iOS beating Android for developer mindshare, says Flurry

iOS beating Android for developer mindshare, says Flurry

Summary: Mobile analytics service Flurry reports that developers are favoring iOS over Android by a 3 to 1 margin. Why? Follow the money.

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"Developers, developers, developers". Steve Ballmer said it in 2006, and it's even more true today.

Nobody will use those fancy phones and tablets unless they have lots of great apps, and developers are the ones that create the apps. With a few exceptions, apps normally run on a single platform, so developers have to decide (sometimes well in advance of release) which platforms to target. Guess what attracts developers to one platform over another?

Money.

And according to mobile analytics company Flurry, iOS is winning the money game so far this year:

"Anecdotally, developers consistently tell us that they make more money on iOS, about three to four times as much.  To be sure, we pulled a sample of in-app purchase data from a set of top apps with versions on both iOS and Android, comprising of several million daily active users (DAUs). Running the numbers, we find that, on average, for every $1.00 generated on iOS, the same app will generate $0.24 on Android."

In the 3rd quarter 2011, Flurry reports that new project starts on iOS outnumbered project starts on Android by a 3 to 1 margin. They place the blame squarely on Google for not making it easier for Android users to spend money in the Market:

"The largest single factor that appears to impact developer support for the platform is the consumer’s ability to pay.  This comes down to Google Checkout penetration.  Upon setting up an iOS device, a consumer must associate either a credit or gift card to her iTunes account.  In theory, this means that 100% of all iOS device users are payment enabled.  This has not been the case for Android, resulting in lower revenue generation possibilities on the platform."

I think the Amazon Appstore is poised to take everybody by surprise and become a real revenue generator for Android developers. Ideally, we'd just have one app store, but with Google's missteps with the Google Market and their witholding of the Market from unapproved devices, they've left the door open for competitors. Flurry, though, is optimistic Google will step up to the plate:

"With the recent integration of Google Wallet and Google Checkout, as well as their current $0.10 Android app sale to spur new account sign-ups, Google appears to be taking steps to correct this."

We'll see. Lately Google's emphasis has been on everything but apps, in particular Books, Videos, and Music. These are all things that Amazon is good at (especially the first two) and I'm highly skeptical Google can take a significant share away from them. Perhaps it's time for Google to team up with Amazon, let Amazon run the Market and let Google concentrate on their core competencies: providing the enabling technology (Android), searches, voice, ads, and ad networks.

Topics: Apps, Apple, Mobile OS, Software Development

Ed Burnette

About Ed Burnette

Ed Burnette is a software industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience as a programmer, author, and speaker. He has written numerous technical articles and books, most recently "Hello, Android: Introducing Google's Mobile Development Platform" from the Pragmatic Programmers.

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21 comments
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  • "Perhaps it???s time for Google to team up with Amazon" - Won't happen

    Amazon wants all the search traffic to go through Amazon first cutting Google 100% out of revenue generated by mobile search. Given that, Google will end up making even less than the near nothing they are making on Android now.
    Bruizer
    • more of the same

      @Bruizer more blind speculation by Bruizer! Only some af revenue goes through Amazon, many pieces still go through Google! Also, you can install the Aneroid Market on the Kindle and most do because there are more apps so Amazon isn't cutting anyone out of anything.
      slickjim
      • Blind speculation?

        @Peter Perry

        It is out of the mouth of Amazon's CEO Bezo. The point of the Fire is to sell content and products from Amazon. Try to go to the Android Market and you end up at the Amazon Appstore for Android (Amazon has made it technically difficult to load from Google's Android Market). Books? Kindle. Music? Amazon's Music store. Product search? Goes to Amazon's products first (And they or their affiliates sell just about every thing made). Movies? Amazon.

        If Google were to hand all of this to Amazon, Google would end up with even less than the nothing they are making on Android now. Google would only get limited location based ads (Where is the nearest coffee shop) and loose all product based ads (I need SDRAM).

        You really do worship Google way to much. Better yet, look for Google's press release about how tickled they are about the Fire and how it is amazing how Amazon is building out the Androidish eco-system. Hint: It does not exist.
        Bruizer
      • An example of your blind Google love...

        @Peter Perry

        "Also, you can install the Aneroid Market on the Kindle and most do..."

        Lets see. To do that... (NOTE: I was unable to get to it after 15 minutes and gave up... Given that, this is what PCWorld has to say about it)

        "Want to install Google Maps on your brand-new, fresh-out-of-the-box Kindle Fire? You can't, because the stock Kindle Fire is limited to downloading apps from the Amazon Appstore. If you love to tinker with devices and improve them, however, you can follow our separate guide to rooting your Kindle Fire. Afterward, you can use your newfound superuser powers to install the Google Android Market on your device. It isn't a simple process..."

        Given most numbers put rooting Android devices between 10% and 15%, your statement that "... most do" is very suspect since "most" implies a plurality of two options.
        Bruizer
      • RE: iOS beating Android for developer mindshare, says Flurry

        @Bruizer You resort to insults because you can't prove somebody wrong... So me worshipping Google is your theory as I type this on my Macbook Air! I check the prices on the iPhone 4s beside me and compare them to the Kindle Fire sitting beside me...

        Basically, you're wrong... The Ad Revenue is still largely going to Google as is the Search Revenue... The App Store stuff is the only area that Amazon is directly taking money from Google because you see, Google's Movies are through youtube so they really aren't hurting that and Google has no real music store! On top of that the Google Books is a work in progress that is getting better but right now most people on Android use either Kindle, Kobo or Nook anyway!

        Basically, these numbers aren't going to hurt Google at all in this regard.

        The Kindle Fire is a very cool device and it will hurt many businesses (including Apple) as more and more people realize they can do 90% of what these other $500+ tablets can do for $199! Hell, did you realize many of the actual Apps for the Fire will run right from the Cloud? Why do I need tons of storage if the apps can run from anywhere.
        slickjim
      • @Petter Perry...

        "You resort to insults because you can't prove somebody wrong"

        like:

        "more blind speculation by Bruizer!"?

        Get real. Show me where what I stated is not 100% true. Bezo admitted it when the Fire was introduced. Are you saying the CEO of Amazon is lying? The Fire is built for shopping on the Amazon web site. You have to root it to get to Google's Android Market.

        "The Ad Revenue is still largely going to Google as is the Search Revenue..."

        Nope. Because basic searches first go through Amazon's web site cutting Google 100% out of all search revenue. Fact. If the Fire eliminates the need to do basic product search, what you are left with is the "free" search that Google makes no money on at all.

        "The App Store stuff is the only area that Amazon is directly taking money from Google because you see"

        Nope. Music, Movies and Books as well. Fact. Add to this if you want to buy some SDRAM? Looks straight to Amazon's affiliates by default cutting Google 100% out of the revenue stream. Fact. The server side Silk browser helps insulate users from Google's data mining. Fact.

        "Basically, these numbers aren't going to hurt Google at all in this regard.

        The Kindle Fire is a very cool device and it will hurt many businesses (including Apple)"

        It will hurt Google and other Android tablet makers most of all. If the Kindle becomes the defecto Androidish tablet, Google looses the majority of a high internet usage device's search revenue.

        Remember, 2/3 of Google mobile search ad revenue comes from iOS and not Android. If Google starts loosing the lucrative Android tablet share as well, this is detrimental to a business Google has pumped over 15 billion into for minimal returns.

        "Hell, did you realize many of the actual Apps for the Fire will run right from the Cloud? Why do I need tons of storage if the apps can run from anywhere."

        Because you are not at home? Sometimes I question your logic and ability to rationalize an discussion.
        Bruizer
  • Interested facts about Android Market and ios App Store

    A particular downfall that was always previously noted on, was how Android users don???t buy apps. Something like that would spell trouble for Android as a platform. No app sales meant less developer attention, which meant less consumer attention. With this aspect, I???d like to say that the tables may have turned a bit in Android???s favor. Here are some interesting facts on how the Android Market compares to the App Store:

    Android???s Top Paid Apps Out Price Apple???s Top Paid Apps

    With the exclusion of Minecraft, every single app in the App Store???s top paid selection cost just $.99. I see that as a great thing. As a consumer, I would want to pay the lowest price possible for some awesome apps. When we add up the top ten, we get a grand total of $15.90. Now, let???s take a look at Android???s top ten apps which when added together equal out to be $49.39. Not exactly something consumers want to hear, but with Beautiful Widgets (the number one place holder on the Android Market) selling 1 million copies at the price of $2.89, its fair game to say that Android developers are getting their money, and people don???t mind giving them their hard earned cash.

    5/10 of Apple???s ???Must-Play 99?? Games??? are either 99?? or Free on Android

    A few days ago I received an email from Apple regarding some ???must-play 99?? games??? in their App Store. I took immediate notice that a few of those very sames games like Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Words With Friends, and Tetris were free, while the Cut the Rope was available for the same price on the Android Market. This is nothing more than an interesting observation. From my earlier point, we already deduced that Android users will pay top dollar for good apps, so why are these developers making Apple users to pay for games that Android users are getting free?

    7/10 Top Paid App Store Apps are on Android; 3/10 of Android Top Paid Apps are on iOS

    Here is another interesting fact. 70 percent of the apps in the App Store???s Top Paid section are already on Android. From the Android Market perspective, Apple only has 30 percent of the apps found in the Top Paid sections. This could be pinned on Apple???s app acceptance pains, the inability to use third party software to develop apps, or just the walled garden Apple uses. This no doubt enables a safe environment, but it???s cause a table turn for Apple???s and Android app foundations.
    TristanThomas
    • I'm sure you've done as much research as Flurry, wink wink, not

      Get a life.
      @TristanThomas
      GoPower
    • And at the end of the day, iOS developers still make substantially more.

      @TristanThomas

      Interesting fact, if you look at iOS's top grossing apps, the numbers you state don't reflect at all.

      What you are missing is the average paid per app since both the Android Market and the App Store have download rates of a bit over 1 billion apps/day. On Android, the vast majority (>90%) are free. On iOS the number of paid apps i much higher (> 70% free).

      In short, there is no indication at all that the odds have tipped in Android's favor based on the data you presented. All you did is look at the top paid apps prices without the correlating download rates. For example, Cut the Rope, that is not even in the top 10 grossing apps, has over 10 million downloads.
      Bruizer
      • RE: iOS beating Android for developer mindshare, says Flurry

        @Bruizer

        Actually many of his numbers are close if you're talking about the iPhone vs Android Apps...

        He stated 7 out of the top Paid Apps for the iPhone are on the Android Market... He was slightly off, it is 7 out of the Top 11 Paid that are there.

        He also stated that 3 out of the top 10 Apps from the Android Market are on the Apple App Store and if that number is wrong I cannot find the app that makes it wrong!

        He stated that the Top Paid Apps on Android are a higher value than the Top Paid Apps on iOS... The Top 10 Apps on iPhone average .99 (in fact they are all 99 cents) and the Average value of the Top 10 Apps on the Android Marketplace is $3.67 an average of 370% when compared to the Apple App Store.

        In short, you're wrong again!
        slickjim
    • RE: iOS beating Android for developer mindshare, says Flurry

      @TristanThomas Thats a lot of analysis youv'e done. At the end of the day dvelopers for iOS are getting more money and so choose to develop for iOS first and sometimes only.
      global.philosopher
      • RE: iOS beating Android for developer mindshare, says Flurry

        @global.philosopher That's not true but Flurry said it so it must be accurate...
        slickjim
    • Android owns the low, Apple the high end

      We pay more for our phones and our apps (and our desktops).

      The number of Android users makes the platform attractive, but its also more expensive to develop for (more versions and hardware).

      It works for Google to target the mass market as it derives it's revenue from advertising. The lower end is an easier target.
      Richard Flude
  • Who knows?

    Well Apple wins out with a massive surplus of internet brain washing semi-nonsense articles.
    albionstreet
    • RE: iOS beating Android for developer mindshare, says Flurry

      @albionstreet Especially here! They cater to the ignorant!
      slickjim
  • RE: iOS beating Android for developer mindshare, says Flurry

    who decides that iOS developer cant make android app or vice versa. I published on both platform.
    etileved
    • Who decides??? THE DEVELOPER

      @etileved It is the developer who decides what they want to do. It is up to them to invest time and money on ANY platform.<br><br>Most go the iOS first .... because Android users are mostly bargain hunters (ie: got it because it was the cheapest piece of crap they could find) who would not even spend $1 for an app.
      wackoae
      • RE: iOS beating Android for developer mindshare, says Flurry

        @wackoae Man, you have some serious prejudice issues. Why do you care so much if somebody likes something other than you like?
        radleym
  • Moving the goal posts

    There is a definite pro-apple bias amongst some tech writers. Are apps really the measure of a device's worth? My wife has an iPhone, I have an Android. She has cooled on apps significantly since her acquisition. I have never been a big app user other than a handful of productivity apps (that are available on every platform).

    Perhaps apps are only decisively important to a handful of people.Ppersonally, I want a quality phone that can make good phone calls, access and browse the web in a standards compliant browser quickly, *help me organize my life*, be a good music player and storage device, read my e-mail, send and receive messages, do mapping / gps stuff well, and OCCASIONALLY waste some time on a game.

    All the major OSs do "apps" well enough for me. It is in the quality of the OTHER things that I have listed that I make up my mind.
    dimonic
  • RE: iOS beating Android for developer mindshare, says Flurry

    Both platforms have many apps. So its a matter of personal preference. Android developers offer enough apps to make Android devices a viable solution, as long as that continues there will be many Android devices sold. So this issue is a non-issue. Mercedes mechanics charge more than Toyota mechanics, but both are cars that people use and both have mechanics, some get paid more, some can work on either (device) or car.


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    also has client for iOS. Voted 20th overall best Android App!
    virthddman