RESEARCH PREDICTS that "Android will beat the Iphone ecosystem" this year, while other players including Research in Motion (RIM), Nokia and Microsoft are dead in the water.
According to an analysis of vacancies posed on outsourcing marketplace Freelancer.co.uk, mobile phone jobs were the fastest growing online job category with a 216 per cent increase to 12,262 jobs in 2011. Android jobs ended 2011 by growing 163 per cent to 7,431 jobs, double the Iphone's 81 per cent growth rate to 12,527 jobs.
From current growth rates, the research estimates the number of new applications developed on Android will overtake those on the Iphone in the fourth quarter of 2012.
While Apple and Android slug it out for the honours, Freelancer's study cheerfully notes that the "Nokia and Microsoft mobile platforms are dead". Microsoft was down 29 per cent to 888 jobs, Symbian down 34 per cent to 349 jobs and Nokia down 44 per cent to 488 jobs. All three recorded significant negative growth for the year and dropped to negligible job levels.
Also bumping along the bottom was RIM. "BlackBerry jobs were too low to appear on our Q4 report, and only grew 14 per cent (1,955 jobs) overall growth for 2011. We predict that application development for these platforms is now terminal. Nokia has suffered the most globally since 2010. Through 2011, it was overtaken by Android, the Iphone and Samsung in terms of market share which is reflected in our online job statistics," the Freelancer report said.
The study stated that the key driver of the surge in Android popularity is that the platform is more open to developers than the "walled garden" that is Apple's IOS. While th Iphone 4S launch in October boosted Iphone jobs, the report predicts that a bigger boost will come if the Iphone 5 ships, giving developers new features to work with.
In 2011, Freelancer reported a 217 per cent increase in Cocoa demand to 2,293 jobs and a 151 per cent increase in Objective-C demand to 3707 jobs, both of which are technologies used to build Apple's desktop and mobile applications.
"Apple's blocking of Flash on iOS platforms sounded the death knell for Adobe's Flash in 2011, which shrank 11 per cent (to 12,247 jobs). We believe that online jobs related to Flash will be in terminal decline by mid-2012," the report added. µ