MacDailyNews Take: Appcelerator is an app excretor which facilitates the building of generic apps to be deployed on multiple platforms in one step; the uniqueness of each OS is discarded in such generic or “ported” apps. BTW: Lowest common denominator apps suck. Hence, the respondents to this survey are predisposed to be multi-platform app excretors, not top flight developers, which, if anything, tends to inflate the numbers for non-iOS numbers. In other words, it’s likely much worse for Android than these numbers indicate.
The Appcelerator-IDC Q2 2011 Mobile Developer Survey Report, taken April 11-13, shows that interest in Android has recently plateaued as concerns around fragmentation and disappointing results from early tablet sales have caused developers to pull back from their previous steadily increasing enthusiasm for Google’s mobile operating system. While this opens the door a crack for new entrants, nearly two-thirds of respondents believe that it is not possible for Microsoft, RIM, HP, and Nokia to reverse momentum relative to Apple and Google. Underscoring the fluidity of the mobile ecosystem and in a peculiar turn of events, recent simultaneous drops in developer interest in Windows Phone ’07 and BlackBerry OSes move Windows Phone ’07 ahead of BlackBerry to claim the third spot in developer interest.
Apple Maintains Leadership While Google, Microsoft, Rim, and Nokia Lose Steam
With over a trillion dollars in market cap at play in today’s mobile platform wars, there’s little room for error in strategy or execution. This past quarter showed that even strong announcements and solid product introductions can still leave contenders to Apple’s app developer mindshare dominance at risk of falling further behind.
Key findings of this survey include:
• Apple iOS interest remains high with 91% of developers saying they are ‘very interested’ in iPhone development and 86% are very interested in developing for the iPad.
• Google witnessed a plateau in its earlier momentum gains. Reported interest in Android phones fell two points to 85% and Android tablets fell three points to 71% after increasing twelve points in Q1. Although technically within standard deviations, these drops stand in contrast to steadily increasing developer interest in Android over the last year and are consistent with an increase in developer frustration with Android. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents said that device fragmentation in Android poses the biggest risk to Android, followed by weak initial traction in tablets (30%) and multiple Android app stores (28%)
• When it comes to fragmentation, Android’s issues are not the number one concern among developers. In fact, fragmentation in mobile today is six layers deep. Android fragmentation only ranks third behind the fragmentation of skills (eg: Objective-C vs. Java), and the fragmentation of OS capabilities (eg: iOS vs. Android vs. Windows Phone ’07). This context sheds light on how fragmentation within the Android operating system compounds an already larger problem, and it will be a critical issue for Google to address and an opportunity for competitors like Microsoft, HP, Nokia and RIM to exploit.
• While 71% of developers are very interested in Android as a tablet OS, only 52% are very interested in one of the leading Android tablet devices today, the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Further down the list, only 44% are very interested in the Motorola Xoom and 31% in the upcoming HTC Flyer. Smaller players (Acer, Archos, etc.) register minimal interest. In short, the promise of an Android tablet is appealing, but the reality of currently, or soon-to-be, shipping devices is disappointing to developers.
• Microsoft edges RIM to become the third horse, but there is not much cause for celebration in Redmond as respondents’ interest in Microsoft and RIM dropped substantially compared to last quarter. Microsoft fell seven points, with only 29% of developers saying they are ‘very interested’ in the Windows Phone ’07, while BlackBerry phones dropped eleven points to 27%. On the upside, and in part as a result of Microsoft’s partnership announcement with Nokia, Windows Phone ’07 interest fell four points less than BlackBerry to make Microsoft the new number three in developer interest behind Apple and Google.
• Despite Android’s apparent plateau and potential slight pullback, the road to becoming number two will be long for either Microsoft or RIM. 62% of respondents say it will be impossible for anyone to catch up to market leaders Apple and Google. Beyond market share concerns, however, Microsoft’s biggest problem with developers may simply be available time as noted by the 46% of respondents who indicated “I have my hands full with iOS and/ or Android.” In addition to landing major distribution partnerships and exploiting Android’s fragmentation and security holes, making app migrations from iOS and Android to Windows Phone ’07 easy and profitable for developers will be critical for Microsoft.
Source: Appcelerator/IDC, April 2011
[Attribution: GigaOM. Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers "Opportun" and "Viridian" for the heads up.]