IDC report: Kindle Fire, Surface tablets still 'struggling' to interest developers

Summary:Amazon's Kindle Fire and Microsoft's Surface tablets haven't done enough to excite enough app developers just yet, based on a new report.

While 2012 delivered a number of tablets that are starting to present some healthy competition for Apple's iPad, the majority of developers are still only interested in the top two mobile operating systems, based on a new report.

According to the Q4 2012 Mobile Developer Survey from Appcelerator, a mobile development platform provider, and the International Data Corporation, most developer interest surrounds iOS and Android -- which is largely unchanged from the previous quarterly report.

This presents a challenge (not to mention a problem) for two tablet brands, in particular, cited in the report: Amazon's Kindle Fire and Microsoft's Surface. (While the Kindle Fire is Android-based at the core, it does have its own interface on top.)

See also: Microsoft does little to protect revenues for Windows Store devs

Specifically, researchers found that less than 22 percent of mobile developers are "very interested" in building mobile apps for the Amazon Kindle, indicating that "the Kindle's install base and revenue potential are too small to entice developers to build for the platform."

As for the Surface, which was only released just recently, developer interest came in at 36 percent. Furthermore, 45 percent of mobile developers were said to have replied that they are "unimpressed by the hardware," while 35 percent replied that they think "Microsoft needs to do more to be successful."

John Jackson, research vice president for mobile and connected platforms at IDC, commented in prepared remarks about the report that it isn't "terribly surprising" that "iOS and Android remain the top targets for developers."

Nevertheless, all of this could change to some extent in 2013 thanks to mobile commerce as 93 percent of mobile developers admitted they believe it is "likely to very likely" that most retailers will have enabled mobile commerce within their companies next year.

Jackson added that the findings from the Q4 report underscore "the challenges competitors face as they try to establish their own platforms in the market," adding that we'll see "how retailers drive the mobile transformation predicted by developers in 2013."

Thus, all of this could hinge on which mobile platform providers can best respond to consumer demands for mobile commerce.

For reference, the Q4 report is based upon the results from a joint survey of nearly 3,000 mobile developers. If you're interested in perusing the entire Q4 2012 Mobile Developer Survey from the IDC and Appcelerator, you can download a copy now, but you'll have to register first.

Topics: Software Development, Android, Apps, iOS, Tablets

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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