IOS saps Android developer momentum with iPad 2, Verizon iPhone

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Apple’s hold on third-party mobile developers has gotten stronger with the apparent help of the iPad 2 and Verizon iPhone, cutting into big gains from Android, 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?

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