Developers Choice – iOS or Android?

In any digital device, the software the runs it spells the difference. You can have a beautiful mobile phone but if you have a poorly developed operating system (OS) that runs it, then I can tell you that mobile phone will not last long in the market. It happens before and it is still happening now. The hardware part does attract people from buying the device, but the software decides whether people will keep it, use it and recommend it.

Now in the OS market, I would say there are three major players now – iOS from Apple, Android from Google and Windows Phone from Microsoft. I would like to include webOS from HP (recently acquired from Palm) but no formal announcement was made yet by HP as to what will they be doing with their webOS. Windows Phone 7 is yet to be released so we are left iOS and Android to talk about for the meantime.

So who is popular now between iOS and Android and who will be popular in the future?

A survey was taken recently by Appcelerator involving plans of application developers to build applications for various mobile and tablet platforms. Taken from a pool of Appcelerator’s 51,000+ application developers, 2,733 developers responded that Apple iPad, Android Tablet, and even HP’s potential for webOS tablets are rapidly moving these devices to the top of the mobile priority list. Appcelerator looked in depth at 6 mobile operating systems: Apple (iOS), Google (Android), Palm/HP (webOS), Microsoft (Phone 7), Nokia (Symbian/Meego) and RIM (BlackBerry).

The leadership that Apple and Google have now in mobile is clearly translating into a long-term tussle for computing beyond the phone. Strong interest in the iPad increased 31 points to 84% while strong interest in developing applications for Android Tablets, appearing for the first time in this survey, came in fourth behind Android phones and ahead of all other Smartphone OS vendors beyond Apple and Google.

When stack ranked, developers overwhelmingly favor Apple against other platforms for its App Store, market for consumer and business apps, devices, and near-term outlook. However, Android comes out tops against others for its OS capabilities, platform openness, and long-term outlook. When asked in more detail, 69% of respondents felt that Android’s potential to “show tremendous adaptability, from tablets to e-readers to set-top boxes” is its greatest strength as a platform. The potential for tablets and other devices from HP based on webOS is also Palm’s greatest perceived strength.

BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7, Symbian, Palm, and Meego all saw slightly lower enthusiasm for their platforms compared to the survey taken in March. Below is feedback from developers on these platforms:

– Palm webOS: While developers said closing the gap with iOS and Android is the biggest issue facing Palm, 60% of developers interested in webOS said that HP opening up a broad range of web-connected devices would be the platform’s greatest opportunity.
– Windows Phone 7: Microsoft’s opportunity is clearly in the business/productivity space, according to 58% of developers interested in the platform, while 67% of those not interested said their weak position in mobile was too much to overcome.
– BlackBerry: 57% of respondents interested in BlackBerry felt its #1 strength was its market share while 75% not interested believed competition from iPhone/Android was its greatest weakness. – Symbian/Meego: For Nokia, a global market opportunity was cited by 75% of developers interested in the platform as being most important, however 52% of developers who weren’t interested in developing for Nokia said that its triple platform strategy (Symbian, Meego, and Maemo) was too muddled and risky right now.

Developers were also asked to stack rank new iOS features that they are most looking forward to. In priority order, these features are:

– Multi-tasking (73% of respondents are looking forward to this feature)
– Faster processor (58%)
– iAD (33%)
– Retina display (31%)
– Text messaging within apps (31%)
– Gyroscope (30%)
– Enhanced camera (29%)
– HD video (26%)
– FaceTime (24%)
– Gamekit (24%)
– 802.11n wi-fi (21%)

Appcelerator enables web developers, ad agencies, ISVs, and enterprises to take advantage of the explosive growth in mobile, desktop, and iPad applications.

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