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Survey shows waning interest in Android development

2200 devs also indicate growing preference for Google's service network over Facebook's social graph

A new survey from the mobile platform operator Appcelerator and the analyst firm IDC shows waning interest in Google's Android OS among developers.

Of the 2173 developers that took part in the survey between January 25 and 27 - the survey is conducted every quarter - 78.6 per cent expressed interested in creating apps for Android mobile devices.

This is around 5 per cent lower than the previous quarter, contradicting the "enormous growth" in sales of Android devices over the past year. The survey acknowledges that, while a 5 per cent drop is small, it is "consistent with the trend of small but steady erosion in Android interest over the last four quarters."

Apple iOS remains the focus of the majority of developer interest, with 89 per cent indicating a desire to work with the iPhone and 88 per cent expressing interest in the iPad. Android tablets, on the other hand, intrigued only 66 per cent of the participants.

This translates into a big competitive opportunity for Google - and a potential significant risk for Facebook

Scott Ellison, IDC

Windows Phone 7 is the third most popular OS in terms of developer interest with 37 per cent - around the same as the previous quarter - while the same proportion want to work on Windows 8 tablets.

Research in Motion's Blackberry OS showed significant decline for the second quarter in a row, falling from 21 per cent to 15.5 per cent.

The surveyed developers indicated the increasing importance of focusing on mobile strategy, but development for social networks was less clear-cut.

The report highlights the confusion among developers trying to find ways to leverage Facebook's social graph. In a list of the 11 most popular priorities for social developers, making use of the full social graph ranked 8th, while the top three were notifications, status updates and authentication.

This could be good news for Google+: 39 per cent of the surveyed developers rated Google's network of services - YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps, Google search, etc. - as more important to their social strategies in 2012 than Facebook's social graph.

"This translates into a big competitive opportunity for Google-and potential significant risk for Facebook-especially because developers perceive Google as innovating faster than Facebook," said IDC's Scott Ellison.

"Google itself is clearly gearing up to leverage its network effects, one example being the alteration of its privacy policies to allow sharing of user data across its services."

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Latest comments (10)

Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments4 years ago
I don't see how a drop in dev interest "contradicts" growth in device sales - there is no reason for them to directly relate?
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Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer 4 years ago
As a designer and developer I have to say I lost interest when the constant versions started appearing. I simply don't know what the heck I should be writing for and can't waste the time trying to find out.

Google really should have taken an Apple approach and updated all devices to each version. Now it's so fragmented that you often don't know what device your app will actually work on if you use any advanced features.
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Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments4 years ago
@Peter: google have no say in what each device runs. They *want* manufacturers to keep up with updates, but for various reasons manufacturers don't always do so.

Also, the broader spread in device specs means there are phones in active use that don't cope with newer versions of the OS.
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D4 years ago
Like Peter says, fragmentation is a huge issue.

I can't believe you can't get Android gift vouchers, either. Google's missing a trick there, especially given the amount of low end phones that end up in the hands of those without credit cards (ie, kids). And before anyone throws a hissy fit, no, I'm not saying only kids have low end android phones. But I would assume they're more likely to have those than an iPhone.

I just get the impression Google doesn't quite know what to do with Android to make it a genuine competitor to iOS, tbh.
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Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments4 years ago
@Fran - AFAIK google don't make a penny from app sales. I think they're well aware of how to compete with iOS to end users - they just don't seem as interested in competing for developers.
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This goes against what several ppl spoke about on Casual Connect. They said more and more dev's are developing for Android first, releasing their game in only one country then use analytics to get a really good game with good retention and then port it to iOS and global launch.
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Bryce Hunter Producer, DHX Media Ltd.4 years ago
Just to also be a prudent here, how large was the last quarter's pool of developers? Is there simple an uptick in the number of new devs who are responding to this survey? Most new devs I know start on iOS. The way these numbers are being presented is just a little weird.
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Tamir Ibrahim Programmer, Rodeo Games4 years ago
@Neil Actually Google takes 30% from app sales and in-app purchases, just like iOS.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tamir Ibrahim on 20th March 2012 5:19pm

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Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments4 years ago
@Tamir: the 30% cut goes to networks, billing firms, etc. Last I checked, google wasn't taking any of it.
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James Podesta Lead Programmer, SASimulations4 years ago
the impression I get from being in the dev circles is that devs are not making any money off Android and the strategy of releasing free on Android so that there is a fanbase for the iOS release is not working either (I'm not really sure why that would work anyway), so people are just giving up on Android altogether until they've made it big on iOS, then just porting successful apps to Android.

Of course, there are many exceptions, but exceptions don't put food on the table.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Podesta on 20th March 2012 11:49pm

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