Despite Android lead, iOS devs slurp scads more mazuma
iPhone, iPad devs laughing all the way to the bank
If you're a developer who wants the largest target market for your smartphone and tablet apps, write for Android devices. But if you want to make money, write for the iPhone and iPad.
That's the conclusion of a pair of recent reports. Millennial Media's October 2011 Mobile Mix study reconfirms what has been true for months: that Android powers far more smartphones and "connected devices" – think tablets – than does iOS, by 54 per cent to 28 per cent.
A big market share doesn't necessarily translate to big profits for developers
Another study released by Piper Jaffrey's Gene Muster and reported by CNNMoney, however, claims that as of September 2011, iOS developers have pulled in well over $3.4bn, while Android devs have netted just under $240m.
As with most surveys, caveats abound. For one, Millennial Media's findings come from an analysis of usage in just their – admittedly vast – advertising network, and Munster's stats are based on even shakier ground: Apple's public announcements, stats from the app-watchers at AndroLib, and his own estimates.
And to be perfectly fair, remember that Apple's iOS App Store has been up and running since July 2008, and that Google's Android market only began offering paid apps in February 2009.
One more Munsterian tidbit that adds to the total number of grains of salt with which you need to season this data: only 1.3 per cent of Android apps are paid, compared with 13.5 per cent of iOS apps.
Caveats aside, though, if Munster's numbers are even within shouting distance of reality, the 14:1 disparity is a mighty incentive to develop for iOS rather than Android – that is, if you can create an app compelling enough to cut through the clutter of the half-million-plus apps crowding the iOS App Store. ®
Craiggy's comment illustrates the problem - while Android users are reluctant to part with their cash / view Apple's users as gullible idiots for spending £5 on a game, the Android software market is going to lag behind.
Hobbyist and part-time developers working for kicks / pin-money are only going to take it so far.
We're back to John Carmack's comment to a room full of developers - 50% of them had Android phones, but barely any of them would spend $10 on a game - hence, John pointed out, why he wasn't developing for Android (at that time - they're starting too now).
It's irrelevant whether you think that price is too high. The only thing that counts is whether the total revenue to be made exceeds the development costs (and makes a profit).
What isn't going to work is constantly posting requests for Android ports on developers websites, citing the larger marketshare of Android devices, as if developers were somehow obliged.
(How dare they write code to make money!)
Excuse me while I wade through this veritable tsunami of bile and vitriol but did we stop to think that maybe it's because iPhone users tend to have a higher disposable income and so are more likely to buy apps? It's kinda the same reason why the software market on the Mac tends to be fairly healthy as well, disproportional to it's market share.
We'll now return you to your normal scheduled programming of fanboi foot stamping, insults and unhinged conspiracy theorising.
The truth is, there are some very nice android phones out there...
but hardware manufacturers will stick Android on any old phone, whether or not those users are likely to use its "smart" features or buy apps.
A good chunk of those android device owners will use it *shock horror* as just a phone for calling & texting.
That's why I think the idea that Android is leading the smartphone market is stretched a little. Smartphones sold != Smartphones used.