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Mobile developers are far more interested in developing apps for iOS than Android, according to a survey of more than 3,600 Appcelerator Titanium developers.
According to the Appcelerator/IDC Q2 2012 Mobile Developer Report, Apple's mobile platform has a 16% lead over Google's platform. Fifty-three percent of respondents said iOS will win in the enterprise; 37% think Android will. The findings are significant because in the third quarter of 2011 developers put the two platforms in a dead heat at 44% each.
"Enterprise mobile app developers are quickly souring on Android," said Scott Ellison, VP of Mobile & Consumer Connected Platforms at IDC, because there is "too much fragmentation, too much malware and a sense that Apple is better suited to the enterprise."
"Android has not done a great job at courting the enterprise … whereas Apple has, working with MDM vendors to get better security on devices," said Michael King, director of enterprise strategy at Appcelerator.
Apple also has "put a ton of effort into appealing to its enterprise client base" on its website, with things like a step-by-step manual on how to deploy iOS in the enterprise and cases studies on companies that have done so. Other reasons for the increasing strength of Apple in the enterprise include the iPad's popularity, the greater threat of malware attacking Android, and the challenges enterprises face dealing with Android fragmentation, said King.
The survey results also showed "remarkable consistency" among both business-app-focused developers and consumer-app-focused developers. Among business app developers, the survey found that 53.3% prefer iOS compared to 35.5% who prefer Android. Among consumer app developers, 53.6% prefer iOS and 37.9% prefer Android.
The news for Google was not all bad. The Q2 report notes that "the noticeable erosion of developer interest in Android over the last four quarters … seems to have been arrested." The Appcelerator/IDC survey attributes that to the huge growth of Android device shipments, especially handsets, and the fact that they have more affordable price points, which outweighs the Android ecosystem fragmentation and monetization issues.
"They've slowed the fragmentation a little with Ice Cream Sandwich and continuing with Jelly Bean and automated updates of the OS," said King. "So it's a combination of factors; those, plus the fact that Google has made it more consistent and [easier] for developers to monetize apps than in the past."
"If they continue to attack the fragmentation problem and they continue to drive the audience of devices" and make apps available across different Android makers, the platform can stage a comeback, said King.
Sixty-three percent of respondents cited multiple operating systems as the biggest challenge they face when developing mobile applications, followed by multiple device classes (51%), and learning many languages (49%).
Although the Q2 report's findings don't paint a positive picture for Android, the mobile enterprise market remains fluid, and the full effect of Google's recent acquisition of Motorola Mobility has not been fully felt in the market. Looking ahead, there will be particular interest in "enterprise reaction to, and potential adoption of, Windows-based mobile devices," given developers' optimism about Windows 8 tablets and phones, setting up what will be "the next battle among operating systems," said the study.
Microsoft needs to do three things to gain the number-two mobile OS slot among enterprises, said Ellison: "make it easy to port PC-based Windows software to Windows tablets and smartphones; sell enough Windows phones and tablets to make an impact in the BYOD (bring your own device) enterprise space; and be much more direct in contrasting the risks/benefits between Android and Windows in the enterprise."