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6/23/2010
08:27 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
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Developer's Thoughts On Future Of Mobile Platforms

It is pretty easy to see what consumers think of each mobile platform based on the sales data; consumers vote with their wallets. Developers tend to go were the money is as well, but they also have well informed opinions on where things are going. Appcelerator has a survey that asked developers several questions on the future of mobile platforms. Some of the results are expected, others less so.

It is pretty easy to see what consumers think of each mobile platform based on the sales data; consumers vote with their wallets. Developers tend to go were the money is as well, but they also have well informed opinions on where things are going. Appcelerator has a survey that asked developers several questions on the future of mobile platforms. Some of the results are expected, others less so.Appcelerator sent a survey to over 51,000 of their developers and got responses from 2,733. Appcelerator builds tools that enables "web developers to build intuitive, content-rich applications for Mobile and Desktop platforms." I don't see anything that would indicate that the pool they pulled from would differ materially from the average developer of mobile applications today.

It doesn't take Carnac the Magnificent to know that iOS is the top platform developers are "very interested" in developing for, both for the iPhone and iPad. Android came in a close second. Only 34% were very interested in developing for Blackberry and 27% for Windows Phone 7. That last stat may actually be encouraging for Microsoft. When over a quarter of developers are "very interested" in writing apps for an unreleased platform a that is for all intents and purposes a version 1.0 release, that is a good sign. When Appcelerator asked the same question in March though that number was 34%. Hot off of Mobile World Congress there was more buzz and it is cooling down somewhat.

Platforms like Symbian (15%), WebOS (13%) and others didn't fare so well. Those are well established platforms so low interest for those is a bad sign that is hard to reverse.

Their comments on the various platforms was interesting as well. As has been written many times in these pages, Android has a strike against it due to fragmentation, which is a "developer's nightmare." 61% of developers felt that way. 73% felt WebOS couldn't catch up even with HP's coffers on its side. While 27% want to develop for Windows Phone 7, 72% felt MS was also too far behind Apple and Android to make a difference. On the flip side though, 59% couldn't deny Microsoft's strength in the enterprise.

What about Apple? 90% felt the iPhone would continue to be the top phone for a while, but 86% felt that Apple was too controlling.

The biggest gripe among developers? 37% said porting to multiple platforms was their biggest pain while 22% said development was. If you are a developer and development is your biggest complaint, look at a career change. That would be like being a dentist and saying your biggest complaint was having to look at people's gaping maws all day long.

You can read the whole report here, which has a lot more in depth information on the survey. Do you agree with the overall assessment that it is an iOS and Android world for the foreseeable future?

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