THE MAJORITY OF DEVELOPERS are building apps for Google's Android operating system with fewer coding for Apple's IOS, according to a report by Bluevia and Vision Mobile.
Entitled Developer Economics 2011, the study shows that 67 per cent of developers code for Android, up from 59 per cent in 2010. IOS lags behind at 59 per cent, but that's also up from 50 per cent last year, most likely due to Apple's introduction of the Ipad.
The bad news for Microsoft is that the report found it was not yet "the third horse" in the mobile market race. It discovered that developer mindshare for Windows Phone 7 fell from 39 per cent to 36 per cent, and that it was seen by many developers as not being a commercially viable operating system.
However, while it's not getting developers now, it will in the future, as the "intentshare" for developers intending to work on the platform at some stage puts Microsoft in second place with 32 per cent behind Android's 35 per cent, while Chrome OS pushed IOS into fourth place with 28 per cent and 27 per cent, respectively.
Symbian and Java have seen high developer abandonment rates, with 39 per cent of Symbian developers and 35 per cent of Java ME developers intending to jump ship sometime soon. The negative reputation of Java in security circles and the announced death of Symbian when Nokia partnered with Microsoft for Windows Phone 7 explain why developers are parting ways with those systems.
In terms of total apps, Apple is still ahead with close to 400,000 apps as of the first quarter of this year. Android has just under half of that at 176,000. This might be part of the reason why developers are flocking to Android, as they could have already tapped into Apple's market and want to expand into new territory. The sheer growth of Android and the dozens of devices that run it are also likely reasons why it is becoming popular with developers.
Online apps stores are still the primary means of delivering apps to customers, with 45 per cent of developers choosing this option. Over half of these did so due to the enhanced reach of an app store compared to going it alone or using a mobile operator portal.
In terms of payment, the biggest winner is corporate commissions of apps, with roughly half of developers earning income this way. The next best way for bringing in income is pay-per-downloads, while advertising sales and paid upgrades followed in third and fourth place.
However, not all developers are making a killing. A third of those surveyed revealed they made less than $1,000 on their apps, which, given the time software development takes, means that they're losing money instead of making it. µ