The Good News: The Battle Between Mobile App Developers Keeps Growing

Carl Weinschenk

The battle between Apple and Android for the hearts and minds of developers shifted slightly in the open source operating system's favor this month, according to Appcelerator and IDC. Appcelerator makes the Titanium cross-platform development tool.


The firms surveyed 2,363 developers, according to InformationWeek, and found that 58.6 percent saw Android's prospects as better in the long term, compared to 34.9 percent who considered Apple's iOS to be the better long term bet. Those numbers were tilted a bit more in Google's favor from a similar study done in June, when 54 percent of developers tabbed Google and 40.4 percent went with iOS.


Apple had something to cheer about, however. The two most attractive devices for development were the iPhone (at 92 percent) and the iPad (84 percent). They were followed by the Android phone (82 percent) and the Android tablet (62 percent). There then was a significant drop-off, with the BlackBerry phone totaling only 34 percent. An in-depth article based on an interview with Scott Schwarzhoff, Appcelerator's vice president of marketing, is available at Mashable.


Perhaps the key battle in the smartphone segment-the one that will have the greatest impact over who wins the highest profile for subscribers-is recruiting developers. The race goes beyond Apple and Android, of course. For instance, Windows Phone 7 is making its move and Nokia and AT&T will award $10 million to developers who best use the Symbian operating system and the coming Nokia N8 smartphone.


The Nokia/AT&T story, which was posted at The Independent, offers an interesting assessment of the state of the app store race: It cites Distimo numbers saying that there are about 27,000 applications in Nokia's Ovi Store, about 225,000 in Apple's App Store, about 70,000 in Google's Android Marketplace and "about 9,808" in BlackBerry App World. (No reason was given for the weird phrasing on the BlackBerry estimate.)


Research in Motion seems to want to catch up-or to help enterprises develop internal apps that never make it to the store. At the DEVCON BlackBerry developer conference, RIM displayed the BlackBerry Enterprise Application Middleware. The release says that BEAM will help businesses build "super apps" for BlackBerry smartphones. Also this week, Seregon Solutions introduced DragonRAD 4.0, which is aimed at simplifying, speeding and reducing the cost of BlackBerry development.


The importance of mobile application development will continue rise. No matter how snappy the underlying hardware/software package is, winning the favor of people who write the apps for consumers and businesses is paramount. It seems that battle has just begun.

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