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6/23/2010
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Developers Bet On Apple Now, Google Later

Apple's devices may present the greatest promise for developers today, but app makers see Google's Android platform becoming more significant in the future.

Software developers believe Google's Android platform has a better long-term outlook, better technological capabilities, and greater openness than Apple's iOS platform.

These are some of the findings of a survey of 2,733 developers conduct between June 15 and 17 by Appcelerator, maker of the Appcelerator Titanium Developer Platform.

The developers in question happen to be users of Appcelerator Titanium, the sort of cross-platform development tool that Apple doesn't like, so it may seem to make sense that those surveyed would prefer the openness of the Android platform to Apple's more controlled approach.

But it's not that simple. "As our survey points out, our developers actually are more interested in Apple's products than Google's," said Scott Schwarzhoff, VP of marketing at Appcelerator. "We also know that there are currently more Titanium apps written for the iPhone and iPad than for Android."

Apple's iOS 4 SDK Agreement impose fairly strict limitations on the kind of code developers may write. "Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs," the SDK Agreement states.

If interpreted strictly, these terms would disallow a host of third-party development tools such as Adobe Flash, Unity3D, Ansca Mobile's Corona, and Appcelerator Titantium. The makers of these tools and many developers have objected strongly to this language and prompted regulators at the Federal Trade Commission to begin reviewing Apple's rules for possible antitrust implications.

Apple's aim with these rules, as articulated by CEO Steve Jobs, is to prevent a third-party development platform, specifically (though not exclusively) Adobe Flash, from becoming the preferred mode of authoring for iOS devices. Such tools, Jobs contends, create substandard apps and limit the progress of the iOS platform. Apple also wants to exercise control over advertising and analytics data.

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