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IOS saps Android developer momentum with iPad 2, Verizon iPhone

Apple’s (s aapl) hold on third-party mobile developers has gotten stronger with the apparent help of the iPad 2 and Verizon (s vz) iPhone, cutting into big gains from Android (s goog), according to app analytics firm Flurry. The latest numbers, taken from new app project starts, suggest that even with the fast advance of Android, developers still like their prospects on iOS, which is an important indicator of the strength of the platform.

Flurry, which looked at 20,000 Flurry apps that were added from January to June, said iPhone and iPod Touch had 57 percent of new project starts in the second quarter, up from 54 percent in the first quarter, while iPad projects went from 10 to 15 percent quarter over quarter. Android, meanwhile, slipped from 36 percent in the first quarter to 28 percent in the second quarter. That’s two consecutive quarter declines for Android, which peaked in the fourth quarter last year with 39 percent of new project starts.

The rebound in popularity of iOS seems to coincide with the Verizon iPhone, which has apparently also slowed some of Android’s sales growth. And it also seems to factor in the growth of the iPad 2. Apple has said it now has 425,000 apps on iOS, including 100,000 iPad apps.

Flurry’s Charles Newark-French said in a blog post that the Verizon launch of the iPhone helped swing the pendulum back in the favor of iOS after developers started jumping on the opportunity afforded by Android. He said the popularity of the iPad has also driven developers to the iOS platform.

Newark-French said Android developers are increasingly concerned about the cost of deploying on Android because of fragmentation, both for the operating system and with competing storefronts.

“With developers pinched on both sides of the revenue and cost equation, Google must tack aggressively at this stage of the race to ensure that Apple doesn’t continue to take its developer-support wind,” he said.

Android is still the second option for most developers, though with sales of Android units skyrocketing, many had started to prepare for a shift in their development strategies. But Apple still has the best monetization prospects, and it has only gotten better with more distribution of the iPhone and the growing strength of the iPad. Remember, this isn’t just a battle of smartphones; this is about ecosystems, and Apple is no slouch there. In fact, it still has an overall edge. Android will still keep coming, and if it can get its tablets to sell, it can offer a bigger target audience. But developers still aren’t completely convinced it’s time to bet on Android over iOS. Why should they be?

5 Responses to “IOS saps Android developer momentum with iPad 2, Verizon iPhone”

  1. I think this android is not inferior to the Mac but the newly developed android, while Macs have been doing for a long time, and Mac get a good hardware support at Apple, while Android should find support hardware from other companies.

  2. Being blinded by the dazzle of “X activations per day” is probably the thing that will bite Android developers the hardest.

    It is ridiculous to think that tens of thousands of developers can be sustained on a $100 million or so of app revenue per year. Ad revenues aren’t much better.

    The shakeout will be inevitable a year from now because there hasn’t been enough time for all those developers to go out of business.

    Either that, or they’ll realize that Google’s activation porn is great PR, but doesn’t put bread on the table.

    What these analytics show the snowball that starts the avalanche – in the coming months, Android developers will either 1) choose to go out of business or 2) switch wholesale to iOS development where they can actually make a living.

  3. Considering the far lower income developers make from paid Android apps ($103 million in 2010 vs $1.7 billion for iOS developers) and the fact that they are not making up the difference in ad-supported free apps (far lower download numbers of free and paid Android apps (5% all app downloads vs 71% to iOS devices)), this is not at all surprising.

    The far larger installed base of iOS devices (200 million with the vast majority still active due to only 17 million iPhones being sold in the first 2 years) compared to only 100 million Android devices and quarterly sales of all iOS devices being very close to total Android numbers, means that there are just not as many Android customers out there.

    With the recent plateauing in Android sales and growth of iOS sales (Android marketshare dropped 6% in the USA while the iPhone alone (not including the iPod touch or iPad) grew 42% in Q1 2011 according to NPD and IDC demonstrates that the gap between Android and iOS users is not shrinking fast at all. Android’s global sales growth rate dropped to 3 percent in the March quarter from 7.5 percent in the fourth quarter and 9.5 percent in the September quarter.

    Add in the fact that the iPod touch is continuing its 4-year dominance of the mini-tablet segment with iPods continuing to capture 70% of the market with the iPod touch making up a growing 61% of the iPod total.

    Then look at the fact that the iPad looks to be emulating the iPod’s 10-year streak of obliterating the competition with web marketshare figures of a gob-smacking 53x greater than any Android competitors showing that the small increase in Android sales share figures are mostly channel stuffing, it is very obvious that iOS is the hot destination for development.

  4. John B.

    What has worked in Apple’s favor, is that it has had a head start and the marketing prowness to cast perception of a superior product. However, while Android may have had a fragmentation problem when first instituted, it has proven today that it is not to be taken lightly. It has grown to be a very formidable OS with the ability to meet every aspect of normal consumers and beyond.. Most of these biased analytical companies that are conducting polls, are searching for the most obscure information to prop Apple as the only choice for consumers. I grow tired of the misrepresentation. If developers are favoring Apple and leaving Android, this would be the equivelant of an employee willfully taking a cut in pay to work for a minority percentage of marketshare. Not really a good move; is it?

    I also wish these firms would quit falling into the habit of creating paper tigers from their own biased preferences. It only elevates their own satisfaction. As a gentleman that has been around for 50 years, I have found no evidence of Android being as fragmented as Apple supporters and these firms would like everyone to believe. It may not be as polished as Apple, but it does have many more beneficial attributes than what is given credit. We can all dig deep to find artifacts that can oppose the competitiion’s standings. My Android product has worked without failure for over a year now. Some colleagues are on their second or third same generation iPhone and some have actually switched to Android with rave reviews. This experience has been mirrored by countless others.

    While I love to read up on new technology, I find it frustrating to swim through all the favoritism of biased articles on their choice products. If consumers could sue these firms for using their power to influence the consumer’s needs in a wrong direction, I’m sure the tone towards other products might change drastically.

    John B.