Android is making some big news at the end of the year. The platform is seeing a billion app downloads a month, it controls nearly 50% of the smartphone market, new devices are being released every week and Ice Cream Sandwich is starting to make its way into the hands of consumers. With everything Android has going for it, you would think it was the No. 1 choice of app developers, right?
Not so fast. Mobile analytics company Flurry shows that new projects by developers are still dominated by iOS. Google chairman Eric Schmidt said last week that developers would be making apps for Android first by the middle of 2012. If that is going to be the case, the platform has a lot of catching up to do.
In the last quarter of 2011, 73% of developers using Flurry's analytics platform are starting new projects for iOS first. Android faired better earlier in the year, with more than a third of new projects. Flurry has 55,000 app publishers in its platform. For this study it researched 50,000 apps published in 2011. The company predicts that in 2011, a quarter of the apps downloaded from the Apple App Store and Android Market are powered by Flurry.
"At Flurry, we track developer support across the platforms that compete for their commitment. When companies create new projects in Flurry Analytics, they download platform-specific SDKs for their apps. Since resources are limited, choices developers make to support a specific platform signal confidence, as they invest their R&D budget where they expect the greatest return. Further, because developers set up analytics several weeks before shipping their final apps, Flurry has a glimpse into the bets developers are making ahead of the market."
The good news for the entire mobile ecosystem is that more apps are being published for each platform every month. The last four to five months of 2011 has seen an explosion of apps to market, increasing by several times what had been seen before. We are seeing growth across all sectors of the mobile app ecosystem, from malware, app published daily, advertising impressions etc.
Developers make more money from iOS. Flurry says that developers tell it that they are making three to four times as much on Apple mobile devices. Flurry pulled sample apps from the top of the App Store and Android Market and found that, based on in-app purchases, iOS made a dollar for every 24 cents made by Android. Flurry blames part of this to the fact that Google Checkout has lower penetration than iTunes and the App Store. Apple captures every credit card of every person that can buy apps or music through the company. Google does not do that and while it does not hurt Google itself (because the company does not take a cut of Android Market sales), it seems to be hurting developers.
What do you think of Schmidt's prognostication? Will developers be writing Android apps first by the middle of next year? How about we put a wager on it. By the time that the next CTIA conference rolls around in New Orleans next may, will you be writing Android first? Let us know in the comments.