Developers favor Android as paid app support comes to more countries

Developers favor Android as paid app support comes to more countries

Summary: iOS may be the developers' darling right now, but recent surveys and developments suggest that the growth of Android will prove irresistible for developers.

SHARE:

It wasn't long ago that developers were more likely to focus their efforts on iOS than Android because the homogeneous nature of the hardware platform ensured that they could optimize their apps and guarantee predictable user experiences. However, as Google announced this weekend that it was nearly doubling the number of countries in which developers could sell paid apps through their Market, Appcelerator and IDC published a recent survey of smartphone developers suggesting that loyalties were shifting quickly to the open source OS.

According to Mashable,

The results...indicate that Google’s Android platform continues to be where developers see the most long-term potential, especially when powering multiple types of devices (read: beyond smartphone/tablet).

In fact, the gap between iOS and Android over “best long-term outlook” has widened an additional 10 points since June...[with] 58.6% of respondents [seeing] Android as having better long-term outlook as compared to 34.9% for iOS.

Herein, of course, lies the developers' dilemma. Do you develop on a tight, well-loved OS for a large market (i.e., Apple's iOS) or do you develop in Android's Wild West, navigating multiple hardware and software platforms and many versions of the Android OS to potentially reach a much larger audience? As the survey suggests, you probably go for the latter. Android phones are exploding now and all signs indicate that Android tablets that will compete quite well with the iPad are on the edge of making tablets ubiquitous computing devices.

For device makers, it's something of a "build-it-and-they-will-come" paradigm. Bring those Android devices to market, prove that consumers will buy them (and they will), and the developers will come. For its part, Google could do a much better job strong-arming its carrier and device manufacturer partners to reduce fragmentation and make the platform more inviting for developers, but ultimately, the sheer size of the market will be too much for developers to pass up. This week's expansion to include a full 26 countries with paid app support is a major step in the right direction.

Topic: Software Development

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

17 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • As a developer, I like this one better...

    <i>"Apple dominates in any question having to do with selling apps. Even in business applications, Apple is seen as the clear leader over BlackBerry, Windows, as well as Android. And discoverability, notoriously an issue with an app store with 250,000 apps in it, still favors Apple by a wide margin. Apple has recently improved iTunes in this area to feature top grossing applications, more sub-categories, and more featured apps.

    Apple also leads in having the best devices and this perception has only increased since the iPhone 4 launch in June (where iOS is up a slight 2 points in 3 months)."</i>

    As a developer with limited resources, unless Google starts to address some of the very serious issues with it, there is no reason to even look at it. The problem is, many of the issues of the Market Place are a direct result of the UI of Android and I don't see these being fixed. Ever.

    So as the Android Army marches on and Apple is still seen as having the best devices by DEVELOPERS (the true geeks of the world), questions of "openness" really have little baring on future profit of partners.
    Bruizer
    • You are in the minority in that opinion

      @Bruizer
      [i]As a developer, I like this one better...[/i]

      Nearly 60% of developers disagree with you and feel that Android is the better [b]long term[/b] platform. I think you are confusing what is (arguably) doing better today and what the majority of actual, real developers think will do better tomorrow.

      It will be interesting to see how Apple starts responding when Android puts out bigger numbers of apps than Apple has. I suspect that we will suddenly be told that the number of apps isn't important (after years of Apple stressing how important number of apps are) and new metrics, like "profit per line of code" or "number of blue pixels per app" will be stressed where Apple will, surprise surprise, have the lead.
      NonZealot
      • Their probably being too logical and thinking that like most os's

        android will get better over time. However it seems that due to carrier foolishness the android experience is just getting worse and worse as time goes on. and no droidbois im not talking about the 0.001% of you who root it.

        I was originally thinking it would take until the first mass pwning event strikes and 20 million people have to get dozens of carriers to dimiss hundreds or thousands of $$ on each bill, or the first android virus bricks 40 million phones and requires each one to be handled individually at a retail store before being reactivated on the carrier network.

        But no the carriers seem to be intent on taking android down themselves just through a combination of their own greed and incompetence.
        Johnny Vegas
      • Not based on this report.

        @NonZealot

        75% think iOS offers the <b>best</b> revenue
        88% think iOS offers the <b>best</b> App Store
        76% think iOS is <b>easier</b> to program
        79% think iOS has the <b>biggest</b> consumer market
        62% think iOS has the <b>biggest</b> business market

        65% think iOS has the <b>best</b> devices.
        58% think iOS is the <b>most secure</b>

        Heck even more developers think Apple has a better long term distribution strategy.

        The take away of this report, for those not lazy enough to read it, is that iOS is where things are <b>today</b>. Android is worth watching and has a potential great future but there are serious issues being faced with monetization of the platform for developers.

        At the overall slow growth of the Android Market place, it is still 9 month to 12 months away from even being close to overtake the quantity of iOS apps. Heck iPad Apps are gaining on Android apps faster than iOS apps are pulling away form Android Apps.

        This does not even address the quality issue. Sure, iOS had a dozen fart apps. Android has over 1000 wall paper apps. Even more ring tone apps. Copyright infringement is rampant. There are serious issues Google needs to address before serious developer resources will be targeted toward Android.
        Bruizer
      • Are you willfully this ignorant?

        [i]The take away of this report, for those not lazy enough to read it, is that iOS is where things are today. Android is worth watching and has a potential great future[/i]

        Wow. And you accuse [b]me[/b] of not reading things? Why do you think I wrote this in my post above:
        [i]Nearly 60% of developers disagree with you and feel that [b]Android is the better long term platform[/b]. I think you are confusing what is (arguably) doing better today and what the majority of actual, real developers think will do better tomorrow.[/i]

        Huh. Looks like [b]you[/b] are the one too lazy to read. The majority of [b]real[/b] developers think that Android will be better than iOS. You can disagree with them but you are in the minority.
        NonZealot
      • RE: Developers favor Android as paid app support comes to more countries

        @NonZealot

        And why I put this part of the report in (conveniently left out)

        <i>"Apple dominates in any question having to do with selling apps. Even in business applications, Apple is seen as the clear leader over BlackBerry, Windows, as well as Android. And discoverability, notoriously an issue with an app store with 250,000 apps in it, still favors Apple by a wide margin. Apple has recently improved iTunes in this area to feature top grossing applications, more sub-categories, and more featured apps.<br><br>Apple also leads in having the best devices and this perception has only increased since the iPhone 4 launch in June (where iOS is up a slight 2 points in 3 months)."</i>

        This is NOT a minority opinion as you claimed. <i>Even the Near Term prospects (1 year) greatly favor iOS.</i> Of 14 areas that they compared developer mindset on, Android topped out on 4 of them. iOS on 10. This Blog left out 10 of the items. Long term is something you keep your eye on. Personally, I think WP7 is really going to deflate Android a bit.

        Queue the double standards.
        Bruizer
      • Take India and China into consideration

        @Bruizer
        Almost everyone is missing that smart phones in India are 1/3 the cost of an unlocked iPhone, and provides the same feature. Phones in India comes unloced by default(except iPhone for which people has to pay equivalent to 75% of its cost extra to unlock). And the number of users is great. So apps made for unlocked devices will sell more. And andriod is unlocked, iPhone is not.
        kashyap.bikram@...
    • RE: Developers favor Android as paid app support comes to more countries

      @Bruizer Except that Apple devices are no longer considered the best, even by those who don't know anything about tech (the majority of Apple followers). Now the HTC EVO is considered the best phone by the general populace (Apple fanbois notwithstanding). Soon the iPad Wont be the "best tablet" as that device is a joke anyway.
      Also for me as a developer, the enterprise is not using Apple products. And to develop for Android, I don't have to own a MAC and write in their crappy proprietary language either. As a developer, unless Apple changes these things (starts making better products with more mass market appeal) and allows devs to make apps in other languages and from non-Apple computers, there is no reason to look at that platform.
      Jimster480
    • You Apple Zealots are Funny! lol :P

      @Bruizer Here.... maybe this article will put it in clearer language for you to understand that Apple may have dominated the first few years of advanced touch screen mobiles with it's App Market, but the FUTURE now belongs to Far More OPEN.... Android OS!

      http://memeburn.com/2010/09/android-expected-to-dominate-mobile-app-market-by-2013/

      Quote: ?The hype cycle now has shifted from Apple to Android and Mobile Web technologies like HTML5, which leads developers to think that they could make more money by developing on Android and on Mobile Web platforms compared to the IOS platform in 2013. This is based on the assumption that Android OS will continue to be the number one OS choice of OEMs in the next years, and that advertisement-based business models will become the main revenue model in the mobile app world.? ? research2guidance
      i2fun@...
  • I am sorry. If Ed Bott says he doesn't like Android...

    ...that's good enough for me.

    Seriously? I kid.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
    • RE: Developers favor Android as paid app support comes to more countries

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate

      That's because Android is not Linux. If it was truly Linux, and not just more Google spyware, it would have a chance to take over the world.
      jorjitop
      • RE: Developers favor Android as paid app support comes to more countries

        @jorjitop it is Linux.
        Jimster480
      • RE: Developers favor Android as paid app support comes to more countries

        @jorjitop If it has a Linux kernel..... it's Linux! Some Linux's though can be proprietary or as in the case of Android under a different license. As is Apple's version of OpenBSD (used in OS-X). As it then becomes a proprietary OS. But they are all still based on Unix as OS clones... even OS-X and Android!<br><br>I think everyone is missing the point about Android though. This report is just reinforcing the fact that the Future is Open and that future has Linux (Unix Clone) WRITTEN ALL OVER IT! ...kind of like Microsoft with Windows95 had the FUTURE written all over it, running on the cheaper Intel/AMD x86 chips. Now cheap cool ARM Dominates our mobile World and Samsung Dominates the supply side of parts as the largest chip maker in the World making not only their own chips but all of Apple's mobile chips as well. So they also make their own phones (and OS software as a hedge against Android and iOS).<br><br>When push comes to shove in this world, dominances on the supply side is who rules!<br><br>Case in point the developers have always followed the market leader on the openness of their platform in it's numbers (it's a numbers game afterall). That's why Windows Won against Apple with Windows95. If you have the largest parts supplier for the entire Mobile World in two South Korean Companies (who also make their own phones/slates), supplying most of your parts, as also your competition, guess who gets those parts in a pinch? ;) <br><br>Quite simply it does not look good for Apple's future when they are running short on supplies and both LG and Samsung make most of their parts. They are also just now beginning to peak as the largest phone makers in the World themselves the last two quarters. Now they are selling smartphones and the OS of their choice is Android (as it was Windows on Intel/AMD).<br><br>Samsung Galaxy line alone has recently launched on all four major carriers in the US now. As well as the top three carriers in China (projected 3million sales by year's end there alone). They sold 2million Galaxy phones in the US in just 45days on AT&T & T-Mobile alone. Another 1 million in S. Korea alone. The estimates for the rest of their markets (including India, Europe, etc) have already sold over 2+million. They are projected to sell 10Million Galaxy Smartphones by years end and anther 10million Galaxy Tabs (slates) in their first year on those. With some prices expected to be in the $199 w/contracts, on a device that can be both your phone and Tablet PC. Which is equal to what Apple is projected to sell of iPads it's first year. <br><br>So sad.... Apple is having parts supply problems and guess who'll get those parts? Yep... Samsung and LG. Because when Samsung supplies up to 70% of iPad parts in cost, and 50% of iPhone4's cost in parts Samsung wins either way. So you got it's Samsung and LG..... the squeeze play is on and Apple can't advance their runner cuz they have no parts or ability to make their own!<br><br>Winner = Android and Samsung! ...And all the rest of the 100's of other device manufacturers and carriers with Android OS installed.... haha... So other manufacturers will also reap the rewards of their Phones and Slates also having all those Developers Developers Developers flocking to Android for them too!<br><br>"Build it.... and They Will Come"<br>....is as true in Mobile Devices as is in Baseball! Game Over.... again for Apple in the bottom of the 9th. Developers are streaming into play the game and it won't be on the Apple iOS team... AGAIN. Not because it's necessarily the best OS... but because it's already becoming the MOST PROLIFIC OS used on Mobiles. Why? Because it's OPEN.... naturally!
        i2fun@...
  • Smartphone market too small for 99.999% of apps to make money

    Almost all developers for smartphones will not make breakeven on their development time and costs because the smartphone market is too small.<br><br>Apple is almost the only entity to make a profit from the App store, as they make money on every sale, whereas most developers will have to sell thousands to start making money.<br><br>Those who will make money are those using it to enhance already existing profit streams.
    Patanjali
    • RE: Developers favor Android as paid app support comes to more countries

      @Patanjali this is true in many cases. Especially on the ios platform. But I think it will be different for Android. There are more devices. There are no app store fees per sale. And you don't have to buy into an expensive platform to make software for it.
      Apple has the whole app store thing rigged up to make tons of money for them only. Greedy companies like apple don't give a crap sbit anyone but themselves.
      Jimster480
  • Windows Phone 7 Best Develop Platform

    It will be interesting to see these numbers again in a year. WP7 has by far the best developer tools and platform without question. You can develop a quality polished app for WP7 in the same time it takes just to get a basic structure in place for an Android, iOS, or BlackBerry app. I am astonished that Google, RIM, and Apple haven't invested the time and resources to create a similar developer experience. This will prove to be a costly mistake.

    Because of the massive Windows developer community that exists and the superiority of the WP7 developer tools, I'm predicting that there will be more quality apps available for WP7 a year from now than there will be for Android.

    The quantity of apps available is really pretty insignificant. It's the number of quality apps available that will make a platform and WP7 will win hands down.
    Tiggster
    • Doubt it! Although WP7 will most likely impact the Market...

      @Tiggster It's not a giant killer in the mobile world.... yet. But time will tell if it can clearly challenge iOS, or mainly Android in the long term. What Android has is most any application can be so readily and easily ported to it. That's why the rate of Android Apps is out pacing Apple's App market at the moment. Even the Apps built specifically for their App Market are being ported for use in Android in record numbers with little work required. That's most likely Android's biggest ACE in the hole! .....whereas converting or porting can be a nightmare the other way.

      So it's a lot like Games going from Xbox 360 to Sony's Playstation being easier than porting in the other direction! .....that will be the main problem for QNX too as compared to Android from most any other OS.

      This is why Developers call Android the MOST OPEN OS! FULL CROSS PLATFORM COMPATIBILITY!!! ....it's ACE BEHIND IT'S BACK!!!

      (note the only real challenger on this point would most likely be MeeGo with it's full Open Source Cross Platform Abilities as well. But it's far from a favorite such as Android or iOS with it's closed market approach!)

      http://memeburn.com/2010/09/android-expected-to-dominate-mobile-app-market-by-2013/
      i2fun@...