Flurry: Developers still supporting iOS three times more than Android

Flurry, a leader in mobile application analytics and advertising, has posted a new article on their blog which looks at the ongoing war between Android and iOS.  Yes, we know that Android now commands more than half of the market share around the world and that more than 200 million devices have been activated to date.  We also understand that because of multiple vendors, handset makers, and partners involved, Android is continuing to expand its empire.  So why aren’t developers flocking to the platform like they do for iOS?

The blog post points out that new project starts for Android have decreased over the course of 2011, dipping from 37 percent down to 27 percent.  Apple, on the other hand, has gone from 63 percent to 73 percent in the same time frame.  To be fair, both have increased substantially in overall volume and Android’s 27 percent actually includes more new projects than when at 37 percent.  Since the second quarter, Android has danced around the 25 percent share with Apple pulling in roughly 75 percent.  Why does iOS pull in three times as many new projects as Android?  Money. Well, that and the payment system in place.

…the largest single factor that appears to impact developer support for the platform is the consumer’s ability to pay.  This comes down to Google Checkout penetration.  Upon setting up an iOS device, a consumer must associate either a credit or gift card to her iTunes account.  In theory, this means that 100% of all iOS device users are payment enabled.  This has not been the case for Android, resulting in lower revenue generation possibilities on the platform.

Flurry has found that for every dollar generated on Apple’s iOS devices, Android generates 24¢ with the same app.  It’s worth noting that Flurry’s figures are not indicative of the entire ecosystem as even they admit that “Flurry Analytics powers approximately 25% of all apps downloaded from the App Store and Android Market combined.”  Still, with 55,000 companies across more than 135,000 applications, it’s a good barometer of how things shape up.

Google’s Eric Schmidt forecasts that, within six months, developers will begin to develop for Android first and then Apple and everyone else.  Based on this singular report it is hard for us to see that happening. What do you think of all this?  Can Android get to that point any time soon?

Flurry blog

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  • Anonymous

    It doesn’t appear that this study factors in developer income generated from in app advertising. Isn’t that amount much greater on Android?

    • Not based on the developers I know.  The ratio is about 3:1 to 4:1 in iOS’s favor.  Monetization of Android is its biggest Achilles Heel.

      • Leif Sikorski

        The problem is that often developer get quoted who started on iOS first and then tried to put their App into Android Market too. But many of them are not Android Users – and this is what you see in their app. Many of the iOS ports also feel and look like ports. It’s lilke console games ported to a pc..it’s just a bad user experience then. Android User are maybe a bit more about functionality than design and when then an iOS App gets ported to Android and is 1:1 the same many will be disappointed because it doesn’t use the advantages of Android (interaction between apps, widgets, UI with out this big fat iOS buttons/bars who just steal a big part of the screen and so on).

        That beautiful Apps are possible shows 
        That it’s possible to make money on Android Market showed HyperDevbox Studio and PocketLegends. First develope for Android only and second  earned more on Android Market than on iOS. I guess the Developer of Beautiful Widgets, SwiftKey and so on make some good money too. 
        But yes, it’might be harder and if developer aren’t passionate about Android or hire people who are passionate about it they’ll loose against thoose free apps who doesn’t look perfect but do their job pretty well. Path is actually a good example who fail pretty much with their Android version because they doesn’t get the simplest like a Twitter Auth or Timestamps done.

        • There will always be exceptions but the sad truth is iOS developers make substantially more money than Android developers.

          That does not mean there are no cases of very successful Android applications making their developer(s) lots of money.  There are, however, many many many more examples existing of iOS applications making their developer(s) lots of money.  This has more to do with the demographics that use each system. Anything from Google is expected to be free (the user is a product).  Anything from Apple is expected to cost (the user is a customer).

          It will be interesting to see if MS will release their recent barrage of iOS apps on Android.  My guess is they will not.  Right now, it is to MS’s advantage to have iOS strong and weaken Android since WP7’s primary competition for carrier/handset mindset is Android.  

          NOTE: iOS, being an integrated solution, it is not really in competition with Android.  Companies like HTC, ZTE and Samsung cannot use iOS if they wanted to.  They are looking for a component based OS similar to the WinTel days. Likewise, carriers like Android because it allows them, as Google has put it, to “add value”.  “Adding value” is also known as crapware.  MS limits this on WP7 making it less palatable to carriers but nicer for users.  Apple gets away with it because Apple has stolen the customer relationship fro the carriers.

          • Leif Sikorski

            Maybe some of thoose developers just have to think about different business models. Ads for example might not work well on iOS where user care more about the design but on Android most people don’t care about some decent ads. I mean Rovio made already in December 2010 about 1 Million US$ with their Android versions of Angry Birds just through the ads which was more than they made on iOS through selling.  

          • The Rovio information discounts a few things:

            1) Angry Birds had HUGE revenue on iOS while not even available on Android.

            2) The big one.  Rovio opened up in-app-purchases on iOS dwarfing the revenue on the paid iOS and Ad supported Android versions.  In short, that single example is very old and iOS still is substantially more profitable than Android for Rovio.  Rovio’s In-App has just opened up for Android on limited handsets and carriers (T-Mob I think).

            It is not about business models it is about demographics.  Ad supported apps ONLY work for applications that are very sticky (think Angry birds, FB, browsers, Cut the Rope).  These are applications that promote huge amounts of time using them.  Utilities, messaging apps, shopping lists… and many other apps (important but used for very short periods – think a task killer) have much less value as an ad supported application.  They will do much better as a paid download.

            The demographics of people attracted to Google is a demographic adverse to paying for products and services.  If you want Android to have more attention paid to it by a greater number of high quality developers, start supporting developers for their work.  Not through ads but through actually purchases.

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  • lostsync

    I’m not speaking from experience, but I speculate that a big part of the draw of iOS development is the SDK and language. It seems almost effortless to create a great-looking iPhone app due in large part to the UI portion of the framework and Objective-C is pretty nice. Making an app look comparably good on Android appears to be a pretty serious undertaking as, for the most part, the majority of the apps on Android with really great UIs have substantial backing, like Facebook or Last.fm. It may or may not be harder to code an Android app, I really don’t know, but I do feel that it’s substantially more difficult to create an app that is visually on par with almost any iOS app out there.

    disclaimer: I am not an Android or iOS developer and don’t really know either SDK, Java/Dalvik, or Objective-C. But I’ve played with it some, and that’s how it *seems* to me, so I’m admitting up front that what I said above is merely speculation based on a limited amount of observation.

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  • zato

    I read recently that 60% – 70% of Android activations are in Korea, China, Thailand, SEA. Who PAYS for software in that part of the world?

    • Anonymous

      Who pays for software when you can get one with the same functionality as a free one? This is Android.

    • Leif Sikorski

      They pay I guess, but thoose Markets there doesn’t show up in this statistics. In China they don’t have the official Google Market but 70 different ones. Biggest ones from Manufacturer and provider as far as I know and many smaller ones. Some other Countries still can’t buy in Google Market so they use different Markets. Here in Germany many use also different Android Markets because many still don’t like credit cards here and provider billing is rolling out very slowly. What the Android Market needs is more paying options and maybe some giftcards like iTunes has. 

      But another thing is also that Android Phones have already more Software out of the box and there are tons of pretty good free apps. 

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