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Developers are flocking to Android in their droves, making it the most used platform for mobile developers in 2010, according to a report by Vision Mobile.
The study, entitled Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond, surveyed over 400 developers worldwide working on eight different platforms: Apple's iOS for the iPhone, Google's Android, Nokia's Symbian, BlackBerry, Java ME, Windows Phone, Flash Lite, and mobile web.
The research found that the Android and iPhone platforms are, as one would expect, top of the list for developer mindshare, taking over from Symbian and Java ME, which previously held the crown in 2008, but Symbian still remains a contender in terms of sheer volume and market share.
The big twist, however, is that Android has outdone the iPhone in terms of developer experience. 60 percent of the developers asked had been or are working on Android projects, with the iPhone and Jave ME following behind with roughly 50 percent each. This may come as a surprise to Apple enthusiasts who have been citing the App Store as being significantly larger than that of the Android Market, so suggesting that the iPhone was the favourite toy as far as developers were concerned.
The iPhone still has the largest number of applications, some 225,000, more than three times that of the Android's 72,000, but the Android Market has grown substantially fast in such a short space of time. With developers now migrating to Google's OS we may see a slowdown in Apple apps and a big increase in Android ones, putting them much closer in line, or perhaps even giving Google the edge.
The reasons for the flurry of developers jumping ship are many, but 75 percent of developers said that market penetration was the biggest factor in choosing a platform. Technically Symbian has an extensive market penetration, but it is losing its developers to rival platforms. Android has seen significant growth this year, with many forecasting more to come, so that may explain why developers are keen to jump on the band wagon before it passes them by.
Revenue potential was the second most important factor for choosing a platform, coming in at around 55 percent. The ability to charget for apps or make money from advertising is an obvious choice for people trying to earn a living. It also explains further the market penetration factor, as a larger market means more potential revenue. With Google being one of the dominant players in terms of advertising, which a developer can utilise via AdSense on their apps, it's no surprise that it is becoming a popular platform.
Having an app store and a large developer community were also high on the list, with around 40 percent of developers citing them as reasons for picking the platform they're working on. Other much less popular reasons included “because my boss said so” and “everyone else is using it”, suggesting that those respondents aren't really pushing the envelope, to say the least.
The report said that with Android's growing popularity developers will have “both power and choice” in increasingly amounts over the next several years, which is something all developers will be happy to hear.