MOBILE SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Google's Android operating system (OS) is the best place for developers in general, while the Blackberry OS is the best place for developers to make money, according to a report by Evans Data.
The Application Distribution report, which surveyed 400 commercial developers, shows that Android is the most used app store amongst commercial developers, with 47 per cent market share. Apple is not far behind at 43 per cent, but the shift from Apple's prior dominance is likely to continue.
Android also came out on top as the best app store for developers over the long term, with many believing that the Android Market will be the pivotal place to develop for within the next two years.
Despite Android's success, developers can still make more money by opting to use Blackberry's App World, which appears to be paying out more than both Android and Apple. This is likely largely due to the enterprise nature of a lot of Blackberry devices and apps, which means a larger price tag for apps, compared with the mostly consumer nature of apps on Android and Apple devices, with more affordable pricing.
"The industry has a conception that developers are going to target either Android or Apple, and those two will define the market," said Janel Garvin, CEO of Evans Data. "However, there's room for more than two. Blackberry developers are not as plentiful but 13 per cent make over $100,000 from the App World apps, which is considerably more than Android or Apple developers, and will help that platform continue to be compelling to developers, especially in the enterprise."
Of course, with Blackberry losing a lot of the market share it once had, it might not be a very attractive operating system to develop for much longer. Larger prices but lower sales might just average out or result in losses, compared to a more competitively priced and better selling app in the Android or Apple app stores.
Other findings in the report include a problem of app visibility, which was cited by 37 per cent of respondents. This would obviously have a large impact on sales. Unfortunately, the more each app store grows the more difficult it will be to find specific apps amidst the clutter. Having the search prowess of Google could answer this problem for Android, however.
The survey found that developers vastly prefer to sell paid apps rather than subsidise free ones with in-app advertising. The second most favoured approach is a subscription-based app.
Games remain the dominant app across most app stores, taking up 27 per cent of the catalogue. Business apps came in at 21 per cent, while productivity apps were not far behind at 20 per cent. So, while the consumer side of apps is clearly the strongest, there is still a call for enterprise apps, which could keep Blackberry alive in the face of the war between Apple and Google. µ