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Android Gains Serious Ground In Latest Appcelerator Developer Survey

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Appcelerator released the results of their quarterly mobile developer survey today, which took place on January 10-12 this year. The timing of the survey was to follow on from the excitment of CES and see what developers felt they needed to focus on for their mobile applications in 2011. The report is well written, and provides insightful commentary into each of the results. Here I'll go through some of the headline items, in particular focussing on the ever closing gap between iOS and Android.

At CES this year, 85 new Android tablets were announced. This along with the Honeycomb OS previews seems to have caught the imagination of developers, finally providing a distraction from the dominance of the iPad in the tablet space. The interest in Android tablets has increased far more than the interest in the iPad. 

Asked what the most important factor is for the success of Android tablets, the majority chose the price of the tablets. Not Honeycomb, which looks like it will make the Android tablet experience even better than that of the iPad, and not the hardware capabilities. It's an interesting observation, highlighting the fact that with the right price point, below $200 or even $100, that tablet devices could easily become as prevalent as mobile phones 

One of the most interesting statistics from the report shows the difference in interest for developing with particular platforms in mind since January 2010. Android development is practically equal to the interest in both iOS platforms. And considering that it's early days for Android tablet development, it's starting to see a big upturn. I expect to see all four of these level in the results for the next quarter.

When building native applications, it's clear that developers are more interested in taking advantage of the cloud and social media, than using the traditional smartphone functionality such as audio/video playback.

The interest in connected TV, whether Apple or Google, has suffered a decline. This is very understandable - it was all very interesting last year, but the execution hasn't been what we wanted. TV networks block connected TV solutions for being the killer app we all expected. When talking through the results with Scott Schwarzhoff, VP Marketing at Appcelerator, he noted that it's probably a case of "too much, too soon". We're just getting to grips with mobile apps, and the tablet space is still fairly new. Maybe once things have settled, connected TV will find it's place in the developer's imagination. 

This report is a useful snapshot of the mindset of mobile developers. Credit is due to Appcelerator for putting together such a concise report. Appcelerator are on a roll at the moment: having recently aquired Aptana, we'll see a the first betas of a full development environment, with much requested debug support, released in March. Late February to early March will see the Titanium 1.6 release becoming available, bringing even more features and improvements.



Martin Hill replied on Wed, 2011/01/26 - 2:21am

These survey results are not at all representative of iOS developers as a whole as the vast majority use Apple's Xcode to write iOS apps, not the software sold by the company that ran this survey.

The survey subjects were part of a small minority of developers who use a single 3rd party product - Appcelerator Titanium - a cross-platform development tool which is used in 4,000 iOS apps, which amounts to only 1-2% of the 300,000 apps in the App Store. Appcelerator not that long ago was banned from the iOS App store as were other cross-platform environments so what is surprising is that these particular devs still rate Apple highest.

By buying this software these developers were already planning on developing cross-platform and thus represent a completely biased sample which cannot be extrapolated to the rest of the iOS dev community.

Other data strongly suggests the opposite of what Appcelerator reports - that iOS continues to garner far more dev interest than Android because that is where the money is. For example, Larva Labs found that "Overall we estimate that $6,000,000 has been paid out to developers for games, and $15,000,000 has been paid out on apps. That is a total of $21,000,000, nearly 1/50th the amount paid out to devs on iPhone. This really indicates how much of a cottage industry the paid Android Market remains, with insufficient sales numbers to warrant full-time labor for paid content."

Then there is AppBrain's findings that over 45,000 of the 100,000 apps in the Android Marketplace are spam apps.

As such, As such, these survey results while interesting, do not extrapolate well at all to the wider developer community.


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