A new study by Flurry shows that developers still prefer iOS to Android.
The data, extrapolated from tracking anonymous SDK downloads, indicates that 7 out of every 10 new projects by developers are made for iOS. In the first quarter of 2011, 37 percent of new project starts were for Android. The numbers declined to below 30 percent in subsequent quarters, rising to 31 percent in the first quarter of 2012. The report speculates that Android's new project starts will decline again later in 2012, as Apple developments tend to rise throughout the year and fall in the first quarter.
The report speculates that developers’ preference for Apple is based, in part, on the popularity of the iPad. According to Flurry, it's like getting two platforms for the price of one. A chart showing the worldwide distribution of user sessions by the top 3 tablets showed the iPad with 88 percent of sessions, followed by Samsung's Galaxy Tab at 9 percent and Amazon's Kindle at 3 percent. Developers creating projects for iOS will likely reach more users than developers creating projects for Android.
Apple also offers fewer devices running fewer software versions than Android. No one Android device showed more than an 18 percent share of user sessions, meaning apps running on the Android platform must work on many devices or risk losing users. This fragmentation can possibly discourage developers who aren't able to support each device running Android as easily as iOS devices. Device fragmentation is further complicated by firmware fragmentation, the report noted. Seventy percent of user sessions on Android were on Gingerbread – but seven different types of firmware were detected, with early Donut (1.6) and Cupcake (1.5) versions showing the lowest numbers at 0.2 percent. Only 7 percent were from Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0), Android’s latest version.
Another reason fewer developers may choose Android is the difference in app revenue. Developers on Android make only 24 cents on the dollar compared to iOS developers. A similar revenue report, conducted in late 2011 and early 2012 found similar earnings for both platforms.
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