Has Developer Interest in Android Leveled Off?


Has the golden era of Android ended? It has for developers, at least one survey is reporting. Interest in developing for Android phones and tablets has dropped, according to the latest survey conducted by Appcelerator and IDC. It had been seeing a steady increase up until this point. Interest in Android phone development was down two points, settling at 85 percent. Tablets saw an larger drop of three points for a 71 percent interest level. In the meantime, interest in Apple’s iOS remains strong.

So why are developers starting to feel cold towards Android? The two major factors in the shift are renewed concerns about platform fragmentation and what is being perceived as a rather lackluster initial run of Honeycomb tablets. The emergence of new third-party app stores also concerns some developers.

The good news is that Android and iOS still maintain the strongest hold on developers, and third-place options such as Windows Phone 7 still aren’t garnering too much attention. We still have to wonder if this is simply a minor hiccup or a trend that will continue into the next quarter. Provided Google woos us at their I/O developer conference, momentum could once again shift towards the positive for Android app development.

[via GigaOM]

Kevin Krause
Pretty soon you'll know a lot about Kevin because his biography will actually be filled in!

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  1. The recent news of the transformer selling out at Amazon should put some more onus on the developers to bring something to the table(t).

  2. I still don’t get why it’s so appealing to develop for IOS and not Android. Why do the people that don’t want freedom or choice in device get most of the good apps? And not the rest of us who actually want to choose a device we like. And not just because it’s a fashion statement like any iOS device.

    1. Because there’s so much piracy among Android users. Many developers don’t even offer paid ad free versions of their apps because they know those will get pirated and they wont get payment. They end up forcing you to have your apps with ads.

      1. No matter what OS they are running on apps will get pirated. Apps are pirated just as much on iOS as Android if not more. Everyone i know with an iPhone has it jailbroken with free paid apps. I know so many more people with an android phone that are willing to spend money on apps instead of pirate them.

        1. Same here. All the ios people i know have jail broken their phone and use free apps. And they are pretty computer ignoramous.

          1. +1 have you ever jailbroken an iphone? it’s the easiest thing in the world, and there are TONS of tutorials all over the place, and even more sleezebags on craigslists that will do it for 30 bucks.

        2. Dude, the soccer mom next door doesn’t have her iphone jailbroken. Just because your geek friends are jailbroken and have installous doesn’t mean EVERYONE is jailbroken and has installous. You need to study logical fallacies. I know people who have their phone jailbroken, but they dont have installous.

          iPhones are mostly used by casual users who dont know and aren’t interested in hacking their phone. Why? Because it works as advertised.

          Care to explain how a huge and popular app like Angry Birds does not have paid versions in the Andoid Market? Obviously they aren’t confident that people are willing to pay a DOLLAR for a game.

          1. There’s no paid version of Angry Birds for Android because they’re making more money with the ads. There’s a lot of popular Android apps that are ad-driven, it’s a profitable income stream.

            As for stereotyping people who ‘jailbreak’ or ‘root’ their phones, that’s kinda pointless, all kinds of people want total control of their phones – says a mom of two young men probably older than the majority of the posters here ;~)

          2. That doesn’t stop them from offering it for $1 in the app store. They have a free version in the app store as well.

          3. They have paid versions of Angry Birds in the Amazon app store. I figured they would be in the Market by now.

            And the people i am talking about that jailbreak their phone are soccer moms and normal people. If they aren’t an idiot it’s not that hard to do it. More than just geeks like me know how to hack a device, especially one that’s as popular as an iPhone.

            It’s all about their motive. Anyone can follow a tutorial to hack an iDevice, But i will agree with you that it’s much easier for an Android user to get pirated software, because it’s just checking a box unless your on AT&T.

            All you have to do is find the cracked apps.

          4. The people that I know that have jail broken their phone and uses free apps doesn’t even know what an OS is. So no, they are not geeks.

          5. Yeah not every iphone user has a jailbroken phone with installous, but not every android user uses pirated apps (especially with the increased security risk on a more open system).

            Oh and try telling the devs of pocket legends that there’s no money to be made on Android. Last I checked they said they make more money from android than iOS.

    2. Because developing for Android actually takes programming skill. You have to deal with various screen sizes, hardware, etc. With iOS nothing is a variable. With Android, there’s lot’s a variables.

      Most developers these days aren’t really developers. They’re hacks who can whip up a GUI using point-and-grunt, but not much else.

      1. Thank you, this is exactly the response i was looking for. Now that makes sense.

    3. You’re comment makes it sound like these people are bing forced into buying iPhones. “Don’t want freedom of choice in device”? “… not the rest of who actually want to choose a device we like”? Buying an iPhone IS freedom of choice in device. You can buy an iPhone or an Android phone or WP7 device, or even a Blackberry. I’m also going to assume that most people that buy iPhone’s actually DO like the device they chose. Just because you looove Android doesn’t mean everyone has to. I love Android. I develop for it, I own a Galaxy S, and my next phone is going to be the HTC Sensation, but Android isn’t for everyone. I had my mom buy a G2 a couple months ago, and honestly it was a mistake. The phone is much too complicated for her. She’s been having problems with it and trying to learn how to use it is a pain for her. She doesn’t need to side load apps or an open OS. She would have been much better off with an Hd7, which is dead-simple and will do what she needs without a giant learning curve. She even would have been better off with an iPhone, honestly. Not because it’s a “fashion statement,” but because it’s just more simple to use and that’s already more than she needs. I love Android, but comments and users like these make me embarrassed to be an Android fan. Different people have different needs, and just because someone wants something different doesn’t make them a sheep or someone looking to be in the in-crowd. As for me, I’ll be counting down the days until June 8th when I can march into a T-Mobile store and buy the HTC Sensation.

  3. a difference between 85 and 91% warranted a story?

    oh noes, Android is dead.. /s

  4. saw this story at Read Write Web a little while ago. There’s nothing here really. I suspect this year we’ll really see tablets begin to take off (other than the iPad)

  5. Are you serious? A drop by two, respectively 3 points for tablets is the end of a ‘golden era’?

  6. Ever since Rob Jackson left / was fired etc, this site has turned into a less pro Android one. The extremely irritating Kevin Krause will not look out of place at AppleInsider – just look at all his postings in the last few days, about 90% are not exactly pro Android, far from it.

    Bring back Rob !!

    1. WTF!?!??! Rob left? I’m starting to wonder if these Android sites aren’t being bought out by companies interested in driving Android down.

      1. No.

        Rob never left. That was an April Fool’s joke.

        1. I was hoping that was the case lol.

    2. You can’t fault the man for reporting facts. It’s his j.o.b.

      And no – Rob still owns the joint.

      1. Reporting facts? HA!

        Is this a fact? “Has the golden era of Android ended? It has for developers…”
        Wait, that isn’t the fact is it…that is an opinion based on the statistic that there was a 2% decrease for phone and 3% for tablet…wow, and since he says that iOS is still strong (also not a fact), they must have seen significant growth, huh?

        Sadly, no, and there is no “fact” in the article about this, but iOS also declined…but just by 1% although it states that interest is still “strong”. So, then, since we are allowing any statement to become a fact, I’m happy to learn that a 1% decline is STRONG, 2% is the end of an era, but don’t ever get a 3% decline, because that is global thermonuclear war territory I would imagine.

    3. Sorry I was wrong about Rob leaving. He’s still listed as an editor. In any case he hardly ever blogs now. Apologies to Kevin Krause and all but I hope you guys can be more upbeat about Android. You all sound like a bunch of Debbie Downers!!.

      1. April fools fail?
        Rob hasn’t reported proper news for ages, he writes about things that interest him

    4. I’ve noticed that at Kevin, too. Do you own an iPhone, Kevin? Come clean.

    5. Both androidandme and phandroid have gone downhill lately.

      However, this site is still better than extremely biased Engadget.

    6. Your right, Kevin should only write headlines like: “Android developers to Google: We <3 You Guys!" and "Android Still Blazing Trail, According to Legions of Android Tablet App Developers." Really? There is nothing wrong with an android-news site providing good AND bad news having to do with… wait for it… Android. It's a good thing. I'm glad to see the stories that showcase the strengths of the OS, as well as, yes, the possible weaknesses. Android isn't a perfect thing in and of itself and folks need to realize it.

      If Android is to be refined and improved on, it's these type of news stories that need to be reported on and read by others.

      1. I agree and disagree, sometimes news like this creates negative atmospheres that can affect’s a products overall sales or market.

  7. Am I the only one that doesn’t understand this report??? As it was reported on another site with line graphs showing the trends all of the platforms saw a drop in interest. The iPhone just declined ever so slightly less. So I’m not seeing the reason alarm bells are being sounded here.

  8. As much as I love the android, I feel for the developers. It certainly wouldn’t be my first choice to develop on. Whatever I develop would be lucky to work on a quarter of the devices out there. I’m just pulling the number out of my !@# of course. Assuming that’s true, until android outsell ios by 4:1, it’s still easier and more profitable to develop for ios. Even when it is 4:1, it’s still better to develop for ios and save the aggrevation of dealing with complaints and issues. But again, if you have the resources, developing for android after it’s already live on ios is a good option. That explains the quality of apps on android:(

  9. It seems to me interest in iOS dropped, too. Did the devs just have a vacation or something?

    1. It’s a lull in development. It goes in cycles, as new platforms are released. Google’s holding back of Honeycomb probably didn’t help much.

  10. Google needs to improve the Android Market, including letting the developers choose exactly which phones can download their apps, so then they don’t get 1 star ratings from users using a device that doesn’t work with the app.

    1. In every survey I have ever seen there is always a margin of error, usually “+ -” 3-5% depending on sample size. Seems to me this is sloppy reporting. No mention of the impact of the declining economy.

  11. @Rhad – if they’re offering it for $1 in the app store then why did you ask why there wasn’t a paid version? Either there is or there isn’t. As for ‘free’, it isn’t free if they’re making money off of the ads, you’re paying with your privacy.

  12. @enyibinakata Being pro android does not mean you need to keep your head in your ass. For the platform the improve, it needs people to point out its faults.

  13. “So why are developers starting to feel cold towards Android?” They aren’t. A tiny change in percentage on an already high number means nothing. Why are you twisting this so much?

  14. There’s a douchey survey for everything and depending on who is taking the survey, it’ll skew one way or the other to benefit their argument. This survey in particular makes no sense considering other surveys which claim Android is wiping the floor with iOS. If that were the case, that would automatically mean developers would read said surveys and start developing more for Android. So basically, fuck all surveys as they don’t really gleen any information that a person can’t make up on their own to justify their point of view.

  15. Why would you call 85% of developers being highly interested in developing for a platform leveling off?

  16. Always jumping to conclusions are we Phandroid?

  17. Sometimes I am ashamed to come into phandroid… In fact.. I am but I still come on to check for samsung galaxy stuff.. I’m a fan :) but man.. People are ignorant sometimes. Android is better… For ME. AND that is MY opinion… 6 of my cowokers own iphones and they move their phones! It does what they ask… Another 12 have androids… And about 8 of those people only use it to text and facebook… They have powerful devices but don’t need them.. I have my dad the behold 2 and he couldn’t manage to learn it.. Android is NOT FOR EVERYONE

  18. It won’t matter how developers feel when android gets 75 percent market share.

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