Developers Still Prefer iOS Despite Android's Huge Marketshare Gains

The disconnect between Android’s huge marketshare and its second-tier status among many mobile developers has been clear for some time, but the gap is actually increasing as Android gains even more share. According to new research from Flurry, around three-quarters of all new mobile app projects that use its technology were started on iOS over the second half of 2011.

Flurry’s metrics on the use of its Flurry Analytics software showed that 75 percent of mobile development projects started during the third quarter used the iOS version of that software. That’s up from earlier in the year, when iOS apps accounted for 63 percent of all new projects.

And that’s despite the huge increase in Android marketshare this year. Android phones now account for more than half of all U.S. smartphone sales, according to new data from NPD Group, having taken a huge chunk of marketshare from Research in Motion (NSDQ: RIMM) while Apple’s share of the U.S. market is around 29 percent.

Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Chairman Eric Schmidt caused a bit of a stir at the Le Web conference last week when he predicted that app developers would find Android more appealing in 2012 because of that marketshare lead, given that iOS favoritism is a well-known factor in mobile app development. Every time I meet an app developer I ask them whether or not Android is now a larger priority because of its marketshare, and almost every single time they still express a preference for working on iOS apps prior to developing Android versions.

Many of those reasons are also well understood: Android’s fragmentation makes it harder to build quality applications at scale and more money is spent within the iOS app ecosystem than within the Android one. Flurry’s metrics put some numbers behind that latter notion: “on average, for every $1.00 generated on iOS, the same app will generate $0.24 on Android.” One problem is that Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) has a more familiar payment system through the iTunes Store that Google still can’t quite match, although it’s working on solving that problem with new services like Google Wallet.