The fallacy of Android-first

“In late 2012, we decided to launch Emu on Android first,” Dave Feldman, co-founder of Emu, writes for TechCrunch. “Sixteen months later, we’re back on iOS: Emu for iPhone launched on April 2. Here’s why Android didn’t work out for us and why you should think carefully before going Android-first.”

“We launched Emu for iPhone on April 2, and we’ve pulled Emu for Android out of the Play Store. We hope we’ll return to Android someday, but our team is too small to innovate and iterate on multiple platforms simultaneously,” Feldman writes. “We’ve concluded iPhone is a better place to be [because] Our decision to build on top of SMS/MMS involved huge, unanticipated technical hurdles. Even when you don’t support older Android versions, fragmentation is a huge drain on resources. Google’s tools and documentation are less advanced, and less stable, than Apple’s. Android’s larger install base doesn’t translate into a larger addressable market.”

Feldman writes, “Running a startup is all about learning. This has been a huge lesson for us, one I wish we’d learned faster…but perhaps our experience will help others to make a more informed decision.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “boecherer” for the heads up.]


  1. I’m all in favor of iOS, but the real article itself comes off as quite whiny and manages to maintain a pro-Android tone to it despite them abandoning the platform.

    1. I don’t believe you’re interpreting the syntax of the statements objectively. Had Android been all that was unintentionally “promised”, the rewards would have been as expected. Apparently, from what I read, the fruits of their labor were none too ripe.

    2. Android OS does somethings well and I’m sure Apple is taking notes.

      Translating the features Android does well over to iOS makes them available for all Apple consumers immediately with an iOS update.

      The same can’t be said of Google’s Android. Their “open platform” allows the carriers to bastardize Android OS; adding or withholding select features and ultimately marginalizing the consumer experience across the spectrum of the Android platform.

      The Galaxy series runs on several different iterations of Android and depending on who sold you the device, you are now dependent on them for future upgrades.

      It’s a fragmented mess, just like Windows throughout the Nineties.

  2. the problem with some (greedy) developers is that they think that the hype of the ‘giant’ Android market = $.

    Some of them make iOS apps first, make a fortune then port to Android. After spending big bucks, sometimes millions dealing with the Android shit: fragmentation, bad support (from Google, hardware makers), bad tools etc, they find that they can’t sell their android apps as Android users are (A) cheapskates, (B) tens of millions making up the marketshare numbers are using low powered phones in Asia that actually can’t handle apps — e.g millions of Android “O” phones in China can’t even run stock android apps — or ( C ) prefer to use PIRATE versions from the hundreds of android download sites, they the developers get DESPERATE.

    Then to try to generate Android sales they go around to tech conferences , bloggers, tech sites, newspapers praising the heck out of Android and the wonder of Android apps to generate a few sales to make up for the production costs. Often it comes off as if they are praising android and criticizing iOS. The dumb stupid tech press, the general press (even dumber), and analysts (the dumbest ) pick up on this giving them further incentive to put forward the “android is winning” because of market share b.s. (It’s B.s as proven from developer profit stats, app usage stats and Apple profit stats).

    1. a messaging app maker — gotta wonder how those guys Facebook bought for $19B did it. Was it Android+iOS, or just one of them? The only thing I know is that they got 455M users, and they and their VCs pocketed $19B and change.

      Must be (sorry, Dickens) the best of times and worst of times to be in that space. One of your contemporaries just cashed out for $19B (great!), which probably means that’s $19B less $$$ in the system for your type of app, leaving $52 left for everyone else (argh!)

      Seriously, though, these guys have to be wondering both “if” and “how” they may have missed it in their biz/operational plan over the last few years.

    2. Some of them make iOS apps first, make a fortune then port to Android.”

      For the first time in thirty-years, a significant conclave of developers are coding for Apple consumers and they’re not only making bank, they’re channeling the experience.

      Peter Cohen wrote a good article entitled, How many customers does Apple need before it’s not a cult anymore? and in it he states, “The only people who were still using Macs were ones who really believed the products were better. ”

      It wasn’t that we “really believed”, we knew they were better. The alternative not only meant moving backwards, but it could also be seen as a sign of capitulation to Microsoft and the Triumvirate of Tech in Thurott, Dvorak, and Enderle, pompous pundits who would still be bleating today about how they weren’t the least bit surprised Apple was a total failure.

      What we’re not hearing today, is their mea culpas. So instead I take great delight in revisiting all of their pompous proclamations for the last thirty-years. Dewy, Cheatem, and Howe!

      Your 2nd paragraph describes the Windows platform in retrospect; libraries of Windows software was pirated from work. Cheap computers sold with bootleg software created a business model that could be replicated wherever Microsoft was sold.

      Microsoft’s rise to market leader came as a result of Piracy, not actual sales. Enterprise kept Microsoft afloat to stabilize myriad versions of Windows. The fact that the U.S. Veterans Administration is still using Windows XP Pro is indicative of how Microsoft lost control of their business. The VA is afraid to move off XP because the thought of replacing tens-of-millions of computers capable of operating under the latest version of Windows would kill any chance of improving my healthcare.

      The worm has turned.

      It has also made course corrections by shifting the focus from software to hardware.Apple is now the one advancing technology and their vertical market strategy is paying off thanks to Jobs’ belief in Alan Kay.

      Then to try to generate Android sales they go around…”

      That’s called Astroturfing. Everyone does it, but not to the degree with which Samsung has been flooding the market with any opportunity to grab some of the spotlight away from Apple.

  3. That’s the biggest problem with Android – it’s totally fragmented and this is one part of googles final downfall.

    I can only imagine the hell coders go through trying to write an app for android.

    The android OS is like a patchwork quilt made of millions of different patches whereas IOS is a pure single coloured sheet made of the softest and warmest material.

    There is no point at all in having 100s of versions of an OS that only works on some hardware.

  4. “The rough rule of thumb is for every iOS engineer you actually need two Android engineers—or twice the development time.”

    This just says it all. And android just keeps changing and may die due to Chrome.
    Who knows. 🙂

  5. The cheap wannabe iPhone:

    Android’s larger install base doesn’t translate into a larger addressable market

    Android: For when you don’t want the very best. You just want CHEAP.

    √ End of expenditures.

  6. Android first? Huh? When was this even mentioned? All the paying customers are on iOS. This is a no-brainer. I even worked on a team that built an Android port of an iPhone app: everyone on the team had an iPhone. We could barely ‘enjoy’ our own product LOL.

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