Developers see cloud opening new app opportunities - Mobile World Live

Developers see cloud opening new app opportunities

03 AUG 2011

The launch of Google’s Google+ social networking service and Apple’s iCloud services are seen as “opening new fronts in the mobile battle,” according to a developer survey from Appcelerator and IDC.

The poll of more than 2,000 developers found that the two launches were deemed the most likely to have an impact on the mobile sector, being selected by 25 percent and 22 percent of respondents respectively. This put them ahead of features such as NFC adoption (18 percent) and the Twitter integration in iOS 5 (14 percent), as well as industry developments such as the ongoing Android patent battles (13 percent) and Amazon tablet rumours (6 percent).

While two-thirds of respondents believe that Google can catch-up with Facebook in the social networking space with Google+, 83 percent of developers using social in apps are still either integrating or planning to integrate with Facebook this year. However, Google’s existing assets (search, YouTube, Maps), are seen as “trumping” Facebook’s established leadership in the market. The new entrant is also seen as showing more innovation than Facebook, through the use of new features such as circles, sparks, and hangouts in Google+.

After Facebook, the second most popular service for app integration  is Twitter (backed by 73 percent of respondents), followed closely by the fledgling Google+ (72 percent – although the API has not yet been released). These three are some way ahead of LinkedIn, at 30 percent, and Foursquare, at 23 percent.

Developers also had clear ideas about which social capabilities are most important in apps, with features that encourage repeat usage and offer fresh content deemed more important than location check-ins and photo sharing. In order of priority, developers use social for notifications (52 percent), status updates (49 percent), login/identity (44 percent), messaging (38 percent), news (35 percent), location sharing (32 percent), photo sharing (31 percent) and friend requests (26 percent).

The survey also asked developers which features of the next version of iOS, iOS 5, are most appealing, which showed significant cross-over with these stated social requirements. Leading the way were improved notifications (58 percent), followed by iCloud services (51 percent), integrated Twitter support (40 percent), reminders (36 percent) and iMessage (32 percent).

Appcelerator and IDC also found that “iCloud may significantly disrupt the mobile cloud computing space,” as developers envision a tight race between Amazon and Apple. Developers who are using or are planning to use cloud services over the next year see Amazon (51 percent), iCloud (50 percent), Microsoft Windows Azure (20 percent), VMware (20 percent) and RedHat OpenShift (17 percent) as the top-five players.

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