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Developers like iPhone, but here comes Android

The iPhone is still the most popular mobile platform among app developers, though interest in Android is revving up, says a new study from Millennial Media.

Mobile-app developers still cite the iPhone as their platform of choice, but Android is increasingly winning their hearts and minds, according to the results of a survey released today by Millennial Media.

Among the several hundred developers and publishers polled for Millennial Media's "State of the Apps Industry Snapshot," 30 percent said they're currently creating apps for the iPhone, the highest percentage of all mobile platforms. Though Apple's smartphone grabbed the top spot, its popularity is down a bit from last December, when 48 percent of those polled were eyeing the iPhone as their platform of choice.

Android took second place with 23 percent of the developers currently building apps for Google's mobile OS. That figure just barely beat Apple's iPad, which is supported by 21 percent of those polled. Rounding out the top five were Research In Motion, with 12 percent of developers creating apps for the BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile, popular among 6 percent of those surveyed.

The numbers are not mutually exclusive--the survey allowed publishers to check all OS boxes that apply to them. Thus someone who develops applications for both iPhone and Android would be included in both the iPhone and Android slices of the pie chart.

Millennial Media

The study also examined the number of developers looking to adopt new platforms next year--that is, smartphones for which they're not already creating apps. Looking specifically at those developers, 29 percent of them expect to add Android to their mix in 2011. The iPad, which debuted earlier this year, will tie for second place with Microsoft's newly launched Windows Phone 7, each drumming up new interest among 20 percent of developers. Only 8 percent of those polled said they plan to add Apple's phone to their development plates--perhaps, in part at least, because the iPhone has already established a strong footing among developers.

Overall, mobile app developers and publishers are looking at a surge in business next year. A full 31 percent expect sales of their apps to rise by 100 percent or more in 2011, 17 percent are eyeing an increase of 50 percent or more, while only 10 percent say their sales are likely to be flat.

To compile its study, mobile ad company Millennial Media teamed up with digital media outlet Digiday and an analyst from financial services firm Stifel Nicolaus. The group surveyed more than 500 app developers, publishers, and advertisers about their mobile platform plans.

The survey results echo those from a similar study conducted in September by IDC and Appcelerator, which found that developers favor the iPhone for the near term but are eyeing strong long-term potential from Android.