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Coder Android tablet love on (a bit of a) wane

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Developer interest in Android phones and tablets is on the wane – at least a bit – according to a new study.

The latest mobile-developer survey from IDC and Appcelerator – the Silicon Valley outfit whose Titanium kit lets coders build native mobile apps with traditional web tools – indicates that during the first quarter, developer interest in Android phones dropped two percentage points to 85 per cent, while interest in Android tablets fell three points to 71 per cent.

These aren't enormous drops, but previously, interest in Google's mobile OS had been on the rise. With the last IDC-Appcelerator study, interest in Android tablets rose 12 per cent. "We're seeing some bumps in the road here for Android beyond the phone," Appcelerator vice president of marketing Scott Schwarzhoff tells The Register.

On the latest survey – which includes responses from 2,760 Appcelerator Titanium developers – 63 per cent of respondents said that device fragmentation is the biggest risk to Android. Thirty per cent cited "weak initial traction" from Android tablets, and 28 per cent cited the presence of multiple Android app stores.

But when it comes to fragmentation, Android isn't the main concern among coders, according to the survey. Asked which area of fragmentation is of greatest concern when developing mobile applications, 33 per cent cited "skills fragmentation" (having to learn, say, both Objective C for iOS and Java for Android), 22 per cent cited fragmentation across OSes, and 21 per cent cited fragmentation within the Android market.

Despite the apparent drop in Android interest, the platform is still second only to Apple's iOS platform. Ninety-one per cent of coders said they are "very interested" in developing for the iPhone, and 86 per cent said they were very interested in the iPad, while 29 per cent pointed to Microsoft Windows Phone 7, 27 per cent pointed to the BlackBerry, and 20 per cent pointed to the RIM PlayBook tablet. HP's upcoming webOS tablet was next in line at 17 per cent. ®

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