Mobile developers are more likely to start out by building their app for iOS, but Android is becoming a more common first priority, according to a recent Forrester study. The shift is to be expected given Android’s overwhelming market share globally, onlookers noted. However, the changing mobile development landscape has many paying close attention.
According to the Forrester Developer Survey, 35 percent of mobile developers name iOS as their first priority for mobile development, followed by 27 percent who start out developing for Android. That’s a significant change compared to numbers gathered last year by mobile analytics firm Flurry, which found that new projects in iOS outnumbered those in Android by a factor of two to one in the first quarter of 2012. Despite the closing gap, iOS still has a bit of a marquee edge, TechCrunch suggested, noting that apps like Vine and Instagram were first built for the Apple platform.
Nonetheless, Android development is ultimately more common, with 84 percent of developers ranking Android phones as some level of priority, as opposed to 77 percent saying the same for iPhones. Less well-received have been the Windows RT operating system, which runs on Microsoft’s tablets, as well as the recently launched BlackBerry 10. Both lag far behind Windows Phone, which is the fifth most common priority, iOS and Android for tablets are factored in. Overall, 30 percent of developers said they had worked on a mobile app or website in the past two years.
Why iOS or Android?
Although Forrester doesn’t delve into the rationale for each priority, the explanation given for developers preferring iOS is that it generally offers better app monetization and is easier to build for, since there is less ecosystem diversity. According to a separate study from VisionMobile earlier this year, however, Android is often chosen for faster speed and lower cost of development.
“Android is an easier base-level platform for developers to learn and introduce themselves to, especially if they’re new to mobile development,” said Kristen Nicole, senior managing editor of SiliconANGLE.
Nonetheless, as mobile developers’ priorities shift and they begin to work in new environments – particularly ones with as many variations as Android phones – having the tools in place to avoid errors is essential. Mobile developers can benefit from using tools such as static analysis software to identify and correct mistakes in their code. With a source code analysis program, programmers can move smoothly between development environments without worrying about the tiny oversights that such shifts can easily cause.
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