iOS, Android Big With Developers; Mobile Web Further Along Than You Think


Android and Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) have the greatest mindshare among mobile developers, but if you were wondering who is the strongest third player right now, walk right past Windows Phone, WebOS and RIM (NSDQ: RIMM) and stop at none other than the mobile web.

Research presented by VisionMobile today at the Open Mobile Summit found that while Android and Apple’s iOS are currently the most-used platforms by developers — at 67 percent and 59 percent respectively — the mobile web is not that far behind, with 57 percent developing for the cross-platform platform. That represents a leap of some 16 percent for the mobile web over last year:

And what about when the question gets turned around, to ask what platforms are getting abandoned in the future by developers?

Unsurprisingly, the list is led by Symbian, which Nokia (NYSE: NOK) is outsourcing to Accenture and has promised it would only continue to support until 2016 (and of course that might get revised again). Other “losers” include WAC — the platform created by a consortium of operators but yet to yield any actual products. Java is getting less attention, too, as feature phones become less popular; as is PalmOS as HP (NYSE: HPQ) puts more effort into its new WebOS — although that, too, comes up on the list (sorry, HP):

The growing interest in, and activity on, the mobile web is being borne out by lots of developments of late on the platform. High profile web app launches from the likes of Twitter and the FT have given the platform a new look from consumers.

And although the mobile web is still limited in its scope compared to the capabilities of native apps, that appears to be slowly changing: Gavin Stirrat, MD at Millennial Media, noted how the latest release of Safari for iOS lets developers incorporate the use of the iPhone’s accelerometer into ad content. Features like this will ultimately make the switch from the two platforms more seamless, and significantly more attractive for developers.

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