According to a December 2011 study, developers are three times more likely to create apps for iOS than for Android. The report found that 73 percent of developers were focusing on iOS products in the fourth quarter of 2011, while 27 percent were working on Android. Flurry, which conducted the study, highlighted several reasons why a developer might choose iOS over Android.
Apple’s app store is considered the healthiest on the market. Not only does it have the most downloads of the big three app stores (Apple, Amazon and Android), but it also has the most apps. Flurry’s report says that the iTunes App Store has 500,000 apps available. Google Play, Android’s store, has 400,000.
An April 2012 article in BGR says, “Android’s tablet sales are expected to account for only 31.9 percent of tablet sales in 2012.” App developers may hesitate to create apps for a market that seems unhealthy compared to that of the new iPad, which is predicted to nearly double the sales of Android tablets. More iPad users mean more potential downloads for apps in the App Store.
Apple’s iPhone has also been untethered from AT&T. Now it is available at Sprint and Verizon, too. Users in contracts with those networks now have the option to choose an iPhone over an Android phone. Increased iPhone use on new networks may be an additional reason for developers to choose iOS.
Some developers say iOS is easier than developing for Android, but that is a matter of opinion. On the other hand, adoption rates indicate that iOS users are far more likely to be using the latest version than are Android users, who are often constrained by the updates available for their particular device. iOS developers can confidently optimize their applications with new features that might only be available with the most recent OS version.
Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google, said in December 2011 that developers would start leaving iOS for Android after large shipments of smartphones made Android more popular than iPhone. For Android app developers, there is still reason for optimism with a growing market of Android OS users.