A large portion of active app developers now say that working on apps for Android is easier and faster than building apps for iOS or Windows. This development time may be part of the reason why Android has surpassed iOS as the main development target for developers.
Statistics from a new Evans Data survey show that 41 percent of developers find they are able to develop an Android app within one month, compared with 36 percent and 34 percent for iOS and Windows Phone respectively. The difference in development time between Android and iOS may not be terribly significant on its own but it is surprising when taking into account that it has traditionally been easier to develop iOS apps because there are fewer screen sizes offered by Apple.
Another Selling Point
Android has already become a far more popular mobile OS than iOS globally, and in the past, a wider selection of apps was one of the few things that Apple still had going for it. With the Evans Data survey, it is easy to tell that if developers have to choose an OS to develop for, Android may be the better option as they can reach more users and have an easier time actually building the app.
For the past two years, the Google Play store has had more to offer than the Apple's iTunes App Store. Now that development for Android is simpler, the gap between the two stores is not shrinking. As Android becomes the more common mobile OS in lucrative developing markets, the future is not looking as bright for Apple unless it can put in place some changes, one of which may be to make it easier for people to develop iOS apps.
On the flip side, developers will not necessarily be fleeing iOS anytime soon, as a new report from Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster suggests that the iOS App Store is more profitable for developers since users have a tendency to buy a larger amount of in-app features and add-ons.
Janel Garvin, CEO of Evans Data, said Android's position as an open platform is what has allowed it to jump ahead of iOS.
"Apple suffers a disadvantage against Android in this respect, in that Android is an open platform and consequently is supported by a host of development tool makers who are continually adding innovation to the available tool inventory. If Apple could find a way to embrace that position, they would be better off." she said.
In the PC market, the variety of screen and window sizes made designing Web sites a tedious process and many people chose not to specifically come out with versions of a site that was optimized for a different screen size. This problem is something with which mobile developers are also contending. But in learning from Web sites, many of them are choosing to develop multiple sizes of an app, mainly to accommodate a variety of Android devices.
"Targeting multiple screen sizes is definitely the way to go," Garvin said. "The benefit of having your app run across the gamut of device types is obvious, and while there are difficulties in synchronization across device types, and in the range of graphics capabilities that are supported by different screens, the benefits still outweigh the effort."