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Devs Bet Big On Android Over Apple's iOS 328

Posted by Soulskill
from the striding-toward-peak-apps dept.
CWmike writes "A majority of mobile app developers see Android as the smart bet over the long run even as they vote for Apple's iOS in the short term, according to a survey conducted jointly by Appcelerator and IDC. The survey polled more than 2,300 developers who use Appcelerator's Titanium cross-platform compiler to produce iOS and Android native apps. Of the 2,300 polled, 59% said that Android had the 'best long-term outlook,' compared with just 35% who pegged Apple's iOS with that label. But three out of four said that iOS offers the best 'near-term' outlook, with 76% tagging Apple's operating system as the best revenue opportunity."
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Devs Bet Big On Android Over Apple's iOS

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  • Not a surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheCount22 (952106) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:09PM (#33718066)

    This is not really a surprise considering it is the only mainstream open platform not tied to any particular hardware.

    • Re:Not a surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Korin43 (881732) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:06PM (#33718844) Homepage

      It's even less surprising when you read who they asked: "2,300 developers who use Appcelerator's Titanium cross-platform compiler to produce iOS and Android native apps".

      Why doesn't the headline read "People who use cross compilers have a reason for that choice". Despite what the title suggests, my guess is that Appcelerator users aren't the majority of mobile developers.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There are a lot of 5 lines-of-code tweaks I would like to apply to my phone. But as far as I know the Droid X will brick me if I try rolling my own. Not exactly as open as the Nokia Linux phone.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rexdude (747457)

      This is not really a surprise considering it is the only mainstream open platform not tied to any particular hardware.

      You forgot Symbian..been around since 2002.

      • Re:Not a surprise (Score:4, Interesting)

        by dwater (72834) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @02:40AM (#33720018)

        ...and Meego. Both Symbian and Meego are more open than Android (iinm), because there is no one member controlling it - ie they both have councils/etc.

        In comparison, Android is a poor bet, if you ask me. I say this not only because it isn't very open to collaboration, but also because it is designed to profit Google in ways that other key players also want to profit - ie services. Sure, they can fork it and do whatever they want, but that just becomes fragmented and is only Android in name (which might be enough to dumb consumers, I suppose). Manufacturers like that they can see the code, but to changing it means it isn't 'comes with Google'.

        Android is "Open" as in "Window", but not "Open" as in "Door".

        But I'm sure some would disagree...and I'm quite interested in the counter arguments. So 'fire!'...

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Rexdude (747457)
          Meego will take a while to catch on- if only because there's no devices running it as yet till next year (other than a couple of demos on netbooks). I also have high hopes for Qt - it's a pedigreed GUI toolkit used by big name projects like VLC and Skype, and starting with the Nokia N8, will be shipped on all Symbian^3 devices. I'm sure there are plenty of Qt developers, who won't have to learn anything very different to build mobile apps; moreover they can easily adapt the same application for both desktop
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by dwater (72834)

            > Meego will take a while to catch on

            Maybe - time will tell - but as a Meego developer, I can say that there is quite some interest in hiring people with such skills - more so than Maemo ever was anyway (IMO). I think some entities actually get that Android isn't quite what they want - good enough for now perhaps and better than iOS and Microsoft, but not much better than peeing in their pants to stay warm ;)

  • by hackel (10452) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:09PM (#33718070) Journal

    Apple users are used to paying for costly proprietary applications, so of course there is a better revenue opportunity. I just find it so disgusting that there are so many developers all of a sudden interested in making money from their code. It seems Apple is doing more to destroy the environment created by the open source community than any other company...

    • by TheKidWho (705796) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:13PM (#33718102)

      Oh no! people want to make money off of their work! That's capitalist talk, off with their heads!

      • by tool462 (677306)

        It's why they call the death penalty "capital punishment".

    • As much as I don't like Apple, your comment seems a little off. First of all, you're admonishing developers for actually wanting to get paid? I hope you realize things like food and housing aren't free. Second of all, Apple's environment never really had a significant open source community of its own. Most of it is just spill over from the regular open source community.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      Apple users are used to paying for costly proprietary applications, so of course there is a better revenue opportunity.

      Revenue != Profit, important lesson there. You need to make sure that you've made more money then you've spent.

      If you've marketed a product, it needs to meet a release date. With Apple you cant control things like that, they have obscure rules, bad days and a myriad of other strange reasons why your application can be rejected, if you're going to put money into development, you at leas

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Karlt1 (231423)

        If you've marketed a product, it needs to meet a release date. With Apple you cant control things like that, they have obscure rules, bad days and a myriad of other strange reasons why your application can be rejected, if you're going to put money into development, you at least want some assurance about release. But right now, money is starting to head towards Android because Android is selling 200,000 units a day and 75% of iphone4 owners had Iphone 3G/S's.

        Android app store is 2% of Apple's:

        http://larvalab [larvalabs.com]

    • Could be worse: chess players always want to make money from playing a game. And not a very respectable game, either. A gambler's game!
    • by jcr (53032) <jcr&mac,com> on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @01:38AM (#33719766) Journal

      >I just find it so disgusting that there are so many developers all of a sudden interested in making money from their code.

      I find it disgusting how many people expect other people to work for nothing.

      -jcr

  • Sampling bias? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taikiNO@SPAMcox.net> on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:11PM (#33718086)

    So among cross platform developers, just over half said one platform was better than another.

    Talk about sampling bias. This just in, 70% of AppleInsider users think iOS is great, and 99% of lactose intolerant people think Ice Cream suck

    big deal.

    • by DeadboltX (751907)
      This is a shout out for the 1% of lactose intolerant people who think Ice Cream rocks despite the horrible things it does to their insides.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Cruciform (42896)

        It's not so much the horrible things it does to their insides, as the horrible things experienced on the outside.
        Like:
        Slow elevators.
        Rooms with poor ventilation.
        Single ply industrial-grade toilet paper.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AugstWest (79042)

      So their whole sample for this survey is a small group of users who are *already* using a cross-platform compiler.

      Far from newsworthy this is misleading and bogus. Thanks, Slashdot.

    • Re:Sampling bias? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by phantomfive (622387) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:32PM (#33718674) Journal
      Actually I'm pretty surprised they could find 2,300 developers who use Appcelerator's Titanium cross-platform compiler at all. Did they make answering the poll questions a part of installing the software? And does this whole story sound like a slashvertizement to anyone else?

      Honestly I like Android, and I like iOS, but the GUI layout models are so different, I can't imagine a single system working well for both. Does anyone have experience with it?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by brion (1316)
        (The survey wasn't limited to users of Titanium, but they did advertise it via Twitter etc.)

        Your basic widgets are pretty straightforward to implement on multiple systems, but what eats up time and effort is indeed things like getting layout to feel like it fits in the system, and to integrate with native widget styles, dialogs, or UI conventions that are different. (Use a system icon there, a menu here; a nav bar at top here, submit/cancel buttons at the bottom there.)

        For StatusNet Mobile [status.net] which we buil

    • by shird (566377)

      There is also the 6% that chose something else, perhaps blackberry. So it wasn't a choice between two platforms.

      "Just over half said one was better than the other" suggests a ratio of something like 51% to 49%. However, it is 59% to 35%, which is pretty significant.

  • by rsmith-mac (639075) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:11PM (#33718094)

    Perhaps I'm missing something, but isn't this effectively a survey of people who are undecided? After all, isn't that why they're using a cross-platform kit rather than writing right to Android/iOS?

    I would think looking at the developers who have firmly committed themselves to a platform as a better metric. The uncommitted developers have nothing to lose.

    • by AllInOne (236413) *

      Ding ding. Give that man a prize!

      And more... Not only is this is survey of the folks who have shown themselves to be undecided (surprise! survey says: folks are undecided) but it is also commissioned by other folks who are creating tools for the undecided. Should we be surprised when they present a survey that conforms to their worldview?

    • by shird (566377)

      The uncommitted have the opportunity to choose the best option without baggage of prior commitment.

      When you are talking about 'long term future' I don't think it is wise to poll people that have committed to a platform previously, you are better off polling people that are betting on the future.

  • This will play out like the PC clone wars. The vertically integrated and expensive manufacturer will be buried by the clones and their common OS.
    • by TheKidWho (705796) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:19PM (#33718152)

      Apple obviously never thought of that.

      • by nurb432 (527695)

        Right, and that attitude has really killed Apple's computer products.. Oh wait, perhaps not. :)

        There is a place for both ideals in this world.

        • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

          by mjwx (966435)

          Right, and that attitude has really killed Apple's computer products.. Oh wait, perhaps not. :)

          Perhaps we forget our history, the now defunct Apple Computers?

          Apple Inc is making the same mistakes as Apple Computers, Apple Computers made three big mistakes:
          1. Made something that was expensive and not any better then its competitors, they called it the Lisa and was built because one man dictated how everything should work.
          2. Isolated their core audience, the Lisa got hackers offside, so they switched t

          • Right, and that attitude has really killed Apple's computer products.. Oh wait, perhaps not. :)

            Perhaps we forget our history, the now defunct Apple Computers? Apple Inc is making the same mistakes as Apple Computers, Apple Computers made three big mistakes: 1. Made something that was expensive and not any better then its competitors, they called it the Lisa and was built because one man dictated how everything should work. 2. Isolated their core audience, the Lisa got hackers offside, so they switched to the new IBM offerings and businesses went with them. 3. Sued Microsoft using a dubious suit when they could not compete. Now Apple Inc made mistake #1 already, they learned from mistake number #2 but picked the wrong audience, the "in" crowd are a fickle bunch which will change their minds as soon as the next big thing(TM) comes along and they've thrown themselves head first into #3 by suing HTC. This last reason says it all, Apple is unable to compete with other manufacturers so they are suing them to prevent anyone else from getting a competitive advantage and ultimately its a losing battle as 1. HTC is Taiwanese and can tell Apple and US laws to sod off (Europe, Asia and China are larger markets then the US) and 2. Apple will have to sue everyone in the end.

            I have no idea what you are talking about. 1) There is essentially no competition in the iPod thouch/iPad market. There is the dell streak, which is more expensive than the iPad, and there are a bunch of crappy andriod mp3 players. Nothing else is shipping. The HP Slate looks like a travesty (It has a "ctrl-alt-delete" hardware button!). The Blackberry PlayBook won't be released for a long time, and while it looks pretty good, they don't mention battery life at all. And it has no 3g/etc radio at all.

          • by Karlt1 (231423)

            . This last reason says it all, Apple is unable to compete with other manufacturers so they are suing them to prevent anyone else from getting a competitive advantage and ultimately its a losing battle as 1.

            So hasn't Slashdot been waiting on iPod Killers for a decade now?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by j-beda (85386)

            I don't think your memory is very accurate. I think you are confusing the Lisa with the slightly later Macintosh product line. I don't think Jobs had any hand in the Lisa product.

            Were "hackers" ever their "core audience"? Business had long embraced the IBM PC by the time the Mac was available - that market was "lost" during the Apple II days.

            Lawsuits are often of little value, but the licensing agreements between Apple and MS were certainly vague over MS's use of various Apple IP and it is certainly was not

            • by FooAtWFU (699187)
              Shorting stock costs you money, though (when borrowing shares, they charge you interest) and the market can remain irrational for longer than you can remain solvent.
            • Jobs had a huge part in the Lisa line. He jumped ship when the Lisa turned out to be way too expensive ($10,000 in 1982 dollars), and kind of took control of the Macintosh project. One person said he was like a kid who saw a toy he wanted, and came and grabbed it.

              Wikipedia has kind of a different (kinder, to Jobs) view, but also mentions that Steve Jobs was on the Lisa project.
          • by gutnor (872759)
            They have done those 3 mistakes and see where they are. They took a beating and climbed back on top. Maybe things will turn out differently (the mobile market is *very* different and very much more mainstream than the PC market was at the time, and unlike before, people are asking for a walled garden), or maybe not.

            Apple "mistakes" in the meanwhile has pressured HTC, Dell, Samsung, ... to come up with nice smartphone and tablets, tons better than the crap they were selling with Windows Mobile previously.

          • uh....Apple has shipped more computers this year than ever before. They are doing ok.
      • by jpmorgan (517966)

        I know you're being facetious, but notice Apple's recent attempt to prevent anyone from developing for iOS with cross-platform middleware or any non-Apple tools.

    • The shroud of the android has fallen. Begun, the Clone War has.

  • with 76% tagging Apple's operating system as the best revenue opportunity

    translation: where you can even sell an app that does nothing but make fart sounds
    • by cyfer2000 (548592)

      "59% said that Android had the 'best long-term outlook,'"

      translation: 59% out of the already poor sample pool have not made a profit on Android market yet. Entrance barrier too low, too much competition between developers, too high customer bargaining power, too much bargaining power from supplier. Every one is still dreaming the pie becomes larger and larger.

  • Unfortunately, it doesn't have anything to do with what developers WANT to do or WHERE they prefer to program, because at the end of the day (for most developers) it all boils down to making some sort of income on the work they do. To do this they have to go where the customers are spending money on their apps and/or where the customers are viewing their ads.

    Instead of believing articles like this, I think it's wiser to find a particular niche thats lacking on a mobile device or find something that can be i

  • by w0mprat (1317953) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:37PM (#33718290)
    I think Apples walled garden approach may result in more per-user spend. But that's about it. A many times larger user base, I don't see Android's market share plateauing until it is many times that of iOS. It always makes sense to target the larger user base as a starting point (but only as a crude rule of thumb of course). This is a repeat of the Mac vs PC era and again Apple is just to selfish.

    However, this time the OS competing with the Apple camp is *really good* and Android is so far ahead of everything it's not funny. Apple is being forced to eat humble pie and add features that Android pioneered and thus demonstrated Apple was wrong about, it's gotta be a sign.

    Oh and the Android development community is fscking awesome.
    • by Abcd1234 (188840)

      I don't see Android's market share plateauing until it is many times that of iOS.

      ROFL, because... why? Symbian is hands down the current market leader, and BBOS is no slouch either. Meanwhile, Nokia will be rolling out their next major Symbian rev soon, *and* MeeGo, which means the market's gonna get even more competitive. There's absolutely *no* reason to believe Android will somehow dominate the market, save for mere Google fanboism.

      Personally, I look at the way the carriers have fucked Android sans lu

  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:54PM (#33718434) Homepage Journal
    The biggest PITA isn't the whole app store process etc. its the fact that developers cannot:
    a)You cannot make your own dynamic libraries, only static ones(though the OS obviously supports it, you can include any of Apple's own dyilibs in your project) I don't need to go into why dynamic linking is much better than static....
    b)There really isn't a clean way to talk between applications. You can send files, but it's really a drop box, I can COPY(not link!) something into another apps area, but after that the file is no longer mine. So if I want to send something to another app to process and then get it back to do some processing by my application I have to hope the app tells me about the changes, and considering the app may not even know I exist(nor should it, thats the beauty of decoupling), thats a lot to ask.

    I can *sort* of understand 1 from a performance standpoint, if you allow user created dynamic libraries every time the application is swapped out of memory you have to find which dynamic libraries it uses, make sure nobody else is using them, then unload them. However as memory increases the rationale behind needing to constantly load/unload them starts to disappear.....

    Maybe Apple will change it's tune, but long term I think you will be able to do more interesting things with Android because it allows for the creation of dynamic libraries and inter-application communication.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by brion (1316)

      b)There really isn't a clean way to talk between applications. You can send files, but it's really a drop box, I can COPY(not link!) something into another apps area, but after that the file is no longer mine. So if I want to send something to another app to process and then get it back to do some processing by my application I have to hope the app tells me about the changes, and considering the app may not even know I exist(nor should it, thats the beauty of decoupling), thats a lot to ask.

      Indeed, there's not a great way to share data between apps on iOS; the 'file sharing' in iOS 3.2/4 seems pretty dreadful and awkward to use. You can push some data around via URLs, but I've not been able to find a system for discovering URL handlers, or having a way to declare support for particular types of data instead of manually listing some application-specific URL schemes.

      Android's system for "Intents" is a bit nicer; you can combine some typed or structured data (say text/plain) and an action ('sen

  • Any application worth it's bandwidth is going to go cross platform in time. Android has a lot of ground to cover and if the tablets get any real marketshare it will take off. I don't need a culture with only one or two platforms. This isn't 1982 where the home PC market had serious restrictions based on platform.
  • When you're on the top, the only way to go is down. While iOS isn't the zenith of smartphone computing worldwide (Nokia is), it has a lion's share of the market and is expanding tremendously daily. The only problem is that people are fickle, especially when it comes to electronics, and with Android catching up quicker by the quarter, Apple's long-term strategy is definitely a good bet to hold on to.

    Now, Apple isn't going to disappear in the smartphone space any time soon. It would have to do something in
  • Wow im shocked, developers that are trying to cater to both and likely started on the android hope android wins. I have no leanings either way, imho they both have their pluses and minuses but if your going to do a survey should people that are actively involved in a platforms development beyond a cross compiler be at least sampled? This reminds me of the AdMob survey back in march that claimed 70% of iPhone developers were jumping ship while surveying only 108 hand picked participants, oddly enough it was the same week that Apple announced it had passed 100,000 licensed developers. I've been dabbling with android itself, but frankly until they can get their act together (3-4 different versions in the wild, poor upgrade paths from oem's, google denying marketplace to non-phone devices) I really don't think Apple has much to worry about. Yes Apple is draconian as hell in their licensing, contracts and at least IMHO rather greedy on the profit sharing but at least there is some organization and direction.

  • I believe it. This is what Steve Jobs does and has always done.

    He builds something great then ruins it with his extremely controlling flaky freakout attitude towards the world.

    Nothing new here.

  • not representative (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @01:25AM (#33719704) Homepage Journal

    This does, of course, suffer from a self-selection bias. People who use a cross-platform compiler have already decided that they want to play in both fields. All this does is find out their reason why. Which is interesting, make no mistake. To round out the picture, however, you'd have to at least get the number of developers who target one platform exclusively or use other cross-platform tools.

    With my own dabbling in iPhone development and a friend who does that plus android semi-professionally, my own take is that the iPhone "peak" is getting ever smaller, to get into the top apps that make money like a printing press is getting ever more difficult. However, people usually underestimate the long tail, which feeds quite a lot of developers. It's not as exciting, but it works well especially for small-time and indy developers.

    The same goes for android as a whole. I don't see nearly the same exposure for any android apps as is common for top iPhone apps. Less peak, more long tail. There is a marked difference in willingness to pay, however. At this time, as far as I can gather from people I know, android development isn't very profitable. But the growth rate is good, so that may change.

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