Survey Says: Developer interest in Android on the decline


According to a survey conducted by Appceletator, interest in developing for Android smartphones has been declining steadily since April of 2011. In their latest poll of over 5,500 mobile developers, the firm found that 76 percent of those surveyed were “very interested” in the Android platform. Compare that number to the 85 percent interested in developing for Apple’s iPhone.

While the number seems to predict doom and gloom, it’s important to note a trend common among nearly all platforms in Appcelerators Q3 survey. All platforms, including iOS, saw a drop off from the previous quarter except for Windows 8 Tablets. While developer interest still remains higher for Apple’s iPhone and iPad, it too has declined since the middle of 2011, though to a lesser degree than Google’s Android platform. The figure could be easily attributed to the introduction of new platforms such as Windows Phone or to a general shift towards HTML5 over native mobile apps.

Oddly enough, when queried as to what elements influenced their decisions on which platforms to develop for, those polled named a large install base as the number one factor. While its iconic stature in pop culture may give the iPhone the edge here, the latest figures suggest that Android currently has more activated devices on the market, last reported at 500 million to Apple’s 400 million.

So does the decline give reason to push the panic button? Does it mean we will see fewer high quality apps on the Google Play store in coming months? Unlikely. But it is interesting to ponder the implications of the data presented by Appceletator. What’s your take?

[via TechCrunch]

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  1. One thing this could indicate is that a bunch of devs are just specializing on a specific platform instead of trying to release on both iOS and Android…

    1. Most are settling for one or the other. Larger devs will be forced to support multiple in order to keep up their business.

  2. So has everything else other than Windows 8

    1. Keep reading, that’s what the article says.

  3. If this is true, I honestly can’t blame developers, Google has simply not addressed the fragmentation issue (example: my 2011 HTC phone doesn’t even have an ICS release, I had to go to CM9 which still has bugs).

    I wouldn’t purchase or recommend a non-Nexus Android phone because of this. Hopefully in Q4 Google will announce something promising.

    1. Fragmentation is not Google’s fault. The fact that your phone can run CM9 means ICS works on your phone. It’s HTC’s fault and other OEM’s for putting their custom UI’s ontop of Android. If a device only ran stock Android, it should be able to get updates fast. If the device doesn’t get updated, hence the G2, then there’s a problem. I believe if it runs stock Android, it should be updated soon after the Nexus devices for at least 2 years.

      For example, the Galaxy S1 didn’t update to ICS because there wasn’t enough phone memory to house TouchWiz untop of Android. But if it only had Stock Android, it would have ran just fine. That’s a prime example of why OEM’s UI is the fault and not Android. The phone will run the newer versions just fine.

      1. Google developed and implemented Android as it is today, therefore it is their fault. If one of the primary reasons developers don’t like working with Android compared to iOS is fragmentation, then everything you said, while true, is just excuses and doesn’t solve the problem.

        Personally for me, I can’t stand that CM9 is buggy on my 2011 phone (and CM10 even worse) since garbage HTC can’t release ICS/JB kernel source. As I said, I wouldn’t buy or recommend a non-Nexus again. The iPhone 3GS from 2009 having iOS 6 support is reason enough for Google to do something about this when they can’t even put ICS, let alone JB, on their Nexus One.

        1. Have you actually used those iOS updates on older phones? They’re partial updates. I rather have a full update then a partial update. For example, I had an iPod 2G updated to iOS 4. I had the ability to add folders. How nice. But I couldn’t add a wallpaper. Apparently my device couldn’t do that. Really?

          I rather have a full update over a partial update. As far as the Nexus One goes, that’s understandable. ICS came out within it’s 2 year life. So Google should have found some way to update it to ICS. However, Jelly Bean is asking just a little too much. I don’t blame not seeing that on the Nexus 1.

          Also, Google developed Android, they didn’t develop HTC Sense or Samsung Touch Wiz. Google is making the updates. It’s not Google’s requirements to make sure a non-Nexus device get’s updated. They give the OEM’s all the necessary tools.

          1. Yes, I’ve had 2 iPhones and 2 Android phones over the years I know all about iOS updates. You continue you make excuses. Fragmentation is a problem that Google should be making every effort to work on. Bring on the Nexus 4.

          2. What you call “fragmentation” i call trying to fit a single operating system on hundreds of different hardware sets. How much hardware does apple have to work with? 1 set per year. Really comparing ios to android is apples to oranges…

          3. Oh my bad, fragmentation isn’t a problem for users or developers of Android and it’s nothing that should be worked on for improvement, ok cool carry on.

          4. You blame Apple for have a smarter business model? By the way, Windows works quite well on hundreds if not thousands of motherbaords, video cards, sound cards, network adapters, ect. and even really old hardware. Guess Google should call up papa Bill and ask how they do it.

    2. People toss this out there like toilet paper. How does your phone not having an ICS release stop me from developing an app for your phone? I either use a lowest common denominator of features or gracefully degrade as features are not available. I’m on a major project unrelated to mobile apps where we have to do this same thing. Its not anything new to software development. The only people complaining are those drag and drop iOS devs that really aren’t even devs but designers. If its not an option in the IDE then its too hard.

  4. Everyone who complains about android fragmentation needs to look at whats happening.
    Android releases probably hundreds of phones a year. Apple releases one phone a year. Nexus also releases one a year, so if always getting the latest OS is important, then buy a nexus or an iPhone. If you don’t have the money when the new one comes out you have to wait a year for the next one or buy a nine month old device. Or you can buy the latest, newest android device. There is more to any phone than just the OS, like features, cameras, etc. New OS wont change dated hardware. Most consumers don’t really care about the latest updates because it rarely changes anything significant. It is wrong to fault android for giving people choices. If you aren’t informed enough about your buying decision, that is your fault, not androids. Personally i prefer to have the latest greatest hardware regardless of the OS, and with android you can always change just about anything on the OS you want. I put ICS on my 2009 Eris, worked fine but it still was just an Eris.
    Options aren’t a bad thing.

  5. So iOS is still number one, which it has always been, but the gap between Android and iOS is relatively small when you compare iOS/Android to any other platform. My interpretation, the giant elephant on the table, aka iOS, still number one, Android holding a strong @ number 2, in a market that saw almost every single platform decline. Its funny how certain blogs/new sites (not this one obviously) always proclaim the demise of Android, despite them activating nearly 1M devices a day.

    1. I can’t say for sure, but I belive android is the #1 OS as far as popularity and use are concerned. The iphone is the best selling device, but only because it only gets one a year. I won’t swear to this.

    2. I believe android has 4times the market share of ios.

      1. You might wanna double check that pie chart again Jethro

          1. That is an older chart than what i posted, AND only represents US phones.

  6. has nothing to do with fragmentation or any other perceived weakness in android.
    There is a limited # of programmers out there. We can’t develop for everyone because there is a finite amount of resources. Most are in it to make money *gasp*. Its shocking but yes we have to make a living. You go where there is potentially good money to be made. Microsoft has done a very good job marketing that idea to developers for the past year. Windows 8 is a relatively new platform. Things you develop on it will be among the first set of applications offered to several hundred million users. You do the math. Don’t care if I like win 8 or not. There be gold in them hills. The shift is underway to port applications over to that platform. Could be temporary, could be permanent, who knows.

    1. So very this. Surface tablets will break into the market in a huge way… devs would be silly not to want to be ready at launch with their stuff. It’s like a new restaurant opening in town — big initial splash and then things level out.

  7. It is funny how everyone is looking at Android for fragmentation. If you look at IOS they are getting into the fragmentation also. If you look at the older devices they do not have the processor to play some of the games and have the power to run some new programs. Looking at the IPad and IPhone you have different screen sizes now that you have to develope for and make work. If you look already you see some IOS versions do not work on all phones along with not all features work on all phones. Sounds like fragmentation to me. The same things that are on the table from Android are starting to come out in Apple.

    1. The difference is Android is fragmented on new devices. There are devices not released yet that will have ICS. All current and future Apple hardware will have iOS6. Apple is getting into fragmentation, but that’s what happens when you still actually support 3-4yr old phones. What manufacturer is still supporting a 4yr old Android phone?

      1. The difference is Android 2.0 does more than ios6. The only advantage Apple has had is apps, fluid(only because of a simple os), and design. I’d rather have bigger screens, better cameras(iphone 4s did finally catch up), and all the other stuff android had first like lte, widgets, live wallpapers(particular physics one of my favorites) haptic feedback, better map and fb integration(although the fb app is better on ios), and also fm radio and nfc.

        1. There is no argument that Android has more features, but when I go the Play store on my ICS tablet and try to get some apps and it says Not Compatible with Your Device….that is pretty frustrating, especially since I can sideload it and it works fine. it’s not a hardware issue, its a fragmented OS issue.

  8. This is going to change dramatically if the rumors are true and ~5 new Nexus devices hit the market in the next couple months.

  9. Hey little dips here and there are to be expected. At least it’s not the near total tank that Blackberry took in the same time frame. I think Google will get some of their mojo back when they announce new Nexus(es?) in time for the Holidays. Google still has a card to play before the year is out.

  10. Another apple tainted survey

    1. Because it favors apple in some way it must be apple tainted huh? Lol

  11. What a trollish headline. Every single option in that graph is declining except for Windows 8 Tablet. In other words, the only really new platform is gaining some attention. Doesn’t seem surprising to me.

    1. Its trollish because it talks about facts and you don’t like what you hear? Lol

  12. This could be to the fact that they’re really just running out of things to create an app for

  13. Could the survey be a bit biased given it is from Appcelerator developers? The Titanium product has historically run badly on Android… so maybe most of the developers have always focused on iOS while Android developers use the native Android SDK.

  14. Each one of it is dropping except Windows 8 Tablet.

  15. The article states “While developer interest still remains higher for Apple’s iPhone and iPad, it too has declined since the middle of 2011, though to a lesser degree than Google’s Android platform.” However the graph clearly indicates that interest in iPhone and iPad decreased MORE than Android, or is there something I’m missing?

    1. You are not reading the graph correctly. Since Apr 11, iPhone has dropped 6 points. Android has dropped about 8 points.

  16. I know LateDroid seems to have left Juice Defender, and Launcher Pro is collecting dust – completely unusable to me anymore.

    But if you look at the graph, all of the upper level platforms have waning interest…

    App development in genereal is losing its luster in general, me thinks

  17. Reads headline, donates/buys paid version of favourite Android apps

  18. “Survey Says: Developer interest in OS mobile on the decline”

    even iOS! so who has paid you for the title? ;)

  19. Meh, all of the big developers making the really useful apps are on both platforms and not by choice. They have to be there because of the installed base. I haven’t encountered an app I need yet that is on one platform and not on another.

  20. This is based off of 5,500 developers who took a survey provided by Appcelerator…a cross platform development tool. So this is such an isolated group of developers, those using Appcelerators tools, how does this data have any effect on the market as a whole?

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