iOS still tops Android with app developers

Study finds that iOS's lopsided developer revenue and Android fragmentation contribute to the disparity.

Flurry Analytics

Despite Android's greater share of the smartphone market, Apple's iOS continues to attract greater support from app developers.

Nearly seven of every 10 apps being created in the first quarter of 2012 were for the iOS platform, with the remaining three going to Android, according to new data released today by research firm Flurry Analytics. iOS generates twice as many apps as Android despite Google's mobile operating system commanding 50.8 percent of the smartphone market compared with Apple's 31.4 percent, according to ComScore data release last week.

One key reason for Apple's popularity with developers is its dominance in the tablet market. Apple's iPad accounted for 88 percent of all tablet user sessions in the first five months of 2012, followed by Samsung's Galaxy Tab with 9 percent and Amazon's Kindle Fire with 3 percent.

App authors can also expect a greater payout from iOS compared with Android, with Apple's mobile operating system delivering developers four times the revenue as their Android counterpart per user, Flurry found.

"At the end of the day, developers run businesses, and businesses seek out markets where revenue opportunities are highest and the cost of building and distributing is lowest," Flurry said in its findings. "In short, Android delivers less gain and more pain than iOS, which we believe is the key reason 7 out of every 10 apps built in the new economy are for iOS instead of Android."

Flurry Analytics

Another contributing factor to developer disparity is fragmentation in software and hardware, which Flurry said appears to be increasing, making Google's platform more complex and costly for developers. The study notes that 17 of the top 20 Android devices in May 2012 had a share of 6 percent or less in consumer application sessions, meaning that each additional device supported by developers will deliver only a small increase in distribution.

Firmware is also a stumbling point, with Gingerbread, the third newest Android version, commanding 70 percent of user sessions, while newer versions Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich combined register on 11 percent of market penetration.

"This means that the majority of consumers are running on an Android operating system that is three to four iterations old," Flurry said.

 

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