Google’s apparently thinking that by attracting developers they can give Android, their mobile phone platform, the best chance at success. Targeting developers, though, is not the only way to find success with new technology: some companies succeed by going directly after users while others ride on waves of hype.
Apple chose user-led success with the iPhone, spurning developers with a closed platform. Yes, there’s hype involved, but it seems secondary to Apple’s legendary reputation for giving users what they didn’t even know they wanted.
Maybe Facebook is an example of success-via-developers? Though they have attracted thousands of application builders to their platform, the applications themselves seem less magnetic for users than the ambient Facebook hype that draws people in.
Technology platform vendors need users, developers, and hype — that’s clear. But which is most important?