The Kindle Fire isn’t just getting attention from consumers. Developer interest is on the rise, making Amazon’s new device the top Android tablet that developers want to code for in North America, just a few points behind where the iPad debuted, according to a new developer survey from Appcelerator and IDC.
Appcelerator surveyed 2,160 of its mobile developers on Nov. 2–3 and found that 49 percent of developers in North America were very interested in developing for the Kindle Fire, putting it just 4 percentage points behind the iPad’s initial interest scores from developers from a previous similar survey. Globally, the Kindle Fire (43 percent) came in second among Android tablets, behind the Samsung Galaxy Tab (56 percent), which has been out for a year.
Asked why they liked the Kindle Fire, developers cited the cheaper $199 price as the leading reason, followed by Amazon’s rich content ecosystem, its app store, target demographic and eCommerce integration. The results shouldn’t be too surprising, considering that Appcelerator developers back in January said price was the single most important factor for Android tablets hoping to compete against the iPad. Developers’ biggest worries with the Kindle Fire were fragmentation, lack of a camera and the absence of GPS. The survey was taken before Barnes & Noble announced the Nook Tablet.
The survey also found that Windows Phone 7 has now moved up to become the solid third-place platform behind iOS and Android among Appcelerator developers, distancing itself from BlackBerry, in which there has been declining interest. Windows Phone 7′s share of developer attention increased 8 percentage points to 38 percent, while interest in BlackBerry OS phones declined 7 points to 21 percent, and interest in PlayBook QNX-based tablets dropped 6 points to 13 percent. There is more curiosity about the new Lumia Windows Phone 7 device from Nokia (28 percent) than there is about existing BlackBerry options.
The reason for the boost in Windows Phone 7 optimism comes down to the deal between Microsoft and Nokia to put Windows Phone 7 on Nokia hardware. Almost half (48 percent) of developers said they were more interested in the WP7 platform because of the Nokia-Microsoft partnership.
IOS is still the top platform for developer interest, with 91 percent of respondents saying they are “very interested” in developing for the iPhone, followed by the iPad at 88 percent, which is consistent from the previous quarter. Interest in Android phones dropped by about 4 points to 83 percent, while tablets fell nearly 6 points to 68 percent. Interest in HTML5 held steady at 66 percent of developers interested in building HTML5 websites and web apps.
Interest in both the Kindle Fire and Windows Phone 7 still remains largely a bet based on future potential. We will have to see if both Amazon’s new tablet and Microsoft’s smartphone platform can live up to expectations. But at least for Appcelerator developers, they see enough there to be optimistic. The Kindle Fire results are especially interesting, because not many developers have been building Android tablet apps. Many haven’t seen the business case for it. But now, with 5 million Kindle Fires expected to be sold this year, that is clearly changing.