As Apple’s market share slips to Google’s surging little green robot, developers are increasingly turning to HTML5 as a way to embrace both iOS and Android.

According to Vision Mobile’s latest Developer Economics report, Apple’s developer mindshare has slipped to 52% (from 56% in January 2013) while HTML5 has jumped two percentage points from a year ago to 52%.

The lesson here: It’s a multi-device world, and developers can no longer afford to play favorites.

iOS Rocking In The Developed World

Apple hasn’t completely faded. Far from it, iOS attracts the most loyal developers with 59% of developers that target iOS prioritizing it over any other platform. Despite the fact that more developers use Android, just 52% of developers who use Google’s platform consider it their primary deployment target.

HTML5? It’s used by 52% of developers but hardly tops anyone’s list of priorities.

Though a recent Sencha survey finds that more than 60% of mobile developers have migrated to HTML5—75% of those people expect to do even more with HTML5 in 2014—those developers’ motivations may be somewhat pedestrian. With the median developer supporting five different device types, HTML5 is more necessity than priority in a multi-device world.

In fact, HTML5 even trails Blackberry as a preferred primary platform in Vision Mobile’s report:

Emerging Markets Tell A Different Story

As I’ve written before, Apple rules where people can afford it. But in South Asia, South America, the Middle East and Africa, iOS takes third position behind Android (#1) and HTML5 (#2).

In the all-important Asian market, with China’s billion-plus users dwarfing North America, Android reigns with 46% of the developer market, compared to iOS’ 28%. In Africa, iOS fares even worse: 9% versus Android’s 47%.

Apple still claims a disproportionate market share in tablet shipments, but tablets are a secondary device for application developers. Yes, tablets attract 83% of app developers, but just 12% of developers see tablets as their primary development screen. The majority of developers (57%) perceive tablets as a secondary device behind smartphones.

As for developer income, iOS continues to pay much better than Android or HTML5. iOS seriously outpaces Android with median revenues between $500 and $1,000 per app per month, much higher than the median revenues of Android developers ($100 – $200 per app per month). Even HTML5 outpaces Android in this category:

Interestingly, HTML5 developers actually do better than iOS developers in the top-most tier (developers making over $50K per month) and in the low-income tier (developers making $500 to $10K per app per month):

In other words, HTML5 may be the best way for developers to play both the high-end and low-end markets.

HTML5 And The Long Game

As more mobile devices migrate to emerging markets, we’ll continue to see a shift toward Android and HTML5. A native iOS or Android experience continues to be preferred by both users and developers, but it’s becoming increasingly cumbersome to support multiple device types.

In short, while HTML5 is only the first priority for 26% of developers, it’s likely to be continue to grow as a necessary second option. If developers divide their first loyalties roughly equally between iOS and Android, that leaves a lot of room for HTML5 to grow into the dominance second choice, a strong position, indeed.

Lead image via codepo8 on Flickr; other images via Vision Mobile