Google’s Android is set to overtake Apple’s iOS as the platform app developers believe offers the most “business potential” within three years, according to a new survey by research2guidance. Due to its first-mover advantage, Apple has been the focus for developers to date, but the study concludes that, by 2013, Android “will have become the mobile platform which offers the highest business potential for mobile app developers.”
Survey participants were asked to rank the business potential of selected mobile development platforms from 1-5, with 5 representing the highest and 1 the lowest business potential. With an average rating of 4.89, iOS currently ranks highest.
The study found that developers tend to group the mobile apps platforms in “clusters.” The leading group in terms of business potential – the so-called ‘smartphone premier league’ – consists of iOS, Android and Mobile Web-based platforms. “The hype cycle now has shifted from Apple to Android and Mobile Web technologies like HTML5, which leads developers to think that they could make more money by developing on Android and on Mobile Web platforms compared to the iOS platform in 2013,” said research2guidance. It noted that this assumption was dependent on Android being the number one OS choice of OEMs over the next few years, and that Web-based technology will be able to offer similar development possibilities to native apps.
The next cluster of platforms includes what the study refers to as the ‘smartphone incumbents’: BlackBerry, Microsoft’s Windows and Symbian, which the report notes “are viewed as old platforms where app development is difficult and time consuming with mediocre return on investments.” However, it expects a share of the developer community to back the new Windows and Symbian platforms.
The last cluster, where business potential was seen to be the weakest, applied to platforms which are mainly unknown to developers (mainly LG and Samsung Bada) or where developers are unable to see where the platform is headed (Palm).