pharmacy chain presented through three brands aimed at different audiences and price tiers: Rigla, Bud Zdorov and Zhivika. The company wanted to create three separate apps for Android and iOS for each brand. Using Flutter, the Surf team managed to build all six apps from a single code, saving 40% of the company’s app development budget. The whole project was done in just five months, and the first app for Rigla brand was made in three months.
Apps provide digital loyalty programs and smart recommendations — the user chooses common symptoms, and the app recommends over-the-counter medication. Because of complex warehouse logistics, it was decided to implement a ‘multi cart’ business logic, which allows the user to pay for the order once and then choose how to collect each item: immediately at an outlet, where it is available; later at a chosen pick-up location; or order delivery. The company’s statistics show that an average order via the app is several times bigger compared to offline purchases.
Real Estate App by Realtor.com
Realtor.com is one of the most popular real estate listings websites in the US launched in the mid-1990s. Originally, the company had native apps for iOS and Android, but in 2019 began experimenting with adding new features built with Flutter, using Add-to-app setup. When it showed good results, the team decided to rebuild the core of the Realtor.com app — listing detail pages, with Flutter. Thanks to the cross-platform technology all the changes were done within a timeframe of native development for two OSes, but with only half the number of programmers. Also, rebuilding the app on Flutter allowed the company’s web developers to contribute to the app without having to learn Kotlin and Swift.
Besides detailed listings of real estate with maps and filters, the Realtor.com app allows users to explore homes with virtual 3D tours and conveniently contact real estate agents with the app’s text and video chat. The Realtor.com app won the 2018 Stevie Awards Gold winner for Real Estate Apps and became the 2018 Appy Awards finalist for Lifestyle Apps.
As you can see from the examples above, there are many popular apps built with Flutter, and the framework is a technology of choice for various businesses, from bookshops to car manufacturers. And as you can also see from the examples, we at Surf have extensive experience in developing diverse types of apps with Flutter (there are more, by the way).
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