Developers flocking to Android tablets - report - Google

Developers are flocking to Android tablets in droves, closing the gap with Apple's leading iPad, according to a report by Appcelerator and market research firm IDC.

The Mobile Developer Report surveyed 2,235 Appcelerator Titanium developers in January on changing priorities and development plans for the mobile industry in 2011.

The report found that Google is nigh on neck and neck with Apple in the smartphone market thanks to a highly successful year in 2010 and that it is making major moves to repeat its success in the tablet market as well.

Developer interest in Android smartphones was up 5 percent to 87 percent, just 5 points short of the iPhone's 92 percent developer mindshare. Many iPhone developers revealed that they were torn between choosing Android or the iPad, suggesting that there is no clear loyalty to iOS.

Windows Phone 7 also saw some growth from 28 percent to 36 percent developer interest.

In the last report in September 2010 84 percent of developers asked said they were interested in developing applications for the iPad. This month that figure has grown to 87 percent.

In September 62 percent of developers wanted to write apps for Android tablets, but that figure is now 74 percent, a substantially bigger increase than that seen by the iPad, mirroring similar fast growth for Android in the smartphone sector. Part of the reason for this huge rise is likely to be Google's revelations about Android 3.0, Honeycomb, which caters more for tablets than previous versions.

RIM's PlayBook also saw some increased attention, up from 16 percent to 28 percent, suggesting that the BlackBerry OS could be onto a minor comeback in the tablet arena. WebOS tablets were also on the radar for some 16 percent of developers.

The leading factor that affects developers decisions to work on Android tablets is cost, with 57 percent picking that option. 49 percent wanted less fragmentation, while 33 percent were impressed with Android 3.0's capabilities.

Developers wanted several new features to be added to the iPad 2, such as cameras, a USB connector and a better retina display.

82 percent of developers wanted to distribute their apps through the Android Market, but 37 percent were interested in using Amazon's Android Appstore.

One area that Google and Apple both lost in was the smart TV market, with developer interest falling 11 points to 33 percent for Google TV and 10 points to 30 percent for Apple TV. Clearly both companies need to make major efforts in this area if it is to take off like smartphones and tablets.