Ovum 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.”