We’ve been hearing for some time about how developers are going to start focusing more on Android. But now, in the last 24 hours, we’ve gotten some concrete signs that the platform is indeed getting more attention from big time developers. Here’s what has happened:
- At the Facebook mobile press event yesterday, Facebook said it was bringing its Android app up to par with its iPhone app, which was the first to get Facebook Places feature and has generally been more advanced. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recounted a funny tale about how Google bought out the development shop that Facebook had contracted to make an Android app. Now Facebook is taking over development of its Android app in house.
- Social gaming leader Zynga said it was bringing its first game to Android. It’s an older title called Live Poker, but it should be the first of many games, including possibly FarmVille, which already made the leap to iOS from Facebook. That’s not the only encouraging sign that popular gaming is coming to Android; Rovio’s Angry Birds had a stunning debut on Android, and Zeptolab’s new hit, Cut the Rope, is headed there too.
- Twitter released a new Android app yesterday that refreshes the look of the app and brings it on par with its iOS counterpart. My colleague, James, has a good review of it here, but it’s basically faster and more polished, with a pull-to-refresh function and an option bar that reveals with a swipe. The timing of the release, just hours after Facebook’s announcement, suggests maybe Twitter wanted to keep pace with Facebook’s Android efforts.
- Last night, StumbleUpon updated its Android app with a new app discovery feature that personalizes app recommendations for users. StumbleUpon chose to update Android ahead of its iOS app, in part due a bigger opportunity for app discovery tools on Android and also because it’s faster to develop and get an app into Android Market compared to iOS.
What does it all mean? Well, Android still isn’t the first choice of many developers. But it seems like devs are making more of an effort to close the gap between Android and iOS apps where they exist. There are still business concerns to be hashed out for paid apps, though these are getting addressed by new in-app payment options from PayPal, Boku and others. Again, this is just a small sampling, but it could be a telling one, highlighting the growing importance developers are placing on Android because Android devices are selling like gangbusters. It takes these snapshots in time to show the growth is meaningful and is translating into more sway and power.
Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d):