Android to Topple iOS as Developer Platform of Choice

OvumOvum Research has released their annual developer survey with very surprising results: it appears Android may be aligning to overtake Apple as the platform of choice for developers during the next 12 months.

The report also suggested that almost all developers showed a preference to support both the iOS and Android platforms.

Also unexpected is the report result that shows the growing interest developers have in Microsoft-based Windows mobile devices. This may be due in part to the hype and momentum being generated for the upcoming release of Windows 8 but will mean very little if nothing comes to market or if the products are underwhelming after the launch.

One of the most important distinctions identified in the report is that Apple does not appear to be losing ground so much as Android is gaining it. If I were to guess I would say this is because developers are choosing more often to co-create their apps on multiple platforms in an effort to hedge their bets and support (at least) the two largest competitors in that game.

The overall good news is that development seems to be straying from proprietary platforms (such as Java, Flash, and WAP) anyway, in favor of HTML 5-based creations. This means that the lines between each type of device are somewhat blurred and software can be considered cross-platform in many ways and ported much easier and faster.

But as the report points out, the platform is still independent of the delivery options and those distribution channels remain vendor-specific (such as Apple’s App Store and the Android Marketplace).

One of the items not addressed in the report is the profit developers are making from each platform. On one hand it does matter whether developers are creating apps for a particular platform because the appeal of a device is found substantially from the types of apps and support you can expect to have for it; while developers may enjoy the ease of publishing apps to Android I believe (as a developer myself) that the profit potential may still remain more significant when working with iOS.

Ovum is a respected market research firm that strive to provide their clients with “independent and objective analysis that enables them to make better business and technology decisions.” Ensuring they are communicating more than just an uneducated opinion, Ovum performs rigorous and fact-based research that includes over 400,000 interviews each year with “business and technology, telecoms and sourcing decision-makers.”

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  • Bob Nies

    Any Android gains will be nullified by three things;
    1). Entry of Windows alternatives….. will come out of Android share
    2). Continued fractionalization of Android, especially by Kindle
    3). New integrated Apple iThings that expand the eco-system 

  • Anonymous

    This survey was done before the blow-out sales from Apple of iOS devices. Many of the same developers may be rethinking the strategy to develop only for Android when iOS gives them far more returns.

  • Anonymous

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
    iOS gives you income you can take to the bank.  Android doesn’t.

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

  • MichaelBrianBentley

    People have bought a lot of Android phones, so the market exists. Trying to address the market with graphics-intensive games is very difficult, but apps that basically drive forms is easier. The OS needs some improvements, and phones need to adopt those improvements, to make Android development for higher-end apps as efficient as developing higher-end iOS apps are today. 

    Developing for tablets may involve the same tools as developing for phones, but the UI needs to be tuned for the device.

  • Anonymous

    Developers “prefer” the platform that makes them the most money.  In terms of actually making money, the Android market isn’t even in the same league as the iOS market.  Further, I tend to doubt many developers prefer to support a largely fragmented platform.

    • Anonymous

      Agreed. The last article I read about app sales seemed to point at a 6x difference in app rev.

  • Anonymous

    Didn’t we hear the same BS last year?
    Apple’s got 550,000 iphone apps- and it’s raking in all the income.
    Apple’s got 170,000 iPad apps- and it’s raking in all the income.
    Google, on the other hand, couldn’t beat the street numbers during the busiest online holiday quarter ever!
    Sounds to me that Google’s becoming the next Yahoo.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, iOS is the bigger platform withan installed base of 315 million iOS devices compared to only 200 or so million Android devices.

    iOS is also selling at the same sales rate as Android approx 700,000 iOS devices per day (36 million iPhones, 15.4 million iPads and about 8 million iPod touches sold last quarter divided by 91 days).

    However, iOS is growing faster than Android, the iPhone in particular surging from -14% growth in marketshare in 2010 to 38% growth in marketshare up to Oct 2011 according to NPD while Android has shrunk from 367% growth in 2010 to only 28% growth in 2011.

    And that was before the blowout Nov and Dec months.